WSU drops to 4-4 on the season, while BYU improves to 6-2.
It was WSU’s first game without five fired coaches, including former head coach Nick Rolovich, who was relieved from his duties on Monday after failing to comply with the state’s Covid vaccination mandate. Acting head coach/defensive coordinator Jake Dickert took over the top spot, and there were no obvious ill effects from the change.
But while WSU continued to play hard, as it has all season, there were small signs that the emotional week had taken a toll. There were mistakes, including a couple of holding penalties that sabotaged promising drives. But none loom bigger than a bobbled hold on the extra point after WSU’s second TD, which resulted in WSU needing a 2-point conversion late that they ultimately couldn’t convert.
Still, this game should be remembered for how hard WSU continued to play in what had to be one of the toughest weeks a college football team can endure. It was only a few weeks ago that BYU was ranked in the top 10, and while they might not be that good, this is still a quality team that WSU took down to the wire.
The Cougs will face Arizona State next week in Tempe. The Sun Devis are coming off a bye, having lost to Utah last weekend. That game will kick at noon PT.
Slow, ineffective offense: Co-offensive coordinator Brian Stutzmann had taken over the play calling duties over the past three games, and the offense had come alive. We all wondered how switching back to Brian Smith as the primary play caller would affect the offense, and it turns out ... it wasn’t good. The issues that were there in the first few games were there again today — slow tempo, lack of rhythm, inconsistent play by quarterback Jayden de Laura. Correlation doesn’t necessarily equal causation, but the offense looked much different today than it had over the last couple of weeks.
Rush defense remains problematic: Dickert mentioned on his coach’s show this week that BYU was tough and physical and that running back Tyler Allgeier was a load. He was right on all counts, as BYU gained a whopping 238 of its 385 yards on the ground — 191 of them by Allgeier. With WSU needing a stop on the final drive of the game to have a chance to win, Allgeier carried the ball seven times for 51 yards, including a 9-yard run on 3rd-and-8 to end it. WSU has now given up 200 or more rushing yards in half its games.
Special teams ugggggh: Really rough day all around here for Nick Haberer, who had the bobbled PAT hold, plus a 21-yard punt. It would be too much to say WSU lost because of the extra point miscue; it sure looked on the final drive that BYU could have very easily moved the ball into position for at least a game-winning field goal, if it had needed to. But it didn’t. Sure would have been nice to force that.
9:36 — WSU opens the game with a great drive, covering 75 yards in just 10 plays to take an early lead as Max Borghi takes a draw on 2nd-and-5 to the house from 11 yards out. WSU 7, BYU 0.
6:04 — BYU answers right back. WSU didn’t have a lot of luck slowing down running back Tyler Allgeier, who set up 1st-and-goal with a 30-yard scamper. Lopini Katoa punches it in 3 yards out as WSU is scrambling to change personnel. WSU 7, BYU 7.
4:25 — Jayden de Laura makes his first big mistake of the game. WSU’s second drive looks like more of the same after covering 39 yards a pair of plays to move into BYU territory, but de Laura decides to take a deep shot to Donovan Ollie that the safety reads it easily for an interception in the end zone.
11:04 — BYU moves into WSU territory, but a strip-sack by Willie Taylor III (which was only nearly recovered by WSU, alas) resulted in a big negative play that short-circuited the promising drive. BYU’s kicker pulled his 45-yard attempt to the left, and the game remained tied.
4:23 — As WSU’s offense continues to sputter with mistakes, BYU moves into WSU territory again. Faced with 4th-and-2 from WSU’s 26, BYU passes up the field goal attempt — and ends up regretting it. BYU tried to catch WSU by surprise by going wide, but WSU is all over it. The play loses seven yards, and WSU takes over on downs.
9:48 — BYU starts off hot again, just like in the 1st quarter, marching right down the field with an 11-play, 75-yard drive that they cap with a 4-yard TD by Allgeier. BYU 14, WSU 7.
5:08 — And WSU answers right back! Completions of 17 yards (to Joey Hobert) and 22 yards (to Calvin Jackson Jr.) help WSU move down to the BYU 1-yard line. Borghi initially stumbles near the line, but gains his footing to bounce it out and punch it in. Unfortunately, holder Nick Haberer — who also is having a rough game as a punter — bobbles the snap, and the try is no good. BYU 14, WSU 13.
14:59 — BYU puts WSU on its heels again, marching right down the field. Allgeier punches it in again from two yards out, and WSU’s defense is starting to look pretty gassed. BYU 21, WSU 13.
10:13 — Following another punt by WSU — its fourth its last five drives — it looks like BYU can more or less put the game away with another score. But the WSU defense secures an improbable three-and-out after a little pressure on the QB causes a slightly off-target throw on 3rd-and-5 that is dropped by the receiver.
4:14 — And the offense pays it off! It’s a long drive — nearly six minutes in the making — keyed by completions of 11 (to Jackson) and 22 yards (to Ollie) plus a 13-yard scramble by de Laura, and WSU eventually finds the end zone with a 1-yard run by Borghi. Needing a 2-point conversion, WSU tries a nifty reverse pass, but BYU has it well covered and Lincoln Victor’s throw is nowhere near being completed. BYU 21, WSU 19.
0:00 — Needing a stop to have a chance to win, BYU runs the ball right down WSU’s throat and runs out the clock. The final dagger was a nine-yard run on 3rd-and-8 in which BYU surely was thinking “we’ll just run the ball and punt it back to WSU deep with less than a minute remaining.” Instead, they were taking knees.
Did You See That?!?
#WSU interim HC Jake Dickert on his first game at the helm of a team:— Colton Clark (@SpokesmanClark) October 23, 2021
"A lot of people in my life told me to take a breath, enjoy it, smile. It was quite a moment and one I'll never forget. Can't wait to hug my wife and see my three kids, share in that moment with them."
One Stat To Tell The Tale
Max Borghi now second all-time at #WSU with 26 career rushing TDs. Would need seven more to match the record set by Steve Broussard. Borghi needs six more rushing/receiving TDs to tie Broussard's overall school TD record (41).— Theo Lawson (@TheoLawson_SR) October 23, 2021