SMU scored a touchdown with 8 seconds left, but Jakob Robinson made an open field tackle on the ensuing two-point conversion as BYU held on in a 24-23 win in the New Mexico Bowl.
Sol-Jay Maiava started at QB in place for an injured Jaren Hall and led a steady ground attack for the Cougars. Maiava finished 7/12 for 47 yards passing, but led the BYU ground attack with 96 rushing on 14 carries and 1 TD. Senior Christopher Brooks complemented Sol-Jay with 88 rushing yards on 1 TD.
BYU had just 256 yards of total offense, and the defense stepped up to win the game. Ben Bywater had a pick six in the third quarter and BYU held SMU star QB Tanner Mordecai to just 218 passing yards.
BYU’s 8-5 season may have been overall disappointing, but BYU heads into a vital offseason with some momentum. BYU will be active in the transfer portal and have an offseason with a new defensive staff to retool the roster ahead of BYU’s Big 12 debut. BYU’s next game will be Saturday, September 2 at home versus new C-USA member Sam Houston.