BYU rallies to beat Tennessee 29-26 in OT

Sep 9, 2019, 5:28 AM
BYU quarterback, #1 Zach Wilson. Courtesy of BYU Photo....
BYU quarterback, #1 Zach Wilson. Courtesy of BYU Photo.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Finally given time to throw for one of the few times all night, Zach Wilson delivered a stunning pass and helped rescue BYU from near-certain defeat.

Wilson’s 64-yard completion to Micah Simon set up a game-tying field goal with one second left in regulation. BYU went on to beat Tennessee 29-26 in the second overtime session as Ty’Son Williams scored from 5 yards out with help from his offensive linemen.

“It’s one of those things where all your reads and all your decision-making and what kind of coverage they are in, it kind of all goes out the window,” said Wilson, who was sacked four times and pressured for most of the night. “It’s kind of like you know what, where can I extend the play?”

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,” BYU coach Kalani 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.

Yet that ultimately wasn’t enough, thanks to that Wilson-to-Simon connection.

BYU was facing third-and-6 from its own 20 with less than 20 seconds left when Wilson threw deep to Simon, who got way behind cornerback Alontae Taylor and caught the pass just beyond midfield. Simon then raced into the red zone before Taylor brought him down.

“I was on the same side as (Matt) Bushman, who is a really great tight end, so a lot of eyes and a lot of guys were looking at him,” Simon said. “I think they just kind of had a mis-lapse in coverage and I got behind the guys and Zach made a great pass.”

After Wilson spiked the ball with five seconds left, Jake Oldroyd kicked his third field goal, a 33-yarder that barely slipped inside the right upright with a second remaining.

The Cougars got the ball first in overtime and scored on Wilson’s 14-yard touchdown pass to Talon Shumway. Tennessee tied it on Jarrett Guarantano’s 13-yard pass to Jennings.

Tennessee opened the second overtime session by settling for Brent Cimaglia’s fourth field goal, a 40-yarder that briefly gave the Vols a 26-23 lead.

Then Williams ended it once and for all.

The South Carolina graduate transfer appeared to be stopped just a few yards short of the end zone on second-and-3 from the 5, but he kept running until he crossed the goal line. His offensive linemen pushed him along those last couple of yards.

“I just got in there and just got dirty, just kept my feet moving and was able to get to the goal line and score a touchdown,” said Williams, who ran for 92 yards and two scores.


BYU: Wilson went 19 of 29 for 232 yards, but his offensive line must do a better job of protecting him. … The Cougars must play the first half of next week’s game without defensive lineman Devin Kaufusi, who was ejected for targeting.

Tennessee: A young team showed it still must learn how to win as it somehow failed to close this game out. Tennessee needs better production from Guarantano, whose interception early in the second half set up a BYU touchdown. Guarantano threw for 97 yards in the first quarter and just 79 yards the rest of the way.


Tennessee scored a touchdown off a deflected pass on its opening drive when it went for it on fourth-and-3 from the 5, but the Vols failed to capitalize on plenty of other scoring chances.

The Vols lost the ball on downs at the BYU 19 and at the BYU 30, and they also settled for four field goals.

Those missed opportunities eventually cost them the game.


“The bottom line is there’s a couple of errors we made in the game that you can’t do,” Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt said. “You can’t do. You just don’t do. It’s tough to win against anybody when you make errors like that. It’s a tough pill for everybody to swallow. Everybody worked hard this week, responded the right way.”


BYU hosts Southern California on Saturday.

Tennessee hosts Football Championship Subdivision program Chattanooga on Saturday.


More AP college football: and


Follow Steve Megargee at

Today’s Top Stories

All News

Trucks are lined up for sale at Low Book Sales in Lindon on Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022. Most new vehicl...
Heather Kelly

Automatic emergency braking should only be used as a last resort

AAA of Utah says automatic emergency braking systems have limitations and should only be used as a last resort to prevent a crash.
1 day ago
Ballpark Station closes Thursday night due to a debris on the tracks. Photo credit: Salt Lake City ...
Devin Oldroyd

Utah Transit Authority closes Ballpark Station due to debris on tracks

Ballpark Station closes Thursday night due to a debris on the tracks.
1 day ago
Utah airbnb rentals rising interest rates affecting millennial home buyers...
Mark Jones

Eviction filings on the rise in Utah, compared to this time last year

The Rental Housing Association of Utah says eviction filings in Utah saw a 46% increase in the first six months of this year as compared to the same time in 2021.
1 day ago
(Getty Images)...
Mark Jones

21-year-old man sentenced for multiple sex crimes

A 21-year-old man was sentenced Wednesday for four sex crimes he pled guilty to in August.
1 day ago
university of utah...
Mark Jones

University of Utah Health among the nation’s top 10 for 13th year in row

The 2022 Vizient Bernard A. Birnbaum, MD, Quality Leadership Award has ranked University of Utah Health in the top 10 for the 13th straight year.
1 day ago
utah employment...
Alejandro Lucero

Annual Golden Key Awards presented to local businesses

Golden Key Awards recognize the people and businesses who believe in Utahns with disabilities, said a press release. Nine businesses were recognized today.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
BYU rallies to beat Tennessee 29-26 in OT