PROVO, Utah – The #23 BYU Cougars held on late to defeat the #19 Arizona State 27-17 in Lavell Edwards Stadium.
It was the first time in program history that BYU beat ranked teams in back-to-back weeks.
The Cougars are 3-0 for the second consecutive season. It’s been 59 years since BYU football achieved that feat.
It wasn’t all good for BYU in the win. Starting quarterback Jaren Hall left the field on a scary play late in the 4th quarter after attempting to seal the win with a run near the goal line.
He didn’t return, however, he spoke with the media after the game saying “he’s good to go” next week after having the wind knocked out of him.
Backup quarterback Baylor Romney came in for the final two plays of the drive and iced the game with a touchdown pass to Isaac Rex.
More on Romney in my observations from wild football game in Provo.
1. Tyler Allgeier forced fumble
Tyler Allgeier made the play of the season at the end of third quarter. It’s not even debatable.
BYU was driving in Sun Devil territory when Jaren Hall made a horrible decision to throw the ball near the sideline after avoiding a sack.
It was shades of Zach Wilson throwing an INT to Francis Bernard against Utah in 2019.
The pass fell right into the arms of Arizona State linebacker Merlin Robertson, who looked like he would take it to the house.
He raced down the sideline and used a tomahawk chop to force a fumble in what will become a historic play for BYU football.
Credit Jaren Hall as well who hustled down the field to recover the fumble.
“I literally freaking hauled butt,” said Allgeier in postgame interviews.
Those types of plays are often the difference between good seasons and memorable seasons.
2. BYU “ROC” causing penalties
The BYU student section, also known as the “ROC,” is becoming a force to be reckoned with inside Lavell Edwards Stadium.
On the second to final drive for the Sun Devils, the “ROC” forced four false start penalties.
That’s not a typo. Four penalties in one drive.
Arizona State eventually punted the football.
The Cougar offense put together another clutch scoring drive afterwards that put the game out of reach.
“The ROC was the key tonight,” said tight end Isaac Rex in postgame interviews.
16 penalties were enforced on the Sun Devils with another three penalties declined by BYU.
There’s no doubt in my mind the home field atmosphere played a role in the win.
3. Baylor Romney quarterback rating
After a scary play involving Jaren Hall on a read option on the final drive of the game, Baylor Romney came into action for two plays and a chance to put the game away.
On second and goal Tyler Allgeier was stuffed at the goal line. Everyone in the stadium thought it would be another run up the middle. However, Aaron Roderick dialed up a play-action pass to Isaac Rex.
Romney stumbled on the play, reminding me of Steve Young against the Green Bay Packers in the 1998 NFC wild card game.
“The Elk” Isaac Rex made a tough contested catch and pushed BYU to the finish line.
Romney finished with a quarterback rating of 455.2 going 1 for 1 with a TD pass.
What a luxury it is that BYU has a backup quarterback who they trust to make a critical play when it’s needed.
Let’s not forget, Jake Oldroyd didn’t play due to injury for the second time this season.
That’s not to say Justen Smith wouldn’t have made an easy field goal, but it’s preferable to score a touchdown in that situation.
Anything can happen on special teams.
Anything seems possible for this BYU team going forward.
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