Allgeier’s monster game carries No. 13 BYU football to win at Utah State
Utah State head coach Blake Anderson made a frank assessment of what the Aggies saw heading into Friday’s game at Maverik Stadium in Logan against No. 13-ranked BYU.
“They were bigger than us, more physical than us, and we knew it was going to be tough to move the ball on them and tough to stop them,” Anderson said in the post-game press conference. “As the game went on, we felt like our conditioning and our speed and quickness would pay off — and it did. We battled back to a seven-point game.”
Indeed, the Aggies got a big touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to make the score 27-20 and appeared to be in good position to make another comeback.
But BYU has some speed and quickness as well — as Cougar junior running back Tyler Allgeier showed when the game was on the line.
On the first play of the next BYU drive, Allgeier took the handoff, burst around the left end (thanks in part to a crushing block by sophomore receiver Puka Nacua) and sprinted down the field.
“I’m just thinking, don’t get caught,” Allgeier said. “I’m just trying to do what I’m supposed to do and get in the end zone.”
Unlike an earlier 59 yard touchdown run, this time the Cougar star did get tackled. Video review showed his elbow touched the turf just before the ball crossed the line, so he had to run it twice more to actually get in the end zone.
That sequence gave BYU its final points in the 34-20 victory over the Aggies and capped a brilliant performance by Allgeier. The junior finished with a career-high 218 yards on 22 carries with three touchdowns.
“I’m exhausted,” Allgeier admitted after being asked how tired he was. “It was a great team win. I’m glad we’re 5-0 and now it’s on to the next game.”
Cougar head coach Kalani Sitake also noted that Allgeier’s workhorse performance took a lot out of him.
“He got so tired he couldn’t finish the game,” Sitake said. “I’m really, really happy. If you ask him, he’ll give a lot of credit to the offensive line and the guys blocking downfield. I was happy with the way he ran the ball and the way the line blocked.”
BYU needed to put a lot on Allgeier’s shoulders, particularly after sophomore quarterback Baylor Romney got hurt late in the first half.
That meant the Cougar offense needed freshman quarterback Jacob Conover to step in for his first collegiate action in a hostile environment with the outcome still in doubt.
Fortunately for Conover and BYU, Romney — who was 15-of-19 passing for 187 yards and a TD — had guided the Cougars to three touchdowns and a field goal in five first-half possessions to give BYU a 24-13 edge at the break.
“Fast starts help us but I like ending the right way,” Sitake said. “We’ve been able to do that in our games. We have to be able to stay consistent in the way that we play.”
But Utah State has some dangerous offensive players and so the Cougars knew they couldn’t expect that to be enough points.
“We needed points,” Allgeier said. “The offense needed to score. It’s always on our mind that we need to score.”
Conover said he felt like he had been preparing for the opportunity to be at the helm for the Cougars for a long time but it still took time to settle in.
“It was pretty surreal,” Conover said. “They were coming after Baylor hard and had a good defensive scheme. He took some shots, so I was just ready. The players knew that I was going to go in after he was hit right before halftime but they showed their trust in me and I showed my trust in them. It was just a big family rocking and rolling.”
Conover ended up going 5-of-9 for 45 yards but one of the keys was that the BYU defense made some adjustments and slowed the Aggie offense while Conover got settled and the ground game got rolling.
“I’m proud of how the guys played,” Cougar linebacker Ben Bywater said. “We’ve worked hard all offseason so for us to go in there and dominate the line of scrimmage like that, it’s just a testament to our hard work. We have a great scout team and a great scheme in general.”
Utah State got one scoring drive after the break, a 14-play marathon that was capped with a 28-yard TD pass from junior quarterback Logan Bonner to senior wide receiver Deven Thompkins.
That set the stage for Allgeier’s longest run of the evening as BYU put the game out of reach.
The Cougars now get an extra day of rest as they prepare to face Boise State in Provo on Oct. 10.
BYU’s continued success was reflected when the new national polls came out on Sunday.
In both the USA Today Sports AFCA Coaches Poll and the Associate Press Poll, the Cougars moved up to No. 10. It is the second season in a row where BYU was ranked in the Top 10 in the country, which is an impressive accomplishment.