McKay Jacobson helps BYU to victory with a touchdown catch with 3:03 remaining. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
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ARLINGTON -- Led by a strong defensive effort and quarterback Max Hall’s 329 yards passing, No. 20 BYU defeated No. 3 Oklahoma 14-13 Saturday in the first college game played in the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
A sellout crowd of 75,437 filled Cowboys Stadium and enjoyed not only the spectacle of the massive state-of-the-art stadium but also the excitement of two top-20 programs battling to the final minute on college football’s opening weekend. In the end, a strong overall team effort helped BYU come out on top as the Cougars earned their first victory over a top-3 ranked team since defeating No. 1 Miami on Sept. 8, 1990.
"I thought our defense was outstanding," BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said of facing an Oklahoma attack that averaged more than 50 points last year. "Our defense made the critical plays at the critical times."
On offense, Hall completed 26-of-38 passes to total his 329 yards through the air while connecting on touchdowns to tight end Andrew George and wide receiver McKay Jacobson. A local product from Southlake, Texas, Jacobson had more than 100 family and friends watch him catch the final touchdown in the back of the end zone with just 3:03 remaining. The BYU defense stepped up as they had many times during the game to hold off the Sooners and force a failed 54-yard field goal attempt with 1:23 left on the clock.
The Cougars got solid performances from a variety of players during the hard-fought victory. With starting running back and back-to-back 1,000-yard rusher Harvey Unga held out of the game nursing a hamstring injury, sophomore back Brian Kariya stepped up to gain 42 yards on the ground and 76 through the air to help fill the backfield void.
All-American tight end Dennis Pitta hauled in a game-high 90 receiving yards on seven catches while Jacobson added 69 yards on four grabs and O’Neill Chambers contributed 48 yards on four receptions. Seven different Cougars connected with Hall during the game.
Overall, BYU totaled 357 yards of total offense compared to 265 by the Sooners. BYU played without its star running back (Unga) and lost its leading tackler from a year ago, linebacker Matt Bauman, early in the first quarter due to a mild concussion. Oklahoma also had to adjust as starting tight end Jermaine Gresham also missed the game due to injury and Heisman Trophy quarterback Sam Bradford went down as well at the end of the half and didn’t play the final 30 minutes.
Perhaps indicative of the opening game for both teams, the first half was filled with turnovers as BYU gave the ball to Oklahoma three times and the Sooners returned the favor on two occasions. For the game, BYU had two fumbles lost and two interceptions while Oklahoma lost the ball on the ground twice.
The Sooners took advantage of a BYU miscue to get on the scoreboard first. After the Cougar defense forced the Oklahoma offense to its second straight three-and-out to start the game, Jacobsen mishandled the ensuing punt and the Sooners recovered at the BYU 35-yard line. Six plays later, Oklahoma scored on an 8-yard pass from Bradford to Ryan Broyles to complete the short-field drive and take a 7-0 lead with 4:56 left in the first quarter.
BYU kept battling, led by a strong defensive effort. The Cougar defense held Oklahoma without a first down on four of the Sooners’ first six possessions of the game. Freshman punter Riley Stephenson did his part as well, killing a 45-yard punt on the 1-yard line to help the special teams unit pin Oklahoma near its goal line.
After the defense forced an Oklahoma punt from deep in Sooner territory, BYU got an offensive spark on the next possession. Hall went long to Jacobson for a 49-yard connection that put the Cougars at the 10-yard line. Unfortunately for BYU, the drive ended when Chambers was hit from behind at the 3 and fumbled into the end zone where Oklahoma recovered.
With a missed field goal on the opening drive and a fruitless blue zone possession, BYU remained scoreless despite some opportunities. That was about to change after hard-hitting safety Andrew Rich forced his second fumble of the first half to give BYU the ball again.
Hall soon struck again, teaming with Kariya on a 49-yard pass play to give BYU a first-and-goal at the 5-yard line. This time the Cougars got in the end zone with the ball in their possession as Hall found George for the 5-yard score. With the Mitch Payne point-after conversion, the score was tied at 7-7 with 2:47 to go before the half.
The momentum short-lived, Bradford and the Sooners marched 52 yards in six plays to go up 10-7 on a 35-yard field goal with just 2 seconds before the half. Despite the score, the drive proved costly to Oklahoma as Bradford got pressure from linebacker Coleby Clawson on the two plays just before the field goal. The hit on the second hurry sprained the Heisman winner’s AC-joint in his shoulder and he did not return.
BYU went into the locker room with 245 yards of total offense compared to 164 by the Sooners. Hall was 14-of-19 in the half for 249 yards and one touchdown while Bradford was 10-of-14 for 96 yards and one score.
Neither team scored in the third quarter but just before the start of the fourth the Sooners intercepted Hall at the BYU 27-yard line to set up a score. That score, however, was limited to a field goal as the BYU defense came up strong. With OU enjoying a first-and-goal at the 2-yard line, linebacker Jordan Pendleton broke up a pass on first down and nose tackle Romney Fuga and defensive end Brett Denney led back-to-back stuffs on two ensuing rushes to force the field goal.
Building on the momentum of the strong defensive display, the Cougar offense chewed up nearly nine minutes while going 78 yards for the game-winning drive. After Hall used a nice touch to loft a pass to Jacobson alone in the back on end zone, Payne converted the PAT to secure the winning margin with 3:03 to go.
Oklahoma started its final drive on the 40 after the kickoff went out of bounds, but the defense again rose to the occasion, forcing a long field goal try by the Sooners on fourth-and-14.
With the win, BYU improves to 2-0 all-time against Oklahoma. BYU plays next at Tulane in New Orleans on Saturday. The game kicks at 2:30 CT (1:30 MT) and will be televised nationally on ESPN2.
Box Score (Final)
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
----------------- -- -- -- -- -----
BY.................. 0 7 0 7 - 14 Record: (1-0)
Oklahoma............ 7 3 0 3 - 13 Record: (0-1)
1st 04:56 OU - Broyles, Ryan 8 yd pass from Bradford, Sam (Stevens, Jimmy kick), 6-35 2:18, BY 0 - OU 7
2nd 01:25 BY - GEORGE, Andrew 5 yd pass from HALL, Max (PAYNE, Mitch kick), 5-63 2:47, BY 7 - OU 7
00:02 OU - Stevens, Jimmy 35 yd field goal, 6-52 1:18, BY 7 - OU 10
4th 11:47 OU - Stevens, Jimmy 22 yd field goal, 9-22 3:43, BY 7 - OU 13
03:03 BY - JACOBSON, McKay 7 yd pass from HALL, Max (PAYNE, Mitch kick), 16-78 8:38, BY 14 - OU 13
FIRST DOWNS................... 17 15
RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............ 33-28 31-118
PASSING YDS (NET)............. 329 147
Passes Att-Comp-Int........... 38-26-2 26-16-0
TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS..... 71-357 57-265
Fumble Returns-Yards.......... 0-0 0-0
Punt Returns-Yards............ 2-3 2-6
Kickoff Returns-Yards......... 4-61 2-27
Interception Returns-Yards.... 0-0 2-19
Punts (Number-Avg)............ 5-39.6 7-44.4
Fumbles-Lost.................. 3-2 3-2
Penalties-Yards............... 10-87 12-93
Possession Time............... 37:02 22:58
Third-Down Conversions........ 8 of 17 2 of 11
Fourth-Down Conversions....... 1 of 1 0 of 0
Red-Zone Scores-Chances....... 2-3 3-4
Sacks By: Number-Yards........ 1-1 4-19
RUSHING: BY-KARIYA, Bryan 17-42; DI LUIGI, JJ 1-4; TONGA, Manase 6-3;
HALL, Max 6-minus 8; TEAM 3-minus 13. Oklahoma-Brown, Chris 14-59; Murray,
DeMarco 10-58; Broyles, Ryan 1-5; Calhoun, Jermie 1-3; Clapp, Matt 1-1; Madu,
Mossis 1-minus 2; Jones, Landry 3-minus 6.
PASSING: BY-HALL, Max 26-38-2-329. Oklahoma-Bradford, Sam 10-14-0-96;
Jones, Landry 6-12-0-51.
RECEIVING: BY-PITTA, Dennis 7-90; KARIYA, Bryan 4-76; JACOBSON, McKay
4-69; CHAMBERS, O'Nei 4-48; GEORGE, Andrew 3-26; DI LUIGI, JJ 3-18; TONGA,
Manase 1-2. Oklahoma-Caleb, Brandon 4-57; Broyles, Ryan 4-26; Tennell, Adron
2-20; Miller, Dejuan 2-14; Murray, DeMarco 2-10; Ratterree, T. 1-12; Brown,
INTERCEPTIONS: BY-None. Oklahoma-Reynolds, Ryan 1-22; Clayton, Keenan
FUMBLES: BY-TEAM 1-1; CHAMBERS, O'Nei 1-1; KARIYA, Bryan 1-0.
Oklahoma-Broyles, Ryan 1-1; Jones, Landry 1-0; Murray, DeMarco 1-1.
SACKS (UA-A): BY-HOOKS, Terrance 1-0. Oklahoma-English, Auston 1-0;
Taylor, Adrian 1-0; Nelson, Jonatha 1-0; Reynolds, Ryan 1-0.
TACKLES (UA-A): BY-BRADLEY, Brando 6-2; JORGENSEN, Jan 5-0; HOOKS,
Terrance 4-1; RICH, Andrew 4-1; LOGAN, Brian 4-0; DENNEY, Brett 3-1; PENDLETON,
Jord 2-2; DOMAN, Shawn 1-4; JOHNSON, Scott 2-1; BAUMAN, Matt 2-0; MORGAN, Blake
2-0; SO'OTO, Vic 1-1; TIALAVEA, Russe 1-1; BILLS, Craig 1-0; REYNOLDS, Matt 1-0;
FUGA, Romney 1-0; PITTA, Dennis 1-0; CLAWSON, Coleby 1-0; BELL, Jeff 0-1;
OGLETREE, Brand 0-1. Oklahoma-Lewis, Travis 9-4; Carter, Quinton 6-4; Reynolds,
Ryan 5-5; McCoy, Gerald 5-0; Clayton, Keenan 3-1; Proctor, Sam 3-1; Franks,
Dominqu 3-0; Jackson, Brian 2-1; Hurst, Demontre 2-0; Beal, Jeremy 2-0; Nelson,
Jonatha 2-0; English, Auston 1-2; Taylor, Adrian 1-0; Alexander, Fran 1-0;
Fleming, Jamell 1-0.
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