Highlights, key plays and photos from No. 15 BYU’s 27-20 victory over UTSA

by 24USATVOct. 11, 2020, 7:01 a.m. 25
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PROVO — BYU received a much bigger test than the No. 15 Cougars expected Saturday before finally beating UTSA 27-20 at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

The Roadrunners outscored the home team 10-7 to start the second half and cut the BYU lead to single digits in the fourth quarter before the Cougars scored on a touchdown drive late.

UTSA quickly scored its own touchdown to make it a seven-point game with just over a minute to play. BYU recovered an onside kick and held on after the Roadrunners were flagged for a roughing the punter penalty with 15 seconds left following a BYU three-and-out, and the Cougars knelt down to wrap up the victory.

With the win, the Cougars improve to 4-0 while UTSA of Conference USA drops to 3-2.

For the first time this year, the BYU offense struggled, as the Cougars finished the game scoring on four of their 11 drives. BYU punted four times in the game and had 470 yards of total offense compared to 359 for UTSA, though the Roadrunners had a 258-170 edge in the second half.

Zach Wilson had a solid if unspectacular game, completing 22 of 30 passes for 292 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for another score.

The BYU offense spent much of the day in a funk, though, and couldn’t string as many positive plays together and the Roadrunners did a good job Wilson on the run even without finishing with a sack.

The Cougars extended their lead to 14 points late in the contest on a 12-play, 80-yard drive that took 6:11 off the clock and was capped by a 6-yard touchdown run from Tyler Allgeier, who had 116 rushing yards in the game.

UTSA active to start the second half

The Roadrunners made it a close game by taking control out of halftime. In the third quarter, UTSA outgained BYU in total yards, 129-95, and had a 9:32 to 5:28 edge in time of possession.

While the Cougars outscored UTSA 7-3 in the third, a Roadrunner drive led by backup quarterback Lowell Narcisse cut the BYU lead to eight points less than a minute into the fourth quarter, as Narcisse hit Zakhari Franklin for a 32-yard touchdown.

Narcisse took over for starter Frank Harris just before halftime, and he finished the day completing 17 of 20 passes for 229 yards and two touchdowns, including a 34-yard scoring pass to Brennon Dingle with 1:17 to play to make it a one-score game.

While BYU has been able to put away its opponents by early in the second half so far in 2020, that didn’t happen Saturday.

Both teams struggled with penalties — UTSA had nine for 79 yards while the Cougars had seven for 55 yards. While BYU was 7 of 14 on third downs, it was 4 of 10 before the final TD drive. The Roadrunners were 4 of 13 on third down, though that improved in the second half after going 0 of 5 in the first half.

The Cougars had a chance to build a bigger first-half lead but a turnover on their opening drive and a turnover on downs in UTSA territory led to BYU scoring just twice in the opening two quarters, taking a 14-3 lead into the break.

The BYU defense held UTSA running back Sincere McCormick, who leads the nation in rushing, to 42 yards on 11 carries, but the Cougars struggled mightily against the backup Narcisse, allowing the Roadrunners to have a chance in the second half.

The Cougars couldn’t pick up a first down after recovering the onside kick, but UTSA is flagged for a roughing the punter penalty, giving BYU the chance to kneel it out for a tight win.

UTSA isn’t going away, scoring on a quick four-play, 74-yard drive with just over a minute to play, and Brennon Dingle’s 34-yard touchdown catch with no defender within 10 yards makes this a one-score game.

BYU uses a 12-play, 80-yard drive that chewed 6:11 off the clock to build a two-score lead on UTSA with just over two minutes remaining, and Tyler Allgeier gets his first rushing touchdown of the day.

UTSA isn’t going away, as backup quarterback Lowell Narcisse leads another impressive drive, capped by a pretty 32-yard touchdown pass to Zakhari Franklin.

A few notes from the third quarter:
• UTSA has 129 yards of total offense in the quarter, compared to 95 for BYU
• The Roadrunners convert 3 of 5 third downs in the third, after failing to convert a third down in the first half
• UTSA runs 21 plays in the quarter, compared to 10 for BYU, and owns a 9:32-5:28 time of possession advantage
• Ninety of BYU’s 95 yards came on the touchdown drive

The Cougars go a much-needed touchdown drive, marching 90 yards in seven plays to score on a 4-yard Zach Wilson run. A 52-yard pass to Gunner Romney sparked the drive.

The Roadrunners go 56 yards in 10 plays on the opening drive of the second half for Hunter Duplessis’s second field goal of the game.

A few notes from a closer-than-expected first half:
• BYU is averaging 7.7 yards per play, and has 300 yards of total offense. The Cougars, though, have scored on just two of six drives
• UTSA is 0 of 5 on third downs and has 101 yards of total offense
• The Roadrunners’ Sincere McCormick, who leads the nation in rushing yards, has 41 rushing yards, but just 18 on seven carries after a 23-yard carry on his first attempt
• BYU’s Zach Wilson has completed 15 of 21 passes for 189 yards and two touchdowns
• BYU has dealt with some sloppiness, with four penalties for 35 yards and a turnover inside the red zone

A nice little dump-off pass to Lopini Katoa for a 11-yard touchdown gives BYU two straight scores here in the second quarter.

BYU’s first score of the day is a highlight-worthy one, as Zach Wilson rolls out on fourth-and-goal at the 4 and throws high to Neil Pau’u, who hauls in the pass in the corner and is able to get both feet in.

Notes from the first quarter:
• BYU is held scoreless in a quarter for the first time this season
• The Cougars have 180 yards of total offense to 85 for UTSA, but had a turnover inside the UTSA 15 and a turnover on downs
• BYU has a second-and-goal to start the second quarter

The Roadrunners strike first on a field goal, after two BYU possessions end in a fumble and a turnover on downs. It’s the first time BYU has trailed this season.

The Cougars get one back, as Troy Warner intercepts a first-quarter pass for the second straight week, inside the BYU 20.

BYU’s first possession ended with a fumble inside the UTSA 20:

Here’s a few links to other stories you may want to read before the contest and during the game:

For the first time this year, BYU will be wearing navy jerseys, along with white pants.

This CBS Sports crew is believers in BYU (thanks to Twitter user @jjfuller72 for the video):

A pair of Cougars — head coach Kalani Sitake and executive coordinator of recruiting and player personnel Jasen Ah You — are celebrating birthdays today:

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