BYU forces five turnovers, tops Texas Tech 27-14 on Homecoming

The BYU defense and special teams came up big for the Cougars as they forced five turnovers in a 27-14 win on Homecoming over Texas Tech 27-14 on Saturday night at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

Darius Lassiter one-handed catch in front of Texas Tech sidelineDarius Lassiter one-handed catch in front of Texas Tech sideline

PROVO, Utah — The BYU defense and special teams came up big for the Cougars as they forced five turnovers in a 27-14 win on Homecoming over Texas Tech 27-14 on Saturday night at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

With the win over the Red Raiders, the Cougars improve to 5-2 on the season and 2-2 in Big 12 play.

Cornerback Eddie Heckard led the Cougar defense in its playmaking performance as he recovered a fumble for a touchdown and picked off a Texas Tech pass. Heckard added four tackles (two solo) including a half tackle-for-loss.

Jakob Robinson recorded his fourth interception of the season while posting 10 tackles, eight of which were solo stops. Safety Ethan Slade hauled in his first-career interception to go along with five tackles (four solo). Tyler Batty forced a fumble on special teams and punter Ryan Rehkow came up with the recovery. Batty also added nine tackles (six solo) and a quarterback hurry. Rehkow averaged 45.5 yards on eight punts with a long of 70 yards. 

Kedon Slovis completed 15-of-27 passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns. LJ Martin rushed 10 times for 93 yards and Aidan Robbins carried the ball 16 times for 49 yards.

Darius Lassiter led BYU with 47 yards on four receptions and a touchdown. Isaac Rex recorded four grabs for 41 yards. Chase Roberts notched his fourth touchdown reception of the season.

First Quarter

Two critical plays, one on each side of the ball, proved pivotal for BYU in the early going.

The Cougar offense got things rolling on the ground to start the game as Martin took an option pitch from Slovis and sprinted downfield for a 55-yard gain. Martin’s explosive run was sprung by crucial sustained blocks from a cadre of receivers.

BYU found the end zone moments later as Slovis rolled right and connected with Roberts for a 3-yard touchdown completion. The Cougars then led 7-0 with 11:34 to go in the quarter.

Texas Tech took the field and ran the ball on 11 of 14 plays, marching down the field to the BYU 7-yard-line where quarterback Jake Strong fumbled on 4th-and-1. Forced to fall on the ball, Strong and the Red Raiders came up short of the line to gain, returning the ball to BYU.

After a 3-and-out from the Cougars, Texas Tech began its ensuing drive backed up at its own 10-yard-line following a holding penalty on the punt return. The penalty yards proved critical as Red Raider running back Tahj Brooks fumbled the drive-opening carry. Tooley plucked the ball out of Brooks’ reach, rolling it into the end zone where Heckard recovered for the BYU touchdown.

Following the defensive score, the Cougars led 14-0 at quarters’ end.


Second Quarter

The BYU defense made its presence felt yet again in the second quarter with two more forced turnovers.

The Cougars got off the field on their first defensive possession of the quarter with a pass deflected at the line of scrimmage by defensive end Blake Mangelson. Texas Tech responded on its next drive, finding some firepower with a 72-yard touchdown strike that cut the Cougar lead to 14-7 with 9:11 to go until halftime.

BYU’s passing attack then struck back with a methodical scoring drive to answer. Slovis began the drive finding Epps over the middle for a gain of 10. The ensuing play saw Slovis connect with Lassiter along the far sideline for a pickup of 31 yards. Lassiter made the highlight-reel-worthy play as he snagged the ball with one hand and tapped a toe in bounds for the completion.

A double-recerse flea-flicker pass from Slovis to Rex advanced the Cougars deeper into Red Raider territory where Lassiter would finish the drive with a 5-yard touchdown reception in the back of the end zone. BYU’s 21-7 lead came with 6:11 remaining in the half. 

Texas Tech rode a pass interference call and conversion on 4th-and-5 to advance into BYU territory on its next drive. The Red Raider march didn’t go much further as the duo of Crew Wakley and Heckard came up with another forced turnover. Wakley deflected the Texas Tech pass and Heckard hauled it in before returning it 38 yards to the Red Raider 40 yard-line.

BYU cashed in the turnover for points a few plays later with Will Ferrin connecting on a 35-yard field goal that put the Cougars up with 59 seconds left in the half. Jakob Robinson ensured the Red Raiders came up empty on their final drive of the half as he picked off a long pass and returned it out of bound as time expired.


Third Quarter

Both defenses controlled the third quarter, limiting scoring to a single BYU field goal. The Cougars’ third-quarter points resulted from yet another key takeaway, this time credited to the BYU special teams.

No sooner had the Cougar offense left the field on a three-and-out than were they called back as Batty forced a fumble on the Red Raider return and Rehkow recovered. Robbins helped maneuver the Cougar offense into field goal range where Ferrin capped the drive with a 44-yarder that put BYU up 27-7 headed into the fourth.


Fourth Quarter

Texas Tech found the end zone once more to start the quarter. The Red Raiders marched 87 yards downfield on a 14-play drive and cut BYU’s lead to 27-14 with 8:41 to go.

With 5:48 to play, the Cougar defense came up with yet another forced turnover as Slade picked off a Red Raider pass at the BYU 16 yard-line and returned it 22 yards to the 38. The BYU offense then iced the game with Robbins rumbling through the teeth of the Red Raider defense and converting two key 3rd down conversions.

BYU hits the road next week for a matchup with Texas on Oct. 28 at Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas. Watch the Cougars and the Longhorns live at 2:30 p.m. CDT on ABC or ESPN, or listen on BYU Radio.