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BYU gets physical with Tyler Allgeier in 21-19 win over Washington State

Cougars ride the back of star running back to end the game in Pullman

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BYU running back Tyler Allgeier, top center, reaches for a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Washington State, Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, in Pullman, Wash. BYU won 21-19. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)

AP

Tyler Allgeier. 

Just put a cape on the guy and point him to some grass.  Real or fake green stadium surface will do.

DC Comics, get on the phone and call.

Add him to the Justice League. The Beast, The Horse, the Stallion? T-Bone?

The redshirt sophomore answered BYU head coach Kalani Sitake’s call for the Cougars to get physical this week by plowing his way to 191 yards on 32 carries, 115 of which came in the second half in a 21-19 win over Washington State on Saturday.

It was a game in which the difference was a failed two-point conversion by WSU, but the drama and ultimate victory came on the legs of Allgeier.

“It’s a blessing to have him back there running the ball and it’s fun to have a back like him,” said offensive lineman Clark Barrington.

Sitake watched his team finish a win over Washington State with bona fide Bully Ball, going smash mouth on seven straight Allgeier runs to end the game eating up the clock. A key was a 3rd and 8 when Allgeier kept the last drive alive with a 9-yard gallop.

“He is really physical and a punishing runner,” said Sitake. “He lowers his shoulder and moves people.”

The Cougars left Pullman with a win over one of the Pac 12’s hottest teams on Saturday, albeit with a controversial firing of the head coach and three assistants this past week. It lifted BYU to 4-0 in the Pac-12, 6-2 overall and made Sitake and company bowl eligible.

Nursing a three-point lead with possession of the ball and just over four minutes left in the game, Allgeier ran for 9, 13, 3, 9, 4, 4, and 9 yards to salt the game away.

Washington State’s defense had no answer at the end. They stacked the box with eight and nine tacklers and Allgeier kept dragging them with him for gains.

It was inspiring. It was gutty. It was just what BYU watched Baylor do to it a week ago.

Working behind an offensive line comprised mostly of freshmen and sophomores, BYU crammed the ball down the collective throat of WSU in the second half, creating a 14-13 halftime advantage. 

Most of it was with Allgeier doing yeoman’s duty, the most rushing yards by a BYU rusher against a Power 5 team. Ever.

Allgeier surpassed 2,000 career yards, running past Ronney Jenkins on the all-time rushing list. Allgeier’s 191 yards in a day’s work gave him a season’s rush total of 675 yards.

BYU got back to beating Pac-12 schools and the effort ended a two-game losing skid. 

All in a days work in the Pacific Northwest.

This win meant a lot of things for Sitake. He really, really needed a victory. Whether it came with style points, some fluke or a little luck, he had to get it. That it came from a physical second half was a big deal.

Turning around the team’s fortunes after a string of key injuries to both the offense and defense and losses to Boise State and Baylor was imperative for the Cougars. This was an energy recharge for BYU heading into what will be a very interesting game with Virginia and the return of Bronco Mendenhall to Provo.

Washington State is a team that could be had on the ground and BYU’s game plan called to test that — at the expense of a talented receiving corps and Hall just off a 300-yard passing game.

The 242 yards against WSU was the most achieved by BYU this season, the best since 224 in a win over Utah.

Center James Empey played only one half and finished the game on the sidelines on crutches. Connor Pay replaced him and receiver Gunner Romney left the game in the second half. Right tackle Harris LaChance was unable to come back for this game.

Sitake needed to find a trigger to motivate his team.

He got that in the second half with the run game that featured freshmen Pay and Campbell Barrington, sophomores Blake Freeland and Clark Barrington and Joe Tukuafu, a junior who came to BYU as a tight end.

 He needed turnovers and got one interception and almost had Malik Moore get a second and third. He needed his defense to stop a very good and well-timed run and shoot offense that had defeated Cal, Stanford and Oregon.

“I liked that we got to go out and pound the ball and run it right at them,” said Sitake. “I’m glad they didn’t leave it up to me going for it on fourth or having to punt.”

Yes, there were plenty of mistakes, including missed tackles on defense and a missed field goal, but this was exactly what BYU needed. Imagine a loss, a third-straight loss heading into the Virginia game.

That did not happen.

“This win shows what it’s like for a team to go through adversity and face it and come up with win like this,” said Allgeier.

Indeed, it does.