BYU never buried Utah State like one would have expected, but still cruised to a 35-17 win in Provo on Friday night.
Utah State certainly was not blown out by any means, but BYU's defensive dominance against the talented run-game combo of Robert Turbin and Diondre Borel kept the game just out of reach for the Aggies, who fell to 1-3 with the loss.
The Aggies looked to be in business for an upset early in the first quarter, forcing a BYU fumble and converting an 8-play, 43-yard drive into a touchdown, taking a 7-0 lead. However, BYU answered with a grueling 18-play, 83-yard drive which featured 12 rushing plays, ate 8:14 of clock, and ended with a Max Hall 6-yard TD toss to tight end Dennis Pitta.
After holding Utah State to a three-and-out, the Cougars took control of the game with a quick 4-play drive, capped by a 48-yard TD reception by Luke Ashworth.
Utah State managed to salt the rest of the 2nd quarter away and had the ball with a minute left. USU was only down 14-7 and looked poised to make it a game as they would get the ball to start the 3rd quarter. This changed with a questionable play call and worse execution, as a Borel option pitch went well ahead of Turbin and fell to the turf. BYU recovered with 38 seconds left in the half, which was all the Cougars would need.
Max Hall found Dennis Pitta on a 26-yard sideline route, and Manase Tonga punched in a 3-yard run to give BYU a 21-7 halftime lead.
Hall would throw 2 interceptions in the 3rd quarter, but Utah State could never capitalize. Early in the 3rd, the Aggies took the ball inside BYU's five. On a third-down option play, Turbin seemed to have the corner if Borel pitched, but Borel kept the ball and was taken down at the 3-yard-line. Settling for a field goal, Utah State trailed 21-10 and could never grab momentum.
Borel had a good game through the air, finishing 20-28 for 213 yards and 1 TD, but he and Turbin were held to a combined 85 rushing yards on 33 attempts. Max Hall finished 16-23 for 218 yards and 3 TD's, two of which were to Pitta. Harvey Unga, who seems to be completely healthy after battling a hamstring injury to start the year, rushed 21 times for 118 yards and 1 TD.
photo: George Frey - AP