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BYU rallies to beat Tennessee 29-26 in double overtime after trailing by three with less than 30 seconds in regulation

Head coach Kalani Sitake and his players sing to the fans high up in the upper deck as they celebrate their win over Tennessee in Knoxville on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019. BYU won 29-26 in double overtime.
Head coach Kalani Sitake and his players sing to the fans high up in the upper deck as they celebrate their win over Tennessee in Knoxville on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019. BYU won 29-26 in double overtime.
Scott G Winterton

SALT LAKE CITY — BYU looked destined to fall to 0-2 on the season, trailing Tennessee 16-13 with less than 30 seconds left in the game late Saturday at Neyland Stadium.

But Zach Wilson hit Micah Simon for a 64-yard pass, setting up a 33-yard Jake Oldroyd field goal. Then Ty’Son Williams scored the game-winning 5-yard touchdown run in double overtime as the Cougars beat the Volunteers 29-26.

Here are three takeaways from the game:

64 yards and a chance

BYU looked like it was out of opportunities late in the fourth quarter and no timeouts with the clock running. This came after the Cougars’ offense had squandered earlier chances to take the lead in the final period.

But Wilson found Simon for a 64-yard pass to the Tennessee 16-yard line with seven seconds to play, setting up a 33-yard Oldroyd field goal to send the game to overtime.

BYU took its first lead of the game in the first overtime when Wilson hit Talon Shumway for a touchdown, but Tennessee tied it on a Jauan Jennings’ second touchdown grab of the day.

The Cougar defense, which held Tennessee to 5 of 16 efficiency on third down, forced a field goal to start the second overtime, setting up the chance for Williams to deliver the winner.

Former SEC back shines and a sophomore delivers

Williams, a grad transfer from South Carolina, had 17 carries for 92 yards and two touchdowns in the contest, helping BYU rally for the win even after rushing for minus-4 yards in the first half.

Wilson, meanwhile, overcame being sacked four times and constantly being forced out of the pocket to complete 19 of 29 passes for 232 yards and the TD pass to Shumway. The signature moment of his young quarterback career, though, was the game-extending pass to Simon, who had seven receptions for 127 yards.

Momentum changer

Early in the second half, the game appeared like it could turn into a blowout if Tennessee could add to its 13-3 halftime lead. BYU changed the momentum, though, when linebacker Kavika Fonua’s 20-yard interception return on Tennessee’s first drive of the second half put the Cougar offense in business.

Williams capitalized with a sweep right 16-yard touchdown on a third-and-6 to cut the Tennessee lead to 13-10, and from there, the game stayed a one-possession contest.

Scoring summary: BYU 29, Tennessee 26

First quarter

Tennessee, Jauan Jennings 5-yard pass from Jarrett Guarantano (4:53), Brent Cimaglia kick

BYU, Jake Oldroyd 31-yard field goal (0:19)

Second quarter

Tennessee, Brent Cimaglia 51-yard field goal (6:22)

Tennessee, Brent Cimaglia 39-yard field goal (0:21)

Third quarter

BYU, Ty’Son Williams 16-yard run (12:47), Jake Oldroyd kick

Fourth quarter

Tennessee, Brent Cimaglia 22-yard field goal (11:41)

BYU, Jake Oldroyd 42-yard field goal (7:18)

BYU, Jake Oldroyd 33-yard field goal (0:01)

First overtime

BYU, Talon Shumway 14-yard pass from Zach Wilson, Jake Oldroyd kick

Tennessee, Jauan Jennings 13-yard pass from Jarrett Guarantano, Brent Cimaglia kick

Second overtime

Tennessee, Brent Cimaglia 40-yard field goal

BYU, Ty’Son Williams 5-yard run