OXFORD, Miss. – On a day when defense dominated, the BYU football team scored 14 points in the fourth quarter to defeat the Ole Miss Rebels 14-13 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on Saturday.
With Ole Miss facing a third-and-27 attempt from its own 21-yard line, the BYU defense came up with the play of the game. Trailing 13-7, sophomore linebacker Kyle Van Noy got into the backfield to force Rebel quarterback Zack Stoudt to fumble. Van Noy then picked up the ball near the goal line and made it into the end zone from three yards out to score a touchdown, giving BYU its first lead of the game after Justin Sorensen tacked on the extra point with 5:09 remaining in the game.
The score would prove to be the difference. The defense, which gave up just two field goals on the day, held Ole Miss to give BYU (1-0) the victory on the road for its first win in the independence era and just the second win over a Southeastern Conference team in program history.
Despite struggling on offense, the Cougars managed to score when they needed to most. With just under 10 minutes remaining in the game, BYU was able to get on the board and cut the score to 13-7. Quarterback Jake Heaps found receiver Ross Apo for a 19-yard touchdown reception. The Cougars drove 72 yards and Heaps found a rhythm, going 5 of 5 on the drive for 49 yards.
Heaps finished the day 24 of 38 for 225 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Apo led all receivers with four catches for 46 yards and one touchdown reception. BYU’s defense stole the show however, holding Ole Miss to 208 total yards and just 64 yards rushing.
After the Cougars sputtered on their opening drive and just an 11-yard punt, the defense was able to stop the Rebels from scoring. On a short field, linebacker Uona Kaveinga forced a fumble that was recovered by safety Daniel Sorensen at the BYU 21-yard line.
Sorensen, Jordan Pendleton and Brandon Ogletree each had six tackles to lead BYU.
The first quarter set the tone for defense as each team made plays to force long third down attempts. BYU allowed just 25 total yards while the Ole Miss surrendered only 66 in a scoreless first quarter, despite the Cougars dominating the time of possession 11:20 to 3:40.
Ole Miss finally broke the scoreless tie with 49 seconds on the clock before halftime. After a 44-yard punt return from returner Jeff Scott, the Rebels drove a short field to set up a 20-yard field goal. The chip shot put Ole Miss up 3-0 with the only score of the half.
After the half the Rebels would score again, this time with their defense. BYU was moving the football into the red zone when Ole Miss safety Charles Sawyer intercepted a pass from Heaps and returned it 96 yards for a touchdown to extend their lead to 10-0 with 8:34 left in the third quarter.
BYU had an opportunity to score again while in the red zone on their next drive. With less than four minutes in the third quarter Sorensen had a 31-yard field goal sail wide to the right.
Ole Miss was able to add to their lead with another field goal, this time from 29 yards out to make it 13-0 at with 14:15 remaining, but the lead wouldn't last long enough with the Cougar comeback mounting.
Up next BYU plays on the road again, facing off against the Texas Longhorns in Austin, Texas on Sept. 10 at 6 p.m. CT.
CLICK HERE for the postgame notes.