Cougars defeat TCU 31-10



    It took a half, but the BYU offense finally showed up again.

    After going four quarters without a touchdown over the past two games, BYU exploded for 28 points in the second half en route to a 31-10 victory over Texas Christian at Cougar Stadium on Saturday.

    “We like to keep it interesting,” said BYU coach LaVell Edwards. “We decided to play the second half this week, instead of the first.”

    It was a get-well game for the Cougars, and the chief healer was quarterback Drew Miller. The freshman signal caller took over for an injured Paul Shoemaker in the second half and threw for 168 yards and three touchdowns.

    “I think a big part of football is just mental,” Miller said. “As an offensive team in the second half, we made it a must to come out and score some points. The defense has been doing an unbelievable job all year, and we had to do our part.”

    The game was tied 3-3 at halftime, but could have been much worse. TCU fumbled twice in Cougar territory, and BYU recovered both times. The second fumble was recovered by Jason Walker at the BYU one-yard line.

    But Miller and his receiving corps soon put to rest the offensive woes that had been plaguing the Cougars. BYU scored on its first three possessions of the second half to take control of the game 24-3.

    Brian McKenzie capped the first drive with a 2-yard touchdown run. Miller threw for the next two touchdowns: a 10 yarder to Aaron Roderick, and a beautiful 9-yard fade to Ben Cahoon.

    Miller and Roderick hooked up for another score, this one from 12 yards out, in the fourth quarter. TCU completed the scoring with a meaningless touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

    “It was like, finally we’re playing BYU football,” Roderick said. “We’re used to moving the ball and scoring points. For the past few weeks we haven’t been doing that. It was nice to finally make some plays.”

    Shoemaker was largely ineffective in the first half, completing 5 of 13 passes for 56 yards, although several balls were dropped.

    “We had people open in the first half,” said Ben Cahoon, who had another big day with 10 catches for 142 yards. “The difference in the second half was that we had receivers making the plays.”

    Drops or not in the first half, Miller, who ended up completing 16 of 26 passes for 180 yards, was a major difference in the second half.

    On the four touchdown drives Miller directed, BYU converted on third down seven times. His first touchdown pass to Roderick was threaded between two TCU defenders. On Cahoon’s touchdown reception, Miller audiblized out of a running play after spotting Cahoon in single coverage.

    “I’ve said all along, it’s just a matter of time,” Edwards said. “Drew’s going to be a great quarterback. He’s got a great presence out there.”

    BYU’s defense dominated again, building on its performane against Hawaii. TCU netted only 256 total yards, and only had 10 yards on 10 plays in the critical third quarter.

    “After the first two drives, I thought our defense played well the rest of the game,” Edwards said.

    The defense was noticeably energized by the offense’s production. At the same time Miller and Co. were putting up 21 third-quarter points, TCU only manage two first downs.

    “It’s kind of a relief when they (the offense) score,” said cornerback Omarr Morgan. “It’s like we just have to go out and do our job. We don’t have to worry about anything.”

    Although the Cougars’ offensive re-birth and defensive domination came against the now 0-7 Horned Frogs, players and coaches alike were upbeat following the game. It was BYU’s (5-2) first real blowout of the season, and the Cougars hope to run with it.

    “Today we really came together as a team,” Miller said. “The offense was congratulating the defense, the defense was congratulating the offense, and that’s what it’s all about.”

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