PROVO, Utah – Led by timely takeaways and career performances from Tyler Allgeier and Jaren Hall, BYU powered its way to a 66-49 victory over the Virginia Cavaliers on Saturday night at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
BYU (7-2) rewrote multiple records in their shootout victory over Virginia (6-3), spoiling UVA head coach Bronco Mendenhall's return to Provo since leaving as the Cougars' head coach after the 2015 season.
Allgeier ran for 266 yards on 29 carries and scored five touchdowns – tying the school record for rushing touchdowns in a game. Coming out of halftime, the Cougars turned to Allgeier who ran for 192 yards and three touchdowns in the second half, tying Taysom Hill for second most rushing yards in a half at BYU.
Hall completed 22 of 37 passes for 349 yards and three touchdowns while running for 42 yards and another score.
Both teams featured plenty of offensive highlights, but three turnovers including two interceptions and a fumble recovery by the BYU defense proved to be the difference with the Cougars scoring 21 points off the three takeaways. Virginia totaled 448 yards and 42 points in the first half but only managed seven points, 140 total yards in the second half and had two turnovers.
BYU totaled 734 total yards of offense which marked the first time since Mendenhall’s first season as the Cougars' head coach in 2005 that BYU tallied 300 or more yards passing and rushing in the same game.
The combined 1,322 total yards and 115 points were the most in a single game at LaVell Edwards Stadium in school history.
Wide receivers Samson and Puka Nacua each finished with 107 receiving yards and one touchdown apiece.
Payton Wilgar led the defense with 11 tackles and had the first interception of the game. Defensive end Uriah Leiataua forced the second fumble of his career and recovered the fumble in a crucial juncture which led to a BYU touchdown. Defensive back Drew Jensen recorded his second career interception with 10:40 to play swinging the momentum in BYU’s favor.
BYU opened their first drive at the 17-yard line. On the first play, Jaren Hall found Samson Nacua for a 52-yard completion to the Virginia 31-yard line. Hall targeted Puka Nacua on the second play for a 14-yard gain to the UVA 17. BYU aired it out again finding Puka Nacua down the right sideline for a 15-yard reception to the Cavalier 2-yard line. Hall capped the scoring drive, punching it in on the next play.
On Virginia’s first play of the second drive, Brennan Armstrong’s pass was intercepted by Payton Wilgar and returned to the UVA 11-yard line. The Cougars kept it on the ground on three straight plays on their way to a four-play 1:18 touchdown drive to take a 14-0 lead just four minutes into the game.
The Cougar defense again forced a Cavalier three-and-out and started their third drive at their own 26 -yard line. BYU moved quickly down the field with an 11-yard completion and eight and 12-yard rushes by Allgeier. After a completion of 17 yards up the right sideline to Keanu Hill, Hall unloaded a 26-yard touchdown pass to Puka Nacua. All three of BYU’s scoring drives have been under two minutes and give the Cougars a 21-0 lead with 8:04 to play in the first.
After a slow offensive start, the Virginia offense put together a 4:42, 12 play, 75-yard drive to draw within two scores with 3:22 left in the first quarter.
Following the Virginia touchdown, BYU picked up two first downs on two plays with a 14-yard completion to Neil Pau’u and and 11-yard pick-up by Puka Nacua. They kept it on the ground with Allgeier and Lopini Katoa who carried the Cougars to the UVA 30-yard line. After a 15-yard completion to Pau’u, Allgeier took it four yards up the middle for his second touchdown of the game extending the BYU lead to 28-7.
Virginia countered with a 1:44 second, 75-yard touchdown drive to again draw within two scores with 12:29 left in the second quarter.
After a 47-yard Ryan Rehkow punt that pinned the Cavaliers inside the 15, a targeting call gave UVA the ball at the 30-yard line. Armstrong found Dontayvion Wicks for a 70-yard touchdown on their first play to draw within seven points of the Cougars.
BYU countered the Virginia touchdown with a 2:32, 8-play, 60-yard drive. Jake Oldroyd extended BYU’s lead to 31-21 by making a 32-yard field goal with 7:27 left in the second.
Virginia climbed within three after a 1:34 drive that went 75 yards in three plays capped by a 49-yard rushing touchdown by Devin Darrington.
After Virginia forced a BYU punt, the Cavaliers only needed 1:46 to go 77 yards to take a 35-31 lead over the Cougars. Armstrong avoided multiple Cougar tackles on his way to a 30-yard touchdown run.
After the BYU punt on the previous drive, the Cougars took only three plays to go 75-yards for a touchdown to retake the lead, but left 1:26 on the clock for Virginia.
Virginia closed the half with a 1:06, six play, 75-yard touchdown drive to take a 42-38 lead into the halftime break.
There were eleven touchdown drives in the first half, only two of which lasted longer than two minutes. BYU posted 384 yards of total offense but was topped by Virginia who had 448 yard of offense in the first half alone. The 80 points scored in the first half was the most points scored in an NCAA football game this year.
BYU continued the shootout with another sub two-minute touchdown drive to open the second half. After 27 straight yards by the Nacua brothers, Allgeier broke his longest run of the night scoring a 49-yard touchdown. That marked the tenth touchdown drive under two minutes in the game and gave BYU a 45-42 lead with 13:08 to play in the third quarter.
The Cougar defense forced a first drive three-and-out giving the Cougars the ball at the BYU 25-yard line. BYU drove 59 yards in 13 plays to the UVA 20-yard line, before a missed field goal which gave Virginia the ball.
Virginia retook the lead with a 9-play, 80-yard drive that took 4:46 off the clock. The touchdown extended the Cavalier lead to 49-45 with 2:10 left in the third.
Two plays into the fourth the Cougars regained the lead at 52-49 with an 8-play, 65-yard drive. Hall capped the drive with a Neil Pau’u 10-yard touchdown reception.
On the ensuing Cavalier possession, Uriah Leiataua forced and recovered the fumble of Virginia running back Wayne Taulapapa at the 31-yard line. Two plays later, Allgeier took it 31 yards to the house for his fourth rushing touchdown of the game, marking his career high.
After converting two third downs to keep the drive alive, linebacker Drew Jensen picked off Armstrong at the BYU 35-yard line to give the Cougars the ball back up 10 with 10:40 to go in the game.
On the third play of the drive, Hall connected with Keanu Hill for a 32-yard reception down to the UVA 15-yard line. Allgeier took it in from four yards out for his fifth touchdown of the night to make it 66-49 with 7:12 remaining.
Virginia turned the ball over on downs with 4:56 to play giving BYU the ball on their own 34-yard line. The Cougars ran seven plays that totaled 50 yards before taking the victory formation.
BYU hosts Idaho State at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Nov. 6 at 1:30 p.m. The game will be televised on BYUtv.