The BYU punt coverage team stopped a fake punt by Boise State on 4th and 2 at its own 22-yard line. Following the first down, the Cougar offense moved the ball down to the 2-yard line. An illegal blocking penalty moved BYU back to the 17-yard line. Quarterback Riley Nelson threw an interception on the next play.
Nelson was not in condition to play. His back injury is worse than anyone has let on. With the interception early in the second quarter, Nelson had completed as many passes to the other team as he had his own. On BYU’s next drive, Nelson fumbled while being sacked. He had just 19 yards passing in the first half. He threw interceptions on BYU’s first two drives of the second half. The first was returned 36 yards for a touchdown to give Boise State a 7-0 lead. The second interception of the second half gave Boise State the ball at their own 43-yard line.
The BYU defense, as it had all night, stopped the Boise State offense.
In the first half, the closest Boise State came to scoring was a missed 33-yard field goal on the Broncos’ second drive. The Cougar D didn’t allow a single first down on three Boise State drives in the first half. Fourth down stops inside the BYU 25-yard line were how the other Boise State drives ended in the first half.
The back-to-back interceptions gave Boise State a lot of momentum, but the Cougar defense did not relent. They held Boise State to a 4th and 13 at the BYU 34-yard line. Boise State punted, and it was downed at the 1-yard line.
Running back Michael Alisa fumbled on first down, and Boise State had four chances to get one yard. Even with all the momentum they had, Boise State couldn’t do it.
The BYU defense, led by Ezekiel Ansah, pushed Boise State back a yard on 1st and 2nd downs. Boise State got those two yards back on third down, but could not get anything on fourth.
The BYU offense was still dysfunctional. They continued their pattern of one step forward, two steps back. Hill got BYU out of the hole with a 10-yard run, but he was sacked for a loss of five yards the next play, and a false start penalty moved the ball back another four yards.
BYU and Boise State traded punts until 8:03 remained in the game. Still trailing 7-0, BYU was facing its first shutout after scoring in 104 consecutive games, and the Cougars were pinned back at their own 5-yard line. BYU’s longest drive of the night had been 24 yards.
Hill threw a 21-yard pass to Richard Wilson on the first play of the drive. A 15-yard penalty on Boise State turned the play into a 36-yard gain. Hill either ran or threw the ball on every play but one for the rest of the drive. He passed for 18 more yards on two completions to Hoffman, and gained 39 yards on 5 rushes.
The drive ended with Hill’s 4-yard touchdown run.
The attempted two-point conversion was doomed from the start. The BYU right guard completely missed his block on the Boise State defensive tackle. Hill was forced to scramble out of the pocket and look for an open receiver. He spotted Hoffman in the back of the end zone. The ball didn’t get quite far enough after being tipped by a Boise State defender near the goal line.
With just 3:37 left to play, and with no timeouts, BYU was not able to get the ball back from Boise State before time ran out.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Taysom Hill 4-yard touchdown run.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Ezekiel Ansah—8 Tackles, 1 Sack, 2.5 Tackles For Loss, 1 Pass Breakups (All were team highs).
DATE: September 28
TIME: 6 PM (Mountain Time)