This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Provo º A good, old-fashioned shootout reminiscent of BYU's days in the Western Athletic Conference broke out on Friday night at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
Fortunately for the Cougars, this one ended like most of those wild and wacky WAC games did.
Four weeks after BYU freshman kicker Jake Oldroyd booted a last-second field goal to beat Arizona, the Cougars got their second win of the season as the kicker he replaced in that game, Rhett Almond, kicked a 19-yarder with no time on the clock to give them a 55-53 win over Toledo.
The Cougars (2-4) had driven 71 yards in the final minute to set up Almond's game-winner, reaching the Toledo 2.
"Just glad we got the win," BYU coach Kalani Sitake said. "There's obviously some things we need to fix."
Like their defense.
After dropping the snap, Toledo quarterback Logan Woodside threw a two-point conversion pass to Michael Roberts with 1:11 remaining to give the Rockets a 53-52 lead, but the visitors scored too quickly. The go-ahead points came after the Rockets (3-1) drove 79 yards for a touchdown, and Woodside finished with a school-record 505 passing yards and five touchdowns. Toledo had 692 total yards, BYU 586.
"It was just weird, the whole chain of events, the way it happened," Sitake said. "It was a great call on their part, going for two."
Almond was the final hero, but it was the running of Jamaal Williams that put BYU over the top. The senior broke Eldon Fortie's 54-year-old single-game rushing record with 282 yards and five touchdowns, and moved into second-place on BYU's career rushing yardage list with 3.229 yards, passing Curtis Brown (3,221).
"I gotta give credit to everybody who was blocking tonight," Williams said. "This record is for the whole team," Williams said.
Williams' 14-yard touchdown run with three minutes remaining gave the Cougars a 52-45 lead in the back-and-forth affair that featured tons of offense. It was set up by Kai Nacua's interception and return to the Toledo 21, one of the few big defensive plays for either team.
Neither team punted in the second half, and Nacua's pick ended the only non-scoring drive. Dayan Lake intercepted Woodside in the first half.
BYU quarterback Taysom Hill struggled much of the game, but completed 11 of 21 passes for 248 yards and a touchdown. His 33-yard strike to Colby Pearson, however, fueled the last-minute drive.
"It was a comfortable feeling that we had the ball last," Sitake said.
Squally Canada's 17-yard touchdown run, the first of his career, gave BYU a 42-38 lead with 13:20 remaining, but it took Toledo five plays to regain the advantage. Woodside threw a 78-yard touchdown pass to Cody Thompson, who broke a couple of tackles and raced to the end zone to give the Rockets a three-point lead with 10:57 left.
Almond's 31-yard field goal tied it at 45 with 5:21 left, but came after a holding penalty negated what would have been Williams' sixth touchdown run.
The Cougars rushed for 338 yards, including 49 from Canada. Kareem Hunt rushed for 146 yards for the Rockets.
Toledo broke from a 21-all halftime tie with a nine-play, 83-yard touchdown drive to take its first lead early in the third quarter.
The Cougars answered that go-ahead TD with a 48-yard TD run by Williams, but Toledo opened its next possession with a 46-yard pass, and took a 31-28 lead with a 28-yard field goal.
The seesaw scoring continued throughout the second half.
Williams reeled off a 62-yard TD run, passing the 200-yard plateau, to give the Cougars a 35-31 lead with five minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Toledo entered the fourth quarter with a 38-35 lead, however, thanks to Jon'Vea Johnson's second TD reception, a 15-yarder, with 58 seconds left in the third quarter.
The game could not have started better for the Cougars. Hill threw a 75-yard touchdown strike to a wide-open and streaking Jonah Trinnaman on the first play from scrimmage. But that was not a sign of things to come in the first half; Hill was 2 for 10 for 22 yards the remainder of the half.
Freshman Dayan Lake's first career interception and nifty return to the Toledo 13 set up the TD that gave BYU a 21-7 lead, but the Cougars couldn't hold it.
BYU linebacker Sae Tautu was ejected for targeting in the third quarter and will have to sit out the first half of next week's game at Michigan State.