Arboretum Rd & Galvez Street Stanford CA 94305
Brooks, BYU ground game beats Stanford 35-26
STANFORD, Calif. — BYU football recorded a season-high 358 rushing yards on the way to a 35-26 victory over Stanford in the Cougars’ final regular season game on Saturday night at Stanford Stadium.
Christopher Brooks bludgeoned his way through the Cardinal defense to the tune of a season-high 164 rushing yards on 23 carries. Brooks’ 7.1 yards per pop were complemented by Hinckley Ropati’s nine carries for 85 yards and a touchdown. Jaren Hall added 11 carries for 69 yards and a rushing score as well.
Hall threw just 11 times with seven completions for 93 yards and two touchdowns, both of which went to tight end Isaac Rex.
Rex led the Cougars with 44 yards on two receptions. Nacua notched three receptions for 33 yards along with three carries for 38 yards and a touchdown run.
Ben Bywater led the Cougar defense with nine tackles (two solo). Micah Harper came in close behind with eight tackles (four solo) and a pass breakup. Cornerback Gabe Jeudy-Lally made several key plays, including two pass breakups and assisted on a sack. Tyler Batty and Lorenzo Fauatea each found their way into the Stanford backfield, combining for two sacks.
As a team, the Cougars outgained Stanford 451-371. BYU owned the ground game, putting up 358 rushing yards while holding the Cardinal to just 53. Stanford quarterback Tanner McKee passed for 313 yards and a touchdown.
The BYU offense was humming from the start as the Cougars scored on their opening drive moving deep into Stanford territory with four plays of 14 or more yards. Brooks powered the BYU ground attack with runs of 13 and 19 yards. Hall finished the drive as he weaved through the defense for 19 yards and a touchdown on a quarterback keeper. BYU’s 7-0 lead came with 11:48 in the first.
Stanford converted multiple 3rd downs to drive into BYU territory on its ensuing possession. The Cougar defense stifled the drive short of the end zone with key pass breakups from Micah Harper and Gabe Jeudy-Lally. The Cardinal would, however, cut into the BYU lead at 7-3 with a 34-yard field goal that came at the 8:26 mark in the quarter.
BYU fired right back with positive rushes from Brooks and Nacua before Ropati gashed the Cardinal defense on a 43-yard touchdown run. With Ropati’s score, the Cougars upped their lead to 14-3 with 5:29 to play in the quarter.
BYU closed the opening quarter having outgained Stanford 155-79, including 131-14 on the ground.
Hall started the second quarter much like he had the first; hurting the Cardinal defense on the ground. The junior signal-caller called his own number and scampered 18 yards to the Stanford 43 before finding a wide open Rex for a 43-yard touchdown on the ensuing play. Hall’s scoring strike to Rex was set up by a creative play from offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick. After the snap, the ball flashed between the hands of Brooks and Hill before making its way back to Hall who found Rex alone on the sideline. The tight end did the rest of the work, plowing through Stanford defenders for a touchdown that put BYU up 21-3 with 13:43 left in the second.
Despite a well-timed pass breakup from Jeudy-Lally on Stanford’s next drive, the Cardinal would move into BYU territory with a 23-yard pick up on 4th and 5 from midfield. Stanford running back Mitch Leigber finished the drive with a 1-yard touchdown plunge that cut BYU’s lead to 21-9 with 7:41 before the half. A missed PAT kept the Cougars’ advantage at 12 after the Stanford score.
The BYU ground game and a host of helpful Cardinal penalties fueled the Cougars’ next scoring drive. Nacua sparked the offense as he caught a pass from Hall and proceeded to elude tacklers on his way to a gain of 12 yards. Moments later, Rex paved the way for Hall as the quarterback ran for a pickup of 16. Hall would reward Rex with a second touchdown pass as the passing attack duo capped off the drive with a 1-yard scoring strike on 3rd and goal. The BYU touchdown put the Cougars up 28-9 with 1:50 remaining in the half.
Stanford kicker Joshua Karty booted a 54-yard field goal at half’s end, sending both teams to the locker room with BYU’s lead at 28-12.
While the BYU offense was stymied on a 4th and 1 deep in Stanford territory, the Cougar defense came up with big plays to hold the Cardinal scoreless in the quarter as well.
Fauatea and Batty teamed-up for a Stanford-stifling sack on the opening play of the half. After the sack put Stanford’s offense off schedule, Kaleb Hayes made a shoe-string tackle on 3rd down to force a Cardinal punt with 13:08 to go in the third.
The Cougars would again infiltrate the Stanford backfield on the Cardinal’s next drive as Jeudy-Lally and Batty combined for a sack on 3rd and 7.
Brooks and Ropati powered BYU down the field and deep into Stanford territory to begin the fourth. Nacua finished the drive with a 25-yard touchdown run on an end-around dash out of the backfield. The Cougars’ third rushing score of the night put BYU up 35-12 with 12:48 left in the game.
Despite two consecutive Stanford scoring drives, BYU would hold on to its two-possession lead after a bad snap negated a potential Cardinal extra point. Leading 35-26 with 4:39 remaining, BYU ran down the clock and secured the victory with a battering of carries from Brooks and Ropati.
BYU now looks to rest up and prepare as it awaits the announcement of its bowl destination.
BYU Football Game Week – at Stanford
PROVO, Utah – BYU football will play its final regular season game at Stanford on Saturday, Nov. 26 at 8 p.m. PT. The game will be televised on FS1.
Use this page as a one-stop shop for everything related to the game leading up to kickoff, including broadcast plans, news and game notes.
BYU (6-5) at Stanford (3-8)
Saturday, Nov. 26
Kickoff: 8:00 p.m. PT
Stanford Stadium (50,000)
RADIO (6:00 p.m. PT pregame): BYU Radio SiriusXM 143, BYURadio.org/BYU Radio app, KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM/1160 AM
Pregame (6:00 p.m. PT pregame)/Postgame: BYUtv
BYU Game Notes
Stanford Game Notes