PROVO, Utah – Marcus Matthews caught a deflected pass from backup quarterback Riley Nelson in the end zone with 11 seconds to play to cap a 96-yard drive that gave BYU a 27-24 college football victory over Utah State on Friday night.
Pinned by a 67-yard punt by Tyler Bennett on their 4-yard line with 2:26 to play, Nelson, who replaced ineffective starter Jake Heaps in the third quarter, led the Cougars (3-2) on an improbable drive that gave them their 21st win over their in-state rival in their last 23 meetings.
Nelson was 4 of 5 for 66 yards on the final drive, including a 40-yard pass to McKay Jacobson to the Utah State 26 and the winning pass from the 13. Nelson ran four times for 30 yards during the drive.
Utah State (1-3) again lost a late lead as it did against Auburn and Colorado State. The Aggies took a 21-13 lead on their opening possession of the second half when Robert Turbin caught a screen pass from freshman quarterback Chuckie Keaton and rumbled 24 yards for his second touchdown.
Nelson finished 10 of 14 passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns. Heaps was 11 of 25 for 107 yards.
Keeton was 12 of 24 for 118 yards and the two touchdowns.
Turbin rushed for 123 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries, including an 80-yard run on the opening play of the game. Utah State led 7-0 14 seconds into the game.
The Cougars rallied to take a 10-7 lead on a 23-yard field goal by Justin Sorenson and 1-yard keeper by Heaps with 1:47 left in the first quarter.
Keaton threw a 13-yard pass to Eric Moats to put the Aggies up 14-10 with 4:02 left in the half. BYU was able to get within one on a 29-yard field goal by Sorensen with 55 seconds to go in the second quarter.
Josh Thompson kicked a 21-yard field goal 2:17 into the fourth quarter to give the Aggies a 24-13 lead.
Nelson found Cody Hoffman with a 24-yard touchdown pass to make it 24-20 with 10:46 left.
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