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BYU vs Utah State Recap: Turnovers doom the Cougars in Logan

Turnovers and Penalties plague the offense

Mississippi State v BYU Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images

On a beautiful Friday evening in Logan, Utah the BYU Cougars and the Utah State Aggies battled hard in pursuit of a quality win. The Cougars wanted to prove they are a better team than they showed in the first four games, with Beau Hoge making he second career start. Utah State was out to prove that they are a legitimate rival for the Cougars. Unfortunately the turnover bug hit the Cougars resulting in a 40-24 loss.

The Aggies started off strong on their first drive as they drove the field on a combination of runs and passes that ended with a 32 yard pass from Kent Myers to D. Raymond for the first touchdown of the game. The Cougars couldn’t respond as they went three and out and setting up the next Aggies drive close to mid field.

With momentum siding with the Aggies they drove to a 3rd and 1 where they called a screen to the wide receiver. Cougar defender Micah Hannemann read the play from the start, split the blockers and stepped in front of the pass in stride. After a quick bobble he held on and returned it 46 yards for the Pick-6.

With momentum shifted, the Cougars defense kept the Aggies from driving on the next two drives and managed a sack on each each one. Hoge and company started to find their rhythm as the drove down field to end the quarter. On the first play of the second quarter Ty Detmer pulled out the trick play. With Hoge lined up as a receiver, the ball was snapped to the Austin Kafentzis, who handed the ball off to Micah Simon who was running right to left. Simon subsequently pitched the ball to Hoge who was making his way across the field left to right. While running, Hoge found an open Bracken El-Bakri who avoided a few defenders and found himself in the endzone for a 26 yard touchdown, and a Cougars 14-7 lead.

The Aggies were pushed back inside the 10 on a penalty and couldn’t move the ball. After the punt gave the Cougars the ball at the Aggies 45, BYU went back to work. After a couple of running plays the Cougars went deep with Hoge to Beau Tanner catching the ball out of bounds in the endzone. However, after the review the Cougars were awarded the touchdown when replay showed Tanner touching his ankle down in bounds and keeping hold of the ball giving BYU a 21-7 lead.

The Aggies would drive down field, with the help of a 15 yard penalty on the Cougars and looked to draw within four with a 38 yard field goal before Corbin Kaufusi put his big paw in the line of the ball and blocked the kick. The Cougars would still manage to give the momentum back to the Aggies when on the next play Hoge threw the ball off the shoulder of a defender that landed in the hands of Davis who returned it for his own Pick-6.

At this point the wheels came off for the Cougars. Hoge was injured with what we assume is a concussion, Koy Detmer Jr. came in, and the offense couldn’t hold onto the ball. Over the course of the remainder of the second quarter and the start of the third, the Cougars allowed 20 straight points to the Aggies.

After another interception thrown by Detmer, the 5th turnover of the game, the Cougars defense held and forced a punt. The Cougars showed life as they drove into Aggie territory before a false start put the offense in a precarious position and Sitake decided to go for it on 4th and 5. The Cougars decided to run up the middle and only gained two giving the Aggies the ball back. A good defensive stand saved the Cougars and forced a punt. The Cougars offense started to show heart again as they moved the ball with the run and the wildcat formation, until another fumble bit the Cougars for the 6th turnover of the night, and once again giving Utah State a short field. The Aggies finally capitalized as they drove the 41 yards that ended with a 20 rushing touchdown by Myers and a failed 2-point conversion.

USU decided on a short kick giving the Cougars good field position and the Cougars drove down the the 6 yard line before a holding call negated a touchdown run. After moving backwards the Cougars settled for a 37 yard field goal to pull within nine.

With the game on the line, and the defense exhausted from short fields, the Cougars couldn’t force a stop and the Aggies drained six minutes off the clock. With just over 6 12 minutes remaining, the defense stopped the drive on a 4th and 1, giving the offense a chance to make some noise. After a couple of fourth downs, a false start once again hurt the offense and required a 4th and two to continue the drive. It didn’t happen and the ball flew high over the receivers head. With under four minutes left in the game, and the Aggies with the ball, the Cougars watched their chances slip away.

The Cougars tried to come back but another interception returned for a touchdown sealed the deal with 40 points on the board.

The Cougars finished the game with over 200 yards rushing and three fumbles, while putting up under 200 yards passing and four interceptions (three by Detmer) to two touchdowns (plus two Pick-6’s). Once again the Cougars let a winnable game get away and will now face a better Boise State team next week after a 1-4 start.