(Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah–No. 21/23 BYU football welcomes Virginia to LaVell Edwards Stadium for its white-out game, which kicks off at 1:35 p.m. MDT Saturday on ESPN.
In addition to the ESPN broadcast, fans can tune in for live coverage on the Cougar IMG Sports Network with Greg Wrubell, which can be found on Sirius XM 143, 1160 AM, 102.7 FM and BYUcougars.com. IMG's radio coverage will begin at 11:30 p.m. MDT.
BYUtv will provide pregame and postgame coverage, with Countdown to Kickoff starting at 12:30 p.m. MDT. Postgame coverage runs for half an hour after the game.
Virginia at No. 21/23 BYU
Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014 at 1:30 p.m. MDT
LaVell Edwards Stadium
BYU Game Notes
Virginia Game Notes
Last meeting. The Cougars and Cavaliers last met in the season opener of 2013. Virginia pulled off the 19-16 home win after a two-hour lightning delay between the first and second quarters.
BYU vs. ACC. The Cougars have eight wins against ACC schools. The last time BYU played an ACC team, the Cougars defeated Georgia Tech 38-20 in Provo for homecoming in 2013.
Run, Taysom, run. Junior quarterback Taysom Hill averages 118.7 rush yards per game, the most of all FBS quarterbacks and No. 24 across all positions. He averages 348.3 yards of total offense per game, good for No. 16.
Making history. Hill is one of eight players in NCAA history to ever throw for 400 yards and run for 100 yards in the same game, which happened against Houston in 2013. He finished that game with 417 passing yards (4 TDs) and 128 rushing yards.
10 seasons. Bronco Mendenhall began his 10th season as head coach of the Cougars with the season opener at UConn. Mendenhall has an 85-34 record entering his 10th year. BYU ranks 12th in total wins during his tenure.
Beating the best. Since 2003, BYU has 16 wins against Power 5 schools, which ranks second among non-Power 5 schools behind fellow independent Navy.
White out. The BYU vs. Virginia game is the Cougars’ white-out game. Fans are encouraged to all wear white to Saturday’s game.
Three-peat. For the third week in a row, Hill earned FBS Independent Offensive Player of the Week honors.
What They're Saying...
“[Taysom Hill]’s one of the top mobile quarterbacks in the country. He’s strong. He can run through tackles.” - Mack Brown, ESPN
“Hill’s national reputation may as well be, ‘That guy who keeps humiliating Texas.’” - Matt Hinton, Grantland
“Hill might be the player who most resembles the idea of a “dual-threat quarterback” in college football.” - Jungkyu Lee, ESPN
“This guy [Hill] is one of the best players in college football.” - Dave Flemming, ESPN
“This wasn’t just an impressive woodshed beating of the Longhorns...This is a good team with the potential for great. Yes, Texas is bottoming out as Charlie Strong tries to rebuild it, but this wasn’t close, and this is still Texas.” - Dan Wetzel, Yahoo Sports
“Three games into the season, the Cougars are already making a case as the College Football Playoff’s party crashers, and Taysom Hill as the Heisman party crasher.” - Nick Bromberg, Yahoo Sports
It’s nice to have extra time and preparation, we had a good start to our practice tonight and look forward to a really good game.
What did you learn about team in short week?
They’re willing, they’re diligent and they want to be good, but we still have a long way to go.
I think it’s just mental toughness and mental endurance. When you play as fast as we play and as many plays we play in unique situations, it’s just going to a take a little more time to stay consistent from beginning to end.
His play was reviewed already by the BIG 12 and they found no penalty, no sanctions, no inappropriate play so he’s cleared to play this week.
Limiting turnovers against Virginia defense
Each week it becomes more and more evident how important it is to take care of the ball. But I still want us to play really aggressive and really hard. I like the way our team is playing in a lot of areas, especially how tough and physical they’re being.
By 10 Friday morning we were done with Houston and on to Virginia. Some of our coaches were out recruiting and some stayed here and got ahead. We have a really nice start so far.
Facing a Virginia team with momentum
I really like the game, I really like that they’re coming to Provo and I really like that it’s this early in the season. It’s another chance to continue to show what our program is about.
Theme of national interviews
I think it’s more broadly focused on what if a team like BYU, maybe we are the team, ends up undefeated or leveraging the new system, what do you think will happen? What changes do you think will happen? But, really it’s in the context of ‘what if a team that’s a not a Power 5 does that’, what do you think will happen? I like being in that position, it’s great exposure and we’ve earned it through the first three weeks of this season and really over the last 10 years. That can change as we go through the season, but we’re anxious to play Virginia and we’ll go from that.
It’s a great reminder for us all--fans, media, coaches, or anyone to not write someone off as they’re going through struggles. So a player that was removed from BYU is now back, is back on scholarship, is on track to graduation and is a starting player on our football team and has improved his life through the education he’s received, and so it would be fun to just have that acknowledged just by those who had doubted along the way.
As soon as Zac left it wasn’t an if we get him back, it was a when. He worked from the minute he left and we couldn’t provide much support along the way, but it was fun to hear him say he’s endorsed, he’s passed his classes and that he was anxious to come back. Just his perspective, growth and maturity is fantastic and so much is made of when players leave BYU, and not much is made of when they come back.
On the ground game
We are most effective when we mix the run with the pass. I love the physical nature, I love knocking people off and the grind, the grit and determination. I also like the ball going over, around and through the air as much as possible.
I think their front seven is really skilled. They’re fast, athletic and tough and they certainly gave us all we could handle a year ago and most of them are still there.
Family aspect of BYU football
I think that’s the role that I’m assuming now in our program. Almost my entire focus is now on player well-being and making sure that their needs are being met. It’s very fulfilling and I think it’s more fun. I never thought I’d say that in relation to not scheming and doing the strategic part, but I’m having a really good time building relationships.
Buying pizza for the ROC
We showed up for a walk through that wasn’t planned or organized at 10 p.m. and I don’t know how they found out. And there is 100 people there and there are tents and it felt like an amazing college football experience. I’d just have them sleep out and stay and have a rock concert going as well and make it an event. In a small way I just wanted to show my appreciation and thanks and who knows, it might turn out to be a tradition.
Style of play
I try to play intense and physical and I was put in a spot where I could really show how I play and I was able to get some good hits on those guys.
Overturned targeting play
I was 100 percent confident that I used my shoulder. It was a clean hit and I knew it from the beginning. I was nervous; I didn’t know if they were going to try and make a point out of me, but I’m glad that the call was reversed.
Did the team slow down after big lead?
I didn’t get that feeling that we let up. I think Houston had some good players, and I think we made some mental errors that they were able to capitalize on.
Secondary gelling as a unit
I think we have depth and guys that are proving themselves as we go along. You have Dallin(Leavitt), Skye(PoVey) continues to play well and Harvey Jackson
’s role keeps growing, so it gives us more depth. It’s fun to see guys getting out there and making plays on offense, defense and special teams.
He’s a different guy from last year, but he’s a good player. I’ve seen him make a lot of good throws.
On playing Virginia
They’re a good team and we have to prepare like we do every week. They came out with a big win against Louisville so they’ll be ready to go.
On late hits
When that happens you don’t want to lose any aggression, but you have to make sure they know that we have to play smart. There were a couple of penalties that kept us on the field longer than we needed to be and I’ve said something to them and Coach Mendenhall has as well.
On playing on Saturday afternoon
For sure this is going to be a fun weekend. We don’t usually play in the afternoon so it will be a good change up.
On playing fullback position
It's not a glory position. It's just straight helmet down, head up, just trying to lead the way, clear out the way for the running back. That's just what it takes. It takes heart and determination that whatever is in the way--because you have to block defensive ends and big linebackers and stuff like tat. You just have to really stick your nose in. You get cracked and then you also get to crack other people so it works out kind of fun.
On rugby mentality in football
You have to love this sport man. You have to love football, you have to love the physicality of it. If you don't love it, then you're just going to get hurt and it's going to be a long night, so that's my mentality when I go through it. It's all about, 'hey man, I'm ready to just smash whoever's in front of me. And that's my mindset so when whoever it is, whatever it is, if I get smashed, you just gotta pick the ball up and carry it on to the next play.
is a hard worker, he's physical. He's big, but he's not a really big back. He plays like he is a big back. That's what I like about him. He's really physical. He's not going to go down with just the first person, it's going to take a couple people to get him down.
It's really not, 'I'm the tailback, he's the fullback.' It's just, 'I'm going to go on the blocking side and you're going to go on the running side.' I'm a bigger body than him. I'd rather get smashed for him because he's a better runner than I am and I'm probably a little more physical than he is at blocking. So that's just kind of how we work it out on the field. I'm going to do whatever I can to my strengths to be able to help the team go forward.
On Virginia defense
From what I've seen, our biggest focus is their middle linebacker and the defensive ends. So we're going to have to focus on trying to get some move and get some push on him to kind of get some yards. From what I've seen they probably will be the most physical defense we'll face so far.
I think it's pretty similar to last year, from what I've seen. They really like to crunch the ends in so that they block the 'A' gap--they try and force everything outside. I'm expecting the same physical defense as last year.
On being in Provo against Virginia
It's awesome to be able to go out every weekend. Like I said a couple weeks ago, to start the season out on the right foot, every week the snowball gets bigger. We're just going to have to go out there and execute how we know how to do it. But definitely the momentum we're on is going to help us I think through this game and hopefully throughout the rest of the season.
On being a ranked team
In the back of your head you're like, 'You're a ranked team now. You're on a big stage.' We get the opportunity to not only play football, but to be flag bearers of BYU around the country. When you win and when you're doing well, you just have to really have to remember what you're purpose is at the end of the day. We're trying to be flag bearers and then also go out there and just dominate. Dominate football like we know how.