No. 14 Cougars beat Eagles in Statesboro, 34-17
STATESBORO, Ga. — No. 14 BYU football defeated Georgia Southern 34-17 at Paulson Stadium on Saturday.
Despite a pesky Georgia Southern (3-8) team motivated on senior day, BYU (9-2) had too much for the Eagles down the stretch, forcing a pair of second-half turnovers to put the game away.
The Cougars totaled 510 yards of total offense while holding the Eagles to just 268 yards. Quarterback Jaren Hall went 17 of 29 for 312 yards and two touchdowns.
Running back Tyler Allgeier finished with 136 rushing yards and one touchdown on 25 carries. Two BYU wideouts recorded five receptions each: Gunner Romney and Puka Nacua. Romney tallied 87 receiving yards while Nacua added 83 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensively, linebacker Ben Bywater led the Cougars with eight tackles, including three solo and two tackles for loss. Cornerback Jakob Robinson finished with two interceptions in the game. He also contributed four total tackles and two solo tackles.
Georgia Southern picked up four first downs on its opening 13 play, 54-yard drive that spanned 7:46 of game time, but eventually settled for a 38-yard field goal and early 3-0 lead.
BYU answered with a 12-play, 84-yard drive of its own that was extended by a Tyler Allgeier 4th-down conversion and capped with a Lopini Katoa 5-yard rushing touchdown to make it 7-3, BYU with 3:15 left in the first quarter.
The Cougars quickly forced an Eagle three-and-out and got the ball back. Hall completed passes to Puka Nacua for 42-yards and Gunner Romney for 14-yards before Allgeier rushed for 14-yards himself to set BYU up with a first & goal as the first quarter came to an end.
Hall opened the second quarter with a five-yard touchdown pass to Puka Nacua, giving the Cougars a 14-3 lead.
The Eagles bounced back on their ensuing possession with four plays going for 10-yards or more on their way to a touchdown drive to make it 14-10 with 10:17 remaining in the quarter.
Georgia Southern then attempted an onside kick, and recovered, but the recovering Eagle was called out-of-bounds. BYU was unable to capitalize on the field position, however, turning it over on downs going for it on 4th & 2.
Eagle running back Logan Wright ran in an 11-yard touchdown four plays later and Georgia Southern retook the lead, at 17-14, with 6:25 left in the second quarter.
Two Jake Oldroyd field goals, one from 39-yards and the other from 38-yards, sandwiched an Eagle three-and-out, and allowed BYU to tie and then take the lead back, going ahead 20-17 into the half.
Allgeier highlighted the Cougars’ opening drive of the half with a one-yard touchdown run, putting BYU up 27-17 with 10:03 left in the third quarter.
After forcing a Georgia Southern punt, the Cougars ensuing drive fizzled and Ryan Rehkow came on to punt for the first time all night.
Thanks to completions of 28 and 16 yards, the Eagles drove to the BYU 28-yard line, but Jakob Robinson intercepted Georgia Southern quarterback Connor Cigelske’s pass to give BYU the ball back.
After regaining the possession, the Cougars picked up two first downs before the third quarter would end.
Hall’s deep pass to Puka Nacua went incomplete, bringing Rehkow out for his second punt of the game. BYU got the ball three plays later, however, on Robinson’s second interception of the night.
Passes from Hall to Samson and Puka Nacua, both for 29-yards and the latter going for a touchdown highlighted the Cougar drive as BYU went up 34-17 with 10:38 remaining in the fourth.
Forcing another Georgia Southern punt, the Cougars took over with 7:45 left in the game. Behind Allgeier’s rushing, BYU would run and kneel out the clock and 34-17 victory.
The Cougars will be on the road again next week, traveling to Los Angeles for a Thanksgiving weekend matchup with USC on Saturday, Nov. 27 at 7:30 p.m. PST. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.