PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – The BYU football team isn’t just losing games, the Cougars are getting dominated.
Iowa State racked up a season-high 234 yards and four touchdowns on the ground in a 45-13 blowout win over BYU Saturday night at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
In its last three games, BYU has been outscored 117-26 in losses to Iowa State, West Virginia and Texas. This was the Cougars first home loss after four straight victories at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
The Cougars (5-5, 2-5 Big 12) are going to have to beat either #17 Oklahoma at home next week or #15 Oklahoma State on the road in two weeks to get bowl eligible.
“We have got to find a way to win one more game so we can have an extension on the season,” BYU head coach Kalani Sitake said. “I was hoping that we would have a better chance to do it tonight. We will have to be ready for the game next week.”
Another disaster of a game got off to a disastrous start as Jake Retzlaff, making his second career start, was intercepted on BYU’s first play from scrimmage by Will McLaughlin, setting up a touchdown pass from Rocco Becht to Jaylin Noel.
The Cougars then fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and Iowa State capitalized with a field goal to give the Cyclones a 10-0 lead before BYU could run its second play from scrimmage.
BYU did then march 75 yards, capped by Retlzaff’s first career touchdown pass to JoJo Phillips, who made his first career catch for the Cougars.
But Iowa State then rattled off 21 straight points to close the half, as Eli Sanders, Cartevious Norton and Abu Sama III all scored rushing touchdowns.
The Cougars totaled just four yards on nine plays in the second quarter and could not climb out of the resulting hole they dug for themselves.
Sama finished the game with 110 yards and two touchdowns on just eight carries. Iowa State averaged 6.3 yards per carry against the BYU defense.
The Cougars came out of the second half and cut the lead to 31-13 after wide receiver Parker Kingston hit Isaac Rex on a 26-yard trick play. For Kingston, that was his second touchdown pass as a receiver this season.
But any hopes of a miraculous comeback were quickly ended with Becht hit Noel on a 66-yard catch and carry touchdown, followed by a 59-yard TD jaunt by Sama.
“We have a lot of missed tackles and mistakes with the fundamentals,” Sitake said. “Defensively, you have to figure out a way to stop the run, and we did not do that tonight. We allowed a lot of big plays by Iowa State, especially on third downs. “They’re not believing in the system and not believing in what we are doing.”
Retlzaff, playing for the injured Kedon Slovis, completed 10 of 27 passes for 104 yards and was intercepted twice. Retlzaff did lead the Cougars in rushing with 64 yards on 17 carries.
“Our guys are mentally tough,” Retzlaff said. “I don’t think our team is falling apart in any way. We’re still in that grind mindset of ‘alright, that was really disappointing, but let’s learn from that as best as we can.’ We want to move on and put ourselves in a better situation next week.”
Aidan Robbins rushed for 58 yards, while LJ Martin returned to action and had 58 yards on the ground as BYU rushed for a season-high 188 yards.
Rex led the Cougars in receiving with three catches for 52 yards and a touchdown, and became BYU’s all-time leader in touchdown catches by a tight end, passing Gordon Hudson with 23.
“I love this university so much,” Rex said. “I love these fans. I’ve been a BYU fan my whole life, so it’s very cool. There’s been a lot better tight ends that have come before me, and there will be better tight ends to come after me. To get a school record individually is great, but right now I’m trying not to focus on that. I’ve got to find out ways I can help this team move the ball.”
Becht completed 15 of 23 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns for Iowa State. Noel finished with five catches for 98 yards and two scores.
Iowa State outgained BYU in total yards, 443-318, and forced three BYU turnovers. The Cyclones are now 5-0 all-time against the Cougars.
The Cougars will try to regroup on Senior Day next week against Oklahoma at LaVell Edwards Stadium.