PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – It was as dominating as it was predictable.
Jaren Hall threw for 298 yards and four touchdowns, all in the first half, and No. 17 BYU demolished Idaho State 59-14 on Saturday in the final home game of the season at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
Baylor Romney took over in the second half for Hall, who finished 2 yards shy of his fourth 300-yard performance in the last five games.
Puka Nacua had six catches for 120 yards and a touchdown for the Cougars, who debuted at No. 15 in the College Football Playoff rankings released Tuesday. Keanu Hill caught four passes for a career-high 92 yards and a touchdown. Hill also blocked a punt and recovered it in the end zone for BYU’s final score late in the fourth quarter.
“We knew that if we took care of business and played the right way that we would be okay,” said head coach Kalani Sitake. “Do the right thing, play the right way, but you always want to respect your opponents.”
BYU has now scored 127 points in its last two games, including a 66-49 win over Virginia last week.
“I think we performed how we expected to,” Hill said. “We came out, played our type of football, didn’t really focus too much on Idaho State and just really wanted to focus on what we had to do.”
BYU (8-2) finished with 560 yards of offense, averaging 7.4 yards per play, in its third straight victory. The Cougars have won 19 of 22 games over the past two seasons.
”Kalani has found his groove and I’m so glad the foundation that we laid is starting to pay off,” defensive lineman Uriah Leiataua said.
The Bengals gained a grand total of two yards in the first quarter and did not complete a pass. Meanwhile, BYU’s offense encountered virtually no resistance as it raced to a 42-7 halftime lead.
“I thought our guys took advantage of making more plays, grateful for the game and for our guys to finish the right way,” Sitake said. “I thought it was really good for a bunch of young guys to get meaningful reps.”
Hall’s highlights included a 23-yard touchdown pass to Puka Nacua midway through the second quarter and a 13-yard dart to Neil Pau’u just before halftime on which Pau’u dragged two defenders and fell across the goal line.
The Bengals’ lone first-half points came after Tyler Gonzalez recovered a fumble at the BYU 17. Jared Scott caught a 6-yard pass from Gronauer with 1:20 left before halftime.
BYU cashed in on an Idaho State turnover in first quarter. Hall scored on a 1-yard keeper after Pepe Tanuvasa returned an interception 16 yards to the Idaho State 6.
The Cougars (8-2), have now won 19 of it last 22 games dating back to last season.
“We can’t be disappointed with our record currently, but we’ve had a lot of injuries, a lot of difficulties that way,” said defensive back Matt Criddle, who added an interception. “We’ve had a lot of guys step up in different ways. I think we showed how dominant we were in the first half, and in the second half we had some other guys step up and play. I thought we did a great job overall. I’d say our team is in a good spot.
The Cougars now get a week off after playing 10 games in 10 weeks – a stretch that included six Power Five opponents.
”Ten weeks in a row, that’s pretty tough,” Sitake said. ”But these guys handled it well.”
BYU next takes on Georgia Southern November 20th at 2:00 p.m.