(Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
The flag bearers for tonight’s game were Scott Arellano (special teams flag), Austen Jorgensen (team flag) and Tyler Anderson (alumni flag). Anderson played wide receiver for the Cougars (‘88-‘93) and is the current head football coach at Orem (Utah) High School.
Tonight the school celebrated homecoming. Under head coach Bronco Mendenhall, the Cougars improve to 7-2 in homecoming games.
The Cougars improved to 15-0 under coach Mendenhall when the defense scores a touchdown. Alani Fua returned an interception 51 yards for a pick six in the fourth quarter to put BYU up 31-14. The defense has recorded a score in three straight games.
BYU held its 12th straight opponent to under 21 points. The last time an opponent scored more than 21 points was Oregon State, who won 42-24 in Provo in 2012.
Sophomore running back Jamaal Williams scored his first touchdown of the season and 13th rushing touchdown of his career. His two-yarder in the first quarter moved him into a tie for 24th place all-time at BYU for career rushing touchdowns.
Freshman running back Algernon Brown recorded his first career rushing touchdown on a 15 yard run in the fourth quarter.
Senior wide receiver Cody Hoffman had five catches for 99 yards and one touchdown. On his touchdown catch, Hoffman tied Eric Drage for second all-time for touchdown receptions (29). On his fifth grab, the senior tied All-American Dennis Pitta for first all-time career receptions (221).
For the first time since 2010, BYU had three players finish with double-digit tackles.
Seniors Blake Morgan and Austen Jorgensen each finished with a career-high 11 tackles, and Uani ‘Unga recorded 10 tackles.
Linebacker Kyle Van Noy recorded two sacks, three tackles for loss and six tackles in the game. The All-American is the national career active sack leader with 25. Van Noy has recorded a TFL in every game and has 10 this season.
Head coach Bronco Mendenhall
Overall thoughts on the game:
The game was kind of a defensive struggle in the second half. I thought Taysom (Hill) played really, really well. He made good decisions and was accurate and did a nice job with his legs. I am coaching some really talented players and men that work really hard. It’s just fun, really fun. I have to say that how hard this team is working is showing in how well they play. Georgia Tech is a difficult opponent to beat but I’m proud of our team.
On Cody, the receiving record and the offense:
I’m not even aware now. He’s a really, really good player. It’s good to have him back as well with some practices and some consistency under his belt. When you have Mitch (Mathews) playing the way he can play and Cody playing the way he can, and you start adding J.D. Falslev and Brett Thompson and Ross (Apo), eventually we could be pretty dynamic. I think you saw that especially in the first half.
On Spencer Hadley’s return:
He’s experienced, he’s tough, he’s a good leader, he’s athletic and he cares a lot. He plays with his heart. It was great to have a phone call on Wednesday from the athletic director and from the university saying he has met all of his obligations and they have lifted their suspension early. It was a celebration and a tribute to him.
I think we played well. I gauge it a lot by points. With the exception of the last touchdown, 38-13 looked pretty good. I thought we had a really nice plan and a good team. It took me a little bit, as a play caller, to really get a sense for what they were capable of on third down. We dialed in a lot better in the second half on that.
Linebacker Spencer Hadley
On being back out on the field again:
It felt amazing to be out there with the guys and contribute. We had a good night as a defense and it’s a lot of fun to play a game like that. It’s good to be back.
On Alani Fua’s interception:
I distinctly remember running off the field thinking he’s well-deserved. That’s a guy that comes and works every day. He plays hard and a lot of times he doesn’t get as much credit as he deserves. I couldn’t be happier for a guy like that to make that play.
Quarterback Taysom Hill
On the game plan:
Initially, we had a lot of short, quick game passes that allowed our offense to get into rhythm. We took advantage and that really allowed us to get in a groove in the first half.
On how the offense performed:
Coach Anae called a great game and we took what they gave us. You have to give credit to Georgia Tech. We tried to do a little too much and we didn’t keep to our keys. We need to get better at that, but Georgia Tech made some good second-half adjustments and we need to be better at adjusting to what they do.
On the effect of Alani Fua’s interception:
That was really big. They were in the third and fourth quarter scoring and made it into a one possession game, but Alani made that pick. Any time the defense goes and scores, it’s demoralizing to the other team. Anytime the defense scores, it’s hard to bounce back after that. I think we saw Georgia Tech’s demeanor and we really had momentum after that.
Wide receiver Cody Hoffman
What did the team expect coming into the game?
Watching film, we knew what they were going to do and I just set my guy up and broke and I knew he was behind me, but I didn’t know where. Taysom just threw a good ball and led me out and just came down with it. We’re supposed to make plays and I just consider that a play that should’ve been made.
How he felt after his touchdown grab:
It feels good. It was a slow start to the season, but you have to be mentally tough to overcome that. It’s what I’ve been working on and going back to 100 percent now, but it’s been a real mental game to get back.
On breaking the school reception records:
They (the team) weren’t saying anything at all, but it’s still in the back of my head. I knew I was getting close, just didn’t know where. I’m not going to let that affect my game, but just do what I’m supposed to do.