Flashback: BYU beats Utah State to get back in the win column

Kalin Hall

Twenty-five years ago, the BYU Cougars were in a similar position as the 2017 football team finds itself. Sitting at 1-3 and the starting quarterback out with injury, BYU was preparing for in-state rival Utah State. Quarterback Ryan Hancock was playing in just his second game of the season; forced into action because of injury.

It took until midway through the first quarter, but BYU was first on the board as Hancock connected with Otis Sterling on a 25-yard touchdown pass. By the time the quarter ended, it was just a one-point lead for the Cougars. Utah State scored on a pair of 26-yard field goals.

During the second quarter, BYU blew the game open.

Hancock found Kalin Hall on a screen pass. Hall picked up a block from Jim Edwards, and it was off to the races. Utah State lost this race, and Hall went 67-yards down the sideline to make it 14-6.

A 55-yard pass from Hancock to Eric Drage on the next possession made it feel like BYU was going to run away with the game. The Aggie defense, however, stiffened, and intercepted a Hancock pass at the goal line.

The turnover was merely delaying the inevitable. Shad Hansen recovered a Utah State fumble at the 17-yard line to get the ball back for BYU in scoring position. A penalty moved the ball back five yards. BYU then used a little trickery to get into the end zone. Speedster Tyler Anderson took a reverse 22 yards for a touchdown.

With the lead now 15, the BYU defense could get a little more aggressive. That resulted in a safety. Kevin Nicholl sacked the Utah State quarterback in the end zone, which made it 23-6 for BYU with 5:19 left in the first half.

The Aggies did manage to add three more points before the end of the half with a 47-yard field goal.

The big highlight of the second half for BYU was a 65-yard touchdown from Hancock to Drage, for insurance.

The Cougar defense pitched a second half shutout, and the final score was 30-9.

Aided by six sacks, four in the second half, BYU held Utah State to just 29 yards rushing on 31 carries.

Hancock tallied 385 yards passing and three touchdowns as he completed 20 of 40 passes. Two of his passes were intercepted. Over half of those passing yards went to Drage. He had 196 for the game.

This game also featured the 1992 debut of defensive lineman Brad Hunter as a punter. He boomed a 59 yarder, which earned him primary punting duties the rest of the season.

PLAY OF THE GAME: Kalin Hall's 67-yard touchdown catch.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Eric Drage, 8 receptions, 198 yards, 1 TD

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