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PROVO — BYU hosted Arizona State in Provo Saturday in one of the biggest games in Lavell Edwards Stadium since 2009 with two ranked opponents.
BYU gave ASU momentum in the third quarter, which gave fans some nerves, but the Cougars rallied, found their stride and iced the game with a touchdown with two minutes left in regulation. The win moved BYU to 3-0 on the season.
Now three games into the season, we're getting a better idea of who the Cougars are.
Here are three lessons from BYU's win over Arizona State:
The 2021 Cougars need to play 4 complete quarters
It's hard to fault BYU too much on their three-game winning streak. All have come against Power Five teams and two against ranked opponents. But in all three games, the Cougars have yet to play four complete quarters.
In the opener against Arizona, the Cougars controlled the game for all but a few minutes when the Wildcats rattled off a safety, touchdown and a 2-point conversion. If not for that, BYU would never have been in danger of giving that game up.
Against Utah, BYU had a stretch to start the fourth quarter where the Cougars gave up 10 points and had to make some big plays down the stretch to secure the rivalry win.
Then on Saturday, when BYU was up 21-7, the third quarter happened. ASU started to move the ball and scored 10 points to make it a 4-point game. BYU took control, again, in the fourth quarter and scored with 1:19 left in the game to go up 10 and put the game out of reach.
BYU has mostly controlled all three games, with the exception of a few minutes when they gave up momentum and found themselves fighting to keep the lead. It's been fun to watch, and so far they have made the adjustments necessary. But this approach likely won't work on the road against teams like Baylor and USC.
The season opener in Las Vegas was on a neutral field, but it was a BYU home game for all intents and purposes. With nearly 50,000 Cougars fans in the stands it wasn't even close when it came to who had the fan edge.
The crowd also played a factor in both the Utah and ASU games. Arizona State had multiple false start penalties that would go to the fans, if there was a stat category for it, and lost nearly five minutes of precious time in the fourth quarter on just six plays.
BYU will not have this advantage in road games, and if they can't play four full quarters they won't have the ROC to help them out. If the Cougars want to keep winning — they face tough road games — they will need to clean up those stretches when they lose momentum and give the other team a chance to get back in it.
Allgeier is officially an all-time BYU great
I think most people knew Tyler Allgeier would be considered one of the all-time great BYU running backs when his career came to a close, but Saturday night he solidified himself as one of the all-time great Cougars.
On paper, Allgeier's stats weren't stunning on Saturday night. The bruising back finished the night with 69 yards and one touchdown, but it's when he got those yards that made an impact. When BYU needed the first down, he seemed to step up. When they needed to get some breathing room, he was ready to take the load and make it happen.
There is a toughness and a never-give-up attitude that sets Allgeier apart from many athletes, which was on full display Saturday.
BYU had given up 10 points to the Sun Devils and were trying to keep a 4-point lead alive. Hall threw a pick and ASU looked like they might return it for a touchdown. Allgeier decided he wasn't going to let that happen, though.
He chased the ASU player down, with nearly 70 yards of field needing to be covered; and instead of a tackle, he stripped the ball. Hall trailed the play and made the recovery.
If ASU returns the pick, it may have won the game for the Sun Devils. Football games are always a study in "what ifs," but it's very likely if Allgeier doesn't make that play BYU doesn't win that game.
It's not just that one play that makes Allgeier an all-time BYU great, but it may be the one that solidified his place there.
BYU has depth
Depth has been a concern for BYU in the past. Many times, players have stepped up when the No. 1 guy goes down, but other times the team has had a season take a turn for the worst thanks to an injury. It seems the 2021 Cougars have the depth they've been fighting for for a long time.
Second-string players have already stepped up this season, but the biggest play from a back-up came Saturday night late in the game.
On BYU's game-winning drive, Hall went down with an injury after a big run to get the Cougars within 5 yards of the end zone. Hall left the game and Baylor Romney entered the game.
BYU ran two running plays, both of which failed to gain significant yards and faced third-and-goal. Instead of another run, offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick called for Romney to roll out and throw a ball up for BYU's big tight end Isaac Rex. After nearly slipping and falling to the ground, Romney gained his feet and delivered a perfect ball up high to Rex with the ASU defense in his face. Rex pulled down the pass and sealed the win for the Cougars.
Romney's throw was on target and his poise in that moment is commendable, but those aren't even the reasons that proved BYU has depth on their roster. What really proves it is the fact that the coaching staff had such faith in their back up that they put the game in his hands and let him win the game for them.
That tells us the coaches have confidence that their back ups can do the job, and it paid off. Romney has proven himself in past starts and, depending on Hall's condition, he may have to prove it again.
BYU will try to defend their home winning streak Saturday when they host South Florida in Provo.