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Sunday morning quarterback: Stars and stats from BYU's win over the Bearcats

The BYU Cougars used a strong defensive performance to knock off the Cincinnati Bearcats 20-3 on Saturday afternoon.

After giving up a field goal on the opening drive of the game, the Cougar defense held the Bearcats scoreless the rest of the way to come away with the important road win.

Scoring recap

Cincinnati got on the board first when Josh Pasley connected on a 23-yard field goal. The key play on the drive for the Bearcats came when Gunner Kiel found Devin Gray for a 31-yard pass play.

BYU tied the score 3-3, on a 28-yard field goal by Rhett Almond in the final minute of the first quarter. One of the big plays came when Taysom Hill managed a 9-yard run on third and 3 to move the chains.

The Cougars took their first lead of the game when Hill capped off a 92-yard drive with an 8-yard run. The score was set up by a flea-flicker from Hill to Jonah Trinnaman for a 43-yard gain.

BYU pushed the lead to 17-3 when Squally Canada scored from 1-yard out on the opening possession of the second half. Canada also provided one of the biggest plays on the drive with a 16-yard run on third and 9.

The Cougars finished out the scoring with a 19-yard field goal by Almond after a 60-yard drive that took nearly 10 minutes off the clock. Most of the damage on the possession was done on the ground where the Cougars gained 52 of the 60 yards.

Three stars

3. Francis Bernard

Bernard had a nice afternoon with a team-leading nine tackles, including four of the solo variety to go along with a pass breakup.

2. Troy Warner

Warner had a big day in the secondary with a career-high three pass breakups, including one that saved a sure touchdown.

1. Jamaal Williams

Williams totaled 92 yards on the day to become just the fourth running back in BYU history to rush for 1,000 yards in two different seasons.

Analyzing the stats

While the overall yardage was relatively close, it was in the running game where the Cougars held a big edge as they outgained the Bearcats 207-96. BYU also held a huge edge in time of possession, 37:57 to 22:03.

The Cougars were especially impressive on third down, converting 10 of 16 chances. The Bearcats didn't have nearly as much success, going just 4 for 13.

Taysom Hill threw for a season-low 130 yards in the win. The Cougars are now 3-0 on the season when he passes for less than 170 yards.

The 130 passing yards are the lowest total in a BYU win since 2013 when Hill completed 14 of 18 passes for 98 yards in a 28-23 win over Nevada.

The Cougars didn't allow a touchdown for the first time in a regular season game against an FBS opponent since 2012 when they knocked off the Utah State Aggies 6-3.

Up next

Up next for the Cougars is a home matchup with Southern Utah. The Thunderbirds are 5-4 on the season after a 38-21 win over Montana State.

Patrick Tyler leads a solid offense that is averaging 29.5 points a game. He has passed for 1,874 yards and 17 touchdowns with just five interceptions.

His favorite target is Mike Sharp, who has registered 63 catches for 744 yards and nine touchdowns.

The Thunderbirds also own a very productive rushing attack thanks to the play of Malik Brown and Raysean Pringle. Brown leads the team with 819 yards and five touchdowns on the ground while Pringle has added 381 yards and six scores.

Jay Yeomans is a sports writer for DeseretNews.com. Contact him at jyeomans@deseretdigital.com.