(Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A late fourth quarter surge wasn’t enough as the BYU football team came up short in a 20-14 loss to San Jose State Saturday at Spartan Stadium.
Down 20-7 with 2:36 left to play in the game, senior quarterback Riley Nelson scrambled to keep the play alive and hit David Foote for a 20-yard touchdown to cut into the Spartans’ lead, 20-14.
Justin Sorensen logged an onside kick that hit the back of a Spartan and ended in Cody Hoffman’s hands to give the ball back to BYU. Hoffman continued to make plays with a 17-yard sideline reception to convert on 4th and 8.
On San Jose State’s 21-yard line with 1:20 on the clock, the Spartans sacked Nelson, causing a fumble that ended the Cougars comeback attempt.
The Spartans (9-2) controlled the first half, scoring on their first three possessions but would not go on to score again. The Cougars’ (6-5) defense dominated the second half, holding San Jose State to just 69 total yards.
San Jose State rallied for a total of 364 yards. BYU outgained the Spartans with 422 total yards with 335 passing yards.
Nelson finished the night completing 28 of 51 attempts for 335 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Hoffman grabbed a career-best 13 catches for 155 yards to lead all wideouts. Jamaal Williams led the run game with 62 yards on 15 carries, including one touchdown.
Craig Bills led the defensive attack with 10 tackles. Kyle Van Noy brought pressure with three tackles for loss, one sack and seven total tackles. Daniel Sorensen hauled in an interception and totaled one tackle for loss and eight total tackles.
The Spartans struck early with a 51-yard touchdown pass to take an early 6-0 lead just one minute into the game. Russell Tialavea blocked the PAT attempt, his third blocked kick of the season.
The Cougar wasted no time as Williams ran into the endzone from 16 yards out on their first possession. The nine play, 78-yard scoring drive put BYU on top 7-6 lead with 9:26 remaining in the first quarter.
Two 25-yard passes aided a San Jose State touchdown drive to flip the score back in its favor, 13-7, off an eight-yard pass with five minutes to play in the quarter.
Spartan quarterback David Fales then scored for the third time through the air to start the second quarter. The 18-yard touchdown pass extended San Jose State’s lead to 20-7.
Riley Stephenson gave the BYU defense an edge, pinning the Spartans at the three-yard line with a 60-yard punt. The momentum continued for the Cougars as Sorensen pulled down his third interception of the season to keep San Jose State out of the end zone before heading into halftime.
In the third quarter, Nelson hit Hoffman and JD Falslev on back-to-back sideline passes for gains of 12 yards and 19 yards, respectively, to move down field but a San Jose State sack on Nelson turned the ball over and ended the drive.
A Spartan interception cut another BYU drive short in the fourth quarter before San Jose State held on for the final 20-14 score.
BYU remains on the road to end the regular season at New Mexico State Nov. 24. Kickoff is slated for 1:30 MST and will be broadcast on ESPN3.
Postgame notes and quotes