Arizona made a run in the second half, but BYU opened up the season with a 24-16 win over Arizona Saturday night in Las Vegas. BYU opened up a 21-3 lead in the third quarter following a second touchdown catch from Neil Pau’u, but a safety and TD brought Arizona within a score until a missed Arizona field goal and interception by BYU DB Hayden Livingston allowed BYU to put the game away.
Jaren Hall had a solid game with 198 pass yards and two touchdowns to go along with 36 rushing yards. 148 of those yards came in the first half as Arizona was able to control more time of possession in the second half. Tyler Allgeier led BYU on the ground with 94 yards and a TD and Lopini Katoa added 33 yards. Neil Pau’u was by far Jaren Hall’s favorite target in the passing game, finishing with 8 receptions for 126 yards and 2 TDs.
Brothers Puka and Samson Nacua dressed but didn’t play on offense due to hamstring injuries. Samson did recover the onside kick at the end to seal the deal. Gunner Romney also went out early in the first quarter with a knee and ankle injury. Getting those guys back for Utah would be huge if BYU hopes to pull the upset.
BYU only gave up 16 points, but they allow Arizona to sustain some drives and rack up 426 yards. At the end of the day points is the most important stat, but BYU will need to be better if they hope to upset Utah next week at home. BYU brought some timely blitzes and finished with 4 sacks, but QB Gunner Cruz finished with 336 passing yards and was able to find soft spots in BYU’s zone defense.
BYU will host Utah next Saturday 8:15pm MST on ESPN.