PROVO, Utah - One BYU touchdown on a 25-second scoring drive and stellar defense was enough to overpower Utah State, 6-3, in a defensive battle Friday night at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
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After a first half dominated by defense, the Cougars (4-2) scored the first touchdown of the game with three seconds left before the break. Getting the ball back with 28 seconds on the clock, Taysom Hill moved BYU down field through the air with three back-to-back passes to Cody Hoffman for gains of 8 yards, 28 yards and 22 yards. JD Falslev grabbed a 3-yard toss in the end zone to complete the 4-play, 61-yard scoring drive. After missing the PAT attempt, BYU headed into the locker room with a 6-3 lead and the only touchdown of the game. The scoring drive took 25 seconds, the quickest scoring drive for BYU on the year.
“Utah State matched us down in and down out the entire game all the way to the end," BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "I think the supporters of Utah State have a great coach leading a great team. I do think, however, our players were very resilient. They performed during some crucial plays up until the very end. It was a fantastic game and an excellent rivalry game. We are lucky, and I’m glad that we won. I’m fortunate to coach this team.”
BYU outgained Utah State (4-2) 380 to 243 total yards. The game marks the 12th consecutive opponent the Cougars have held under 300 yards. The No. 5 defense hasn’t allowed an offensive touchdown in 13 quarters and just three total points. BYU held Utah State to 41 yards rushing and limited the Aggies on third downs, who converted 4 of 14 attempts.
Ezekiel Ansah caused problems early and often for the Aggies with three tackles for loss in the first half, including two sacks. The senior also finished with five total tackles and two quarterback hurries. Senior captain Brandon Ogletree led the defensive effort with seven total tackles and one pass breakup. Defensive back Preston Hadley also came up big with six tackles, one pass breakup and intercepted a Utah State pass in front of the goal line to save a touchdown.
“Ziggy (Ansah) is a remarkable story," Mendenhall said. "For this season to go by without a knowledge that he didn’t know how to put on his pads three years ago is something else. You could make a movie about this at this point.”
Freshman quarterback Hill completed 24 of 36 attempts for 235 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The signal caller added 80 yards on the ground on 19 carries.
Junior wideout Cody Hoffman extended his streak to 25 games with a reception, catching eight passes for 114 yards. Hoffman's catches included a 28-yard jumping grab in one-on-one coverage.
Freshman Jamaal Williams rushed for 71 yards on 17 attempts. His two rushes of 11 yards and 13 yards in the final minute of the game kept the Aggies offense off the field to end the game.
After a three-and-out in their opening drive, the Aggies moved down field on their ensuing drive but settled for a field goal after the Cougars kept Utah State out of end zone on three straight tries within the 10-yard line. The field goal lifted the Aggies to a 3-0 lead in the final seconds of the first quarter.
BYU had a chance to tie the contest in the second quarter but the Aggies blocked the 34-yard field goal attempt.
The Cougars’ defense came out swinging in the second half with back-to-back tackles for loss before Spencer Hadley forced a fumble and Russell Tialavea recovered it at Utah State’s 9-yard line. BYU attempted a fake field goal but was unable to convert.
The defense kept rolling as Jordan Johnson came up with a big pass breakup on a 30-yard attempt by Chuckie Keeton. On the next play, Preston Hadley picked off a gadget play Aggie receiver Cameron Webb trying to throw for a touchdown at BYU’s 2-yard line.
The Aggies knocked on the door again with a turnover of their own in the fourth quarter as Kyler Fackrell intercepted Hill to give the ball back to their offense at midfield. Utah State failed to take advantage of the turnover, missing a 37-yard field goal.
BYU was able to stop Utah State again and run out the clock to end the game.
The Cougars remain at home to face No.14/17 Oregon State for their homecoming game Oct. 13. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m. MDT and the game wil be broadcast regionally on ABC.
BYU is set to take on Utah State in its second Friday night matchup of 2012 on Oct. 5. Kickoff is set for 8:15p.m. MT and will be televised live from LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on ESPN and KSL Radio 1160 AM, 102.7 FM and ksl.com.
Fans should tune into the live Countdown to Kickoff pregame show at 7 p.m. MT on BYUtv and BYUtvsports.com. Also tune in to BYUtv and BYUtvsports.com for the live postgame show following conclusion of the game. Pregame radio coverage will begin at 6 p.m. MT on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM/1160 AM and BYU Radio (SiriusXM channel 143).
Utah State (4-1, 0-0) at BYU (3-2)
Friday, Oct. 5, 2012 8:15 p.m. MT
LaVell Edwards Stadium
This is the 82nd meeting between BYU and Utah State. Playing nearly every year since 1922, The Cougars and Aggies are poised for another classic after last year’s dramatic 27-24 BYU comeback victory. Head coach Bronco Mendenhall is 4-1 against Utah State.
BYU is No. 5 nationally in total defense. With seven returning starts from the No. 13 defensive unit in 2011, the Cougars continue to climb the national defensive rankings each week. BYU has help opponents to an average of 226.6 yards, good for the 5th-best mark nationally. The powerhouse defense holds eight top-10 defensive rankings, including No. 1 red zone defense. Bronco’s Boys have also shut out opposing offenses in nine consecutive quarters.
BYU has five homegrown coaches, returning to coach at their alma mater. Assistant head coach/tight ends coach Lance Reynolds, offensive coordinator/QB coach Brandon Doman, wide receivers coach Ben Cahoon, defensive line coach Steve Kaufusi and outside linebackers coach Kelly Poppinga all eanred degrees at BYU. Utah State has two USU alumni coaches in offensive coordinator/QB coach Matt Wells and defensive line coach Frank Maile.
BYU quarterback Riley Nelson played for Utah State in 2006. Nelson was a team captain and started seven games for Utah State that year. He passed for 925 yards and six touchdowns while rushing for 290 yards.
FAMILIAR WAC AND MW
Utah State is playing its final year in the Western Athletic Conference and will join the Mountain West in 2013, both former homes of BYU. BYU was a member of the WAC from 1962-1998 and put together a 189-71-2 record, winning 19 conference titles. BYU then played in the Mountain West from 1999-2010 and had a record of 64-26, winning championships four times.
BYU wide receiver Cody Hoffman has a caught a pass in 24 straight games, tied for the 10th longest streak in the nation. He has caught a pass in 30 of 31 career games. Utah State has two players with a streak of five games, Chuck Jacobs and Kellen Bartlett.