Flashback: BYU surprises Fresno State with “unorthodox” offense

On this date 20 years ago, the Brigham Young Cougars took on the Fresno State Bulldogs for the first time as conference foes. In 1992, Fresno State joined the WAC. When they came to Provo to play BYU, the Cougars had a couple of Aces up their sleeves.

BYU went out of character and ran the ball 57 times for 307 yards. The Cougars relied heavily on its tandem of running backs from Las Vegas. Jamal Willis and Kalin Hall accounted for 50 of those rushes. They each went over 100 yards (Hall, 157; Willis, 129). Hall was more lethal averaging 7.8 yards per carry and scored two touchdowns.

Hall got the scoring started with a 15-yard run in the first quarter. A David Lauder field goal gave BYU a 10-0 lead.

The Bulldogs wouldn’t go away that ease. They scored a touchdown of their own, and the first quarter ended 10-7. They would later tie the game 13-13 in the second quarter.

BYU started to pull away from Fresno State going into the half. A seven-yard run by Willis broke the tie, and with less than a minute to play in the half, quarterback Ryan Hancock showed BYU hadn’t forgotten how to pass. He connected with Eric Drage for a 77-yard touchdown to make it a 27-16 game.

Hancock would finish the game 16 of 25 (64%) for 272 yards and one touchdown with one interception. He had another long completion (41 yards) to Otis Sterling. Drage had a fine day with 130 yards on five receptions.

BYU was shutout in the third quarter, while Fresno State scored a touchdown and a two-point conversion to pull within three.

The Cougar D returned the shutout in the fourth and kept Fresno State off the board. Meanwhile, the BYU offense added a field goal, and sealed the win with a 5-yard touchdown run by Hall. The final score was 36-24.

The Cougars had an impressive 38:03 time of possession. BYU converted all four of the fourth downs they attempted.

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