BYU vs. UNLV: Game Changing Plays

There were a lot of big plays in the BYU Cougars' 31-21 win over the UNLV Running Rebels. Players on both sides stepped up and made plays for their team. However, just three of those plays qualify as game changing plays.

1. Austin Kafentzis 20-yard run (2nd and 6, approx. 12:00 in 2nd Quarter)

The BYU defense had held UNLV scoreless on its first three drives, but the Running Rebels had been moving the ball. The BYU offense, on the other hand, hadn't moved more than 10 yards on either of its first two drives.

After a Squally Canada four-yard run, Kafentzis ripped off a 20-yard gain. It was the first big play for the offense, and it was a breakthrough. That was followed by a 30-yard pass from Joe Critchlow to Micah Simon. From then on, the Cougar offense was nearly unstoppable. That drive finished in a touchdown.

UNLV was able to match the score, but that didn't take any momentum from the Cougar offense. BYU scored a touchdown on the next drive as the first half was ending, and followed that with another touchdown coming out of the locker room.

2. Holding penalty on Corbin Kaufusi (4th and 6, 8:12 in 3rd Quarter)

After scoring touchdowns on three consecutive drives, BYU stalled at the UNLV 16-yard line. BYU kicked a field goal, which would have made it 24-7. However, there was a holding penalty on the play. That moved the ball back 10 yards. The second attempt missed.

UNLV struck quickly with a 35-yard pass on first down. The drive ended with a touchdown that closed the gap to seven, 21-14. Much like the Utah State game, a game where BYU had been rolling along, this game suddenly felt different. Cougar fans were back on the edge of their seats worrying that the game might slip away.

BYU RB Squally Canada carries the ball at UNLV (Jaren Wilkey, BYU Photos)

3. Squally Canada 21-yard run (1st and 10, 3:11 in 4th Quarter)

That nervous feeling that this game would slip away, much like other games had this season, hadn't completely gone away even as BYU maintained a 10-point lead deep into the fourth quarter. The Cougar D forced a punt with under five minutes to play, but BYU still needed to move the ball on the ground to put the game away. UNLV knew the run was coming. Would they be able to stop it?

No play answered that question than Canada's 21-yard burst to move the ball to the UNLV 11, and take him over 200 yards rushing on the night.

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