What was supposed to be a warm welcome back for the BYU Cougars quickly spiraled into a 30-55 loss in Boise.
Greg Wrubell reported before the game that Craig Bills and Dallin Leavitt were back for BYU’s defense, a huge help for a struggling unit and a defensive coordinator facing a lot of pressure from the fans. But unfortunatly the hard hitting defensive leaders were both called for facemask penalties early. Leavitt committed the penalty on the opening kickoff. And, as leaders do, they set the tone for the rest of the game. Bills got torched in the second quarter off a corner blitz, leading to Boise State’s second touchdown.
The offense, for their part, had two 3-and-outs on their opening two drives. On the second drive, BYU moved backward with two false start penalties. BYU’s first first down came in the second quarter of the game, and several players got in on the action. Jordan Leslie, Mitch Mathews, and Paul Lasike all saw the ball. On this drive Jamaal Williams sparked the offense with an 8-yard run, jumped on a fumbled ball from a designed Christian Stewart run for a first down, and soon after ran the ball into the end zone.
It was clear BYU’s defensive game strategy was to stop Boise State’s Jay Ajayi, but Ajayi blew that strategy open in the second quarter with the help of Boise State’s dominant offensive line. A Boise State game wouldn’t be complete without a trick play, and that’s exactly what they showed BYU. A double pass led to Boise State’s third touchdown halfway through the second quarter.
BYU showed they weren’t dead yet, with Christian Stewart finding Colby Pearson for an 81-yard touchdown on first down. Cougar fans’ hearts stopped when they saw yellow on the field, but the officials waived off the flag and the touchdown stood. The offensive line was stout for the entire first half.
Logan Taele caused a safety with just under two minutes left in the second quarter as he took down Ajayi after a long BYU punt. Garrett Juergens had a nice return from the kickoff but it was called back after a holding call on Paul Lasike.
In the ensuing drive, Lasike again was called for a penalty for a chop block with just over a minute left to go in the half. Christian Stewart, who tends to panic under pressure, threw an interception on 1st down and 25 right after. Boise State took it in for a touchdown right before the half.
I tried to convince the editors to let me stop here, but they insisted that I press on (this didn't actually happen).
The defensive play of the game happened early in the third quarter when freshman linebacker Fred Warner read a pass beautifully, intercepting the ball, and taking it to the end zone before anyone really knew what happened.
On the next drive, the defense forced a punt after applying pressure to Grant Headrick, but Stewart and the offense couldn't capitalize. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. And repeat. And repeat.
In all, BYU's tired defense forced three punts and the aforementioned INT in the second half. BYU's offense had three 3-and-outs in the second half and scored a TD in garbage time.
One of two "bright" spots for BYU proved to be Scott Arellano, punting for 56 (penalty after the play), 43, and a booming 76 yards. Two of Arellano's eight punts landed inside the 10. However, Arellano did have a 33 yard punt at an inopportune time which led to another Boise State touchdown.
The other bright spot: the end of the game. Perhaps for BYU and Cougar fans everywhere, the other bright spot will be the end of the season.
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