(Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah – BYU football’s second-half rally came up short as the Cougars fell 20-13 to the University of Utah Saturday in the Deseret First Duel at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
"I’m looking forward to working with my team again on Monday," head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "Certainly they’re disappointed, and we’re disappointed. I’m anxious to see the resiliency and the resolve and to get back to work."
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Utah (3-1) scored with 12:44 left in the fourth quarter to go up 20-6 before the BYU (1-2) defense held the Utes to a three-and-out on their final four drives of the game to set up the rally.
Senior Michael Alisa scored his first touchdown since the Weber State game in 2012 to bring the Cougars within seven points at 20-13 with just over five minutes left in the final quarter. An incomplete pass on third down looked to end the drive, but Utah was called for unsportsmanlike conduct to keep the drive alive. Two straight completions to JD Falslev and Cody Hoffman put the ball on the 1-yard line to set up the scoring run by Alisa.
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The BYU offense had two drives in the final three minutes of the game but was unable to score to tie the game.
Taysom Hill went 18-for-48 for a career-high 260 yards with one interception and 99 yards rushing on 20 carries. Jamaal Williams rushed for 52 yards on 13 carries before leaving the game in the third quarter with an injury.
Hoffman had eight receptions for 108 yards receiving for his 15th career 100 yard receiving game for his career.
Utah got on the board first, hitting a 36-yard field goal to go up 3-0 with 1:30 left in the first quarter. A 65-yard run helped put the Utes on the 25-yard line before the Cougar defense held tough to limit the scoring to a field goal.
Utah added a second field goal and a touchdown in the second quarter to go up 13-0 at halftime. The last time BYU was shut out in the first half was last season when the score was 0-0 against Boise State at halftime.
BYU received the opening kick of the second half and drove 68 yards on nine plays to set up Justin Sorensen with a 32-yard field goal to bring the score to 13-3. On the drive, Hill hit Mitch Mathews for an 18-yard gain before busting off a 41-yard run to set up Sorensen’s kick. Mathews finished with a career-high 54 yards receiving.
After holding Utah to a three-and-out on its first drive of the second half, the Cougars put together a 13-play, 61-yard drive that culminated with a 31-yard field goal by Sorensen to narrow the margin at 13-6. During the drive, running back Jamaal Williams was injured and was carted off the field. He was taken to the local hospital for further evaluation.
For the game, BYU totaled 443 yards of total offense while holding Utah to 402 yards of total offense. Senior Tyler Beck recorded a career-high 10 tackles with two tackles for loss. Kyle Van Noy and Daniel Sorensen each contributed eight tackles in the game.
Justin Sorensen missed a 33-yard field goal in the second quarter. That miss marked the first miss of the season for Sorensen.
The Cougars return to action Friday against Middle Tennessee at 6 p.m. MDT. The game will be broadcast live on ESPNU.