On Saturday night in Provo, Utah, Virginia quarterback Brennan Armstrong put together another stellar performance in what has been a record-breaking season.
Whether that season will continue or not is now in question.
Armstrong left during the fourth quarter of Saturday’s 66-49 loss to BYU with an apparent rib injury. Armstrong appeared to suffer the injury while running for a first down in the fourth quarter.
On the following play, Armstrong wasn’t able to put any power behind his pass and threw an interception. As he walked off the field following the turnover, he grimaced in pain and pointed to his rib, mouthing “it’s broken” to a Virginia coach.
The severity of Armstrong’s injury was not immediately known after the game. Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall did not have an update on Armstrong’s condition during his postgame press conference in Provo but did acknowledge that the Cavaliers may have to adjust their bye week plans and get a new quarterback prepared if Armstrong’s injury sidelines him for any amount of time.
Prior to suffering the injury, Armstrong was spectacular.
The junior completed 21-of-33 passes for 337 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 94 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries. He became Virginia’s all-time single-season passing yardage leader in the game, passing former teammate Bryce Perkins’ previous mark of 3,538 yards. Armstrong now has 3,557 passing yards through nine games.
With Armstrong under center for the majority of the game, the Wahoos put up impressive numbers, finishing with 588 yards, 28 first downs and 49 points.
As gaudy as Virginia’s numbers were, BYU’s were even better.
Led by a monster night from running back Tyler Allgeier, the Cougars gained 734 yards of offense and scored 66 points.
It all started with Allgeier, who gashed the Cavaliers for 266 rushing yards and five touchdowns.
“He is tough and has a lot of speed,” BYU coach Kalani Sitake said of his running back. “I think people misunderstand that, and they don’t really realize that. He’s a big body but he can run and he can fly.”
The BYU passing game had a big night as well. Cougars QB Jaren Hall passed for 349 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 42 yards and a touchdown. Hall’s favorite targets were brothers Samson and Puka Nacua, who both finished with 107 receiving yards.
“BYU was the more physical team,” Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “They made more plays really any time they needed to. And ultimately, not being able to play the run effectively made it really difficult to add enough coverage to handle all of the wide outs.”
Hall got started early, capping BYU’s first offensive drive with a two-yard touchdown run. While the Cavaliers struggled to score points early on, the Cougars added two more quick touchdowns — a one-yard Allgeier run and a 26-yard Puca Nakua touchdown catch — to take an early 21-0 lead.
Then Virginia’s offense came to life.
Led by Armstrong, the Cavaliers roared back, scoring touchdowns on six consecutive drives. Virginia outscored BYU 42-17 over the remainder of the first half to take a 42-38 lead into halftime.
Unfortunately for Virginia, that scorching scoring pace did not continue in the second half.
The Cavaliers were limited to just seven points after halftime and committed two turnovers that allowed BYU to pull ahead. The first of those giveaways came on a fourth quarter fumble from running back Wayne Taulapapa, who went down with an injury on the play and did not return.
Following Taulapapa’s fumble, Allgeier scored on a 31-yard touchdown run, his fourth score of the night, to give BYU a 59-49 lead.
“That fumble alone right there, that was that was a game changer,” Hall said.
Armstrong was injured on Virginia’s ensuing drive, which ended with his second interception of the night. Following Armstrong’s interception, Allgeier put an exclamation point on the win with a four-yard touchdown run with 7:12 remaining to provide the final margin.
BYU outscored Virginia 21-0 in the fourth quarter, turning what had been a competitive game into a double-digit victory.
“Our defense played outstanding in the second half,” Hall said. “They came out and did their thing.”