PROVO– BYU beat Southern Utah 37-7 on Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium to become bowl eligible for a 12th-consecutive season.
“It’s good to be bowl eligible and get it done early,” BYU head coach Kalani Sitake said. “Overall, I’m happy about the win and proud of the way the guys played. I think they were excited to play this game and it showed from the get-go.”
Taysom Hill played for most of the first three quarters, and passed for 320 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 59 yards and another trip to the end zone.
Tanner Mangum played several series behind center, and threw for 121 yards with 42 rushing yards.
Freshman running back KJ Hall contributed significantly to BYU’s offensive attack, rushing for 59 yards and a touchdown, with 68 receiving yards.
BYU used just two plays on its first drive to find the end zone. After forcing a turnover on downs on the Southern Utah 47 yard line, Hill connected with Mitchell Juergens for a 31-yard pass and followed it up with a 16-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead.
As the first quarter neared its end, Hill hooked up with Nick Kurtz for a 31-yard touchdown pass. The Cougars held a 14-0 lead as the first quarter ended.
About five minutes into the second quarter, BYU drove 29 yards before Rhett Almond made a 28-yard field goal to put the Cougars up 17-0.
With 3:56 left in the first half, Hill connected with Colby Pearson on a 21-yard touchdown pass. That punctuated a seven-play, 62-yard drive to put BYU up 24-0 after Almond’s PAT.
The Thunderbirds got on the board with 2:02 left in the first half via a 17-yard touchdown pass from Patrick Tyler to Logan Parker. The ensuing PAT cut the Cougars’ lead to 24-7.
Hall scored his first BYU touchdown 46 seconds before halftime, finishing a six-play, 82-yard drive with a 2-yard run. BYU increased its advantage to 31-7 going into halftime.
Neither team scored in the third quarter as the Cougars maintained their 31-7 lead.
Almond hit a 30-yard field goal with 10:31 left in the game to put BYU up 34-10.
With 51 seconds left, Almond hit another field goal, this time a 20-yarder, to put the Cougars up 37-10.
“I think we came in with a good game plan,” BYU linebacker Fred Warner said. “Coach told us to treat it like any other game. We came out, flew around the ball and made plays when we needed to. We did what we needed and we did what we were supposed to do in my opinion.”
Following the game, the Cougars accepted an invitation to the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, which will be held on Dec. 21 in San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium against a Mountain West Conference opponent.
BYU hosts Massachusetts next Saturday at noon MST. That game will be televised on BYUtv with an ESPN3 live stream, and radio broadcasts on the Cougar IMG Network, KSL (1160 AM/102.7 FM) and BYU Radio (XM 143).
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