PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – The BYU offense continues to roll, no matter the level of competition.
Third string quarterback Baylor Romney completed 23 of 33 passes for 262 yards and three touchdowns and BYU beat Liberty 31-24 on Saturday night.
The win is BYU’s third in a row, and gets then to within one more win of bowl eligibility.
“I give a lot of credit to Liberty; their guys came ready to play,” said head coach Kalani Sitake. “They were really well coached and I thought they had a really good game plan. We battled with them. I was really proud of our players and how the resiliency that they showed and the opportunity to make more plays and get this win.”
Micah Simon had seven receptions for 91 yards and a score and threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to Matt Bushman and Sione Finau had 10 carries for 69 yards for BYU.
On the first possession of the game, Liberty (6-4) used a 10-play, 75-yard drive capped by Stephen Calvert’s 19-yard touchdown pass to Zac Foutz to take a 7-0 lead.
But the Cougars scored the next 17 points, and 24 of the next 27, to take the lead for good.
Romney’s 2-yard TD pass to Simon tied it midway through the first quarter, Jake Oldroyd kicked a 24-yard field goal early in the second and Bushman’s touchdown made it 17-7 at halftime.
Romney threw touchdown passes of 41 yards to Aleva Hifo and 17 yards to Moroni Laulu-Pututau in the second half to help put the game away.
Liberty rallied in the final minutes and had a chance to tie the game with a touchdown, but the BYU defense held the Flames on fourth down in the final minute, ending the game.
“They have a great quarterback and receiving crew,” said BYU safety Austin Lee. “I think they’ve had really good chemistry. We knew there were going to be some back shoulder fades when they needed to get a comeback. They were really good at being on the same page. Their quarterback was really good at decision making. Credit to them because they played a great game and they’re a great team.”
Calvert completed 27 of 45 for 303 yards and three touchdowns and Antonio Gandy-Golden had 10 receptions for 162 yards and a score for the Flames.
BYU racked up 471 yards of total offense, as Romney spread the ball around to eight different receivers.
“It really starts in practice,” said Romney, who made his second career start. “Ever since that USF loss we’ve really come together as a team. It’s made us closer and we’ve all worked harder for each other day in and day out.”
“He’s poised, he’s ready and the preparation he put in this week is the same we’ve seen from him,” Sitake said about Romney. “He’s always been ready to go and I love the way those guys work together, I love the whole group. I feel really confident in all those guys being able to get on the field. Micah Simon is campaigning to throw some footballs too.”
BYU will try to win its fourth straight game next week in their final home game of the season against Idaho State.