BYU vs. Boise State: Game Changing Plays

The Brigham Young Cougars offense was impressive in its route of Boise State Friday night, but it was the BYU defense that made the game changing plays. There were three of them to be exact--two turnovers and one big fourth down stop.

Play 1: 4th and 1 at the BYU 12-yard line, 12:34 2nd Quarter

BYU had taken a 10-0 lead on the first play of the second quarter while the Boise State offense had been rendered lifeless by the Cougar D. Then the Broncos reached into their old bag of tricks. Boise State converted a 4th and 4 from their own 41-yard line, and followed that with a pass by a wide receiver on a reverse that went for 26 yards. Three plays later Boise State faced another fourth down. This time, they needed just one yard.

If Boise State converted the first down, they probably would score a touchdown. That is how much momentum they had.

Trying a quarterback sneak, Kyle Van Noy crashed down from the end of the line and pulled the Boise State quarterback backwards just enough to allow the rest of the Cougar D to get enough penetration to prevent a first down.

Had Boise State gotten a first down, and then a touchdown, it would have cut the BYU lead to 10-7. The complexion of the game would have been totally different as well.

Play 2: Fumble recovery by Remington Peck at the Boise State 47-yard line, 2:25 2nd Quarter

With 3:45 to play before halftime, BYU scored a touchdown to go ahead 17-3. Boise State, however, was ready to respond and made it a one touchdown game again before the break. The Broncos had just picked up a first down. On the next play, the Boise State quarterback completed another pass, and the receiver had gained another 10 yards that would move the sticks again.

Not giving up on the play, BYU free safety Craig Bills came from behind and knocked the ball out. Defensive end Remington Peck was right there to corral the ball. BYU was back in business.

In 1:41, BYU drove 47 yards and scored another touchdown to take a commanding 24-3 halftime lead.

Play 3: Fumble recovery by Kyle Van Noy at the Boise State 29-yard line, 2:00 3rd Quarter

Besides a 40-yard touchdown pass, the BYU offense hadn't managed to do much in the third quarter. Boise State, however, had scored 10 points to cut the BYU lead to 31-13 with 3:44 to go in the 3rd. The Broncos defense then forced a second straight 3-and-out for the BYU offense.

Boise State was starting to click. Offense, defense, and special teams were all making plays. With another score, Boise State would be in prime position to complete a comeback in the fourth quarter.

On first down, Boise State completed a pass for nine yards. That would have set up a 2nd and 1, but before the ball carrier went down Uani Unga jarred the ball loose. Kyle Van Noy swarmed in to recover the ball.

BYU kicked a field goal to go up by 21, and the Boise State offense unraveled. The Broncos turned the ball over, again, on each of its next two possessions. It was clear that a comeback was going to happen. That first turnover flustered the Boise State offense and gave BYU the upper hand.

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