PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – For a third straight week, BYU took down a Pac-12 team, as the 23rd-ranked Cougars shut down #19 Arizona State Saturday night at LaVell Edwards Stadium, 27-17.
Jaren Hall threw for 214 yards and two touchdowns and added 38 yards on seven carries to lead the Cougars. But with BYU driving in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, Hall went down with an injury and left the game.
In came backup quarterback Baylor Romney, who completed his only pass of the game, a 3-yard touchdown pass to Isaac Rex to seal the game for the Cougars with 2:22 remaining.
Hall said after the game that he just got the wind knocked out of him.
“Those are some big boys,” he said. Hall added that he expects to be ready to go next week.
Tyler Allgeier added 69 yards and a touchdown on the ground, while Gunner Romney led the Cougars with six catches for 95 yards and a touchdown.
“A lot of fun.” said head coach Kalani Sitake. “I think we could have done some things to help us out a little bit and not make it feel like we were having a heartache at the end. We made a lot of people nervous and we need to find ways to not make so many mistakes.”
Sitake said that even when Hall went out, he all the confidence in the world in Romney.
“You have seen Baylor Romney play enough now,” Sitake said. “You know what kind of composure he has. You know how calm he is and he has a lot of confidence in himself. The team trusts him We don’t feel like we have regular backups. We have a lot of depth on this team and we don’t want to be tested, but injuries happen and we are lucky to have guys step in.”
Jaylen Daniels threw for 265 yards to lead the Sun Devils (2-1), but also tossed a pair of interceptions. Danyiel Ngata ran for 82 yards and a touchdown to lead Arizona State’s ground attack.
Arizona State cut a double-digit halftime deficit to 21-17 late in the third quarter with back-to-back scoring drives. Ngata covered 51 yards on four straight runs and scored on a 10-yard sweep. Then, Christian Zendejas added a 40-yard field goal on the ensuing drive.
The Sun Devils appeared poised to go ahead before the third quarter ended after Merlin Robinson intercepted Hall at the ASU 25. Allgeier chased down Robinson as he ran along the sideline and punched the ball out of his hands, forcing a fumble that Hall recovered at the BYU 15.
“I just wanted to catch up to him and get him,” Allgeier said. “Thankfully it was successful. I was just trying to do my part and anyone would have done it and I just happened to be the one who did it. It came out of nowhere. I decided to try something new and it ended up working.”
“That was the play of the year in college football,” said Hall.
Hayden Livingston recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff, giving BYU the ball at the Sun Devil 12. Allgeier put the Cougars up 7-0, plowing across the goal line on a 2-yard run three plays later.
Daniels quickly went to work picking apart BYU’s secondary.
He completed 11 of his first 12 passes to help Arizona State regain some momentum. Daniels’ 58-yard strike to Andre Johnson set up Rachaad White’s 1-yard run that evened the score 7-all early in the first quarter.
The Cougars capitalized when Daniels finally made a mistake in the second quarter. Max Tooley picked off a pass from Daniels at the BYU 17. The Cougars covered 83 yards in six plays and took a 14-7 lead on a double-pitch flea-flicker to Hall that he promptly turned into a 34-yard pass to a wide-open Gunner Romney in the end zone.
Hall’s second touchdown pass, a 15-yard strike to a wide-open Rex, extended BYU’s lead to 21-7 late in the second quarter.
The BYU defense forced four turnovers, including interceptions by Max Tooley and Malik Moore.
BYU’s leading tackler Keenan Pili did suffer a leg injury and was seen on crutches on the sideline. Sitake did not know the extent of his injury after the game.
BYU will try to improve to 4-0 on the season next weekend at home against South Florida.