Sept. 30, 2011
PROVO, Utah - Robert Turbin rushed for 123 yards including an 80-yard touchdown burst on the first offensive play of the game, but BYU scored the final 14 points, including the winning TD with 11 seconds remaining as the Cougars rallied for a 27-24 win against Utah State at LaVell Edwards Stadium Friday.
Utah State, who has now lost three games in the waning seconds, falls to 1-3 on the season with the loss, while BYU improves to 3-2 with the win.
Leading 14-13 at halftime, Utah State scored on its first possession of the second-half as freshman quarterback Chuckie Keeton hit Turbin on a screen pass that resulted in a 24-yard touchdown capping off a 12-play, 89-yard drive that took 4:49 off the clock. USU later added a 21-yard field goal from sophomore placekicker Josh Thompson early on in the fourth quarter to give the visitors their largest lead of the game at 24-13 with 12:43 remaining.
BYU answered with an 8-play, 60-yard drive that concluded with a 24-yard touchdown strike from Riley Nelson to Cody Hoffman to cut the deficit to 24-20 with 10:05 to play in the game.
After Utah State failed on a fake field goal attempt on its next possession, BYU drove inside the USU 30-yard line before senior safety Chris Harris forced and recovered a JJ DiLuigi fumble. Utah State could not pick up a first down on its next series but received a 67-yard punt from junior Tyler Bennett that was downed at the 4-yard line.
With 2:36 to play, BYU drove 96 yards in nine plays that culminated with a 13-yard TD pass from Nelson to Marcus Mathews with 11 seconds remaining to cement the comeback. On its final drive, Nelson completed a 40-yard pass that moved the ball from the BYU 34 to the USU 26.
Utah State finished the game with 294 yards rushing as part of its 406 yards of total offense. BYU amassed 451 yards (200-rushing, 251-passing), including 198 yards in the final quarter. BYU also won the time of possession battle, 34:13 to 25:47, and had 11 more first downs (29-18).
Keeton finished the game 13-of-25 passing for 122 yards including two touchdowns, while senior tight end Tarren Lloyd caught a team-best three passes for 24 yards. Turbin also had two catches for 22-yards on the night, including his 24-yard TD. Senior running back Michael Smith had another productive night for the Aggies as he carried the ball nine times for 85 yards, including a 53-yard scamper in the fourth quarter.
Senior linebacker Bobby Wagner had a game-high 11 tackles and senior safety Walter McClenton added nine stops.
After Utah State's initial touchdown in the first quarter, BYU scored 10-straight points and held the lead until late in the second half when Keeton hit senior wide receiver Eric Moats for a 13-yard strike to cap off a 13-play, 78-yard drive that took 4:01 off the clock. BYU ended the scoring in the first half with a 29-yard field goal to make the score 14-13 at intermission.
Utah State returns to action on Saturday, Oct. 8 when it hosts Mountain West Conference foe Wyoming at 6 p.m. at Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium.
To purchase tickets, or for more Aggie Athletics ticket information, fans can contact the USU Ticket Office at 1-888-USTATE-1 or 435-797-0305, in person at the USU Ticket Office inside the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, or on-line 24 hours a day at www.utahstateaggies.com by clicking on the "tickets" button.
Fans can follow the Aggie football program at twitter.com/USUFootball or on the USU football blog at usufootball.wordpress.com. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on facebook at Utah State University Athletics.
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