PROVO, Utah – BYU football notched its first shutout victory since 2014, defeating Sam Houston 14-0 in its inaugural game as a Big 12 Conference member.
BYU’s opening drive gave the Cougars a 7-0 lead, one it maintained for the majority of the contest before an early fourth-quarter touchdown made it 14-0. Both the Cougars (1-0, 0-0 Big 12) and Bearkats (1-0, 0-0 CUSA) struggled to establish momentum on the offensive side of the ball with 19 combined punts.
Quarterback Kedon Slovis went 20-33 for 145 yards and two rushing touchdowns, while finding eight different receivers. His first 6-yard score was a career-first rushing touchdown for the seasoned Pitt transfer. Slovis also surpassed 10,000 career passing yards Saturday, moving up to 10,118 yards for the third-leading passer in yardage among all active FBS quarterbacks entering this weekend.
The BYU defense tallied three interceptions. Two were snatched by junior cornerback Jakob Robinson, including a crucial high-point, end-zone grab in the third quarter with Sam Houston threatening to score. Robinson’s two takeaways marked the first time since 2021 (Georgia Southern) that a BYU defender recorded two interceptions in a single game – the last time it happened was by Robinson himself.
Punter Ryan Rehkow totaled career-high nine punts for 479 yards, including four landing inside the 20-yard line, seven over 50 yards and a long of 65.
Freshman running back LJ Martin’s 91 yards on the ground were the most from a BYU true freshman since Jamaal Williams’ 104 yards versus Idaho in 2012. Darius Lassiter and Chase Roberts led the receivers with 43 and 42 yards, respectively.
Junior linebacker Ben Bywater and senior linebacker Max Tooley led the defense with nine tackles apiece. Defensive back Ethan Slade led the team in tackles-for-loss with 1.5.
The Cougar defense opened the game by forcing a three-and-out, punctuated by a 12-yard, 3rd-down sack when Tyler Batty tripped up Shoemaker after a botched snap.
Starting at the 50-yard line after a 14-yard Hobbs Nyberg punt return, the offense paced an efficient, eight-play, 2:54 drive after Slovis posted his first career rushing touchdown on a six-yard keeper. The drive included Aidan Robbins powering his way to 17 yards rushing (three attempts) and a 16-yard strike to Roberts, helping put the Cougars up 7-0 with 10:39 remaining in the opening quarter.
A Sam Houston three-and-out led to another BYU drive, this time cut short with just one first down coming on an 18-yard sling to Lassiter in double coverage. Following Rehkow’s punt, the Cougars would force a third consecutive three-and-out with 5:30 remaining in the quarter after Ethan Slade stepped in for a pass breakup.
The Cougar offense took over near midfield again, and Slovis fired an 11-yard dart to Mason Fakahua for his first career reception. The drive would stall, leading to a 4th-and-3 incompletion when the short pass aimed for Keelan Marion was broken up by Sam Houston with 2:31 to go.