Cougars take down No. 21 Utes, 26-17
PROVO, Utah — BYU football beat Utah for the first time since Nov. 28, 2009, taking down its in-state rival 26-17 in front of a sellout crowd at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Saturday.
In Sitake's first win over Utah in his tenure at BYU, the Cougars (2-0) out-gained the Utes (1-1) 368 to 340 and also out rushed them 219 to 193. BYU won the turnover battle against Utah as well, 2-0. The Cougars led the entire game.
Quarterback Jaren Hall went 18 of 30 for 149 yards and three touchdowns. He also carried the ball eight times for 92 yards. Running back Tyler Allgeier, added 27 carries for 102 yards.
Wideout Puka Nacua was one of eight BYU receivers to catch a pass. Nacua hauled in four receptions for 37 yards.
Linebacker Keenan Pili and defensive lineman Earl Tuioti-Mariner led the Cougars with seven tackles each. Pili recorded three solo tackles as well as half a sack and half a tackle for loss.
Defensive lineman Atunaisa Mahe also added two tackles for loss, and defensive back Isaiah Herron contributed two solo tackles, two pass breakups and a fumble recovery.
The Cougars received the opening kickoff and went three-and-out on both of their first two possessions, but forced turnovers on each of the Utes’ first two possessions in a Chaz Ah You interception and Isaiah Herron fumble recovery.
On its next possession, BYU converted on third down in a 7-yard rush by tight end Masen Wake, but ended up settling for a 37-yard field goal by Jake Oldroyd to take an early 3-0 lead with 4:15 left in the first quarter.
After successfully challenging a Utah reception, the Cougars forced a three-and-out and recorded three-consecutive first downs on rushes by running backs Tyler Allegier and Lopini Katoa to end the quarter.
BYU’s drive was extended twice as Hall rushed for 18 yards on 4th and 11 and then Utah was called for pass interference in the red zone. The Cougars made it 10-0 on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Hall to Neil Pau’u with 10:37 to go until halftime.
Utah answered with a touchdown of their own, driving 80 yards in six plays and benefitting from a Micah Bernard 32-yard rush before quarterback Charlie Brewer connected with tight end Brant Kuithe for a 20-yard touchdown with 7:22 remaining in the half.
The Cougars then went 93 yards and took 3:10 of the remaining 3:14 in the quarter. Highlighting the drive was a 17-yard reception by Dallin Holker, 14-yard rush by Hall, 33-yard reception by Keanu Hill and two-yard touchdown reception by Samson Nacua to put BYU up 16-7 heading into the half.
The Cougar defense forced the Utes into a three-and-out to open the second half but the ensuing BYU drive fizzled at its own 45 yard line. Utah picked up two first downs on its next possession before a 49-yard field goal went wide right.
BYU then went 10 plays in 3:57 on a drive that featured two designed runs by Hall totaling 34 yards and a 4-yard touchdown pass from Hall to Gunner Romney, giving the Cougars a 23-7 lead with 38 seconds left in the third.
Utah’s Bernard ran for 53 yards in two plays to end the third and heavy rain fell as the fourth quarter began. A Pili sack and batted ball slowed the Utes’ drive, and they settled for a 47-yard field goal, making it 23-10, BYU with 14:07 left in the game.
After a BYU three-and-out, Utah went 55 yards in five plays, capped by Bernard’s 22-yard touchdown to cut into the Cougar lead at 23-17 with 9:31 to go.
BYU responded with a long drive that took 6:14 off the clock. After Allgeier rushed twice for nine yards, Hall burst down the left sideline for a 66-yard touchdown, but it was called back when he stepped out at the Utah 48-yard line.
The Cougars proceeded to march into the red zone and eventually Oldroyd hit a 21-yard field goal, putting BYU ahead 26-17 with 3:17 left.
Utah got the ball back with 3:17 remaining and picked up a first down in two plays. An incomplete pass, 8-yard completion and another incompletion followed, setting up 4th & 2 at the BYU 48. Brewer’s pass to Britain Covey fourth down sailed out of bounds and the Cougars regained possession.
Allgeier had rushes of seven and two before breaking out a 9-yard run, picking up a first down to seal the victory for BYU. Two kneel-downs in the victory formation by Hall ran out the clock as Cougar fans rushed the field to celebrate BYU’s 26-17 win over Utah.
The Cougars remain at home next weekend for a third-straight PAC-12 matchup to open the season. BYU will face Arizona State on Sept. 18 at 8:15 p.m. MDT. The game at LaVell Edwards Stadium will be broadcast on ESPN.