LAS VEGAS (ABC4 Sports) – Squally Canada was running wild in Las Vegas, and that was a very good thing for BYU.
Canada had a career-best 213 yards rushing and one of BYU’s season-high three rushing touchdowns to help the Cougars beat UNLV 31-21 on Friday night.
Canada, who had never topped the 100-yard plateau coming in, had a career-high 25 carries. The 213 yards were just 120 yards fewer than his entire season’s output going into the game.
Joe Critchlow, a freshman making his first career start at quarterback in place of th injured Tanner Mangum and Beau Hoge, was 14-of-22 passing for 160 yards and one touchdown for BYU as the Cougars picked up its first road victory of the season.
The Cougars (3-8) amassed 425 yards of total offense, including a season-high 265 yards on the ground. Austin Kafentzis scored his first career touchdown, while rushing for 53 yards on ten carries.
BYU’s defense surrendered 325 yards of passing offense, but made key red zone stops, like when Zayne Anderson intercepted Johnny Stanton’s pass in the end zone in the second quarter.
The game was scoreless until Brayden El-Bakri scored from one yard out midway through the second quarter.
Lexington Thomas capped a nine-play, 79-yard drive with a 1-yard scoring run to tie it nearly five minutes later, but Critchlow completed 5 of 7 passes for 50 yards — including an 11-yard scoring strike to Hifo — and had a 2-yard run on fourth-and-1 as BYU made it 14-7 with 27 seconds left in the half.
Canada ripped off a 54-yard run on the first play from scrimmage in the second half, and made it 21-7 with a 2-yard touchdown run.
After Stanton hit Brandon Presley for an 18-yard TD late in the third to cut the BYU lead to 21-14, Canada had four carries for 58 yards to set up Kafentzis’ 11-yard scoring run to make it 28-14 going into the fourth.
BYU returns home for Senior Day November 18th at 1:00 p.m. against UMass.