Freshman running back Jamaal Williams scored four touchdowns to lead the BYU football team to a 41-17 victory over Georgia Tech in Atlanta.
Williams ran for 107 yards and three scores. He also caught three passes for 54 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown reception came on a shovel pass that Williams took 39 yards into the endzone.
After giving up a lot of points and yards against Oregon State and Notre Dame, BYU’s defense held Georgia Tech to 157 total yards and three points. Georgia Tech was ranked No. 3 in the nation in rushing offense with an average of 339.57 rushing yards per game prior to the game Saturday. However, BYU held Georgia Tech to 117 yards on the ground, nearly a third of its average.
[media-credit id=74 align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]”We knew that they rushed the ball a lot and that they were a physical team and that it was going to be a grind and a fight out there,” defensive back Daniel Sorensen said. “The coaches did a good job preparing us for what we’re going to see today. We love when teams try to run the ball and come after us.”
The Cougars opened the game coming straight at a struggling Georgia Tech defense. JD Falslev returned the opening kick off 44 yards to give the offense a good starting field position. Riley Nelson had a good opening series, going five of six on pass attempts, to put the Cougars in scoring position. On fourth and one, Williams took the hand off and opened the scoring with a six-yard touchdown run.
Looking for a response, Georgia Tech’s offense went three and out, but its defense was able to get a turnover. Isaiah Johnson stepped in front of a Nelson pass and took the interception 22 yards the opposite direction to tie the game at 7-7. The Yellow Jackets were never able to put together a sustained drive on offense, finishing the game with zero third down conversions.
“We flat out got our tails whipped,” Georgia Tech Head Coach Paul Johnson said. “We got whipped on all three phases of the game. We didn’t get a lot of possessions, and when we did have the ball we couldn’t convert on third down.”
BYU’s special teams gave up a kickoff return for a touchdown but came up big when they needed to. JD Falslev had 129 yards of returning kickoffs for the afternoon. The returns set the Cougars up in favorable field position with an average starting field position on the 43 yard line.
Kyle Van Noy created a short field for the BYU offense on one series by blocking a punt and setting the offense up on the 13 yard line.
Sorensen helped seal the victory for the Cougars, intercepting Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington and returning the ball inside the five yard line. The interception was Sorensen’s second of the season.
BYU took advantage of opportunities through the air, a move that kept Georgia Tech on its heels.
“Georgia Tech has gone through defensive changes, and we have been gaining momentum offensively, ” Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “We felt like it was the right time to not only show the offense that we had confidence in them, but it seemed strategically like it was the right thing to do.”
Nelson connected with Ross Apo for a 43-yard reception in the first half. The pass was Nelson’s second longest of the season. Cody Hoffman continued his solid season, catching seven passes for 69 yards.
BYU goes into a bye week now with a record of 5-4. The Cougars need only one more victory to become eligible for participation in the Poinsettia Bowl in December. The Cougars will use the next week to rest up and get healthy for games against Idaho, San Jose State and New Mexico State.