Cougars fall 35-6 to No. 7 Texas

Three turnovers and a drought of positive plays hampered BYU all day as it fell 35-6 to No. 7 Texas on Saturday afternoon at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.


AUSTIN, Texas — Three turnovers and a drought of positive plays hampered BYU all day as it fell 35-6 to No. 7 Texas on Saturday afternoon at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.

The Longhorns outgained BYU 354 to 292 yards, including 184-95 on the ground and 208-122 through the air. Third downs kept BYU at bay from start to finish, with the Cougars converting two of 13 for the game.

"It was not the outcome that we wanted," BYU head coach Kalani Sitake said. "The things that stand out to me were the missed opportunities that we had in all three phases and the inability that we had to weather some things and just take advantage of the opportunities we had. 

Kedon Slovis completed 24-of-39 passes for 197 yards with two interceptions. Aidan Robbins led BYU on the ground with 17 carries for 56 yards, while Darius Lassiter posted a team-high five receptions for 75 yards.

Despite the offensive struggles, BYU’s defense showed fight, posting seven tackles-for-loss, forcing two turnovers of its own, two fourth-down stops while stuffing the Longhorns on two trips inside the 10 yard-line.

Safety Crew Wakley led BYU with nine tackles, including 1.5 tackles-for-loss, a pass breakup and an interception. True freshman Siale Esera notched a career-high eight tackles, including one for loss. AJ Vongphachanh and Blake Mangelson were next on the team with seven tackles a-piece.

First Quarter

Texas jumped out to a 14-0 lead on the Cougars as a costly mistake on special teams and negative plays on offense hampered BYU in the first quarter.

The Cougars appeared to have some momentum early as their defense forced a Longhorn three-and-out thanks to a tackle-for-loss from Wakley and pass breakup by Jakob Robinson. Texas quickly quashed the Cougar momentum as it forced a BYU three-and-out and returned the ensuing punt return 74 yards for the game’s opening score.

A wild sequence of two turnovers in four plays shaped the remainder of the quarter. The next Longhorn drive saw BYU’s pass rush hurry quarterback Maalik Murphy and force a wayward pass into the hands of Wakley. The Cougar safety returned it deep into Texas territory before an illegal blindside block on the return backed up the BYU offense to its own 45. After consecutive positive plays, the BYU offense returned the ball to the Longhorns when a Slovis pass was tipped and picked off by the burnt orange defense.

Texas then took advantage of starting field position at the BYU 26 and cashed in the interception for a touchdown to go up 14-0 with 4:10 to go in the quarter.

Second Quarter

Texas looked poised to score again with 1st and 10 at the BYU 11 yard-line on the opening play of the quarter when the Cougars forced another turnover. Isaiah Bagnah burst into the backfield and sacked Murphy for a loss of 18 yards while also forcing the ball out. Bagnah recovered fumble as well, giving BYU the ball back at its own 29.  

The Cougar offense gradually found its stride with a 16-play drive of 54 yards that drained 9:57 off the clock and resulted in a 24-yard field goal make from Will Ferrin.

BYU sustained the scoring drive with two conversions on 4th and short, one on a rush from Robbins and the next a completion from Slovis to Chase Roberts. The Cougars charged deeper into Texas territory as Deion Smith took an option pitch from Slovis and sprinted down the near sideline to set up 1st-and-goal at the Texas 10. The Ferrin field goal got BYU on the board at 14-3 with 4:57 until half.

Texas closed the half with a methodical 10-play, 75-yard drive to go up 21-3 at the break.

Third Quarter

The BYU defense forced a punt on Texas’s first drive of the half with Eddie Heckard breaking up the pass on the would-be conversion.

The Cougar offense then set up a second field goal-scoring drive set up by two key completions. Slovis hit Keelan Marion for an 18-yard pick up to jump start the drive. The senior signal-caller then loaded up and slung it deep to Lassiter who hauled in the pass between two Texas defenders and in spite of a pass interference call against the Longhorns.

While the offense was unable to punch it into the end zone on the ensuing plays, Ferrin connected for his second field goal make of the day, this one from 32 yards out. BYU was then down 21-6 with 7:58 left in the third.

Texas responded with a drive deep into BYU territory and looked to score again before two disruptive plays from the Cougar defense. Esera brought pressure in the Longhorn backfield and Kamden Garrett broke up the Texas pass to force 4th-and-goal. The Longhorns elected to go for it but Robinson was ready, shaking off a blocker and tackling Texas tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders short of the goal line.

Fourth Quarter

The fourth quarter saw Texas score two final touchdowns to pull away for the 35-6 win. While the BYU offense came up empty on the quarter, the defense posted another highlight with a second goal line stop of the Longhorns.

Heckard and Wakley each broke up Texas passes in the end zone followed by an Atunaisa Mahe and Jackson Cravens tackle-for-loss to set up 4th-and-1. Cravens then led the Cougar defense in penetrating the Longhorn line and forcing the turnover on downs.

BYU remains on the road next week with its first-ever trip to West Virginia. The Cougars and Mountaineers will matchup at Milan Pusker Stadium on Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. EDT on Fox Sports 1. Fans can listen live on BYU Radio.