BYU Cougars @ Ole Miss Rebels Football Recap
BYU 14, Ole Miss 13
Independence can be a lonely road, with no conference to fill your schedule and no conference title for which to compete. And for 50 minutes in Oxford, Mississippi, Brigham Young’s independent path was about to get a whole lot lonelier. But a solid touchdown drive and a big defensive touchdown rallied BYU past Ole Miss 14-13 on Saturday afternoon.
Much of the game was a stale-mate, as Ole Miss and BYU traded 408 yards worth of punts throughout the game. BYU moved the ball better all game, but failed any consistency, noticeably having trouble with consistent shotgun snaps. The Cougar defense, however, proved to be the best unit on the field, holding a massive offensive line and experienced stable of running backs to only 64 rushing yards. BYU also forced several Rebel offensive players to the sidelines with injuries, including star running back Brandon Bolden.
The Rebels used a 44-yard punt return from Jeff Scott to set up at midfield with three minutes left in the first half. Zack Stoudt, a junior-college transfer who ended camp as the third-string quarterback, was inserted into the game after Barry Brunetti was ineffective. Stoudt led Ole Miss deep into BYU territory, and with under a minute left in the first half, Ole Miss broke the scoring drought with a 20-yard field goal.
BYU asserted itself with its first possession of the second half, driving from its own 11-yard line down to the Mississippi 22. But on a 2 nd and 7, when Heaps tried to squeeze in a pass at the goal line, roaming safety Charles Sawyer picked it off and returned it 96 yards for a touchdown. Now in a 10-0 hole, BYU went to work again, driving from its own 20-yard line all the way to the Mississippi 14. But when Justin Sorensen missed on a simple 31-yard field goal, and BYU came up empty again, it seemed the night was destined to belong to the Rebels. They returned the favor, taking a drive 70 yards that ended in another short field goal. To BYU’s credit, they had held Ole Miss to two field goals in two red-zone trips.
But the Cougars finally answered the bell. Heaps took another drive deep into Rebel territory, going 5-5 for 49 yards including BYU’s only touchdown of the game, a 19-yard out to Apo. With the gap closed at 13-7, the BYU defense made its final mark. Two penalties moved Ole Miss into a 3 rd & 27 from its own 21-yard line. BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall dialed up the pressure, blitzing both outside linebackers. As Stoudt dropped back, he was sacked and fumbled the ball on a hit from Kyle Van Noy. Van Noy jumped up and took the ball into the endzone, and just like that, BYU prevailed 14-13.
Heaps finished 24-38 for 225 yards for the Cougars, who travel to Austin to play Texas (1-0) next week. Ole Miss will host Southern Illinois (1-0).
By: Brett Hein
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