BYU’s field-goal kicking has been a concern at times this year, since junior kicker Rhett Almond was just 9-of-13 coming into Saturday night’s game at Fresno State and his long was just 38 yards.
But with the Cougars needing points in the first half against the Bulldogs, Almond was up for the challenge.
His first kick was a simple 27-yarder, one that most kickers can make fairly confidently.
But after a sack on third down late in the first half, Almond walked onto the field for a 46-yard attempt, 8 yards longer than he had ever made before.
Fresno State tried to make Almond think about it, calling a timeout before the attempt.
It didn’t affect the junior, who stepped up and knocked the ball just long enough to clear the crossbar and give BYU some momentum heading into halftime.
Almond’s 46-yarder was the longest made field goal by a Cougar kicker since Justin Sorensen made a 46-yarder against Utah in 2011.
Fortune on miscues BYU fans had to have been groaning when an errant pass in the second quarter settled in the arms of a Fresno State defender and he took it all the way to the end zone.
But multiple penalties ended up nullifying the pick-6. The Cougars had been called for a chop block, but the Bulldogs were flagged for defensive holding. The offsetting penalties gave BYU the ball back.
The Cougars had only converted on four of 16 fourth-down attempts during the 2017 season.
That ineptitude struck again early against Fresno State as a Brayden El-Bakri run on fourth-and-1 from the Bulldog 43-yard line only gained half a yard, resulting in another BYU turnover on downs.
With eight yards on his first pass of the game, junior quarterback Tanner Mangum reached another milestone.
Mangum has now passed for 5,000 yards through the air in his career, making him the 14th BYU quarterback to hit that mark.
The junior also passed Gifford Nielsen in career passing attempts with 710 (Nielsen had 708). He is now No. 13 at BYU.
Fresno State won the toss and BYU got the ball first. The Cougars went three-and-out on the opening possession of the game … The American flag was carried out by Creed Richardson while the team flags were carried by Austin Kafentzis, Trevion Greene and Corey Edwards … BYU’s alumni flags were carried by Elton Tripp (DB, 1998-2000) and Elias Faupula (OL 1993-95).