“They attacked us on all three phases of the game,” said BYU head coach Kalani Sitake post-game.
Iowa State opened the game strong when Will McLaughlin intercepted a Jake Retzlaff pass on the first play of the game and set the Cyclones up on the BYU 28-yard line.
“I just kind of threw the sail route and the backer dipped on me,” Retzlaff said. “Just kind of short on it.”
The Cyclones jumped ahead on the ensuing drive when Jaylin Noel caught a four-yard touchdown pass from Rocco Becht and gave them a 7-0 lead 1:28 into the game.
On the following kickoff, trouble struck the Cougars again when Ray Paulo fumbled the kickoff and it was recovered by Iowa State Drew Surges, giving them the ball on the BYU 17-yard line.
The Cougars defence held strong after the turnover, forcing the Cyclones to settle for a 31-yard field goal from Chase Contreraz, giving them a 10-0 lead.
“It is tough, you know, it is not ideal (starting on defence pined against the goal line), but at the end of the day we have got to go out there and limit them to a field goal at least,” said Cougars linebacker AJ Vongphachanh.
Retzlaff and the Cougars offence settled into the game on their next drive, going on a seven-play, 75-yard drive and capping the drive off with a five-yard touchdown pass to Jojo Phillips, making the score 10-7 with 8:47 remaining in the first quarter.
“We go down and score, I am proud of that,” said BYU tight end Isaac Rex. “I mean, it was 10-7. So, we are proud of our offence for being resilient.”
Iowa State punched back later in the quarter with a 72-yard drive that was capped off by an Eli Sanders 4-yard touchdown run, giving them a 17-7 lead with 1:03 remaining in the quarter.
After one quarter, the Cyclones led the Cougars 17-7.
In the quarter, Iowa State gained a total of 104 yards including 62 yards rushing. While BYU gained 93 yards, led largely by their 88 rushing yards.
The Cyclones extended their lead with an 80-yard touchdown drive that was finished by an 11-yard touchdown run by Cartevious Norton, giving them a 24-7 lead with 8:02 remaining in the half.
Abu Sama III gave Iowa State a 31-7 with 1:28 remaining in the half when he avoided a tackle from Raider Damuni and ran in for a 13-yard rushing touchdown.
After one half, the Cyclones led the Cougars 31-7.
Iowa State’s 31 first-half points were the most points against a Big 12 that they have had in a single half since 2021.
In the first half, the Cyclones moved the ball for 235 yards of offence, with 108 yards passing and 127 yards, leading to 16 first downs. The Cougars gained a total of 97 yards in the half, including 91 yards rushing and six passing yards, leading to three first downs.
“I do not think it takes a dramatic change (to improve our defence),” said Vongphachanh. “And I think that is why it is frustrating. Because I do think we have got the right guys in place … It just comes down to doing our job consistently.”
Becht completed 11-15 passes and threw for one touchdown in the first half.
Retzlaff was 2-7 through the air with one touchdown and one interception.
The Cougar’s offence showed signs of life on their first drive of the second half when they marched the ball 65 yards and capped the drive off with a 26-yard passing touchdown. The touchdown came off a trick play that saw Parker Kingston connected with Rex in the endzone, making the score 31-13.
Rex’s touchdown catch was the 23 touchdown of his career, making him the all-time leader for touchdowns from a tight end in BYU history.
“I love this university so much, I have been a BYU fan my whole life, so it is very cool,” Rex said. “There has been a lot of better tight ends that have come before me, and there will be better tight ends that come after me.”
The Cyclones quickly responded when a third and one-yard play turned into a 66-yard passing touchdown from Becht to Contreraz, putting them ahead 38-13 with 8:27 remaining in the third quarter.
Sama III scored his second touchdown of the game when he rushed the ball 59 yards to the endzone and gave the Cyclones a 45-13 lead with 5:36 remaining in the third quarter.
After three quarters, the Cyclones led the Cougars 45-13.
Iowa State moved the ball for a total of 400 yards after three quarters, including 217 rushing yards and 183 passing yards. 112 of the Cyclones’ 217 rushing yards came from Sama III.
BYU gained 238 yards of total offence in the first three quarters, including 138 rushing yards and 100 passing yards.
Jamison Patton helped put a cap on the night for the Cyclones when he intercepted a Retzlaff pass attempt and gave the Cyclones the ball on the BYU 24-yard line.
In the end, the Cyclones defeated the Cougars 45-13.
The Cyclones finished the game with 443 yards of offence, stemming from 209 yards passing and 234 yards rushing. Iowa State finished the night with 21 first downs while going 8-14 on third downs.
The Cougars managed to gain 318 yards during the game, rushing the ball for 188 yards and passing the ball for 130 yards. BYU picked up 18 first downs during the game and executed 1-11 on third down.
“Third downs have been an issue for us on offence and defence,” Sitake said.
Sama III shined for the Cyclones, rushing for 110 yards on eight attempts and scoring two touchdowns.
Becht provided 212 yards of total offence for Iowa State, throwing for 203 yards on 15-23 attempts and leading to two touchdowns.
Retzlaff was responsible for 168 yards of total offence for the Cougars, throwing for 104 yards and completing 10-27 attempts, picking up one touchdown. He also led BYU with 64 rushing yards on 17 attempts.
“I think he ran hard,” Sitake said. “… It was not good enough to score points and you cannot win games with 13 points.”
What is next
“Top 25 team with super good athletes,” Rex said. “… Oklahoma is going to be great. We are going to need to be all over the field. Just good athletes. So, we got to be ready to play.”
The kickoff of that game will be at 10 a.m. and fans can watch the game live on ABC or ESPN.