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3 takeaways from BYU’s bowl-eligible clinching win over Washington State

BYU defensive back Malik Moore, right, runs the interception he caught on a pass intended for Washington State wide receiver Donovan Ollie.
BYU defensive back Malik Moore, right, runs the interception he caught on a pass intended for Washington State wide receiver Donovan Ollie (6) out of the end zone during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, in Pullman, Wash.
Young Kwak, Associated Press

BYU is bowl eligible after edging Washington State 21-19 in a grind-it-out contest Saturday at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Washington.

BYU snapped its two-game losing streak and improved to 6-2 on the year with its fourth victory over a Power Five opponent this season, a program record.

Here are three takeaways from the BYU win:

Tyler Allgeier runs wild

After two weeks of getting beat in the trenches, BYU committed to attacking Washington State on the ground, and Tyler Allgeier delivered with a big game.

Allgeier carried the ball a career-high 32 times for 191 yards and two second-half touchdowns in helping BYU turn in enough offense to escape with the victory.

The sophomore running back came up big on each of BYU’s three scoring drives. On the team’s opening possession, Allgeier broke off a 30-yard run to set up a 3-yard Lopini Katoa touchdown.

In the second half, Allgeier scored on back-to-back drives — on carries of 4 yards and 2 yards — to help BYU capture the lead.

After Washington State cut the lead to 21-19 with 4:14 to play, Allgeier carried the ball seven straight times for 51 yards — including a 9-yard run on a third-and-7 — as BYU was able to run out the clock.

Defense delivers after two tough weeks

The BYU defense, particularly its rush defense, had been criticized after a pair of rough games during the team’s two-game losing streak against Boise State and Baylor.

This time, though, the BYU defense made enough plays to help the team right the ship with a win. Washington State scored all three of its touchdowns on the ground — all from Max Borghi, who had 83 rushing yards — but BYU held Washington State to 93 rushing yards after getting gashed for 140 rushing yards against Boise State and 303 last week against Baylor.

Quarterback Jayden de Laura threw nine touchdown passes during Washington State’s three straight wins heading into Saturday, but BYU did a good job keeping de Laura contained much of the day.

After de Laura completed all five of his pass attempts on Washington State’s opening drive, which culminated in a touchdown, BYU held him to 26 of 37 passing for 257 yards and one interception. Malik Moore had his third interception of the year, and it came at a crucial time in the first quarter when it looked like de Laura may lead another scoring drive.

BYU’s defense also forced Washington State to punt on three straight possessions in the first half while the BYU offense was still getting things together, as both teams headed into halftime tied 7-7.

Oh, those point-after attempts

Two failed point-after attempts — both from Washington State — ended up being the difference in this one.

The first missed attempt came after Washington State countered BYU’s third-quarter touchdown with one of its own — a Borghi 1-yarder with 5:08 left in the quarter. A bobbled snap led to an incomplete pass for Washington State on the PAT try, and the home team found itself down a point, 14-13.

Allgeier’s second touchdown of the game, a 2-yarder with 14:59 to play, and a successful PAT put BYU ahead 21-13 and forced Washington State to later go for two to try to tie the game.

Borghi’s 1-yard TD run with 4:14 to play ended a 76-yard scoring drive and made it 21-19 BYU. On the ensuing two-point attempt, Washington State tried to use some misdirection, handing the ball off to wide receiver Lincoln Victor on a sweep. Victor was bottled up in the backfield, though, and threw incomplete into the end zone to preserve BYU’s two-point lead.

From there, Allgeier and the BYU offense ran out the clock.