BYU football defeats Aggies with third-string QB, running-stuffed defense
All questions regarding No.13 BYU’s ability to handle a hostile crowd were answered Friday night in Logan as the Cougars weathered all manner of injuries, setbacks, the loss of their starting quarterback and several. bad breaks to overcome the Utah Aggies 34-20 at Maverik Stadium.
The 5-0 Cougars showed on a perfect night in Cache Valley that they weren’t ready to capitalize on their perfect season when quarterback Baylor Romney suffered a concussion just before half-time, and the third thread Jacob Conover had to lead them to their seventh consecutive victory.
And running back Tyler Allgeier has shown he will soon be making big money in the pro ranks, covering 218 yards and three touchdowns.
The Cougars proved to be a resilient BYU squad, finding the right defensive adjustments in the second half as the Aggies played from a distance for most of the first half. BYU limited USU to 22 rushing yards on 35 carries, while releasing Allgeier and company on a USU defense that lacked the quickness and speed that new coach Blake Anderson insisted it had. an advantage over the Cougars classified at the national level.
“I’m glad we got the win,” BYU coach Kalani Sitake said. ” It was not easy. Utah State give them a lot of credit they made it really tough for us to get this win.
There were times that seemed dark for the Cougars and roses for the Aggies (3-2) and their sold-out crowd of 25,240.
In particular, after Deven Thompkins caught a 28-yard touchdown pass from Logan Bonner to reduce BYU’s lead to 27-20 with 9 minutes and 52 seconds remaining, Allgeier made another one of those runs that will be remembered. of him when he leaves Provo – most likely after this season.
His 67-yard run on the west sideline – where the visiting team has set up camp in previous years, but not this one, as Anderson requested that the visitors’ sideline be directly in front of the USU student section, the Hurd – ahead The helpless USU bench came in after USU’s only second-half score and virtually sealed the deal.
“Don’t get caught,” was Allgeier sentiment, recalling his second 59-yard TD when he nearly tripped in the end zone.
He got caught (after the replay showed his forearm touched the ground before the ball broke the end zone plane), but scored his third touchdown two games later with 8: 40 on the clock, and the Cougars were able to breathe easily again.
“I’m really happy for him,” Sitake said. “If you ask him, he’ll give the O-line a lot of credit and everyone blocking the pitch, but he did a great job protecting the ball, making sure we had great ball safety.”
Former USU defensive back Jakob Robinson redeemed Thompkins’ long touchdown by intercepting USU substitute Andrew Peasley with just over a minute to go.
Around this time, debris began to flow out of the USU student section towards the BYU bench.
“I told our players to kiss him,” Sitake said, crediting the Aggies for the “fun atmosphere” and “crazy environment” repeatedly in his post-game remarks to the media.
As for his quarterback situation, Sitake said he’s not yet sure why Romney had to leave the game at halftime, after throwing for 187 yards and a touchdown in the first half, when the Cougars took a 24-13 lead in the break. Romney’s passer rating was 189 at the time.
“I spoke to him after the game. He was on the sidelines. We will see. We’ll have to assess it in the next 24 hours and start next week (vs. Boise State) and see what happens, ”Sitake said. “But obviously he couldn’t get back into the game and we have to protect him and keep him safe.”
Conover, the highly recruited four-star QB from Chandler, Ariz., Settled in after a rocky start. He finished 5 of 9 for 45 yards and designed the shot on goal late in the third quarter and early in the fourth that gave BYU a 27-13 lead.
“Thank goodness for Jacob Conover,” Sitake said.
And for Allgeier, but that probably goes without saying.
“It was pretty surreal,” Conover said. “It was a great team victory. … I will never forget this experience. It was awesome. It was a moment for which I prepared myself.
Caller Aaron Roderick sent the message that the Cougars could win with Conover by calling a deployment passing game for the big rookie’s first college game. The throw soared over Gunner Romney’s head, and Cougar Nation started to worry.
But on the FG drive, Conover was 3 for 4 for 40 yards, including a big third and 2 throws at Allgeier for 16 yards.
After a first half full of offensives, neither team scored in the third quarter, even though the Cougars were marching at the end of the period. Practice stalled and Jake Oldroyd’s 32-yard basket gave BYU a 27-13 lead.
The Aggies, who played 83 games against 66 for BYU, put up a 14-game, 90-yard drive that took 4:23 on the clock.
Maverik Stadium was at its peak.
But Allgeier calmed them down with a run that won’t soon be forgotten in BYU lore.
Allgeier said he couldn’t recall a particularly good sign among the dozens of USU spectators, “but they were saying funny things.”
They weren’t laughing at the end – or at the beginning.
The story of the first half was that the BYU defense was unable to leave the field and the Cougars’ offensive effectiveness continued.
Note: The Aggies played 43 games in the first half, BYU only 32.
But the Cougars averaged 9.1 yards per game in the first half, 7.0 for the game. BYU had the explosiveness that Anderson said would take away USU.
BYU stopped USU on its first two possessions, with Malik Moore getting a sensational pick on the Aggies’ opening practice and defense forcing a three-and-out the second time USU had the ball.
USU converted third and eighth in their third practice and went on the board with a 52-yard field goal, a career-high for Connor Coles.
After BYU took a 17-3 lead over Isaac Rex’s third TD in two weeks, the Aggies took over at their 25th and held the ball for 18 plays and 75 yards, taking 7:34 on the ‘clock.
Fittingly, in the third and -15, Bonner hit Justin McGriff for a 21-yard touchdown. The game came a game after Elelyon Noa jumped on a Bonner fumble, beating two Cougars in loose football.
Several times in the game, the Aggies have jumped on fumbles that could have been disastrous. Again, their failure to circle a Romney fumble in the first half cost them a field goal.
Leading 24-13, BYU moved up to a goal scorer at the end of the first half and apparently placed the ball in the 20 on a reception from Neil Pau’u. However, officials ruled that it was an incomplete pass and has not been reviewed.
Oldroyd’s 45-yard try was wide on the left, ending a school-record 16-game streak.
The Cougars had 291 yards of total offense in the first half and would have gone over 300 had it not been for a negative 31-yard play when Romney fumbled and the ball shot back when a pair d’Aggies collided while trying to hook him up.
Romney became the sixth Cougar QB not to complete a game against the USU in the past nine years, joining Taysom Hill (2012, 2014, 2016), Beau Hoge (2017) and Hall (2019).
Coincidentally, Romney relieved Hall in the second half of that 42-14 BYU win at Logan when Hall left with concussion-like symptoms.
So what happens next at the QB spot?
“Jaren is about (to come back),” Sitake said. “He trained, but we didn’t feel like he was good enough yet. We felt like Baylor had a better week of training so we’re just going to feel it and figure out what’s best for the player, No.1, and then what’s good for our team.
“We hope to get it back. We hope to get Baylor back. We’ll just have to wait and see, ”Sitake concluded.
His team have already answered the first question asked tonight: Could they win in their first real road game of the season, even in the face of adversity?
Indeed, they could. And did.