BYU Pushed To The Limit In Win Against Pass-Happy Liberty
PROVO, Utah – BYU defensive tackle Khyiris Tonga summed up the Cougars victory over the Liberty Flames as well as anyone could have said it, “It was ugly. But we’ll take the win as best we can.”
The ugly win ended up with BYU taking down the pass-happy Flames 31-24.
All week leading up to Saturday night’s game, BYU coaches and players knew that Liberty would pose a difficult challenge because of their prolific passing attack. Liberty’s passing game led by Flames senior quarterback Buckshot Calvert was as good as advertised.
Calvert ended up with 303 passing yards on 27 completions. Liberty wide receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden, who is one of the top receivers in the country, had 10 receptions for 162 yards. That tandem of Buckshot and Gandy-Golden pushed BYU all the way to final minutes of the fourth quarter before the Cougars could secure the win.
BYU’s offense had a solid night passing the football as well. Redshirt freshman Baylor Romney who was named the starter before the game threw for 262 yards on 23 completions.
The best pass play of the night for BYU came from a trick play that the Cougars used last year in their win over Wisconsin. A trick play that led to wide receiver Micah Simon connecting with tight end Matt Bushman for a 44-yard touchdown to give BYU a 17-7 lead.
After that touchdown, it felt like BYU was ready to break the game open. Liberty wouldn’t go down easy. Every time BYU would build a two-possession lead, the Flames would find a way to get back into it.
BYU held a 31-17 lead with 12:01 remaining in the 4th quarter after Romney found senior tight end Moroni Laulu-Pututau for a 17-yard touchdown. Liberty cut the deficit back to a seven-point game after Buckshot Calvert hooked up with Zac Foutz for a 13-yard touchdown.
The following possession, BYU attempted a field goal that head coach Kalani Sitake said he “felt was there” but it ended up resulting in a loss of four yards giving Liberty one more chance to tie up the ball game.
On Liberty’s final drive, the Flames were faced with a 4th & 21 from their own 39-yard line. Calvert found a wide-open Antonio Gandy-Golden, but BYU linebacker Isaiah Kaufusi closed in on the talented receiver to break up the pass.
That was the ball game and BYU escaped with a win that put them one win closer to bowl eligibility.
BYU will host Idaho State next week at LaVell Edwards Stadium for Senior Day at 1 p.m. (MST) on BYUtv and KSL Newsradio.
Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.