Rivalry games aren’t always pretty, and that was the case for BYU on Friday night against Utah State as the Cougars dealt with a handful of injuries on offense.
It ultimately didn’t matter, though, as BYU found a way to grind out a 34-20 victory over the Aggies at Maverik Stadium.
Here are three takeaways from the game for BYU, which improved to 5-0 on the season:
Tyler Allgeier carries the Cougars
Utah State was allowing opponents to run for 200 yards per game this season going into Friday night, so it was expected BYU’s Tyler Allgeier could have a big night.
Allgeier more than delivered, as the Cougars’ star running back had a career-high 218 rushing yards on 22 carries and scored three touchdowns, including a 1-yard score in the fourth quarter that gave BYU a 14-point lead.
Allgeier came up time and again for the BYU offense, which was missing two starting linemen, its starting quarterback and starting fullback, and eventually its backup quarterback. He scored the game’s first touchdown on a 22-yard run less than four minutes into the night, then added a 59-yard scoring run in the second quarter to push BYU ahead 24-10.
With the Cougars trying to hold on in the fourth quarter, he delivered again. After Utah State cut the Cougars’ lead to 27-20, Allgeier broke off a 67-yard run — it was originally ruled a touchdown before a review showed he was down at the 1-yard line — and scored two plays later.
When USU was forced to punt, Allgeier then helped drain down the clock with several grinding runs.
Injuries lead to QB shuffle for Cougars
Jaren Hall missed his second straight game because of injury, giving Baylor Romney the chance to start again for the Cougars.
Romney played well, completing 15 of 19 passes for 187 yards and a touchdown in the first half. Problem was, Romney didn’t play in the second half after hitting his head on the turf late in the first half.
Stop us if you heard enough about BYU-Utah State games and quarterback injuries.
That meant BYU handed the offense over to freshman Jacob Conover, who made his collegiate debut, for the second half. Conover struggled mightily at first, as BYU punted on his first three possessions and netted just 6 yards on 10 plays.
Conover finished 5 of 9 passing for 45 yards, but he had a couple of nice throws on a field-goal scoring drive that put BYU ahead 27-13. He didn’t flash much, but he didn’t have to, and more importantly, Conover didn’t make any big mistakes that cost the Cougars, who didn’t have a turnover in the game.
BYU’s defense comes up strong
One week after South Florida used time-consuming drives to wear down the BYU defense in the second half, the Cougars found ways to keep Utah State’s offense out of rhythm much of the night.
Sure, the Aggies ran 17 more offensive plays than the Cougars and were 11 of 21 on third downs. Still, BYU made Utah State work for its yards and points.
The Aggies have benefited from big plays on offense this season, and BYU kept them from any quick scores. Utah State’s two touchdown drives took 18 and 14 plays, respectively.
The Cougars also came up with a huge fourth-down stop in the third quarter, as Chaz Ah You dropped John Gentry for no gain on a fourth-and-1 at the BYU 33 during a time when it looked like the Aggies could seize momentum.
BYU also had two critical interceptions — Malik Moore picked off Logan Bonner on the game’s opening drive, leading to the Cougars’ first touchdown, and Jakob Robinson intercepted Andrew Peasley on the Aggies’ final drive.
That was more than enough as the Cougars finished with 466 yards of total offense to 336 for Utah State.