Zack Moss ran 29 times for 188 yards and a touchdown, while the Utah defense returned two interceptions for scores, enabling the No. 14 Utes to pull away for a 30-12 win over BYU on Thursday night in each team’s season opener at Lavell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah.
Picked by ESPN’s Lee Corso to play for the national championship, the Utes struggled for a half before flicking away the Cougars for the ninth straight year. They set the tone with their first drive of the second half.
Utah ripped off a 75-yard, 11-play touchdown march, cashing in when Jaylen Dixon barely broke the plane on a 2-yard sweep around left end at the 9:47 mark of the third quarter for a 16-6 advantage.
The Utes broke the game open with two touchdowns 31 seconds apart early in the fourth quarter. After a bungled snap exchange set them up at the BYU 22, Moss zipped in from the 4 yards out for a 23-6 lead. Then Julian Blackmon picked off a Zach Wilson pass and slalomed 39 yards with 12:25 left to end the game’s competitive phase.
South Carolina graduate transfer Ty’Son Williams scored on a 10-yard run with 9:19 remaining for the Cougars, moments before lightning was spotted in the area. Play was halted with 9:01 left, and the game was delayed for 54 minutes. Utah controlled the ball for the game’s remainder, taking knees after reaching the 3-yard line in the final two minutes.
Andrew Strauch initiated scoring for Utah with 8:07 left in the first quarter, converting a 41-yard field goal. Jake Oldroyd pulled BYU into a tie by nailing a 32-yard field goal 45 seconds into the second quarter.
However, the Utes took the lead for good when Francis Bernard took an interception 58 yards at the 10:17 mark of the second. Oldroyd hit from 37 yards with 5:52 remaining in the half to cut the margin to 9-6 at the break.
Wilson completed 21 of 33 passes for 208 yards and the two picks, while Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley hit on 13 of 16 passes for only 106 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions.
—Field Level Media