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BYU vs Middle Tennessee recap: Cougars defeat Blue Raiders 27-7

In a game that was expected to be a shootout, the Cougars defense showed up to play and frustrated the Blue Raiders offense.

Stewart leads the Cougars to their first win since Hill was lost.
Stewart leads the Cougars to their first win since Hill was lost.
Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

On a cold and windy afternoon in Tennessee, the Cougars looked to end their four game losing streak and gain some confidence before their bye week. The game started slow but the Cougars dominated second half as they beat the Blue Raiders 27-7.

1st Half

The Cougars started off strong with 4th and 1 conversion when Christian Stewart gained five yards on a quarterback keeper. Just a few plays later the Cougars put the first points up on the board when Stewart found Colby Pearson for a 37 yard catch and run, and a 7-0 lead. The Cougars defense would give up yards on the Blue Raiders first drive as they drove to the five yard line on a number of third down conversions. BYU would hold on 3rd and 5 as they dropped Austin Grammer at the 13, setting up a 29 yard missed field goal.

BYU would struggle on offense for the rest of the half as they converted on 2 of 9 third downs and gave up the ball on downs twice. The Cougars defense would record the only true turnover of the half as Jordan Preator jumped up and knocked down a pass before Tomasi Lauile intercepted it. Middle Tennessee would score late in the 2nd quarter as BYU failed on 4th down at the Blue Raiders 40. The defense once again allowed penalties to give the opponent new life as BYU committed an offside and pass interference penalty on 3rd and 5. Again the Cougars had a chance to force a field goal but gave up a 22 yard touchdown pass on 3rd and 4. With the score the Blue Raiders tied the game at seven, and giving finishing the halftime scoring. BYU would fail to make in impact in the running game as they rushed 14 times for only 31 yards. Stewart ended the half 15-22 for 148 yards and a touchdown.

2nd Half

The Cougars defense came out strong to start the second half as they held the Blue Raiders to a three and out as they added a sack on third down. Williams and Stewart made the plays on their opening drive as they drove down to the Middle Tennessee 19. On 3rd and 6 Stewart scrambled to his right and found Jordan Leslie for the touchdown, putting the Cougars up 14-7. After another failed drive by Middle Tennessee the Cougars punted inside the 20, to the 14.

The Blue Raiders were forced to punt yet again and the Cougars offense took advantage. On a 3rd and 10 Stewart found Williams, who was lost for the game, for a 28 yard gain as he was hit in the knee. Preliminary reports stated it was a sprained knee. After a few penalties on both teams the Cougars moved inside the 10 and finished it off with a two-yard touchdown rush for Paul Lasike.

Middle Tennessee drove into Cougars territory on the ensuing drive, but a floating pass by Grammer fell into the waiting arms of Preator at the six. BYU didn't capitalize as they lost yards, giving Scott Arrellano more room for his ensuing 81 yard punt. With the punt the BYU record for longest punt was broken as the previous was an 80 yard kick by Lee Johnson. The ensuing drive by Middle Tennessee again ended with a sack as Teu Kautai recorded his third of the game. The teams would trade punts before the Cougars offense once again drove the field, highlighted by a 33 yard pass to Kurt Henderson down to the one. Stewart would call his own number on the next play and avoided one tackler before getting into the endzone and putting BYU up 27-7 after the missed extra point. The defense would ensure that the offense would have a chance to run out the clock with the same score.

Christian Stewart would end the game 28 of 45 with 316 yards, two passing touchdowns and one rushing. Williams would lead the rushers with 16 for 49 and Mathews led the receivers with six receptions for 60 yards. The Cougars defense held Middle Tennessee to 228 yards of total offense and only 119 passing yards. The Cougars also won the the turnover battle 2-0.

BYU will next play at home against UNLV on the 15th of November.