BYU 38, Air Force 24

By: AP
By: AP

Max Hall threw for 354 yards and two touchdowns and No. 17 BYU evaded Air Force 38-24 on Saturday.

Harvey Unga added two touchdowns in a 74-second span in the third quarter, helping the Cougars set up a clash with No. 7 Utah next weekend for a share of the Mountain West Conference title.

Hall completed 28 of 37 passes, picking apart an Air Force defense that came in leading the league against the pass. He threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Austin Collie in the third quarter and a 45-yarder to Collie with 4:46 remaining, giving Hall at least one TD pass in 22 of 24 career games.

The Cougars (10-1, 6-1 MWC) have beaten the Falcons (8-3, 5-2) in five straight.

Dennis Pitta caught nine passes for 113 yards, including a pivotal third-down catch on BYU's game-sealing drive. Unga had 88 yards rushing on 19 attempts.

Collie was corralled most of the day, but his late touchdown snare gave him 130 yards on the afternoon, his ninth straight 100-yard performance.

He also moved to within 35 yards of passing Eric Drage as the school's career leader in receiving.

After falling behind 31-14, the Falcons scored on Jared Tew's 19-yard touchdown run with 7:37 left. Tew's first career touchdown run was set up by a 45-yard scamper by freshman quarterback Tim Jefferson, and then a fourth-and-4 conversion later in the drive.

Brandon Howard intercepted a pass from Jefferson with 2:44 remaining to close the door on the Falcons' comeback attempt.

The Cougars scored 21 straight points in the third quarter, the most the Falcons have allowed in a quarter this season.

Todd Newell rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown for Air Force, while Asher Clark added a touchdown run.

Jefferson had won five straight since taking over the starting job, but the Cougars halted the streak. He threw for 98 yards and rushed for 75 more.

Unga scored twice in 1:14 to turn a halftime deficit into a lead the Cougars wouldn't relinquish.

The bruising sophomore powered in from one yard out early in the third.

Then, on the ensuing kickoff, Reggie Rembert had the ball squirt free on a hit from Blake Morgan, and it was recovered by Spencer Hadley.

Three plays later, Unga romped in from the 2 yard line.

Clark and Newell had short touchdown runs in the second quarter, sending the Falcons into locker room with a 14-10 lead.

The Cougars had the ball on the Air Force 3 in the closing seconds of the opening half, but Hall's pass was tipped at the line by Ryan Kemp and fluttered into the arms of Aaron Kirchoff to thwart the scoring threat.

Clark scored on a 6-yard scamper, while Newell barged in from the 1. Newell's plunge was set up by a 46-yard run from Kyle Halderman.

Fui Vakapuna rumbled in from 11 yards in the first quarter, and Mitch Payne later hit a 46-yard attempt to stake BYU to an early 10-0 lead.

Vakapuna, tipping the scales at 253 pounds, weighs as much as most Falcons' defensive linemen.

Air Force was held scoreless in the first 15 minutes, breaking a string of 18 straight quarters in which the team had put points on the board.

The Falcons had a chance to extend the streak on a 54-yard field goal, but BYU's David Nixon blocked Ryan Harrison's kick.

Harrison later connected on a 34-yarder in the third quarter.


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