The Brigham Young Cougars used a 17-point second quarter to build a commanding 24-6 halftime lead. Washington State was unable to score in the second half, and BYU coasted to a 30-6 victory.
In the early going, Washington State appeared to have the upper hand. BYU received the opening kickoff, but could drive only 17 yards on 9 plays. A 6-yard sack on 3rd and 10 forced BYU to punt. Washington State then proceeded to drive 63 yards to the BYU 18-yard line. The drive was kept alive by a gutsy call to go for it on 4th and 5 at the BYU 44.
Just when it seemed Mike Leach’s “air raid” was off to a smashing debut, BYU stopped Washington State for a five-yard loss on a pass. That set up a 3rd and 11 situation. Washington State dropped back to pass again. BYU defensive back Daniel Sorensen broke up the pass by tipping the ball in the air. Linebacker Uona Kaveinga was in position to make a diving interception.
It appeared the BYU offense would give the ball right back to Washington State, but, on 3rd and 8, wide receiver Cody Hoffman caught a 28-yard pass from Riley Nelson. Hoffman converted a second 3rd down three plays later. The drive ended with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Nelson to Skyler Ridley. It was Ridley’s first career reception. Riley Stephenson kicked the extra point to give BYU a 7-0 lead.
The BYU defense got the ball back for the offense after three incomplete passes. BYU promptly marched 71 yards on 10 plays and took a 14-0 lead on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Taysom Hill to Kaneakua Friel. It was Hill’s very first college football play.
BYU was now in full control of the game, but two personal foul penalties by BYU defensive backs on back-to-back plays helped move Washington State into scoring territory. With 10:42 to play in the second quarter, Washington State got on the board with a 47-yard field goal.
At this point, Hoffman had left the game with a quadriceps contusion. In his absence, Friel, Nelson, and Michael Alisa converted third downs to get BYU in field goal range. Stephenson nailed a 28-yard kick to make it 17-3.
BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy got his first highlight of the season with a six-yard sack on 3rd and 11 to get the offense the ball back with enough time for one more score before halftime.
The new BYU no huddle hurry up offense was running on all cylinders. Ridley caught two passes for 19 yards. Alisa ran for three before Friel went 25-yards for a touchdown. It was four plays, 46 yards, and a 24-3 lead.
With the way the BYU defense had been controlling Washington State, it appeared BYU would take that 21-point lead into the locker room at the half. Back-to-back 15 yard penalties on the BYU defense, again, moved Washington State into scoring territory. Washington State scored a touchdown, but had it negated by a holding penalty. A field goal on the final play of the half cut the lead to 24-6.
The game got interesting with the second half kickoff when Washington State returned it 63 yards. With Washington State poised to score quickly and make this a game, Van Noy made a 7-yard sack on 1st and 10. On 3rd and 12, cornerback Jordan Johnson intercepted the ball and returned it 65 yards to the Washington State 9-yard line.
The interception set up the first of two BYU field goals in the third quarter to make it 30-6. While the second half had just begun, the game was, for all intents and purposes, was over.
Ezekiel Ansah got a pass deflection, and David Foote blocked a punt in the second half.
The BYU secondary did an exceptional job limiting pre-season All-American wide receiver Marquess Wilson to just one catch for 13 yards in the first half and 4 for 61 yards for the game. On 45 pass attempts, Washington State had only 229 yards passing.
Washington State had -5 yards rushing on 16 carries.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Uona Kaveinga interception at the BYU 20-yard line with 6:00 minutes to play in the 1st quarter.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Kaneakua Friel—6 receptions, 101 yards, 2 touchdowns.
NEXT: Weber State
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