Exactly ten years ago, October 5, 2001, the Brigham Young Cougars didn’t need last minute heroics to beat Utah State, but the Cougars did trail at halftime 27-21. Thanks to Luke Staley exploding in the third quarter, BYU won this game comfortably, 54-34.
Between Aggie wide receiver Kevin Curtis (11 receptions, 129 yards, 1 TD) and running back Emmett White (24 carries, 144 yards, 2 TD), the Cougar defense had more than it could handle. After taking a six-point lead into the locker room, Utah State recovered an onsides kick to start the second half, drove down the field, and scored a touchdown to go up 13 points.
At this point, Utah State was in complete control. They had scored 22 straight points. BYU hadn’t scored since the 12:10 mark of the second quarter.
With a touchdown run and a touchdown catch in the first half, Staley had kept BYU in the game. When Utah State went up by two scores, Staley stepped it up two notches. He went on his own scoring spree. Before the third quarter ended, Staley found the end zone three times on three straight possessions.
Now that Staley had the Aggies’ complete attention, quarterback Brandon Doman took advantage of them and tossed two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to pull away.
Inspired by Staley, the BYU defense kept Utah State scoreless the rest of the game. Jenaro Gilford intercepted a pass and returned it 62 yards to set up Staley’s second touchdown in the third quarter.
In the past two games, Staley had only rushed for a total of 124 yards (47 and 77, respectively). When the smoke cleared, Staley had his biggest game, to date, in a Cougar uniform. On 23 carries, he racked up 207 yards and scored 4 touchdowns. He caught 4 passes for 44 yards and 1 touchdown. Staley even completed a pass for 11 yards. He finished with 311 all-purpose yards, and his five touchdowns tied a school record.
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