Jackson McChesney Shines In BYU’s Dominating 56-24 Win Against UMass

Nov 23, 2019, 1:52 PM | Updated: 2:05 pm
Photo Courtesy of BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey...
Photo Courtesy of BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey

AMHERST, Ma. – BYU’s four-game series against UMass ends with the Cougars dominating the Minutemen on their home field to the tune of a 56-24 drubbing.

BYU scored 49 of their 56 points in the first half and then called things off. Head Coach Kalani Sitake made the decision to have most of his starters sit the second half.

In the first half, BYU’s offense was having its way with a UMass defense that was ranked 130th nationally entering the game. BYU’s first offensive series resulted in a three-and-out, but then they never looked back after that. The Cougars scored touchdowns on their next seven offensive possessions.

Entering the game, there was a lot of questions surrounding BYU’s running back position. Sione Finau suffered a season-ending injury earlier this week in practice and Emmanuel Esukpa didn’t make the trip to Amherst. That didn’t matter as true freshman Jackson McChesney stepped up for a career performance.

In only the second game appearance of his BYU career, McChesney rushed for a career-high 228 yards and two touchdowns in the win. McChesney becomes the 10th BYU player ever to rush for over 200 yards in a game and it’s the most rushing yards in a game by a freshman. McChesney limped off the field midway through the fourth quarter but returned to action on the next offensive series for the Cougars.

McChesney’s 228 yards is sixth all-time for most rushing yards in BYU football history.

Redshirt freshman Tyler Allgeier, who switched from linebacker to running back this week had six carries for 37 yards and a 57-yard touchdown reception to get the scoring started in the first quarter.

Quarterback Zach Wilson was making big plays happen through the air as well for the BYU offense. Wilson completed 85-percent of his passes and passed for 293 yards in only one half of action. In the second half, Joe Critchlow was the first quarterback off the bench in relief of Wilson. Baylor Romney had another week of rest from the coaching staff as he continues to recover from a foot injury he suffered late last month.

BYU’s defense just ran their base packages and they didn’t need to do too much to find success against a Minutemen offense that was in the bottom 10 nationally in many offensive statistics. The Cougars had seven tackles for loss and also forced a takeaway courtesy of senior defensive lineman JJ Nwigwe in the second quarter.

Like the offense, the defense turned to a lot of their young guys and depth to play the second half. Sitake was not pleased with the performance from the defense in the second half, but within some of the big plays given up, the Cougars had a goal-line stand preventing UMass from scoring another touchdown.

BYU had 628 yards of total offense to UMass’ 292 in the rout.

With the win, BYU moves to 7-4 on the year and will close out the regular season next week on the road at San Diego State.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for 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.

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