BYU headed up to Logan to play in state rival Utah State in it’s regular season finale. Snow forced the team to run their walk through in the parking garage of their hotel.
Utah State jumped out to the early 7-0 lead after its first series when senior quarterback Chuckie Keeton rushed 52 yards into the end zone. BYU answered back in its first posession by marching down the field into blue zone. Mathews caught a 32-yard reception to set up Brown to rush eight yards for the touchdown, tying it at 7-7 with 10:08 left in the first quarter.
The Cougar defense came up big when Bronson Kaufusi blocked the Aggies’ field goal attempt, keeping the game tied. Kurt Henderson caught a 38-yard pass to put Trevor Samson in position to kick a 41-yard field goal, taking the 10-7 lead right before the end of the quarter.
A fake field goal allowed Utah State to convert on fourth down, which led to a 6-yard rushing touchdown. The Aggies then scored again on their next possession to extend their lead to 21-10 with three minutes to go until the half. Tanner Mangum responded with a 72-yard touchdown pass to Mitch Mathews at the 2:42 mark to close in on Utah State’s lead, 21-17.
After both teams took turns punting the ball away, the Aggies had the ball with less than a minute until the break on their own 42-yard line. Keeton fumbled and Tomasi Laulile recovered the ball and returned it 37 yards for the touchdown. The Cougars went into the locker room with a 24-21 lead.
BYU started the second half right where it left off in the first. Mangum found Mathews again in the end zone, this time on a 35-yard reception caught over the Utah State defender. The quick score pushed the Cougars’ lead to double-digits, 31-21, with 13:20 to go in the third quarter.
Another Aggie field goal attempt was blocked by Kaufusi, his second of the game and Micah Hannemann recovered and returned the ball 66 yards, setting up the offense for an easy touchdown. With 3:01 on the clock, Francis Bernard rushed 10 yards into the end zone, extending the lead to 38-21. The Cougars scored 28 unanswered points in this stretch.
The Aggies scored early in the fourth quarter after converting on fourth down, making it a 10-point game, 38-28, with 14:48 left in the game. The ensuing drive for the Cougars went 90 yards and consisted of three double-digit yard gains. Devon Blackmon caught a 35-yard pass to convert on a crucial third down, keeping the drive alive, and Brown and Harvey Langi added runs of 22 and 11 yards, respectively. With 12:06 left to play, Bernard rushed four yards for the touchdown, pushing the margin to 44-28.
With the win, BYU recovers the Old Wagon Wheel and compiles a record of 9 wins and 3 losses, making it the first time BYU has notched 9 wins in the regular season since 2011. The Cougars now await a bowl invite.