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No. 23 BYU Takes Down No. 19 Arizona State, Improves To 3-0

Kalani Sitake celebrates after BYU defeats Arizona State. (Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah – BYU football is 3-0 after a thrilling 27-17 victory over No. 19 Arizona State on Saturday night.

In as many weeks, BYU defeated a team ranked in the AP Top 25 poll for the second time. BYU had its share of struggles against Arizona State, but BYU never trailed like the previous games this season.

BYU got the scoring started less than a minute into the ball game. Talmage Gunther knocked out the ball from an Arizona State kick returner, and BYU safety Hayden Livingston landed on the football. Three plays later, BYU running back Tyler Allgeier ran into the endzone on a 4-yard play. And BYU was on the board for the first score of the game.

Jayden Daniels and Arizona State didn’t let the early struggles rattle them. Instead, Daniels manufactured a six-play, 75-yard drive of their own to tie up the score.

The rest of the first quarter was all Arizona State, as BYU had only 12 plays to ASU’s 137. But the game remained tied at seven.

BYU offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick made in-game adjustments that saw BYU’s offense take off in the second quarter. The Cougars scored 14 unanswered to go into halftime with a 21-7 lead.

Then it was ASU who made adjustments. ASU turned to Daniyel Ngata instead of Rachaad White at running back, and Ngata gave the Sun Devils a spark, capped off by a 10-yard touchdown run.

BYU’s offense sputtered to open the third quarter producing back-to-back three-and-outs that opened the door for ASU to score ten unanswered. It was the third consecutive game where BYU allowed their opponent to score ten unanswered in the third.

Then the third quarter turned from bad to worse for BYU. First, Jaren Hall threw an interception to ASU linebacker Merlin Robertson, then Robertson was headed for the endzone. But Tyler Allgeier made one of the best plays you’ll ever see in a college football game. He tracked down Robertson and stripped the ball away from him. BYU then recovered the strip. It was the most celebrated 60-yard loss you’ll ever find from a team.

Allgeier was awarded the game ball after BYU’s win for that effort by not giving up on the play.

You could say at this point, BYU had the Sun Devils where they wanted them. Holding a 21-17 lead heading into the fourth quarter, BYU’s student section, the ROC, ramped up the noise. With Arizona State back up near their south endzone location, ASU committed four false start penalties. Then edge rusher Pepe Tanuvasa sacked Daniels to force the Sun Devils to punt.

BYU’s offense started to wear down ASU in the trenches with the ground attack. BYU’s offense ran the football on 17 plays, with most of those carries going to feature running back Tyler Allgeier.

Allgeier ended the night with 21 carries for 69 yards and a touchdown. The backfield of Allgeier and quarterback Jaren Hall put BYU in a situation late in the fourth to ice away the game with a two-possession lead. BYU dialed up a run for Hall that resulted in a first down. That was the good part of the play for BYU. The bad news is that the hit from two ASU defenders injured Hall and he ended the night in BYU’s medical tent and locker room.

In came backup quarterback Baylor Romney and BYU turned to Romney through the air. Roderick dialed up a play action play call for the sophomore QB, who had led BYU to a victory over Boise State two years ago, and he converted the pass with a touchdown to tight end Isaac Rex. It was Rex’s second touchdown grab of the night.

BYU improves to 3-0 on the season and is the only team in the country to remain undefeated with all of their opponents against Power 5 competition. The Cougars will next be in action against USF on Saturday, September 25.

Jaren Hall in the postgame press conference said he got the wind knocked out of him and that he will be okay for next week against the Bulls.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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