The Cougars lost more than instate bragging rights on a perfect autumn evening, as starting quarterback Beau Hoge — playing in the place of opening-day starter Tanner Mangum — suffered an undisclosed injury in the second quarter and did not return. BYU finished the game with third-stringer Koy Detmer Jr. taking most of the snaps, relieved occasionally by QB-turned-running back Austin Kafentzis.
Credit the Aggies for forcing six turnovers — their most since eight from Boise State in 2015 — but several were unforced, including an ill-advised throw by Hoge that hit USU linebacker Chase Christiansen in the upper back and was returned for a touchdown by Jalen Davis.
The pick-six trimmed BYU's lead to 21-14 and changed the course of a game the Cougars were dominating, but disaster struck two plays later when Hoge was slow to get up after a 7-yard run and later taken to the locker room for observation. Detmer was ineffective in relief, throwing two interceptions, and the Cougars could only move the ball via the run until the final minutes.
After BYU's sixth turnover, a fumble by Kafentzis, USU QB Kent Myers ran 19 yards for a touchdown to give USU a 33-21 lead with 14:52 remaining in the fourth quarter, and the Aggies held on.
BYU had a touchdown nullified by two holding penalties later in the quarter, settling instead for a field goal by Rhett Almond that trimmed the deficit to 33-24. With BYU forced to pass late in the game, Detmer was intercepted again by Davis, who returned it 50 yards for a touchdown.
The second half was fairly tame after a wild first half featured four turnovers — three by BYU — two pick-sixes, a blocked field goal, a fumble that killed a Cougar drive, and a bad snap that put BYU in a hole and led to USU's third touchdown. Also, the Cougars lost their starting quarterback, a regular occurrence against Utah State.
The Aggies started on fire, driving 75 yards on their first possession for a quick touchdown, a 32-yard reception by tight end Dax Raymond.
On USU's next possession, however, Micah Hannemann intercepted Myers and returned it 46 yards for a touchdown to even the score at seven apiece.
The Cougars took late in the second quarter, and used some trickeration to go ahead 14-7. Kafentzis took a snap and handed off to Micah Simon, who pitched it to Hoge, lined up at receiver. Hoge found a wide open fullback Brayden El Bakri for a 26-yard TD.
On BYU's next possession, Hoge threw a 40-yard strike to Beau Tanner for a TD, originally ruled incomplete but reversed by replay officials, the first of Tanner's career.
Corbin Kaufusi blocked a field goal attempt to thwart an Aggie drive, but on the next play Hoge's pass was returned for the TD by Davis.
After Detmer had to fall on a bad snap at the BYU 2, the Cougars punted out of their end zone and USU took over in BYU territory. Myers threw a 36-yard TD pass to Ron'quavion Tarver to knot the score at 21.
The Cougars got greedy after taking over at their 25 with 1:11 remaining in the first half, and Detmer's 2nd-and-2 throw over the middle was picked off by former Cougar Dallin Leavitt, who nearly sparked a ruckus during pregame warmups. Leavitt returned the pick to the BYU 24, and Dominik Eberle put the Aggies ahead 24-21 with a 32-yard field goal as the half ended.