PROVO, Utah – The BYU football team couldn’t overcome seven turnovers and fell to the University of Utah 54-10 on Saturday in the Deseret First Duel at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
After BYU took a 10-7 lead in the second quarter Utah went on to score 47 unanswered points and picked up 481 total yards against a tired Cougar defense that spent much of the second half on the field.
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"Turnovers played a huge role in game and they just played better," said head coach Bronco Mendenhall. "When you look at the first half, that was the way I expected the game to go. The first half was much more how we prepared the game to go and the second half was not."
BYU lost six fumbles and threw one interception, several of the turnovers leading directly to Ute scores.
"The turnovers were the critical difference in the game," Mendenhall said. "There were a lot of differences but those were number one. We will look at anything we can do to improve our football team."
Quarterback Jake Heaps found his first 300-yard passing game amidst the loss, going 27 of 50 for 305 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Wide receiver Cody Hoffman was also a bright spot, rolling up a career-high 277 all-purpose yards, the sixth-highest total for a single game in BYU history. Hoffman had a career-high 138 receiving yards on eight catches while returning eight kicks for 139 yards.
Utah got on the board first with its defense. After a bad snap on the Cougars' first possesion, the Utes’ Derrick Shelby recovered the ball in the BYU end zone for a touchdown to give them the early lead 7-0.
BYU got on the board with nine seconds left in the first quarter and Justin Sorensen hitting a 46-yard field goal to cut the lead to 7-3.
Heaps finished the first quarter 10 of 15 for 136 yards, a new career-high for one quarter of play. Hoffman also caught five passes in the first half for 98 yards, also a career high for one quarter.
Linebacker Uona Kaveinga forced a fumble on Utah’s first play of the second quarter, hitting Utah receiver DeVonte Christopher and knocking the ball loose. Llinebacker Brandon Ogletree recovered the ball at the BYU 47-yard line.
Heaps and the Cougars picked up their first lead of the game with 6:23 left in the first half. Heaps connected with tight end Austin Holt for a 30-yard gain to get BYU to the Utah 32-yard line and then two plays later Heaps found receiver Ross Apo for a 32-yard touchdown. Sorensen would make the extra point to give BYU a 10-7 lead.
Utah would take the lead back in the air shortly after with a 30-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jordan Wynn to tight end Jake Murphy. After the made extra point Utah would lead 14-10 going in to the break.
The Utes got a quick touchdown to start the second half with Wynn connecting with receiver Dres Anderson for a 59-yard touchdown down the sideline on their first possession. The score extended Utah's lead to 21-10.
With a 39-yard field goal on their next possession, the Utes would add on, going up 24-10 with 9:11 left in the third quarter.
BYU’s problems would only get worse as the game continued. Turnovers would continue to plague the Cougars with Heaps fumbling at the BYU six-yard line, giving the Utes possession again. This time Utah added a field goal at the start of the fourth quarter, giving them a 33-10 lead. The Utes would run away with the game, scoring three more rushing touchdowns in route to the victory.
BYU stays at home next week to host the UCF Knights at LaVell Edwards Stadium on a Friday game at 6 p.m. MT on ESPN.
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