This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated.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.
East Lansing, Mich. • With a 62-yard run as the clock wound down Saturday, BYU's Jamaal Williams finally topped the 100-yard mark against Michigan State on his 28th carry of the game.
His first 99 yards may have been more impressive than the clinching burst that took him to the MSU 2-yard line in the Cougars' 31-14 victory at Spartan Stadium.
Unlike last week against Toledo, Williams ran into considerable resistance from a Big Ten defense. The Spartans are too good to allow any running back to do what Williams did to Toledo, rushing for a school-record 286 yards. Yet Williams likely gained more yards after contact against the Spartans, after continually finding huge holes against Toledo.
Williams enjoyed battling the Spartans in a contest he described as "just great football, to play against great competitors like them."
Williams followed his 62-yard sprint down the sideline with a 1-yard run for his second touchdown of the fourth quarter. He finished with 163 yards on 30 carries and now has 866 yards in six games this season. Williams is within 63 yards of Harvey Unga's BYU career record of 3,455 rushing yards and should top that mark Friday against Mississippi State.
The Cougars' persistence was rewarded Saturday. With help from quarterback Taysom Hill and reserve running back Squally Canada, Williams led a rushing attack that gained 260 yards. Without Williams, Hill or Canada, the Cougars netted 50 rushing yards last season in a 31-0 loss at Michigan.
This is not the same BYU team, and Michigan State of 2016 is not Michigan of 2015. Even with some key defensive players missing, though, Michigan State is an entrenched program stocked with Big Ten athletes. The Cougars dominated the Spartans with their own revamped offensive line.
"We challenged our guys this week to own the line of scrimmage," said BYU coach Kalani Sitake.
The Cougars responded well on both sides of the ball. The Spartans rushed for 85 yards, after three sacks totaling 15 yards were subtracted. Hill was not sacked and the BYU offensive line's only significant failure came in the second quarter when fullback Algie Brown was stopped on a fourth-and-inches play at the MSU 3-yard line.
BYU converted 6 of 7 third-down plays in the second half. The Cougars' only miss was followed by a fourth-down play when Hill was well protected and found fullback Quin Ficklin for a 2-yard completion, good for the first down.