Max Hall led BYU to wins with big number and big plays on Saturday in San Diego. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
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SAN -- No. 18 BYU outpaced San Diego State 38-28 Saturday at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego with quarterback Max Hall throwing for a season-high 346 yards and running for a career-best 47 yards in the victory. With the win, the Cougars improve to 6-1 on the season and 3-0 in the Mountain West Conference.
“Max is a competitor,” BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “He has played extremely well the last two games in leading our team to two conference road victories.”
Hall completed 27-of-39 passes for 346 yards and three touchdowns while carrying the ball a career-high 14 times for a personal-best 47 yards and one touchdown. His rushing score came at the end of the half in one of several key plays that proved to be difference-makers in the win.
As BYU approached the end zone at the end of the half, Hall was stopped for no gain at the 1-yard line with the final seconds ticking down. With the coaches motioning from the sideline for Hall to spike the ball to kill the clock, the senior signal caller instead took the snap and rolled left past the unsuspecting Aztec defense and into the end zone as the clock hit 0:00.
““You’ve got to give them credit,” San Diego State head coach Brady Hoke said. “I think everybody thought (Hall) was going to spike the ball and instead he takes it around the left end, and that’s what a veteran and a seasoned quarterback will do.”
Hall’s improvisation and safety Scott Johnson’s diving interception in the end zone to set up that drive were two big plays that helped BYU maintain its advantage in a hard-fought contest against an improved Aztec team coming off a bye week. SDSU falls to 2-4 overall and 0-2 in the MWC with the defeat.
“I was very impressed with what Coach Hoke, Coach Long and the rest of the coaching staff has done here in terms of the effort the San Diego State players give,” Mendenhall said. “They had a really nice plan against us and they played one of their best games. I have a lot of gratification that we came on the road and were able to win another conference game.”
BYU opened the scoring in the game with running back Harvey Unga recording his team-high ninth touchdown on the season. The MWC’s leading rusher got in the end zone from one yard out on third and goal as the Cougars converted all three third-down attempts on the drive. BYU leads the nation in third-down conversion percentage and was successful on 15-of-21 third-down plays on the day.
The game was tied at 7-7 at the end of the first quarter before San Diego State went 69 yards to take a 14-7 lead with 14:20 to go in the half, converting from one yard out.
The Cougars evened the tally on the ensuing drive, going 68 yards in 12 plays with Bryan Kariya taking a Hall pass the final three yards into the end zone.
Johnson came up big for the Cougar defense on the San Diego State’s next possession, erasing a potential Aztec score. After SDSU had connected on a long pass play to advance into the red zone, Johnson dove in front of the intended SDSU receiver in the end zone for his third pick in the last two games.
After the touchback, Hall took the Cougars 80 yards using every tick of the 6:04 left on the clock to give BYU a 21-14 lead at the break. The drive ended with Hall’s improvised scamper into the end zone as time expired.
On the scoring drive Hall threw for 45 yards and gained another 25 with his legs, while Dennis Pitta moved past All-American Gordon Hudson as the BYU’s all-time leader in career reception yards by a tight end. Both of Pitta’s catches on the drive were third-down conversions. He passed Hudson with a nine-yard catch on third-and-five early in the drive and made a third-and-six grab at the 1-yard line to set up Hall’s score.
BYU and San Diego State both put up yards in the first half with the Cougars totaled 245 yards and the Aztecs 210. Unga led all rushers in the half with 57 yards, followed by Hall with 37. The Cougar ground attack helped BYU control time of possession. BYU had the ball for 18:31 compared to 11:29 for the Aztecs.
Each team scored touchdowns in the third quarter. San Diego State quarter back Ryan Lindley and wide receiver DeMarco Sampson connected for their second scoring play of the day before BYU responded with Hall finding tight end Andrew George for a 19-yards score.
The Cougars took a two-touchdown advantage early in the fourth quarter when Hall rolled right and found Pitta from nine yards out to go up 35-21. The All-American tight end stretched out over the end line while keeping his toes in play to secure his fifth touchdown reception of the season and move past Clay Brown into second place among tight ends at BYU with 18 career receiving touchdowns.
San Diego State kept battling as Lindley found tight end Alston Umuolo for a six-yard score with 8:17 to go to reduce the BYU lead to one score. The Cougars responded with a seven-play drive that resulted in a Mitch Payne field goal attempt from 44 yards. The junior placekicker stepped up with a big play for the special teams unit to secure the victory, knocking the attempt dead down the middle to give BYU a 10-point advantage with just over two minutes remaining in the game.
Overall, BYU totaled 512 yards of offense compared to 342 by the Aztecs. BYU passed for 346 yards and rushed for 166 with Unga leading all rushers with 81 yards on 26 carries. Unga also added 37 yards receiving to become just the ninth Cougar to total 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving during his career. Curtis Brown (2002, 2004-06) was the last BYU player to accomplish the feat.
The Cougars return to Provo to prepare for a homecoming contest against No. 12 TCU (6-0, 2-0 MWC), a 44-6 winner over Colorado State on Saturday. The Cougars and Horned Frogs kick off at 5:30 p.m. MT next Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium. The game will be televised nationally on VERSUS.
Box Score (Final)
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
----------------- -- -- -- -- -----
BYU................. 7 14 7 10 - 38 Record: (6-1,3-0)
San Diego State..... 7 7 7 7 - 28 Record: (2-4,0-2)
1st 07:46 BY - UNGA, Harvey 1 yd run (PAYNE, Mitch kick), 14-73 5:33, BY 7 - SD 0
04:31 SD - SAMPSON, DeMarc 7 yd pass from LINDLEY, Ryan (YOSHIDA, Lane kick), 6-81 3:15, BY 7 - SD 7
2nd 14:20 SD - SULLIVAN, Brand 1 yd run (YOSHIDA, Lane kick), 7-69 3:31, BY 7 - SD 14
09:06 BY - KARIYA, Bryan 3 yd pass from HALL, Max (PAYNE, Mitch kick), 12-68 5:14, BY 14 - SD 14
00:00 BY - HALL, Max 1 yd run (PAYNE, Mitch kick), 14-80 6:04, BY 21 - SD 14
3rd 08:23 SD - SAMPSON, DeMarc 36 yd pass from LINDLEY, Ryan (YOSHIDA, Lane kick), 7-76 2:55, BY 21 - SD 21
03:38 BY - GEORGE, Andrew 19 yd pass from HALL, Max (PAYNE, Mitch kick), 12-78 4:45, BY 28 - SD 21
4th 14:49 BY - PITTA, Dennis 9 yd pass from HALL, Max (PAYNE, Mitch kick), 7-77 2:36, BY 35 - SD 21
08:17 SD - UMUOLO, Alston 6 yd pass from LINDLEY, Ryan (YOSHIDA, Lane kick), 5-41 2:38, BY 35 - SD 28
02:21 BY - PAYNE, Mitch 44 yd field goal, 7-15 2:04, BY 38 - SD 28
FIRST DOWNS................... 27 16
RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............ 52-166 16-20
PASSING YDS (NET)............. 346 322
Passes Att-Comp-Int........... 39-27-0 34-22-1
TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS..... 91-512 50-342
Fumble Returns-Yards.......... 0-0 0-0
Punt Returns-Yards............ 3-38 0-0
Kickoff Returns-Yards......... 5-124 6-160
Interception Returns-Yards.... 1-0 0-0
Punts (Number-Avg)............ 2-32.5 4-47.2
Fumbles-Lost.................. 1-0 1-0
Penalties-Yards............... 8-77 4-31
Possession Time............... 38:12 21:48
Third-Down Conversions........ 15 of 21 4 of 11
Fourth-Down Conversions....... 1 of 3 1 of 2
Red-Zone Scores-Chances....... 5-5 4-5
Sacks By: Number-Yards........ 1-10 0-0
RUSHING: BYU-UNGA, Harvey 26-81; HALL, Max 14-47; KARIYA, Bryan 6-24; DI
LUIGI, JJ 5-8; ASHWORTH, Luke 1-6. San Diego State-KAZEE, Walter 9-28; BROWN,
Vincent 2-12; SULLIVAN, Brand 2-1; SOKOLOSKI, Kels 1-1; LINDLEY, Ryan 1-minus
10; SAMPSON, DeMarc 1-minus 12.
PASSING: BYU-HALL, Max 27-39-0-346. San Diego State-LINDLEY, Ryan
21-33-1-298; UMUOLO, Alston 1-1-0-24.
RECEIVING: BYU-PITTA, Dennis 6-72; GEORGE, Andrew 4-75; DI LUIGI, JJ
4-63; ASHWORTH, Luke 4-60; KARIYA, Bryan 3-10; UNGA, Harvey 2-37; HAFOKA,
Spencer 2-17; THOMPSON, Brett 1-8; CHAMBERS, O'Nei 1-4. San Diego State-BROWN,
Vincent 8-147; SAMPSON, DeMarc 5-77; KAZEE, Walter 2-33; UMUOLO, Alston 2-18;
SHIELDS, D.J. 2-5; SOKOLOSKI, Kels 1-24; WALLACE, Robert 1-11; SULLIVAN, Brand
INTERCEPTIONS: BYU-JOHNSON, Scott 1-0. San Diego State-None.
FUMBLES: BYU-HALL, Max 1-0. San Diego State-SAMPSON, DeMarc 1-0.
SACKS (UA-A): BYU-JORGENSEN, Jan 1-0. San Diego State-None.
TACKLES (UA-A): BYU-RICH, Andrew 6-0; JOHNSON, Scott 6-0; FUGA, Romney
4-0; HOOKS, Terrance 3-1; PENDLETON, Jord 3-1; JORGENSEN, Jan 3-0; BAUMAN, Matt
2-0; LAMB, Tucker 2-0; BRADLEY, Brando 2-0; MORGAN, Blake 2-0; AGUIRRE, Lee 1-0;
BELL, Jeff 1-0; MARSHALL, Matt 1-0. San Diego State-MILLING, Jerry 9-4; DAVIS,
Brandon 8-1; SANDFORD, Nick 6-1; WILLIAMS, B.J. 4-1; PEREZ, Jose 4-1; BURRIS,
Miles 4-1; PRESTON, Andrew 3-2; FANTROY, Martre 3-1; LONG, Jerome 3-1;
YARBROUGH, Marc 2-2; LAOLAGI, Luke 2-2; LEWIS, Darryn 2-1; WADE, Josh 2-1;
SHAPIRO, Zachar 1-2; HEMMINGS, Dey J 2-0; EDWARDS, Kwincy 1-1; CAMARDA, Vincen
1-1; LAWSON, Ernie 1-1; KETCHUM, Logan 1-1; WATTERS, Willie 1-0; BREWER, Aaron
1-0; MAULDIN, Davion 1-0; TAUANUU, Jacob 1-0; MCFADDEN, Leon 1-0; PARKER, Larry
1-0; SOTO, Jonathan 0-1.