No. 13 BYU wastes its lead and rallies to beat USC35-31

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Brigham Young tight end Masen Wake (13) is tackled by Southern California cornerback Isaac Taylor-Stuart, bottom left, and defensive lineman Stanley Ta'ufo'ou (47) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Los Angeles, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

Brigham Young doesn’t like being forced to rally from behind. Despite having a 15 point lead at the end of the first half against Southern California, the 13th-ranked Cougars were still able to win the second half.

The Cougars won the 35-31 victory over the Trojans thanks to Jackson McChesney’s 7 yard TD run and a red zone stop in the final minute. BYU (10-2), led by 15 points at the end of the third quarter. However, USC took the lead with 18 consecutive points.

“We stuck to our core values and got the energy back. It was easy to march down the field once we had that energy back. Jalen Hall, quarterback, completed 20 of 32 passes for 276 yard with two touchdowns.

BYU was trailing 31-28 at 11:03 after Jaxson Dart’s 10-yard touchdown to Gary Bryant Jr., and the 2-point conversion. On the next possession, the Cougars drove down the USC 39 yard line but Hall was intercepted in the end zone.

BYU forced USC into a three-and out, and it got the ball back to its 38 before running 62 yards in six plays that culminated in McChesney’s touchdown.

USC drove to BYU’s 15 on the last minute. Bryant missed a Dart pass on fourth-and-6. Bryant turned the ball over on downs, with 38 seconds remaining. Kaleb Hayes made a tackle.

Kelani Sitake, BYU coach, stated that although it looked bad, once we regained control, we were confident that we could win the game. “USC brought a lot more physicality to this game. A lot of men chipped in.

“We knew that we would get USC’s best shot. They had a lot to play for, as did we.

The Cougars ran for 111 yards and two second-quarter touchdowns from Tyler Allgeier, who was unbeaten in five Pac-12 games this season.

After dropping five of its six last six games, USC (4-7) lost its bid to bowl. Dart was 23-of-45 for 248 yards, with a touchdown passing or rushing.

Donte Williams, interim USC coach, stated that “We made turnovers, ran and controlled the ball, but at the end, we made too many mistakes.”

After Keanu Hill’s 41-yard touchdown pass to Hall, the Trojans were trailing 28-13 in the third quarter. Isaiah Pola–Mao, Trojans cornerback, was just beyond the reach of Hill’s left arm. The Trojans came back with three scores on the next three possessions.

Vavae Malepeai kicked off the rally with a TD on fourth and goal. Malepeai, who ran right and bounced off a tackle by Max Tooley from BYU’s linebacker, had 99 yards in 20 carries. He scored from 2 yards.

The Trojans were within five points of Dart’s goal to Bryant when Parker Lewis’s third field goal brought them within five.

The Trojans led 3-0 after Bryant of USC returned the kickoff 62 yards to BYU’s 34-yard line. Parker Lewis’ 26 yard field goal gave the Trojans a 3-0 lead. Eight plays later, BYU took control when Hall connected with Puka Ncua for a 28 yard touchdown.

Both Allgeier’s scores were in the second quarter, when BYU was leading 21-13 at halftime. USC’s only touchdown in the first half was a Dart 5-yard keeper. Although his knee seemed to have been on the ground during the shotgun snap, he did not have possession of the ball.

TEMPER,TEMPER

Sitake received an unsportsmanlike conduct sanction during the third quarter because he argued on the field following a punt.

“I lost my cool. Sitake stated that it was not my best moment but that every coach wants his guys to win. “I’m happy we won. It was great fun.”

THE TAKEAWAY

BYU: The Cougars were unbeaten against the Pac-12 and 6-1 against Power Five opponents this season.

“I don’t have control over what people think about our schedule. Sitake stated that people didn’t believe it was difficult enough last year, and that teams are performing well. “People thought this was going be a rebuilding year. But the guys took advantage of it when they could.”

USC: After a disappointing season that began with a loss to UCLA (62-33), this was the Trojans’ best performance.

UP

BYU: Completed regular season.

USC: The team travels to Cal next Saturday in order to finish its season. Due to the COVID-19 epidemic in Cal’s program, the game was rescheduled for Nov. 13.