Brigham Young Cougars use Hill to Mathews combination to cruise past Utah State

It’s the first play from scrimmage. The commentators have just finished talking about how Utah St. quarterback Chuckie Keeton has thrown for 17 TDs and only one interception. Keeton steps back to throw, and Kyle Van Noy steps in between the passing lane, gets a hand on the ball, pulls it down and takes it to the house. It is 7-0 for BYU and the game has just started.

Granted, BYU would give the Aggies their own gift wrapped touchdown after a Taysom Hill fumble on BYU’s first offensive drive. It gave USU the ball just 15 yards out from the end zone, and three plays later they scored, but the Van Noy interception did more to set the tone. The Cougar defense kept Utah St. out of the end zone for much the rest of the game, with the only other Utah St. touchdown coming in garbage time.

In their second drive of the game, the Cougars started to get into a groove. They had a good pass/run mix, with Hill completing 4 of 6 passes, including a 28-yard pass to wide receiver Mitch Mathews to get down to the USU 9. As usual, however, BYU struggled in the red zone and came away with only a field goal.

On USU’s next drive, Keeton suffer an injury to his left leg and went out for the rest of the game.

The first quarter wound down with BYU and USU trading possessions. This continued into the second quarter. On their second possession of the quarter, BYU broke things open, first with a Jamaal Williams run for 44 yards, and then Hill hit Mathews on a 30-yard touchdown strike. The rest of the quarter, the two teams went back to trading possessions, resulting in a halftime score of 17-7.

BYU started the second half with the ball, and once again moved the ball well and marched down the field on a good mix of pass/run. Cody Hoffman caught his first pass of the game for 20 yards, and Hill ripped off his biggest run of the night, 24 yards, on the very next play. On 2nd and Goal from the 6, Hill found Mathews in the corner of the end zone. BYU was now up 24-7.

After a couple more back-and-forths, Hill-to-Mathews would strike again, this time from 43 yards out. Mathews was wide open, and Hill put the throw right on the money. Other than a USU touchdown late in the fourth quarter, the rest of the game was BYU playing conservative to protect its lead, and the Cougar defense shutting down the Aggie offense.

Hill finished the game 17 for 31, for 278 yards and 3 TDs, with one interception. Jamaal Williams had 79 yards on 14 carries, in limited use, and Mathews finished the game with career highs 5 receptions for 112 yards and 3 TDs.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Mitch Mathews – 5 receptions, 112 yards, 3 TDs

PLAY OF THE GAME: Kyle Van Noy 17-yard interception return for a touchdown.

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