Flashback: Brigham Young Cougars 22, Texas Longhorns 17 (1987)

The Brigham Young Cougars have never won a game on September 7. However, exactly 23 years and 360 days ago, BYU played on the same field the 2011 Cougars will play this Saturday.

On September 12, 1987, BYU played its first game, ever, against the Texas Longhorns. It was game two for each team. Texas was coming off a five win season in 1986, which was the program’s first non-winning season in 10 years and first losing season in 30 years.

The big question going into this game was whether or not BYU could slow down Texas’ electrifying running back Eric Metcalf enough to win the game. As the game progressed, the big story became turnovers.

Texas took advantage of a Bob Jensen interception to take a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. BYU took advantage of several Texas turnovers in the second and third quarters to build a 22-10 lead. On the game, the BYU defense intercepted four passes and recovered four fumbles.

Special teams was the second biggest story of the game. Big plays on special teams directly led to scores for both teams. Texas used a 40-yard kickoff return with 1:30 to play in the first half to kick a long 46-yard field goal as time expired. On Texas’ first drive of the second half, BYU linebacker Richard Hobbs blocked the Longhorns attempted punt in the end zone for a safety.

Jensen threw a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter to give BYU the lead. Leonard Chitty kicked a pair of field goals in the third quarter to give BYU security.

With the good fortune of the defense forcing eight turnovers and holding Texas to 2 of 11 on third down conversions, the BYU offense could play conservative, ball-control football. That led to BYU dominating time of possession by a 34:22 to 25:38 margin.

A late touchdown by Texas (1:06 remaining) provided the final margin, 22-17.

BYU left Austin with a win on the strength of its solid, opportunistic defense. The offense didn’t play great, or even good, but they did enough to win.

More flashbacks can be found on the Flashbacks page.

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