Several storylines unfolded in Provo, Utah Thursday night where BYU defeated TCU in a key MWC contest, 27-22.

Storyline #1. The Cougars offensive line turned in one of their finest performances of the season, yielding only one quarterback sack to TCU’s acclaimed defensive ends Chase Ortiz and Tommy Blake. BYU quarterback Max Hall had enough time throughout much of the game to post solid numbers (26 for 44, 305 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT).

Brigham Young’s O-line got stronger as the game progressed and by the second half, Cougar running backs Harvey Unga and Manase Tonga began blasting through holes that were difficult to find earlier in the game. Unga rushed for 64 yards on 16 carries, and scored twice. Tonga added another 17 yards on 5 carries, and Hall contributed 28 yards on 5 scrambles.

Storyline #2. Third down conversion success. 13 for 20, to be exact.. BYU’s ability to make the big plays when they needed to keep their drives going led to a six-minute advantage in possession and 405 total yards in offense over a Horned Frogs defense that was averaging a per game yield of just 176 total yards.

Storyline #3. Minimal penalties.. Only 30 yards penalized on 4 flags–a whopping improvement from earlier this season. The only time the Cougars really hurt themselves in this category was a holding call that negated a perfectly executed Hall to Pitta touchdown pass in the second quarter. BYU settled for a field goal on the possession and lost 4 points because of the penalty.

Storyline #4. Quick start. Brigham Young scored on their first possession and never trailed the Horned Frogs in the game. They held a 17-9 advantage at the half, and drew first blood in the second half on a Kelly Poppinga interception that led to a 3-yard touchdown scamper by Harvey Unga. That turnover and score proved to be the real dagger in TCU’s gut, giving BYU a 24-9 lead with just a minute gone on the second half clock.

Storyline #5. Clutch plays. The Cougars constantly came up with big plays to keep drives going and stifled the Horned Frogs when they needed a clutch play the most. Max Hall scrambled 22 yards for a first down during BYU’s first possession of the game deep in TCU territory. That led to a Harvey Unga 15-yard touchdown jaunt on the next play.

On another third down situation in the first half, Hall scrambled and found Austin Collie open for a 66-yard gain. That play led to a Hall to Joe Semanoff touchdown pass two plays later.

Dennis Pitta and Matt Allen both made incredible acrobatic, tiptoe-on-the-sideline receptions on third down conversion attempts to keep key drives going for the Cougars.

BYU’s defense stopped TCU on all three of their fourth down conversion attempts in the second half, and as mentioned previously, Poppinga’s interception squelched the Horned Frog’s first possession of the second half and led to a Cougar touchdown on the next play.

David Nixon’s QB sack on TCU’s final drive was a back-breaker for the Frogs.

Mitch Payne’s two field goals proved to be the winning margin.

The victory keeps BYU’s record perfect in the Mountain West Conference at 5-0 (7-2 overall) and extends their conference winning streak to thirteen. The Cougars next game is at Wyoming on November 17.