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A brief oral history of Ty'Son Williams' game-winning touchdown at Tennessee

By Sean Walker, KSL.com | Posted - Sep 9th, 2019 @ 10:24pm



PROVO — As you know by now — unless you've been lost in the wilderness for the past three days — the BYU football team went into a loud, boisterous and packed Neyland Stadium and survived with a 29-26 double-overtime win over Tennessee.

You probably know that running back Ty'Son Williams scored his second touchdown of the game in double overtime after the BYU defense held the Vols to a field goal on the previous possession.

You probably know that Williams is undefeated in Neyland Stadium, and he finished 3-0 against Tennessee with home-and-home victories in his two seasons with the South Carolina Gamecocks.

Sure, the moment never would've happened without wide receiver Micah Simon breaking free for a 64-yard catch with 16 seconds left, or Jake Oldroyd's 33-yard field goal with 1 second left on the clock, or Talon Shumway's 14-yard touchdown grab from Zach Wilson.

But the final payoff came as Williams rumbled into the end zone, guided by a monstrous offensive line that included center James Empey at the point, Chandon Herring pushing back 300 pounds of SEC behemoth, and right guard Brady Christiansen pulling the line so far, he didn't stop at the goal line.

But how did that play come to be? KSL.com spoke with several players to describe the final touchdown in Neyland Stadium, what went into it, and reaction to the game.

Below is a transcribed version from the perspective of several coaches and players involved in the play, slightly edited and condensed for clarity.


Kalani Sitake, head coach: "It looked like a big scrum play with our offense. I thought it was pretty aggressive … but I like that our line was ready to go."

Williams: "I don’t think I’ve been a part of anything like that. It’s a tribute to my line. They made things easier for me. In situations like that, they were just willing to get the extra push and get me into the end zone."

Christensen: "He’s the running back; he’s the one everybody was trying to stop. But I think that O-line was moving the pile."

Ed Lamb, assistant head coach: "What a tremendous job by our offensive line, and for Ty’Son to stay up and keep pushing. It was really a bounceback week for us."

Christensen: "I just looked over, and there was a huge pile on the 3-yard line. So I said, 'Here we go,' went over and just pushed on Chandon (Herring).

"I watched it again, and I thought we still weren't in. I wasn't very aware of where the end zone line was, so I was still pulling when we were two yards in. But we got in. It was awesome."

Ilaisa Tuiaki, defensive coordinator: "The running back room, in general, has a lot of depth and a lot of guys who can step in, play and do a really good job.

"We never got to see (Williams) until our first scrimmage in fall camp. When he shined there, that’s when we knew we’ve got a really special back. He's a big-time back. It's good to have it on our side."

Simon: "There was Aleva Hifo, doing this (hand-waving into the end zone). I was on the outside, and I had my hands straight up, yelling "touchdown" the whole time. Aleva said he had the magic touch; we’ll see if he can keep doing that for us."

Christensen: "That was awesome. Aleva was like the magician; keep coming, keep coming."

Sitake: "It was one of those things where I thought they would review it and not be a touchdown. Then I saw the refs running off."

Williams: "Any time you step on that checkerboard, you want to step off with a win. Every time, I’ve done that."

Sitake:"I think it was a great way to win the game. Ty'Son came from the SEC, he’s been here before, and it was nice to do that with the O-line."


BYU (1-1) will host No. 24 Southern California (2-0) at 1:30 p.m. MDT Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

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