Entering Friday, BYU had not yet put together a complete game this season. With scores in each quarter, however, the Cougars ended that slump.
In their 37-20 win over Boise State, the Cougars won their first game against the Broncos in four tries. They also became the first team from Utah to beat Boise State, punching their ticket to the Fight Hunger Bowl.
Rhett Wilkinson is a project manager for UtahPolicy.com and hails the true-blooded Aggies from Utah. The co-founder of magazine Aggie BluePrint.com, he's been an intern for the Deseret News and other publications. firstname.lastname@example.org | @wilklogan
With a touchdown catch late in the second quarter, senior receiver Cody Hoffman passed Austin Collie as BYU’s all-time career touchdown receptions leader (31). Last week, he became BYU’s career receptions leader.
One week after setting a career record in passing efficiency, quarterback Taysom Hill (27 of 41, 339 yards, three touchdowns) had his second-best outing in the category. He also was interception-free. His first-half performance was the best of his career.
A Ross Apo first-down catch came at a good time. He caught a low Hill throw on third-and-5, enabling kicker Justin Sorensen to make a field goal that gave BYU a three-possession lead midway through the fourth quarter.
BYU ranked 14th in the nation in rushing offense with 263.4 yards per game. The Cougars came a bit short of their average, with 229.
This group sealed the contest late in the third quarter and early in the fourth. First, linebacker Kyle Van Noy recovered a fumble at the BSU 29-yard line with 2:03 left in the third quarter. That led to a field goal, giving BYU a three-touchdown lead. Seconds later, defensive back Skye PoVey intercepted Bronco signal-caller Grant Hedrick at midfield. Then BSU running back Jay Aisyi could not hold onto the rock after rushing for 8 yards into BYU territory. Lineman Remington Peck recovered the loose ball, ending a promising Bronco drive that started with four solid gains.
BSU was minus-4 in turnover margin (the Cougars had no such errors). The Broncos came into the game averaging 39.9 points per game (19th in the nation), but were held well below that average.
Sorensen’s 41-yard field goal in the fourth quarter tied a season-high. He was 3 of 4 overall. Scott Arellano (380 yards on seven punts) and kick returners were average. No Cougar returned a punt.
In the second half, the offense rushed twice for every pass until midway through the fourth quarter, when BYU started trying to milk the clock. Such conservatism resembled that seen after halftime in the Cougars’ win Oct. 12 against Georgia Tech. Overall, Bronco Mendenhall deserves credit for beating Chris Petersen, who has the highest winning percentage of any coach in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Texas. Georgia Tech. Houston. Now Boise State. Four of the six teams BYU has now beat will probably end the season with winning records, and Utah State and Middle Tennessee may also accomplish the feat. The Cougars did not suffer a hangover effect from their emotionally draining and wild win over Houston.