BYU football loses to Utah, 35-27
SALT LAKE CITY – After taking a 20-point lead in the first half, BYU football lost to Utah 35-27 on Saturday night at Rice-Eccles Stadium in the Deseret First Duel.
Zach Wilson finished as BYU’s leading rusher with 73 yards on 14 carries. Wilson also went 20 for 29 in the air for 204 yards and two touchdowns. Tight end Matt Bushman had six receptions for 92 yards and a touchdown while running back Matt Hadley finished the game with 21 rushing attempts totaling 64 yards. Linebacker Sione Takitaki led BYU’s defense with 11 total tackles, including seven solo stops.
The Cougars outplayed Utah through the air, posting 204 yards to the Utes' 141. Both teams were evenly matched on the ground as Utah outgained BYU, 155 yards to 153.
BYU held off the Utes for three quarters, taking a 27-7 lead on a one-yard touchdown run by Hadley on fourth-and-goal. But the Utes scored touchdowns on their next three possessions, taking their first lead with just over three minutes to go in the game. A 37-yard pass to Siaosi Mariner brought Utah to BYU’s five-yard line before Armand Shyne ran the ball five yards for a touchdown. With a good extra point from Matt Gay, Utah took the lead at 28-27.
On the Cougars' ensuing drive, BYU was stopped on a fourth-and-one play. On the first play of Utah's next drive, quarterback Jason Shelley ran the ball 33 yards to the end zone, giving Utah the advantage at 35-27 with 1:43 left. BYU got the ball back but again turned the ball over on downs and the Utes ran the clock out for the victory.
BYU started the game going three-and-out, but a 32-yard punt from Rhett Almond bounced off a Utah player to BYU's Dayan Ghanwoloku who fell on the ball on the Utah 33-yard line. With 10-yard and 12-yard rushes from Hadley, BYU was in the red zone. Wilson found Neil Pau’u in the back of the end zone to give the Cougars the lead in the first half 6-0 after Skyler Southam missed the PAT.
BYU increased its lead again with just under four minutes to go in the first quarter when Wilson threw the ball 26 yards downfield to Bushman, putting the Cougars up 13-0.
BYU ended the first half of the game putting one more touchdown on the board. A 14-play, six-minute drive ended as Hadley ran one yard into the end zone. The play was set up after Wilson threw a 24-yard pass to Dallin Holker who fell on the one-yard line. After three attempts to get into the end zone, Hadley punched the ball in, putting the score at 20-0 going into halftime.
Utah opened up the second half by putting their first points on the board, returning an interception 27 yards to the end zone.
However, BYU tacked on another touchdown to increase its lead. A one-handed, 23-yard catch from Bushman put the Cougars in the red zone. On a fourth and one at Utah’s one-yard line, BYU sent out a makeshift field goal unit. With Austin Kafentzis under center, a pitch to Hadley resulted in a one-yard touchdown run to put the score at 27-7 with 5:28 left in the frame.
Utah quickly answered back with a touchdown of their own. A 10-yard pass from Shelley to Samson Nacua brought the score ti 27-14 to close out the third quarter.
Two touchdowns from the Utes sealed the game for Utah as Shyne scored a one-yard touchdown followed by Shelley’s 37-yard rush. Utah took a knee to run out the clock as the Utes took the win, 35-27.
Playing a schedule that included a school-record 10 bowl-bound teams in its final season as a football independent, BYU…