PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Down to their third-string quarterback, the prospects looked grim for BYU Saturday night against #14 Boise State.
But with Aaron Roderick calling the plays, Baylor Romney came through with a huge victory in his first career start.
Romney threw for 221 yards and two touchdowns to help BYU upset the Broncos 28-25 on Saturday night and snap a three-game losing streak.
The Cougars turned to Romney, their third-string quarterback, with Zach Wilson and Jaren Hall both sidelined with injuries. He threw two scoring passes to Matt Bushman and helped deliver a second home win for BYU (3-4) over a Top 25 opponent this season.
This is the first time in school history that BYU has defeated two ranked opponents in the same season at home with wins against No. 24 USC and No. 14 Boise State.
“We have a lot of great guys on our team,” head coach Kalani Sitake said. “I’m just proud of them and happy for our fans. You can’t count these guys out. These guys are fighters, especially when their backs are against the wall.”
Quarterbacks coach Aaron Roderick called the plays from the booth, while offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes moved down to the field to work with the offensive line. The move paid off.
The Cougars amassed 342 yards of total offense, including 89 yards rushing by fourth-string running back Sione Finau, who had a 46-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter to give BYU the lead for good.
Romney finished the game completing 15 of 26 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns, both to Bushman. With the win, he joins Ty Detmer, Taysom Hill, Tanner Mangum, Joe Critchlow, and Zach Wilson as the only freshman to win their first start at BYU.
“It finally all came together,” Romney said. “We know what we’re capable of as a team. For it all to come together against Boise State was something incredible. We were being aggressive. We weren’t going to be conservative at all and takes shots, and it all paid off.
“I thought he was great,” Sitake said about Romney. “You saw the composure he had in the pocket and making guys miss while having his eyes downfield. I give a lot of credit to coach Grimes and coach Roderick for getting him in a situation where he can be comfortable and using his strengths. You also have to give a lot of credit to him. He’s come to work every day with the same mentality. He watched a lot of films and prepared well. That’s the culture that we have with our guys right now.”
Chase Cord, Boise State’s No. 2 quarterback, got the call with Hank Bachmeier out because of an injury. He struggled in his first career start, throwing for 185 yards, two touchdowns, and a pair of interceptions.
Boise State (6-1) was dealt a serious blow to its New Year’s Six bowl hopes with the team’s first loss to BYU since 2015.
The Broncos trimmed an 18-point deficit to three late in the fourth quarter. Cord hit Octavius Evans with a 13-yard TD pass and then Akilian Butler with a 5-yard TD pass to make it 28-25 with 3:17 remaining.
The Cougars were able to run out the clock after Austin Kafentzis picked up a yard on 4th-and-inches from the BYU 34 with 2:17 left.
BYU took its first lead at 14-10 early in the third quarter when Sione Finau took an option pitch and raced 46 yards untouched for the score. Then the Cougars dug into the bag of tricks to pull away.
Romney hit Bushman with a pair of touchdown passes to extend BYU’s lead to 28-10 late in the quarter. On the first one, he faked a QB sneak on 4th down, popped out, and hit Bushman down the middle for 27 yards. Then, following an interception by Jackson Kaufusi, Romney hit a wide-open Bushman down the sideline after a flea-flicker for a 39-yard score.
The Cougars racked up 196 yards on just 11 plays in the third quarter.
Neither team could get much done on offense before halftime. Boise State and BYU each scored on their opening drive, then combined for six straight 3-and-outs during the second quarter. The Broncos finally broke that lengthy string of punts on their final drive before halftime, scoring on a 38-yard field goal from Eric Sachse to take a 10-7 lead into the locker room.
Brothers Isaiah and Jackson Kaufusi both grabbed interceptions in the game. Isaiah had a diving interception in the first quarter while Jackson intercepted a pass in the third quarter and returned it 13 yards, setting up a BYU touchdown.
BYU now has a bye week before playing at Utah State November 2nd.