Provo, Utah – Quarterback Max Hall and the BYU Cougars handed CSU its 15th loss in 16 games Saturday, defeating the Rams 35-16 in front of a sellout crowd of 64,441 at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
Hall, who finished with 355 yards passing and three touchdowns, hit Joe Semanoff for a 5-yard score with 5:44 to play in the game to ice a BYU victory.
Running back Mike Myers provided the Rams’ first touchdown with 8:20 to play in the fourth quarter, and defensive end Jesse Nading returned an interception 31 yards for a score with 4:07 to play.
But Hall’s big day, coupled with CSU’s inability to capitalize on long drives were too much for the Rams to overcome.
“(Hall) is still growing up and he did some nice things today,” said CSU coach Sonny Lubick. “He’s getting better and whether we made him look good or he made us look bad, I don’t know.”
BYU improves to 6-2 overall and 4-0 in Mountain West Conference play after the win in front of a sellout crowd of 64,441 at LaVell Edwards stadium.
The Rams fall to 1-8 overall and 1-5 in league play.
“I get so angry at our team just because I think we’re better than what we’ve shown,” said Lubick.
BYU opened the third quarter with a 6-play, 65-yard drive resulting in a 3-yard touchdown run from freshman back Harvey Unga to give the Cougars a 28-3 lead.
CSU was able to drive into BYU territory on the ensuing drive, but came up short after back-to-back sacks on quarterback Caleb Hanie, who was held to 161 yards on 18-of-34 passing.
“They kind of got lucky on some play calls. They had the right coverages for our plays,” said Hanie. “It’s frustrating.”
The Rams appeared to find some life late in the first half when safety Jake Galusha forced a Hall fumble recovered by Rams lineman Matt Rupp at the BYU 39 yard-line.
But the CSU offense was again unable to capitalize, as a fake field goal pass attempt from punter Jimmie Kaylor to defensive end Tommie Hill was broken up by Ben Criddle.
Meanwhile, Hall was playing catch with his talented receivers, namely Austin Collie, who Hall found wide open on the right sideline for a 45-yard touchdown to give the Cougars a 21-3 third-quarter lead.
“That play was completely my fault,” said CSU safety Zach Bryson. “We were in a cover-2 and I had to stay deep and I bit up on it. He pumped faked and then went over the top on me.”
Collie finished with 111 yards receiving. Unga added 110 yards, and Dennis Pitta 70 yards.
The Rams opened the second quarter with a first-and-goal from the Cougars’ five, but settled for a Jason Smith 25-yard field goal to bring the score to 7-3.
BYU answered with a 9-play, 67-yard drive capped by a 3-yard touchdown run from Manase Tonga, giving the Cougars an 11-point edge.
CSU’s first also two drives took them into BYU territory but resulted in a missed field goal from Smith and a Caleb Hanie interception, his 14th of the season.
BYU scored on its first drive of the game on a pass from Hall to Michael Reed.
Running back Gartrell Johnson III led the Rams in the backfield with 72 yards rushing on 19 carries.
The Rams held the Cougars to just 106 yards rushing, but were outgained in the air by 194 yards.
CSU will travel to New Mexico next Saturday, while BYU hosts TCU Thursday.