BYU falls at West Virginia, 37-7

Inability to stop the run on defense and struggles to sustain drives on offense stymied BYU in a 37-7 loss to West Virginia on Saturday night at Milan Puskar Stadium.


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Inability to stop the run on defense and struggles to sustain drives on offense stymied BYU in a 37-7 loss to West Virginia on Saturday night at Milan Puskar Stadium.

"We lost the game in all three phases," BYU head coach Kalani Sitake said. "It’s time to regroup, time to get back, get home and play this next game. But it’s going to be tough film to watch. We have to watch it and learn from it and do it with a positive attitude. There’s still a lot to play for. We have to go find a way to get that bowl-eligible win so we can take advantage of the extra game and spend more time together, extend the season and extend our opportunity to develop our guys still." 

The Mountaineers outgained the Cougars 567-277, including 336-67 on the ground. West Virginia gained 30 first downs while possessing the ball for over 35 minutes. BYU picked up 20 first downs while possessing the ball for 24 minutes. Penalties hampered both teams throughout the game with BYU penalized 10 times for 98 yards and West Virginia 10 times for 71.

Quarterback Jake Retzlaff completed 24-of-42 passes for 210 yards in his first career start at BYU. Aidan Robbins rushed 10 times for 37 yards and a touchdown, while wideouts Parker Kingston (56), Keelan Marion (53) and Chase Roberts (53) each posted 50 or more receiving yards.

Linebacker Max Tooley led the Cougars in tackles with 12, nine of which were solo stops. Cornerback Eddie Heckard added 10 stops, while safeties Ethan Slade and Crew Wakley had eight apiece.

First Quarter
Two pass interference calls against BYU and a conversion on 4th-and-1 sustained West Virginia’s opening drive of the game and helped the home team go up 7-0, five minutes in, after an 11-play, 75-yard drive. BYU’s offense took its first drive into plus territory before being stuffed behind the line on 4th-and-short and returning the ball to the Mountaineers at their 48. Five plays later, West Virginia finished its drive in the end zone to take a 14-0 lead with 6:17 to play in the quarter.

Second Quarter
Retzlaff engineered another drive into Mountaineer territory to start the second quarter. The first-time starter moved the chains three times on the drive, with completions to Roberts and Marion as well as a 3rd-and-4 conversion to wide receiver Kody Epps. BYU reached the West Virginia 35 before stalling out and coming up empty as the Mountaineers broke up a would-be completion and took over on downs again.

West Virginia went up 24-0 with 2:18 until the break after scoring a field goal and touchdown on consecutive possessions. Yet another promising BYU drive was snuffed out short of the end zone when the Mountaineers forced a Cougar fumble at the West Virginia 18. Prior to the turnover, Retzlaff recorded key completions to Roberts and Kingston.

The Mountaineers took advantage of the fumble and fit in a 22-yard field goal make to lead 27-0 at the half.

The Cougars' first half came at the hands of 204 West Virginia rushing yards, along with seven BYU penalties for 68 yards.

Third Quarter
A penalty stopped BYU once again on the opening play of the half as a 91-yard Keelan Marion kickoff return for a touchdown was wiped off the board due to a holding call. Both teams exchanged scoreless drives until West Virginia ended a seven-play, 85-yard drive in the end zone to go up 34-0 with 5:23 to play in the period.

Fourth Quarter
BYU found the end zone for the first time on the night after an eight-play, 62-yard scoring drive. Retzlaff guided the offense down the field with completions to Robbins and Kingston, including a 3rd-and-8 conversion on a pass to Roberts. The Cougars finished the drive with Retzlaff pitching left to Robbins who scampered for the 10-yard touchdown.

BYU returns home for a Veteran’s Day matchup with Iowa State on Nov. 11 at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Watch the Cougars face the Cyclones at 8:15 p.m. MST on ESPN or tune in to live play-by-play on BYU Radio.