BYU football clinches bowl eligibility with 52-26 win over Utah Tech

For the 17th time in 18 seasons, the Cougars are going bowling.

BYU football earned its sixth win of the 2022 campaign Saturday afternoon in a 52-26 senior day victory over Utah Tech, guaranteeing the Cougars a spot in December’s bowl slate for the 40th time in program history.

“I’m just glad that we get to go bowling,” head coach Kalani Sitake said. “There’s guys on our team that haven’t been to a bowl game; they’re really excited and emotional about it. I’m just really happy that we got the win for our guys that just had their last game in LaVell Edwards Stadium, the last feeling that they have of being on this field is getting a victory.

“It’s hard to say goodbye, but I’m happy that we get the bowl game because it delays the inevitable where you have to say goodbye to a bunch of guys that you care about and who have done so much for the program.”

Quarterback Jaren Hall threw for a career high 456 yards on a 23-35 passing line, tossing five touchdowns and running for another score in what was likely his final game at LaVell’s house.

“I feel grateful to play with that guy who wears number 3,” wide receiver Puka Nacua said. “He’s one of the best to do it and I love catching balls from him.”

While Utah Tech’s defense smothered Nacua with double coverage all night, Keanu Hill — held scoreless since September — exploded for three touchdown grabs in the first half to pair with 137 receiving yards against the Trailblazers.

“They were trying to take Puka away, they double teamed him quite a bit and Keanu was the one to benefit from that,” Sitake said. “Credit to our guys for finding the open man and for Jaren throwing the ball downfield.”

Chase Roberts hauled in an early 59-yard touchdown, Isaac Rex rumbled into the end zone for his 19th career score and Terrance Fall capped off the contest with a 25-yard touchdown run as well.

Despite the constant double teams, Nacua caught five balls for 53 yards, while Chris Brooks celebrated his senior day with 14 touches for 147 total yards out of the backfield in his first game back from injury.

“He knows what he’s doing and he’s a difference-maker for us,” Hall said of Brooks. “When we give him opportunities he makes the most of them. It’s been fun and a blessing to play alongside him all year.” 

The Cougars, now 6-5 on the year, will close out the regular season next Saturday on the road against Stanford.

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