SHREVEPORT, La. (ABC4 Sports) – Despite Tyler Allgeier becoming BYU’s all-time single season rushing leader, the BYU defense could not slow down the UAB rushing attack, and the Cougars lose to the Blazers in the Independence Bowl, 31-28.
DeWayne McBride rushed for 183 yards and a touchdown, while Dylan Hopkins completed 19 of 23 passes for 189 yards and three touchdowns, two to Gerrit Prince, as the Blazers snapped BYU’s 5-game winning streak.
”UAB played a fantastic game,” BYU coach Kalani Sitake said. ”It was a tough game for us, but we will recover from this. We’ll learn, we will grow and we will be better. It is still a fantastic season, but it’s tough because we have to say goodbye to those seniors.”
Allgeier rushed for 192 yards and three touchdowns. He finishes the season with 1,606 yards on the ground, breaking Luke Staley’s record set back in 2001.
“It’s an honor,” Allgeier said about breaking the record. “It’s an on honor to be on the field with this team and a part of this offense. It’s an honor.”
Baylor Romney started at quarterback in place of Jaren Hall, who injured his foot in the regular season finale against USC and was not able to play.
Romney completed 15 of 23 passes for 195 yards. Mason Wake and Gunner Romney each had three catches for 55 yards.
After falling behind 14-0, the Cougars rallied to tie the game in the second quarter behind a 1-yard touchdown run from Allgeier and a 2-yard TD run by Samson Nacua.
The Blazers took a 21-14 lead into the half when Hopkins found Prince wide open from 23 yards out.
On the first possession of the second half, Allgeier then busted off a 62-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 21.
After UAB took a 24-21 lead, the Cougars marched down field at the end of the third quarter, and Allgeier’s third touchdown of the game gave BYU a 28-24 lead headed to the fourth quarter.
The Blazers then went on a 15-play, 75-yard drive that took up over eight minutes. On 4th and 7 from the 10-yard line, Hopkins hit Trea Shropshire wide open in the end zone to give the Blazers a 31-28 lead with 6:17 left in the game.
BYU had a chance to re-take the lead, but after converting a 4th and 4, Samson Nacua fumbled the ball after catching a pass from Romney and UAB recovered.
“They said they reviewed it,” Sitake said. “They said he possessed it and fumbled it. No one feels worse than Samson right now. But we love that kid and he’s a big part of our program. They just made a couple plays more than we did.”
The Blazers then grinded the clock out behind McBride, as the BYU defense was unable to stop UAB’s rushing attack.
UAB ended up with 412 total yards, 223 on the ground.
“We have a lot of talent,” said BYU defensive end Tyler Batty. “We have a lot of guys who can make plays.My biggest take overall looking to next year is just cleaning up the little things. That’s what tonight came down to was everybody doing their job.”
“I feel like this entire season, when you’re looking at who we played, it was difficult because I don’t know if we ever put together 60 minutes together as a team, and that’s my job as a coach,” Sitake said. “But in this game I do a lot of credit to the opponent that we played.
“I have to find ways to get better and that starts with me as the head coach, And then we’ll go from there but actually game plan from what we saw on all three phases from UAB. Once the season is done, I have to evaluate everything. Find ways to get better as a program and we did that last year. We just didn’t with a win in the bowl game this year. We just lost and so hopefully we get our guys hungry. That would be the key for us.”