BYU falls short in 20-13 loss to Fresno State
FRESNO, Calif. – BYU couldn't come up with another late comeback and fell to Fresno State 20-13 on Saturday night at Bulldog Stadium.
The Cougars got the ball back down seven with over three minutes to play from their own five. Quarterback Beau Hoge connected with tight end Matt Bushman for a 20-yard gain but a hard hit knocked the ball loose on the play, giving it back to the Bulldogs. Fresno State was able to run out the clock for the win.
Quarterback Tanner Mangum completed 20 of 33 passes for 163 yards but left late in the game with an injury. Hoge was 3 for 10 for 51 yards in relief.
Squally Canada rushed 12 times for 84 yards and one touchdown. Bushman set two career highs with nine catches for 97 yards.
On defense, Sione Takitaki led the Cougars with 11 tackles, including eight solo stops and 1.5 tackles for loss. Butch Pau’u added 11 tackles as well.
After punting on its opening drive, BYU’s defense held the Bulldogs to a 43-yard field goal from Jimmy Camacho on their first possession midway through the first quarter.
Fresno State quarterback Marcus McMaryion connected with receiver Jamire Jordan on a 50-yard pass to set up a two-yard rushing touchdown as the Bulldogs took a 10-0 lead with 2:08 on the clock in the first quarter.
Early in the second quarter, BYU put its first points on the board with a 27-yard field goal from Rhett Almond to make it 10-3. Fourteen plays set up the 78-yard scoring drive, including four passes to Matt Bushman, the longest being 19 yards.
Almond nailed a career-high 46-yard field goal with no time on the clock to close the gap 10-6 at halftime. It was the Cougars’ longest made field goal since Justin Sorensen hit a 46-yarder against Utah in 2011.
Fresno State opened the second half with a 10-play, 46-yard scoring drive. Camacho made his second field goal of the night from 42 yards out and extended the lead, 13-6.
Canada rushed four yards into the end zone for BYU’s first touchdown of the game on BYU's next drive. He ran 38 yards on five carries during the 11-play, 75-yard drive. Almond hit the extra point to even the score 13-13 with 4:28 left in the quarter.
The Bulldogs responded with a touchdown of their own the following drive to take a 20-13 lead with 12:40 on the clock.
BYU had two more drives but ended them with a punt and a turnover on downs. After another defensive stop, the late fumble on the Cougars' final drive ended any hopes of a comeback. The Bulldogs took possession of the ball with 3:14 left in the game and held onto the victory.
The Cougars will play at UNLV next Friday at 7:30 p.m. PST. That game will be televised on ESPN2, with radio broadcasts on BYU Radio (Sirius XM 143) and KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM.
Cougars on the road at Fresno State
PROVO, Utah – BYU football begins a two-game road stretch at Fresno State on Saturday at 7:45 p.m. PDT at Bulldog Stadium, which will be televised nationally on ESPN2.
Live radio coverage can be found on the BYU Sports Network with Greg Wrubell, which will be broadcast on BYU Radio Sirius XM 143 KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM and BYUcougars.com. It will begin at 5:45 p.m. PDT.
BYUtv will provide pregame and postgame coverage with Countdown to Kickoff starting at 6:30 p.m. PDT. Postgame coverage runs for half an hour or more after the game depending on the timing of the game.
BYU (2-7) vs. Fresno State (5-3)
Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017
Kickoff: 7:45 p.m. PDT
Bulldog Stadium (41,031)
SERIES NOTES. BYU and Fresno State are tied 5-5 in the all-time series. The last time the two teams played, the Cougars defeated the Bulldogs 52-10 at LaVell Edwards Stadium in 2015. BYU has not visited Fresno since 1998. The Cougars fell 31-21 to Fresno State when the two teams were members of the Western Athletic Conference.
TEDFORD AND BYU. Fresno State head coach Jeff Tedford has faced BYU one other time as a head coach. Tedford led the 2005 California Golden Bears team to a 35-28 victory over the Cougars in the 2005 Las Vegas Bowl. Future NFL Pro Bowlers Marshawn Lynch ran for 194 yards and three touchdowns while DeSean Jackson had 130 receiving yards and two scores. BYU’s current strength and conditioning coach, Nu’u Tafisi, was a defensive lineman for Tedford at Cal. He had one tackle for loss in the game against the Cougars.
ALMA MATER COACHES. For the fourth time at BYU this season, both head coaches in the matchup are coaching at their respective alma mater. Jeff Tedford played two seasons at quarterback for the Bulldogs in 1981-82. Kalani Sitake was a fullback at BYU in 1994, 97-2000. Tedford and Sitake are among 21 FBS head coaches coaching at their alma mater.
COMMON OPPONENTS. BYU and Fresno State have faced one common opponent to date, San Jose Staté. The Cougars are coming off a 41-20 win over the Spartans in Provo while the Bulldogs topped San José State 27-10 earlier this year. Fresno State just lost to UNLV 26-16, BYU’s opponent next week.
INJURY BUG. BYU has had 36 different players miss significant time with an injury this season. Of those 36, 24 have been members of the two-deep and 13 have been projected starters.
HONORING LAVELL. Legendary hall of famer and beloved head coach at BYU for 29 seasons, LaVell Edwards, passed away on Dec. 29, 2016. The always steady and humble coach will be honored in several ways throughout the season, including the team wearing a uniform patch featuring his classic stoic profile he displayed for decades on the Cougar sidelines.
The following quotes are from BYU’s post-practice media availability on Monday:
Head coach Kalani Sitake
It was a good weekend for us — I’m looking forward to the next one. There are a lot of things we saw that we can do better, but there are also other things I thought were better than I imagined.
We have a team full of Eagle Scouts and returned missionaries so motivating them is not hard to do. They know how to fight back against losses and adversity. We are happy to have a win and looking forward to the next opportunity.
Upcoming Fresno State game
We are excited for Fresno and seeing the fans out there. The guys are excited.
It is good to be picky when you win to get things going. We are more confident now and are looking forward to a week of preparation.
They have a lot of experience on the Fresno State staff. You can see it on film, and they’ve been able to turn it around quickly. The quarterback has great skills and is a great young man.
San José State game
I thought Tanner did a great job of protecting the ball and reading the openings to make plays.
KJ Hall works hard on studying film and perfecting his craft. There were things we saw in him that we liked with his abilities and instincts as a running back. A lot comes from his father being a big-time player and growing up understanding the game. He has a great feel for the game and has a great ability to pass protect.
Chris Wilcox did really well and had great technique. He and Trevion Greene got great reps in. They’ve been prepared well and have bought into the system we are teaching on defense. It’s hard losing Troy Warner because he is a dynamic player, but I’m glad we have guys who can step up.
Junior quarterback Tanner Mangum
San José State game
It was interesting because we played well and put up a lot of points, but after watching film I still think there is so much more we could have done. There were a lot of plays left out on the field, especially on third downs—we were only 33 percent on third downs. There were a lot of drives that weren’t finished. We are happy with the progress but there is more to be done.
Once the rhythm comes, the confidence increases. There were some good throws, and I saw some bad ones after watching film. I just want to keep the momentum going.
The first drive right off to Jonah Trinnaman with a long pass and then the touchdown pass to Micah Simon set the tone for the game. The special teams caused a turnover for Matt Bushman to score which helped start momentum for the rest of the game. It helped get the team excited and the crowd into it.
It is nice having different receivers and tight ends because I know I can go to any guy at any time and they will step up. I thought the receivers did a great job on Saturday getting to the openings and making plays.
Mood of the team
Everyone is in a good mood and excited. We’ve been putting in a ton of work, so it’s been good to see it start paying off. The win is motivating. Guys are excited to get back at it this week.
Fresno State is a good team. They had a little bit of an upset on Saturday, so they will come out ready to go. They have good players on defense, so it will be a good challenge for us. We need to take last Saturday and step up from there.
Freshman tight end Matt Bushman
Lessons from Saturday’s game
We were all excited that we had close to 600 yards. It was exciting to have the offense rolling. I think we had eight plays over 20 yards, and those are explosive plays that hurt the opponent. That is what we need to do for the rest of the season, make big plays, identify when we can take those shots and have the opportunity to get down the field and get more points on the field.
Did the more aggressive mindset help?
On the first play where we threw it to Jonah, he almost kept his footing but still got a 40-yard gain on the play. Brayden El-Bakri had that energy to get that huge hit. Everyone was excited in this game, everyone was way more positive and had way more energy.
What does that do to the defense?
Their defense was worried because they can’t focus on one thing or one player. We seemed to be able to spread it out. Micah scored two touchdowns and we had a few running touchdowns. When we are spreading it out with different guys, the defense doesn’t really know what to do. When our offensive is run like that, it is way more fun because punting the ball isn’t fun, sorry to Jonny (Linehan), but the offense doesn’t like to punt. We need to be more efficient on third down conversions. I think that is one thing that we need to do if we want to continue to get better and make our offense more efficient and more powerful to finish out the season.
What it’s like to have the quarterback playing in the shotgun?
It’s been different because of injuries. We had Beau (Hoge), we had Koy (Detmer Jr.) who was able to run it a little bit more and we had Austin Kafentzis back there with the wildcat. With Tanner (Mangum), the defense knows that he is mostly a thrower. He isn’t going to be running like Taysom (Hill) did last year. But, if we are efficient in the pass game and the run game is working, the defense can’t blitz as many guys. When Tanner is on and we are catching the ball it is still an effective offense.
Junior linebacker Adam Pulsipher
San José State game
Defensively, I think we set the tone. We were able to be aggressive and bring some pressure and keep San José State on their heels. They made mistakes when they were on their heels like turning the ball over, and I thought that was huge for our defense.
I think the more we mix pressures and zones and the more we play fast as players and prepare throughout the week, we can be more aggressive and then they're more reacting to how we play.
The way offense played and special teams was huge to set the tone from the get-go with momentum. It's easy to play fast when you have that momentum. Our offense has been working hard. To have those explosive plays that they had this week was huge for us.
I think this last week we played well. We were physical at the point of attack and we played our assignments fast. There's always room for improvement and this week we've got to go back to practice to sure up a few things but overall I thought it was a good game.
From what I've seen, the quarterback is a good player so we'll have to prepare well and come to play.