LOGAN (AP) — Jalen Davis had three interceptions, returning two for touchdowns, as Utah State forced seven BYU turnovers in the Aggies’ 40-24 win over their in-state rival Friday night.
Kent Myers threw for two touchdowns and ran for a third for the Aggies (3-2) but the defense took over after the Cougars (1-4) opened a 21-7 lead early in the second quarter. The next 13 BYU possessions produced four interceptions, three lost fumbles, two punts, three turnovers on downs and a field goal.
Davis started the comeback with a 30-yard pick-6 off Beau Hoge and iced the game by returning a Koy Detmer Jr. interception 50 yards with three minutes to play.
Myers was 16 of 27 for 176 yards with a 32-yard scoring pass to Dax Raymond on the game’s opening possession and a 36-yarder to Ron’quavion Tarver that tied the game at 21-21. An interception by Dallin Leavitt led to a Dominik Eberle field goal and a 24-21 USU lead three seconds before the half.
Suli Tamaivena, who had 13 tackles, recovered a fumble late in the third quarter that led to Myers’ 19-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.
Ula Tolutau ran for a career-high 102 yards on 21 carries for BYU.
The Cougars had a season-high 210 rushing yards, but couldn’t overcome seven turnovers. Tolutau recorded his first career 100-yard rushing game.
Hoge completed 5 of 9 for 95 yards and two touchdowns before leaving with an injury. He did not return. Koy Detmer Jr. came in midway through the second quarter and was 7 of 20 for 91 yards. Beau Tanner and Jonah Trinnaman led BYU receivers with 40 and 39 yards, respectively.
The team had a season-high four sacks. Zayne Anderson and Sione Takitaki led the Cougars with nine tackles apiece, and Takitaki had 1.5 tackles for loss. Dayan Ghanwoloku and Fred Warner both added eight tackles. Warner also had a career-high three tackles for loss.
The Aggies scored on their opening drive, marching 75 yards down the field on nine plays. Dax Raymond caught a 32-yard touchdown pass from Myers. Eberle connected on the PAT to put Utah State up 7-0 four minutes into the game.
Micah Hannemann recorded the Cougars’ first pick-6 of the season and the first of his career, returning it 46 yards with 9:08 left in the quarter. It was his fourth career interception and a career-long interception as well. Rhett Almond’s PAT evened the score 7-7.
BYU started off the second quarter with a trick play. Austin Kafentzis took a direct snap and tossed it to Micah Simon, who handed it to Hoge. Hoge then completed a pass to Brayden El-Bakri at the 10-yard line and he took it into the end zone for the 26-yard touchdown. It marked El-Bakri’s first career receiving touchdown and the second score of his career. The play put the Cougars up 14-7 nine seconds into the quarter.
After the Cougar defense forced the Aggies to punt, Hoge capped a three-play, 55-yard, 53-second drive by connecting with Beau Tanner on a 40-yard touchdown pass. The scoring play was initially ruled incomplete but a review showed that Tanner got one foot down in the end zone before going out of bounds. Following the PAT, BYU took a 21-7 lead.
Utah State had a pick-six of its own as Jalen Davis grabbed the ball after it bounced off the shoulder pad of a teammate. The score came with 11:02 left in the quarter and closed the gap to 21-14.
The Aggies found the end zone a third time as Myers threw a 26-yard pass to Tarver, tying the game 21-21 just before halftime. Utah State intercepted the ball less than a minute later, resulting in a 32-yard field goal to give the Aggies their first lead of the night, 24-21.
Utah State recovered a BYU fumble early in the third quarter en route to a 40-yard field goal to extend its advantage, 27-21.
Moments into the fourth quarter, Myers ran 19 yards into the end zone, putting the Aggies up 33-21. They attempted a two-point conversion, but the Cougars held firm.
Detmer connected with Jonah Trinnaman on a 39-yard pass to set up a 37-yard field goal from Almond with 12:28 on the clock for a score of 33-24.
Utah State had its second pick-6 of the night at the 50-yard line with three minutes left for a final score of 40-24.
The Cougars return home to host Boise State on Friday, Oct. 6, at 8:15 p.m. MDT. That game will be televised on ESPN with radio broadcasts on KSL (1160 AM/102.7 FM) and BYU Radio (Sirius XM 143).
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