BYU football overrun by Wolf Pack at home

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Paul Lasike runs through Nevada defenders.
Paul Lasike runs through Nevada defenders. (Elliott Miller)

The BYU Cougars suffered another loss, this time to Nevada. The game came down to the final minutes but in the end the Cougars fell short in Saturday night’s game.

BYU’s turnovers in the third and fourth quarters allowed Nevada a window of opportunity to come back and beat the Cougars, 35-42.

Offensively BYU looked great on paper, with Christian Stewart completing 39 of 63 passes, throwing zero interceptions, and Mitch Mathews making 16 receptions for a total of 182 yards. It looked liked the Cougars were going to come out with their first win since Taysom Hill got injured.

Crucial turnovers in the second half killed BYU’s momentum in their rally to keep their lead until the end. Fumbles combined with penalties cut off the Cougars circulation and ultimately their revival of life.

“We’re not proud of ourselves, the Coaches aren’t proud of us.” said Mitch Mathews after the game. “On offense we didn’t do our job in the second half. We’re supposed to score in every quarter, and we didn’t do that.”

The first half proved to be a wide display of performances by the Cougar’s offense and defense. the defense holding Nevada to a 44 yard field goal in the first quarter. While BYU’s offense moved the ball well on their second drive which resulted in a one yard touchdown run by Paul Lasike, the team went into the second quarter with the lead, 7-3.

The Cougars continued to steamroll the Wolf Pack in the second quarter with some gutsy fourth down calls. Stewart was able to hit Lasike on a swing route giving Lasike room to run 20 yards to the end zone. At that point it was BYU 14, Nevada 3.

Nevada didn’t take it’s time in responding though. With a 66 yard pass from Cody Fajardo, Nevada was in the red-zone in just a few plays. James Butler was able to bounce one outside and rushed for a Nevada touchdown making the score 14-10 BYU with 13:40 left to play in the half.

Mitch Mathews signals to the Ref he's in.
Mitch Mathews signals to the Ref he’s in. (Elliott Miller)

BYU answered right back though with a 60 yard drive that resulted in a Stewart to Mathews connection putting the Cougars even farther ahead. 21-10 BYU.

Nevada then had a solid drive which resulted in a 26 yard field goal, thanks to a big defensive stop by Bronson Kaufusi.

BYU wasn’t done just yet. The running game did pick up for the Cougars. Nick Carter ended the night with 7 carries for 87 yards, Lasike also having 12 touches and 46 yards.

The Cougars ended up scoring again with another Stewart to Mathews connection before halftime.

The third quarter was BYU’s kryptonite. The Cougars almost scored on their first drive of the second half but the 44 yard field goal attempt by Trevor Samson was missed when it swung wide right.

Nevada got out of some third and long situations and even converted a fourth and three to allow the Wolf Pack to score a one-yard rush ran by Fajardo, who had a good game, completing 26-of-40 passes and rushing for 47 yards and two touchdowns. The Cougars took a 28–20 lead into the fourth quarter.

But the fourth quarter is where it all fell apart for BYU.

Nevada marched 48 yards in 11 plays and Fajardo connected with Richy Turner for a 18 yard touchdown to end the drive, tying the game at 28.

BYU punted on it’s next possession, giving Nevada the ball and a chance to take the lead. Nevada capitalized after just 5 plays on a Fajardo 25-yard touchdown-run. Nevada was now in control, 28-35.

With 7:34 left to play, BYU was down by only one touchdown. Ian Seau of Nevada then forced Stewart to fumble the ball and Matthew Lyons for Nevada was right there to recover it, giving Nevada a great field position on BYU’s 20 yard line.

James Butler got his second rushing touchdown of the night by taking in a seven yard run giving Nevada a two possession lead over BYU. The score was then a dismal 28-45, Nevada.

BYU was looking to rally back and at one point, had a good chance. Catches from Lasike, Mathews, and runs from Nick Carter put BYU in a position to narrow the lead. Keanu Nelson snagged an eight yard pass from Stewart, making the game 35-42 Nevada.

On the ensuing kickoff BYU attempted an onside kick which in the end, was not successful because of the ball bouncing and an offsides penalty call. BYU had two timeouts with 2:34 left on the game clock.

The Cougars defense held the Wolf Pack forcing them to punt, giving the Cougars one final drive at a chance to tie the game.

With 1:29 On the clock and no timeouts, down by 7, the Cougars made their last attempt to take the game.

Stewart went to Mathews for the first down, then again Stewart on the scramble for the first. Another throw to Mathews was complete and Lasike with a reception again gave BYU the first. Mathews caught another one, causing the Cougars to start marching to the end zone.

Now :49 on the game clock, Stewart is forced to scramble but while being taken down the ball is fumbled, the Nevada defenders able to jump on the loose ball. The Wolf Pack wound down the clock, and Nevada ultimately beat BYU 35-42.

“I want to make a play for my team,” said Stewart after the game. “I tried to make too much out of nothing and lost the ball.”

The Cougars suffered a loss, but the players are already looking to next week and how they can improve.

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