BYU drops season opener 30-12 to No. 14 Utah
PROVO, Utah — The BYU football team fell 30-12 to No. 14 Utah in the 2019 season opener Thursday night at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
Quarterback Zach Wilson completed 21 of 33 passes for 208 yards but had two interceptions. Wilson also added 43 yards rushing on eight carries.
Wilson connected with eight different receivers throughout the game, including a game-high six completions to tight end Matt Bushman. Bushman led all receivers with 62 yards. Aleva Hifo added 40 receiving yards on four catches, followed by Micah Simon and Gunner Romney with 35 and 33 yards, respectively.
Running back Ty'Son Williams rushed for 45 yards on seven carries and one touchdown in his first game as a Cougar.
Austin Lee, Zayne Anderson and Kavika Fonua led the charge on defense for BYU, each recording seven tackles on the night, including a game-high six solo stops by Anderson.
After BYU didn't convert on a fourth down, the Utes went down to the Cougar 25-yard line on their opening drive before BYU linebacker Jackson Kaufusi stopped Utah receiver Samson Nacua on third down. Utah kicker Andrew Strauch converted a 41-yard field goal attempt to give the Utes the first points of the game at 3-0.
Utah’s Britain Covey returned a BYU punt 40 yards to the BYU 33-yard line after the Cougar offense was held to a three-and-out. BYU’s defense proceeded to stop Utah’s offense for four straight plays, giving the ball back to the Cougars. BYU cornerback Dayan Ghanwoloku laid a big hit on Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley on fourth-and-two to complete the turnover on downs.
- Matt Bushman recorded a season-long 26-yard reception to give Zach Wilson his first completion of the game and give the Cougars a first down, the first of the season.
- Dax Milne tallied 20 yards in his first kickoff return as a Cougar.
- Ty’Son Williams grabbed his first reception in a BYU jersey for four yards.
A 12-play, 59-yard BYU drive to end the first quarter and start the second ended with a 32-yard field goal by Cougar kicker Jake Oldroyd. The drive was highlighted by an 18-yard run down the sideline by Williams to put the Cougars at the Utah 17-yard line.
Utah linebacker Francis Bernard intercepted a Wilson pass on the following drive as Wilson was falling down but trying to make a play and returned it 58 yards to the end zone for the first touchdown of the game. The extra-point attempt was unsuccessful after the ball bounced off the right upright, keeping the score at 9-3 for Utah.
A 26-yard run by Wilson on the ensuing possession took the Cougars down to the Utah 15-yard line. BYU lined up in a wildcat formation with backup quarterback Jaren Hall on third down but a missed snap resulted in a Utah sack. Oldroyd converted his second field-goal attempt of the game from 37 yards out to bring the score to 9-6.
- Williams second rush of the game was an 18-yard run to start the second quarter and put the Cougars in the red zone.
- Jake Oldroyd is 4 for 4 against the Utes after converting a pair of field goals in the first half.
The Utes opened the second half with the longest drive of the game thus far, taking the ball 75 yards and finishing with a two-yard touchdown run by wide receiver Jaylen Dixon, extending their lead to 16-6.
Strauch missed a 24-yard field goal attempt on the first play of the quarter after the Utes had driven 66 yards down to the BYU 7-yard line.
After a Williams fumble on the BYU 22-yard line was recovered by Utah on the following drive, the Utes scored on a four-yard Zack Moss touchdown run to push their lead to 23-6.
Utah’s defense forced another BYU turnover after Wilson’s pass was deflected into the arms of Utah defensive back Julian Blackmon, who returned the interception 39 yards for a touchdown.
The Cougars scored their first touchdown of the season on the ensuing possession after a 75-yard drive. Wilson connected with five different receivers on the drive, and Williams finished it off with a 10-yard touchdown run. BYU attempted a two-point conversion on the following play but was unsuccessful, keeping the score at 30-12.
- Williams scored his first BYU touchdown to close out a nine-play drive that totaled 75 yards.
- Wilson closed out the game with a career-best 21 completions on 33 attempts.
BYU travels to Knoxville next week to take on the Tennessee Volunteers on Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. EDT. The game will be broadcast on ESPN and can be heard on BYU Radio Sirius XM 143/89.1 FM.
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