Knoxville, Tenn. • Zach Wilson hit Micah Simon with a 64-yard pass to set up Jake Oldroyd’s 33-yard field goal to tie the score at the end of regulation, and Simon’s roommate Ty’Son Williams’ strong-willed 5-yard score gave Brigham Young a 29-26 victory against Tennessee in double overtime Saturday.
Playing more like a schoolyard scrum than with any set plays, Wilson scrambled and hit Simon in single coverage for the big play that allowed the Cougars to pull out a victory with the odds against them.
“All read. Decision-making went out the window,” said the sophomore quarterback. “I remember the safety taking off to the field and leaving Simon one on one. I thought, ‘Why is he letting him go?’ ”
After BYU trailed 13-3 at the half, junior linebacker Kavika Fonua intercepted Jarrett Guarantano and returned the ball 20 yards to the Tennessee 20. Three players later, running back Ty’Son Williams rushed 16 yards around right end to pull the Cougars to 13-10.
After an exchange of field goals, Brigham Young got the ball at its own 16 yard line with 1:01 left down 16-13.
Following a holding penalty and incomplete pass, it appeared the Cougars (1-1) were doomed.
Tennessee dominated the first half, thanks in large part to 127 yards rushing on just 20 carries. Most notable was a 53-yard run by running back Ty Chandler when the Volunteers (0-2) were attempting to run out the clock in the closing moments of the first half, deep in their own territory.
Instead, Chandler’s long run set up Brent Cimaglia’s 39-yard field goal to conclude the half’s scoring, but only after Jauan Jennings, who caught two touchdown passes in the game, dropped a sure thing in the end zone on the first play following Chandler’s long run to give the Vols possession at the BYU 31.
But the Cougars would hold on two fourth-and-1 plays in the game as well as stopping Tennessee at its own 32 with just over a minute left.
“We used a bunch of different guys to keep fresh,” said BYU coach Kalani Stake.
So while the Vols dominated the first half, the Cougars were able to hold on just enough to be able to stay in striking distance.
The remarkable rally enabled BYU to rebound from a 30-12 loss to No. 13 Utah and avoid its first 0-2 start since 1995 with Southern California and No. 14 Washington looming for the Cougars in the next two weeks.
“Oh, this is huge,” Sitake said. “We obviously looked at the schedule and we know games that we want to win and want to perform well. I don’t think our guys are proud of what they did last week, but we talk about getting over that feeling, and the best way to do it is play the next week and prepare for it.”
Instead, it's Tennessee that is 0-2 for the first time since 1988, when the Volunteers lost their first six games. Tennessee has gone 6-16 over its last 22 games.
"I've been through worse here," Tennessee offensive tackle Marcus Tatum said. "We've all been through worse here. We've seen worse, so it's just look at the positive. We fought. We just need to continue to fight."
Tennessee was trying to bounce back from a humiliating season-opening 38-30 loss to 26-point underdog Georgia State. For most of the night, it appeared the Vols would do just that.
They got 154 yards rushing from Ty Chandler and two touchdown catches from Jauan Jennings. They controlled both sides of the line of scrimmage pretty much the entire game.
The Cougars next host USC Saturday at 1:30 pm.
The Associated Press contributed to this report