The Utah State Aggies had BYU in their grasp late in the fourth quarter, only to fall victim to a fluke play with just seconds to go. A tip drill and a receiver in the right place at the right time turned a great play by a Utah State defensive back into heartbreak at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Friday night as the Cougars came all the way back for a 27-24 win.
BYU hadn't lost to Utah State at LaVell Edwards for 33 years, but up until the final 20 seconds of Friday night's game, it looked like the streak was coming to an end. Trailing by four, Riley Nelson's pass for J.J. Di Luigi was tipped into the air, then hauled in by Marcus Mathews for the score, giving BYU the three-point win. Since words don't do it justice, here's what happened:
Nelson engineered the comeback for the Cougars, taking over for Jake Heaps, who struggled throughout. With Nelson, BYU crawled back from a 24-13 deficit in the fourth quarter to take home the win and preserve the streak. Nelson completed 10 of 14 passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns, each of which came in the fourth quarter.
Di Luigi found a bit of redemption late, as well. It was his fumble that nearly gave Utah State a chance to ice the game in the fourth, but the BYU defense was able to force a three-and-out, giving the offense one more shot at the win with time running out.
And boy did the offense deliver. One somewhat fluky bounce of the ball later and BYU had its win. The crowd at LaVell Edwards was clearly pleased, and rushed the field to celebrate BYU keeping its streak alive. Decades of dominance are good reason to storm the field, of course.