Cougars cruise past Blue Raiders

(Photo by BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah – Taysom Hill and Michael Alisa ran for two touchdowns apiece to lead BYU football to a 37-10 win over Middle Tennessee Friday night at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

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Hill completed 14 of 19 passes for 177 yards and rushed for 165 yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns. Alisa ran for 55 yards on 16 carries, and freshman Algernon Brown contributed 68 yards on 11 carries. Ross Apo had four receptions for 38 yards, and Mitch Mathews had three receptions for 47 yards. The Cougars' offense finished with 486 yards of total offense.

BYU is now 2-2 on the season, while Middle Tennessee drops to 3-2.

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The Cougar defense held the Blue Raiders to 212 yards of total offense for the game. Austen Jorgensen recorded nine tackles while Craig Bills each recorded seven tackles and Kyle Van Noy added six more, including five solo. Daniel Sorensen recorded an interception in the fourth quarter.

Following a Middle Tennessee field goal on the opening drive of the game, Adam Hine took the following kickoff 90 yards to the opposing 10-yard line. Three plays later, Hill ran it in from 12 yards out to put the Cougars up 7-3 with just under 11 minutes left in the first quarter.

The BYU defense forced the Blue Raiders to punt, but a fumble on the return set the visitors up with the ball on the Cougars 24-yard line. Just before the end of the first quarter, Logan Kilgore hit Marcus Henry for a 16-yard touchdown pass to give Middle Tennessee a 10-7 lead.

Paul Lasike returned the ensuing kickoff 33 yards to BYU’s 46-yard line. With the offense clicking the Cougars drove down the field to the Blue Raider 5-yard line before a lost fumble gave the ball to Middle Tennessee on the 2-yard line.

On the next play, Van Noy tackled Jordan Parker before he left the end zone to force a safety and cut the deficit to 10-9. The safety was the first for BYU since 2011 against San Jose State. Van Noy fought off a block and tripped up Parker, and Remington Peck kept him from leaving the end zone.

Middle Tennessee elected to punt the ball following the safety, and the Cougars drove the length of the field again before a fumble by Alisa went into the end zone untouched for a touchback.

Again the defense held strong and forced another punt by the Blue Raiders. A pass to Apo put BYU at midfield. Two plays later, Hill went 50 yards on a keeper off the right tackle for his second touchdown of the game to give the Cougars a 16-10 lead with 7:30 left in the second quarter.

Both teams traded punts before BYU got the ball back with 1:33 left in the quarter on its 33-yard line. After two rushes by Lasike for two yards, Hill had three straight completions to move the offense to the Middle Tennessee 14-yard line. A five-yard rush by Hill and a pass interference call on the defense put BYU on the 2-yard line. Alisa ran it in on the next play for his second touchdown of the season to give the Cougars a 23-10 lead with 15 seconds left in the half.

The Cougars opened the second half receiving the kick and drove the ball 60 yards on 11 plays as Alisa punched it in from one yard out for his second touchdown of the game to put BYU up 30-10. During the drive, Hill completed three passes over 10 yards to Apo, Mathews and Brett Thompson.

Towards the end of the third quarter, senior JD Falslev returned a punt 71 yards for a touchdown to put BYU up 37-10. The last time BYU returned a punt for a touchdown was in 2011 by Falslev against TCU. On the return, Falslev fielded the punt on the right hash, crossed the field and ran up the left sideline untouched for the final score of the game.

The Cougars return to action against in-state rival Utah State on Friday, Oct. 4 at 6 p.m. MDT. The game will be broadcast live on the CBS Sports Network.

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