By Jacob Kendall
As I sat in Lavell Edwards Stadium with about 10 minutes to go, I though to myself, “we are not going to see another score in this game.” And so it was. It seemed fitting that on the opening night of the MLB playoffs, BYU beat Utah State by a baseball score of 6-3. I continue to be amazed at the quality of play by the Cougar defense. Coach Mendenhall should be in the running for National Defensive Coordinator of the Year if that is possible for a head coach.
The stat of the game is: zero. The Utah State Aggies scored zero touchdowns on Friday night. BYU has held 4 of it’s 6 opponents this season to 0 offensive touchdowns. Against FBS opponents they have only allowed 2 offensive touchdowns. And both of those touchdowns came when the opponent gained possession inside the 50 yard line. FBS opponents have also failed to score a touchdown at Lavell Edwards Stadium in 2012.
This game was a defensive battle, with each team surrendering only one score. USU had a 13 play 50 yard drive capped off by a 26 yard field goal in the first quarter. After scoring their only points of the game Utah State punted 6 times, had 2 turnovers, and a missed field goal. On their first 6 possessions, BYU had 2 turnovers on downs, 3 punts, and a blocked field goal. On their 7th possession BYU drove 61 yards and scored on a 3 yard touchdown pass from Taysom Hill to JD Falslev. Utah State remained only a field goal behind after Stephenson missed the PAT.
Despite scoring just 6 points, BYU outperformed Utah State in nearly every statistical category.
Team Stat Comparison
Total yards: BYU 380, Utah State 243
Rushing yards: BYU 145, Utah State 41
Passing yards: BYU 235, Utah State 202
First downs: BYU 20, Utah State 16
Third down conversions: BYU 9/20, Utah State 4/14
Taysom Hill: With it being his 2nd start and first real test all eyes were on him. And Taysom did not disappoint. He was the player of the game in my book. He ran for a team-high 80 yards on 19 carries, and finished 24 of 36 passing for 235 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT. I am most impressed with is ability to extend plays, and turn negative yards into positive ones. I was also happy to see him make several connections with Cody Hoffman. Hoffman had 8 catches for 114 yards after being a non-factor in the last two games. Hill did make some dangerous Riley-type throws, but luckily, only one of the was intercepted. We will have to hope for him to improve in that area, but overall I am impressed with his ball security both in the pocket and when he decides to tuck it and run. It is also worth noting that he has fielded every snap, even though there have been some bad ones. Overall, it was a very impressive performance for a freshman in just his 2nd start.
While a 6 to 3 game is not the ideal outcome to the fans, it is a win. It’s a win over a quality Utah State team, probably the best team the Aggies have had in 40 years.
So who get’s the Beehive Boot now? Utah State beat Utah, Utah beat BYU, and now BYU beat Utah State. If you go by cumulative scores over each other, then it goes like this: BYU 27-27, Utah State 30-26, and Utah 44-48. But Utah State beat Southern Utah 34-3 and BYU beat Weber State 45-13, giving them each a 2-1 record against Utah teams. Let the debate rage on.