BYU won its first game by double digits this season, dominating Michigan State 31-14 on Saturday afternoon at Spartan Stadium. The game marked the first win against a Big Ten team since the ‘Hail Mary’ win against Nebraska in last season’s opener.
An eight-yard rushing touchdown for running back Gerald Holmes got the game going for Michigan State in the first quarter. The 15-play drive took ate up half the clock and was the only score of the first quarter. The Spartans led 7-0 after the first 15 minutes.
Taysom Hill led the Cougars all the way to the Michigan State three-yard line before turning the ball over on downs. Michigan State would be forced to punt the ball after just one first-down.
BYU kicker Rhett Almond successfully kicked a 35-yard field goal late in the second quarter to put the Cougars at three points.
The score at half time was 7-3 Spartans.
The third quarter was the Taysom Hill show for BYU, featuring several running plays from the quarterback and a roll-out throw to receiver Colby Pearson for the touchdown. BYU made the score 10-7 after the extra kick to take its first lead of the game.
The scoring didn’t stop there. Hill completed another clutch fourth-down pass to put the Cougars in scoring range. Hill ran the ball into the end zone during the next play to take a commanding lead over the Spartans.
Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio lost confidence in quarterback Tyler O’Connor after the BYU scoring effort and put in backup Damion Terry. The new quarterback threw an interception to Michael Davis after just 21 yards of offense. It was Davis’ first takeaway of the season.
“I don’t want a quarterback controversy,” Dantonio said after the game. “Tyler’s done a great job leading. He’s been okay. He hasn’t been poor. But I felt like we needed to do something for the sake of change in that point in time.”
Williams finished off the short drive with an eight-yard touchdown run. BYU had scored 24 unanswered points.
“I want to congratulate BYU,” Dantonio said. “They kept playing, and as the game continued to wear on, they seemed to get a little stronger, especially in the fourth quarter, with their ability to run the football.”
Michigan State put up their first score since the first quarter when Terry rushed for one yard into the end zone. BYU was up 24-14 with less than five minutes left on the clock.
The Cougars stormed back with Williams’ second rushing touchdown of the quarter. Williams. The eight-yard run put him at 163 yards on the game and he would finish with that total. He now needs 64 yards to become BYU’s all-time leading rusher.
Look for Williams to break the all-time rushing record for BYU when the Cougars take on Mississippi State at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Oct. 14 as part of the homecoming festivities.