No. 10 Cougars fall to Boise State, 26-17
PROVO, Utah — No. 10 BYU came up short against Boise State 26-17, Saturday at Lavell Edwards Stadium, suffering its first loss of the 2021 season.
Four turnovers were too much to overcome for the Cougars (5-1) who held the Broncos (3-3) to just two touchdowns and four field goals but couldn't finish enough drives to mount a comeback.
BYU quarterback Jaren Hall went 22 of 37 throwing for 302 yards, one touchdown and an interception in his first game since Arizona State. Gunner Romney, tallied four receptions for 102 yards, with a long of 59, while fellow wide receiver Puka Nacua had four catches for 75 yards.
Ben Bywater led the Cougars with 14 tackles, six solo, a quarter back hurry and a tackle for loss. Payton Wilgar recorded nine tackles, two solo, a forced fumble and a tackle for loss.
BYU opened the game with a 23-yard completion from Hall to tight end Dallin Holker. Running back Tyler Allgeier tallied 22 rushing yards on the opening Cougar drive that resulted in a Jake Oldroyd 30-yard field goal to put BYU up 3-0 with 10:24 in the first quarter.
After forcing a Boise State 3-and-out, Hall found Puka Nacua for a 37-yard completion to the Boise State 47-yard line. Allgeier had two 7-yard rushes to bring the Cougars to the BSU 14-yard line. Hall capped the BYU drive with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Samson Nacua, his second of the year, to extend the Cougar lead to 10 with 6:55 to go in the first.
The Broncos put together a five-minute drive to score their first points of the game and cut the BYU lead to 10-3, which is the second-straight game the Cougars have lead 10-3 at the end of the first quarter.
When the rain began to fall, BYU's offense that had been moving the ball well in the first quarter slowed down, while the Broncos found success on the ground and through the air.
The Broncos forced BYU’s first lost fumble of the season with 7:59 left in the second quarter and turned it into points scoring their first touchdown of the game just four plays later. That score evened the game at 10-10.
Running back Lopini Katoa received the ensuing kickoff before fumbling on the BYU 24-yard line giving the Broncos another drive starting inside the Cougar 30-yard line. The 5-play 2:48 drive resulted in a 2-yard Boise State touchdown. With that touchdown Boise State took a 17-10 lead, and handed the Cougars their first deficit since Dec. 12, 2020.
BYU started their next drive at the BSU 38-yard line following a targeting penalty on Boise State safety JL Skinner. Despite the opening field position, the Cougars turned it over on downs four plays later at the BYU 46-yard line which led to a Boise State field goal to end the first half.
Boise State wideout Khalil Shakir returned the second half kickoff to the BSU 35-yard line. The Broncos 13-play 54-yard drive drained 6:31 off the clock and ended in a Bronco field goal, extending the lead to 23-10.
The BYU offense found a spark on their first drive of the third quarter going 60 yards in four minutes before Katoa fumbled for the second time giving the Broncos the ball at their own 10-yard line.
BYU’s defense forced a Bronco punt to get the ball back with 3:19 left in the third quarter. Hall completed four passes for 44 yards to move the Cougars to inside the red zone. A pass interference penalty was called on the Broncos giving the Cougars a first-down at the 3-yard line, but the Cougars failed to capitalize on the Boise State mishap, turning the ball over on downs at the BSU 5-yard line.
After a Boise State punt, the Cougars wasted no time getting themselves back in the game. On the first play of the drive, Hall completed a 59-yard pass up the left sideline to wide receiver Gunner Romney to the BSU 11-yard line. Allgeier finished the drive with a 10-yard reception and a 1-yard touchdown run. That touchdown pulled the Cougars within one score with 7:27 left in the fourth quarter.
After a Boise State field goal which extended the Bronco lead to two scores at 26-17, BYU drove to the Boise State 29-yard line before an interception sealed the game for the Broncos.
The Boise State win marks the first home loss for the Cougars since 2019 after going 7-0 in 2020 and 3-0 to begin the 2021 season.
BYU's next game will be on the road at Baylor on Saturday, October 16 at 2:30 p.m. CT on ESPN or ESPN2.