Jaren Hall passed for 211 yards of 312 in the first period. Jakob Robinson caught two passes in second-half, and No. Georgia Southern was defeated 34-17 by 14 BYU on Saturday night.
Tyler Allgeier, the nation’s seventh-leading rusher, finished with 126 yards on 26 carries to help the Cougars (9-2) win their fourth straight game.
Georgia Southern (38-8) failed to defeat the top-ranked team in Statesboro before a capacity crowd of nearly 25,000 at Paulson Stadium. Appalachian State was beaten by the Eagles in 2018.
It was the first ever meeting between BYU & Georgia Southern.
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Robinson picked off Amare Jones’ pass with a diving catch late in the third and intercepted Connor Cigelske, taking his first snaps as Georgia Southern’s quarterback, early in the fourth. Robinson’s second pick was a sensational over-the-shoulder catch at the sideline, setting up Puka Nacua’s 29-yard catch in the left corner of the end zone and a 34-17 lead.
Hall has passed at least 300 yards four times in his last five games.
Due to several Eagles missed tackles, and Allgeier’s 1-yard run, the Cougars led 27-17 at halftime. Allgeier had 18 rushing touchdowns. The national lead was tied at the beginning of the game.
Jake Oldroyd made it 20-17 BYU in intermission with two field goals, one midway through and the other just before halftime.
The Eagles pulled within four in the second. Logan Wright ran in the third yard from three yards. He caught both a pass of 19 and 10 yards.
After BYU failed on a fourth-down try from the Georgia Southern 43, the Eagles went ahead 17-14 on Wright’s 11-yard run off right guard.
BYU jumped out to a 7-3 lead after its first drive. Hall’s first pass was 14 yards long. The Cougars then converted a fourth. Lopini Katoa came in at 5 yards.
Nacua caught a 42-yard pass on a deep post route over the middle and Allgeier broke off a 14-yard run to spark BYU’s second drive, which ended with Nacua’s 5-yard touchdown catch and a 14-3 lead in the first seconds of the second quarter.
Max Tooley, the Cougars’ leading tackler with four solo stops at that time, was lost to injury. He was then ejected because he was being targeted in the middle of the second. Nacua was injured in the second half, but returned to play in the third. Nacua’s temporary loss was further exacerbated by the injury last week to standout receiver Neal Pau’u, who will miss next week’s game, too.
BYU: Under coach Kalani Sitake, the Cougars have been bowl eligible 16 times in 17 seasons. This is the fifth time that the Cougars have qualified for this level in six years. BYU is an independent team that will be bound to the Big 12 in 2023. They played for the fourth consecutive Sun Belt Conference match. The Cougars defeated Troy and Texas State last season, but fell to Coastal Carolina.
Georgia Southern: Starting quarterback Justin Tomlin did not play because of a concussion sustained in last week’s win at Texas State. Cam Ransom (second-string quarterback) was out due to a shoulder injury. Cigelske, Jones and Jones took turns at center in the first half of the game. Cigelske then took over the majority of the snaps.
The victory likely won’t mean a rise in the Top 25. BYU was a 19 ½-point favorite and was expected to manhandle the Eagles.
2017 saw the agreement between both schools for a home-and–home arrangement. Georgia Southern will visit Provo in 2024. However, that match could still be in doubt with BYU heading to the Big 12 for 2023.
BYU: Saturday at Southern California, the Cougars will be attempting to beat the Pac-12 to become 5-0.
Georgia Southern: Appalachian State Saturday