BYU football fell to No. 14 Boise State 28-27 on Thursday night on the ‘Smurf Turf.’ despite forcing five turnovers. Since 2000, teams are 23-1 when being +5 in the turnover margin. BYU is the lone loss, and has now lost four games by a combined total of eight points this season.
Boise State didn’t waste any time scoring. After a near interception from Troy Warner, quarterback Brett Rypien threw a perfect pass to Jeremy McNichols for the 76-yard touchdown catch. BSU took the early lead 7-0 with less than a minute off the clock.
Another quick touchdown for the Broncos would put them in at a strong 14-0 lead. Rypien had another pass down the middle of the field, this time thrown right into the end zone to receiver Thomas Sperbeck.
BYU found some momentum when a blocked field goal by Corbin Kaufusi got them to the 47-yard line. A rush up the middle from Squally Canada and a Tanner Balderee reception gave the Cougars their first scoring opportunity. BYU would settle for a successful 35-yard field goal from Rhett Almond at the start of the second quarter.
Thirty seconds later, Fred Warner picked off a Rypien pass and returned it 59 yards for a touchdown. The interception return and PAT put the Cougars within four points of the Broncos at 14-10.
Boise State had a great chance to score following a botched special-teams play by Jonny Linehan. But the Cougar defense showed outstanding pressure and forced kicker Tyler Rausa to miss wide left on a 30-yard field goal.
BYU continued their excellent pressure when Dayan Lake intercepted Rypien and tiptoed down the sideline for the defense’s second touchdown of the night. The 50-yard interception return marks the fifteenth interception for the Cougars this season, tied for the most in the FBS. BYU took their first lead after the Almond PAT to put the score at 17-14.
Boise State regained the lead after Rypien completed a 36-yard touchdown pass to Cedrick Wilson with 35 seconds before halftime. The score at halftime was 21-17 Broncos.
Mitch Juergens made the catch of the game midway through the third quarter when Taysom Hill threw a 33-yard pass in between two defenders for a near touchdown. The ball was marked on the one-yard line after further review, but Hill put the ball into the end zone on the next down. The score put the Cougars up 24-21 after the successful extra kick with 6:55 in the third quarter.
BYU couldn’t make the most of a dropped punt return from Akilian Butler of the Broncos toward the end of the third quarter. Yet another fumble recovery from Butch Pau’u gave the Cougars a second opportunity for a score. Sitake and the Cougars settled for a field goal. The successful 37-yard field goal from Almond put the Cougars up 27-21 with 13:33 remaining in the final quarter.
McNichols ran four yards for his first rushing touchdown of the night and helped the Broncos take the final lead at 28-27. The junior running back had over 100 yards of both rushing and receiving for the game.
With 15 seconds left in the game, David Moa blocked a 44-yard field goal attempt from Almond. But because the kick was on second-down, BYU was given another shot at redemption. Hill tried a touchdown pass with seconds left on the clock, but the pass was broken up in the end zone and Boise State won the game.