BYU fans turned up for an exciting white-out game against No. 22 Washington on Saturday, Sept. 21. The throwback game was themed to celebrate 150 years of college football, with the team sporting uniforms styled after the original BYU uniforms, and the field decorated to reflect the Cougars’ football history.
Washington started the game with possession and wasted no time putting points on the board with a drive that took just 2:50 to reach the end zone. The drive included a 21-yard pass from quarterback Jacob Eason to Hunter Bryant and an 18-yard pass to Aaron Fuller.
BYU responded in turn, charging down the field with help from a pass interference penalty against Washington. Zach Wilson completed a 19-yard pass to Aleva Hifo, and Ty’son Williams had a 15-yard rush, but in the end, it wasn’t enough to match Washington’s initial drive and BYU settled for a field goal.
Things didn’t pick up for the Cougars after that. The Huskies started off their next drive with a series of short runs that pushed them down the field, assisted by two BYU face mask penalties that kept the drive strong. With 3:50 remaining in the quarter, Eason sent the ball 17 yards into the end zone where it was caught by Fuller, extending Washington’s lead to 11 points.
Lopini Katoa gave BYU a chance to match the Huskies’ drive with a 48-yard return that gave the Cougars possession on the 50-yard line. Emmanuel Esukpa then ran the ball seven yards, plunging through the Huskies defensive line. After two incomplete passes intended for Tyler Shumway and Aleva Hifo, Wilson successfully placed the ball in the hands of Matt Bushman for a 23-yard gain. Things quickly went sour, however, as Wilson fumbled the ball, which was then recovered by Washington’s Ryan Bowman and run back the other way for the scoop-and-score. The first quarter came to a close with the scoreboard reading 24-3.
Things didn’t get better for the Cougars as their next drive ended with a 40-yard punt from Jake Oldroyd. The Huskies forced their way across the field once again, putting three more points on the board with a 30-yard field goal by Peyton Henry.
The Cougars started their following drive strong with a 28-yard pass followed by a 23-yard pass, both to Matt Bushman. A pass interference penalty against Washington then put BYU on the 2-yard line, and the Cougars capitalized on the opportunity, scoring their first touchdown of the game with 8:22 left in the first half. Oldroyd came on to attempt the kick, but it was no good, and the score remained 24-9.
The Huskies headed down the field and quickly put themselves in the red zone, where the BYU defense held strong. On a fourth-down, the Huskies looked like they were attempting a 22-yard field goal, but in an attempt to fool the Cougars, they faked the kick and tried rushing into the end zone instead. BYU put a stop to the rush, and Washington turned over the ball on downs.
Williams shined with three consecutive successful runs on the following drive. He then received a 16-yard pass from Wilson but was brought down hard by Keith Taylor and Myles Bryant of the Huskies defense. With help from his coaches, Williams walked off the field and into the locker room, favoring his knee as he went. He would not return to the game.
Wilson was then sacked for a loss of 13 yards, but a 54-yard field goal from Oldroyd salvaged the drive. It was BYU’s longest successful field goal since 2006. The score was 24-12 as the teams headed into the locker rooms for halftime.
Starting the second half, Washington’s Joe Tryon was taken out of the game on a targeting call. Shortly after, BYU’s Dax Milne fumbled the ball, which was was recovered by Washington’s Cameron Davis.
A 15-yard pass to Fuller started off the Huskies next drive. Following a 2-yard run by Shawn McGrew, Andre Baciella caught the ball and ran it in for a 35-yard touchdown. After the kick, the score was 31-12 with 12:28 left in the third quarter.
BYU’s following drive ended quickly with a punt by Jake Oldroyd that was caught by Fuller and returned for a shocking 88-yard touchdown, putting Washington 26 points ahead with a score of 38-12.
The next BYU drive ended with another punt, and the Huskies responded with another touchdown, made possible by Richard Newton, who carried the ball 40 yards during the scoring drive and put it in the end zone. With 5:22 left in the quarter, the score was 45-12.
BYU slowly crawled down the field but ended its next drive with a turn over on downs. The Huskies took possession, but the ball was picked off by BYU’s Max Tooley two plays later and run back near the end zone. After officials reviewed whether Tooley had fumbled the ball, it was decided that his knee was down at the 7-yard line, and the Cougars took possession.
A pass from Wilson into the end zone was tipped by a Washington defender, but Bushman was able to corral the ball for another BYU touchdown. This was the last play of the third quarter and left the score at 45-19.
The ball changed hands several times throughout the fourth quarter, with Washington being forced to punt the ball for the first time in the game. Neither team scored any points during the quarter, and the game ended with a score of 45-19.
According to Dayan Ghanwoloku, BYU is still confident about their upcoming games.
“Moving forward, we feel like we can win all of the games ahead of us. Just on to the next one; it’s game by game.” Ghanwoloku said.
BYU has had a difficult start to the season, being the only team in the NCAA that played three ranked teams in the first four games
There’s no word yet about how the injury of Williams will affect coming games, but Bushman said Williams is confident that the injury is nothing major.
Speaking on some of the mistakes made in the game, Bushman said the team is ready to do the work necessary to get better and prepare for the coming games.
“We’re really focused on Toledo. We’re going to own up to our mistakes.” Bushman said.
Coach Kalani Sitake said that one of the biggest problems for the players in this game is that they just weren’t able to throw the Huskies off of their groove.
“Eason felt comfortable. We had to make him uncomfortable in order for us to have a chance, and we didn’t do that.”