Stuck in a brutal defensive battle involving a pair of backup quarterbacks, BYU decided to throw caution to the wind and out-Boise No. 14 Boise State on Saturday night. Using some incredible trick plays to break open a close game, the Cougars notched their second huge upset of the 2019 season by knocking off the Broncos 28-25 and shaking up the Group of Five in the process.
The trickeration came fast and furious for Kalani Sitake’s squad as part of a 21 point outburst after returning from the locker room at halftime. On top of converting several fourth downs in the third quarter, BYU managed to toss it deep over the middle for a 27 yard touchdown to Matt Bushman and then went back to the tight end on the next series with a wild reverse flea-flicker for a 39 yard score that might as well have been taken directly from Bryan Harsin’s playbook.
It was all part of a way to create some offense while having redshirt freshman (walk-on) quarterback Baylor Romney make his first career start under center. The signal-caller came up big in the second half and finished the game with 221 yards and two touchdowns despite facing star pass rusher Curtis Weaver and one of the better defenses in the country. Sione Finau added 89 yards and a long touchdown run to help take the pressure off the youngster he was sharing the backfield with it was otherwise a sputtering effort on that side of the ball with so many new faces in the lineup.
BSU wasn’t trotting out their strongest 11 either as Chase Cord made his first start (doubling as the first since tearing his ACL last season) in place of injured QB Hank Bachmeier. Starting tailback Robert Mahone also left early in the first half with a leg injury. The Broncos turned to freshman George Holani on the ground (97 yards) but mostly relied on Cord’s arm (185 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs) and playmaking ability down the stretch to make things interesting deep into the fourth quarter.
In the end however, it wasn’t enough as Boise State suffered their first loss of the season in improbable fashion. While they remain in control of their destiny when it comes to the Mountain West title, their status as the highest ranked Group of Five team is likely to change as Week 8 turns into Week 9. Undefeated SMU is likely to take the mantle and the lone loss the Broncos have also opens the door for others from the AAC like Memphis and Cincinnati, to say nothing of undefeated Sun Belt side No. 24 Appalachian State.
Those are conversations to be had by the CFP Selection Committee on another day however and do nothing for BYU’s present or future. The Cougars continue to be one of college football’s most puzzling teams either way, adding this upset of Boise State to their earlier one on the same field against USC and losses at Toledo and USF the past few weeks.