BYU football wins track meet against Houston

Jamaal Williams ran for 83 yards, averaging 4.9 yards per carry, on 17 carries.

HOUSTON - Taysom Hill hit Skyler Ridley for a touchdown with just over a minute left in the fourth quarter to give BYU a 47-46 win over Houston at Reliant Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

BYU received the ball with 1:50 left at midfield. Hill hit Skyler Ridley for 28 yards down the left sideline on the first play of the drive. After two rushing plays, Hill hit Ridley again for an 11-yard touchdown to put BYU up 47-46 with 1:08 left in the fourth quarter. The blue Cougars tried a two-point conversion, but were stopped short of the goal line.

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Alani Fua sealed the win with an interception in his second straight game. Hill ran for a first down to run the clock out to preserve the win.

BYU (5-2) gained 683 yards of total offense and set school records with 41 first downs and 115 total plays. The 115 plays tie an FBS single game record as well. Houston (5-1) lost for the first time this season.

Hill finished 29 for 44 for a career-high 417 yards passing and a career-high four touchdowns. He also added 128 yards rushing on 34 attempts to be the first player to rush for 100 yards against Houston this season.

Cody Hoffman moved into first place for BYU career receptions (228) with his seven-catch, 156-yard performance. He tied the school record for career touchdown receptions of 30 with his TD grab in the fourth quarter. This marks the 16th career 100-yard receiving game.

The game turned into a track meet in the first half as Houston led 38-34. Both teams combined for 102 plays, 701 yards and 38 first downs.

For the second straight game, BYU intercepted its opponent’s first pass of the game. Making his first start since the second game of the year, Spencer Hadley dropped back into coverage, read the quarterback’s eyes and jumped in front of the receiver and picked off the pass.

On the following play, Hoffman caught a pass from Hill for 13-yards to become BYU’s all-time career receptions leader. Another 13-yard connection from Hill to Hoffman set up Williams’ 15-yard touchdown run to put BYU up 7-0 with just over 14 minutes left in the opening quarter.

BYU increased its lead when Justin Sorensen hit a season-long 41-yard field goal to go up 10-0 with just over 10 minutes left in the quarter. The Cougars moved down the field, mixing both running and passing plays. Hill hit Mitch Mathews for 36 yards to move the ball into the “blue zone”. BYU gained two yards before a penalty and two incompletions set up Sorensen’s kick.

Houston returned the following kickoff 95-yards for a touchdown to put the home team on the board, 10-7.

Wide receiver Ross Apo caught his first touchdown of the season on an 11-yard pass from Hill to go up 17-7 before the quarter was halfway over.  On the drive, Hill hit four different receivers to move the ball down the field.

Houston took its first lead of game at 21-17 after returning an interception back for a touchdown. On its previous play, Houston completed a 69-yard touchdown pass to bring the red Cougars within three, 17-14.

Apo and Hill hooked up for the second time in the quarter to put BYU back on top 24-21. The drive took nine plays, covered 75 yards and took 2:44 off the clock.

On the next two drives, both teams recorded interceptions.

BYU senior Daniel Sorensen grabbed his second pick of the season and retuned it 22 yards to give the Cougars great field position. With the ball on the four-yard line, Hill threw his second interception of the game to end the drive.

BYU’s 24 points in the first quarter marked the highest scoring output for the Cougars since they scored 28 against Idaho in 2012.

Houston struck first in the second quarter, kicking a field goal and scoring a touchdown to go up 31-24.

BYU responded with a 10-play, 76-yard drive that culminated with Williams’ second touchdown of the game to tie the score at 31-31. Seven of the plays were runs, and Hill covered 40 yards on his four carries.

With time running out in the first half, BYU drove almost the length of the field to set up Sorensen’s second field goal of the game as time expired for the halftime score of 38-34 in favor of Houston.

Houston sacked Hill in the end zone for a safety for the only points of the third quarter.

In the fourth quarter, BYU retook the lead on Hoffman’s school record-tying TD grab to go back up 41-40. The blue Cougars started their drive on their own 3-yard line and drove the length of the field in nine plays.

Houston scored with 5:20 left in the fourth quarter to go up 46-41 over BYU late in the game. After scoring, Houston went for two but was unable to convert.

BYU returns to action in less than seven days, hosting Boise State Friday at 6 p.m. MDT on ESPN.

The game will be rebroadcast on Monday, Oct. 21 at 10 p.m. MDT on BYUtv.  

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