BYU holds on, hands Arizona 13th straight loss
Jaren Hall connected with Neil Pau’u for two touchdown passes as BYU held off Arizona in a 24-16 victory in the season opener for both teams at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
Hall, taking over for No. 2 overall NFL draft pick Zach Wilson, completed 18 of 28 passes for 198 yards, with no interceptions. Tyler Allgeier rushed for 94 yards and one touchdown on 17 carries.
Arizona, in Jedd Fisch’s head coaching debut, lost its 13th consecutive game.
The Wildcats rallied late in the third quarter with a safety and a 29-yard touchdown pass to BJ Casteel in a span of 72 seconds. Combined with a two-point conversion, Arizona pulled within 21-13 with two minutes to go in the quarter.
The Wildcats were aiming to potentially tie the game early in the fourth quarter, but BYU sacked Gunner Cruz on third down to force a 44-yard field goal attempt that missed. The Cougars answered with a 40-yard field goal from Justen Smith with 7:34 remaining for a 24-13 advantage.
Lucas Havrisik kicked a 37-yard field goal with 49 seconds left to cut the lead to 24-16, but BYU recovered the onside kick to seal the win.
Pau’u ran past the defense to haul in a 67-yard score in the second quarter and then scored on a 6-yard pass in the third quarter for a 21-3 lead. He finished with eight catches for 126 yards.
Cruz was 34 of 45 for 336 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. Michael Wiley ran for 64 yards and gained 66 on six receptions.
BYU defensive back Keenan Ellis suffered an injury five minutes into the game when his head snapped back while hitting a receiver on an incomplete pass. Medical personnel attended to him for more than 15 minutes on the field before he was put on a stretcher and taken off on a cart.
According to a BYU spokesperson, Ellis had movement in his extremities as he was leaving the field and was undergoing tests at UMC Trauma Center in Las Vegas during the game.
–Field Level Media