PROVO, Utah – In its first home loss to Utah State since 1978, No. 18/19 BYU football fell 35-20 in the annual in-state matchup Friday night at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
“First of all, congratulations to Matt Wells and Utah State," BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "It’s a big win for them and their program. They really out-executed us, made a few more plays than us. We had too many balls go over our head and too many turnovers. In a game like that, I think could have been a great football game.They executed cleaner from beginning to end."
Cougar quarterback Taysom Hill led the offensive effort with a rushing touchdown and a career-high 178.3 efficiency rating on 8-of-11 passing for 99 yards and one passing touchdown. The junior left the game due to a season-ending fractured left leg, injured late in the second quarter.
Picking up the slack for BYU was running back Jamaal Williams, who rushed for 99 yards on 17 attempts. Jordan Leslie led the receiving corps with 135 yards on four receptions, while Mitch Mathews bolstered the team with 117 yards receiving on eight receptions and a touchdown. It was the first time any receiver passed the century mark this season.
On the first play of the game, Hill completed a 53-yard pass to Leslie up the right sideline for the second-longest reception of the season. After a four-yard reception to Leslie and a seven-yard run by Williams, the BYU quarterback found the end zone as he sprinted around the left side, turned up the field and jumped over an Aggie defender for the first score of the game. The drive took 1:16 off the clock for the fourth-quickest touchdown drive on the season.
With 50 seconds left in the first quarter, Utah State assembled a touchdown drive to knot the game at 7-7. Aggie quarterback Darrell Garretson connected for 56 yards through the air, including the completion to Devon Robinson for the score.
The BYU offense then took the field for a nine-play, 75-yard scoring drive. The quarter began by stringing together three consecutive long runs. Hill converted for a first down on a keeper for 12 yards before Williams took the ball for two runs of nine yards each. The drive ended in Mathews’ 25-yard touchdown catch on the left side.
With the score 14-7 in favor of the Cougars, the Aggies then took 8:20 off the clock with a 13-play, 88-yard touchdown drive. The score came on Garretson’s dive into the end zone.
Following the kickoff, BYU fumbled the handoff on the first play of the drive, and Utah State recovered it at the BYU 22-yard line. Garretson then threw a touchdown pass to Robinson as he ran toward the right corner of the end zone, making the score 21-14 after the PAT.
Before halftime and after the Hill injury, the Aggies converted on a 72-yard deep pass for the quick score, stretching their lead to 28-14.
Coming out of the break BYU held Utah State to a punt. BYU then marched down the field 82 yards before being intercepted at the Utah State 2-yard line. The Cougars then forced an Aggie punt and capitalized on the field position with a 41-yard field goal, cutting the lead to 28-17 with 4:28 left in the third quarter.
Utah State struck back with a 76-yard drive to go up 35-17 with 1:49 left in the third.
For the final score of the game, BYU chipped away at the lead with a 52-yard drive ending in a 24-yard Trevor Samson field goal with 8:39 left in the game, bringing the score to 35-20.
The last time the Cougars lost to the Aggies in Provo was when Jim McMahon was quarterback for BYU. McMahon's jersey was retired at halftime of Saturday night's game. McMahon was also recognized for his induction into the BYU Hall of Fame with four other former Cougars. For more on the Hall of Fame inductions, read the official release.
The Cougars make a quick turnaround next week as they head out to Orlando for a matchup against Central Florida. The Thursday night game will be broadcast at 7:30 p.m. EDT on ESPN.