BYU beats Arizona 24-16 in Vegas Kickoff Classic

Vegas Kickoff Classic BYU Arizona
Sep 4, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Neil Pau’u (2) evades the tackle attempt of Arizona Wildcats cornerback Isaiah Rutherford (2) on a scoring play at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

BYU and Arizona traveled to Las Vegas to play on Saturday, Sept. 4, in the Vegas Kickoff Classic at Allegiant Stadium and the Cougars came away with a 24-16 victory.

The Cougars Jaren Hall completed 18 of 28 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns. Both scoring passes were to Neil Pau’u, who caught eight balls for 126 yards. BYU’s Tyler Allgeier carried the ball 17 times for 94 yards and one touchdown.

Vegas Kickoff Classic
Sep 4, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Brigham Young Cougars running back Lopini Katoa (4) looks to spin out of the tackle attempt of Arizona Wildcats safety Gunner Maldonado (9) during a game at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Gunner Cruz completed 35 of 46 passes for 336 yards with one touchdown and one interception for Arizona. Stanley Berryhill III caught 12 passes for 102 yards and Michael Wiley carried the ball 15 times for 64 yards.

Cougars jump out early in Vegas Kickoff Classic

After a scoreless first half, BYU scored on a 15-yard Allgeier run for a touchdown and a 6-0 lead after the two-point conversion failed. The touchdown came with 9:17 left in the half following an nine-play, 73-yard drive.

Vegas Kickoff Classic
Sep 4, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Neil Pau’u (2) makes a catch as Arizona Wildcats cornerback Treydan Stukes (20) defends on the play during a game at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The Cougars scored again to build their lead to 14-0 with 2:06 left in the half on Hall’s 67-yard completion to Paul. Hall completed the two-point conversion on a pass to Lopini Katoa.

Arizona’s Lucas Havrisik hit a 28-yard field goal with 13 seconds left to cut the lead to 14-3. The field goal came after an 11-play drive that covered 65 yards and took 1:53.

BYU built the lead to 21-3 in the Vegas Kickoff Classic when Hall again connected with Pau’u on a 6-yard touchdown pass with 7:28 left in the third quarter. Justen Smith converted the extra point.

Arizona rallied when it’s defense trapped BYU running back Katoa in the end zone fore a safety to cut the lead to 21-5 with 3:10 left in the third quarter. 

After BYU’s free kick, Cruz hit B.J. Casteel on a 29-yard scoring pass. The two connected again for the two-point conversion to cut the lead to 21-13.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Smith kicked a 40-yard field goal to build BYU’s lead to 24-13 with 7:34 left in the game.

With 49 seconds left in the game, Havrisik kicked a 37-yard field goal as Arizona cut the lead to 24-16. But the Wildcats’ onside kick attempt failed and BYU ran out the clock to win the the Vegas Kickoff Classic.

The announced crowd for the Vegas Kickoff Classic was 54,541, making it the highest attended college sports event in Nevada history.