BYU vs. Utah State postgame notes

(Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

HOLDING THEM DOWN AND OUT
The BYU defense held its 12th opponent in a row under 300 total yards, holding the Aggies to just 243 total yards. The defense has also kept opposing offenses out of the end zone for 13 consecutive quarters, not allowing an offensive touchdown and just 3 total points.

THE LAST TIME
The last time BYU won a game scoring six points or fewer was against Wyoming in 1946 when the Cougars also won 6-3.

HOFFMAN KEEPS IT GOING
Wide receiver Cody Hoffman kept his streak alive, now catching at least one pass in 25 straight games and 31 of 32 career games. Hoffman had seven catches for 86 yards in the first half and eight catches for 114 yards for the game. It was his third 100-yard receiving game of the season and ninth of his career.

PRESTON HADLEY SAVES THE DAY
Preston Hadley recorded six tackles and one pass breakup but his biggest play came when he picked up his first interception as a Cougar right in front of the goal line to protect a score.

25 SECONDS WAS ALL THEY NEEDED
BYU scored its only touchdown of the game at the end of the second half in just 25 seconds on a four-play 61-yard drive, the fastest scoring drive of the year. The Cougars couldn’t get any other points in the other 59 minutes and 35 seconds but it would be just enough.

ZIGGY HAS THE ANSAH
Defensive end Ezekiel Ansah was a menace yet again, racking up five tackles, three tackles for loss, two sacks and two quarterback hurries. The senior totaled three tackles for loss, including two sacks in the first half.

TAYSOM TIME
Freshman quarterback Taysom Hill started his second game and put together a strong performance. Hill set career highs in passing completions (24), attempts (36) and passing yards (235). He threw for one touchdown, one interception and ran for 80 yards on 19 carries.

RUNNING OUT THE FLAG
Senior linebacker Uona Kaveinga led BYU out of the tunnel carrying the team flag today. Senior punter Riley Stephenson also ran out the special teams flag. Former Cougar Paul Walkenhorst (LB, 2000-05) carried the alumni flag.

BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall

“Utah State matched us down in and down out the entire game all the way to the end. I think the supporters of Utah State have a great coach leading a great team. I do think, however, our players were very resilient. They performed during some crucial plays up until the very end. It was a fantastic game and an excellent rivalry game. We are lucky, and I’m glad that we won. I’m fortunate to coach this team.”

“I think Utah State is strong on defense. Other than the interception after the personal foul, I thought Taysom threw the ball well. He went from a 47-0 game where there was not much pressure to a game where every play was pressured. I think his 19 carries were too many. His throwing reps will eventually balance out with his running. It did with Riley. We will get there.”

“Regardless of rivalry or not, it’s a great in-state game. Besides just winning it’s really hard to win another football game. Utah State has earned the right to call it a rivalry with the way they play, so that’s what it is.”

“One thing I need to do is to take a hard look at the kicking game. I don’t have a take on it yet, but that is something I’m going to have to look at. Up to this point in the season, Riley has done a great job punting the football, but we need to work on the point-after kicks, not just on protecting it, but kicking it as well.”

“The defensive effort has been good for quite awhile. What’s fun though is they want to go out and play. They welcome whatever circumstance it may be. They may be more resilient than I am, and that is what we look for in our players, to have that type of attitude.”

“We will find a role for Riley. It’s not going to be every snap. Even when he was the starter, we had rotations with Taysom coming in. He was really close to starting this week. We gave him most of the reps on Tuesday. We felt we couldn’t properly evaluate him if we didn’t get a chance to see him perform, but he was very close to starting this week.”

“I never know how these games are going to go. The games take their toll on me as the head coach. I would rather win easy, but that doesn’t happen very much.”

“Ziggy (Ezekiel Ansah) is a remarkable story. For this season to go by without a knowledge that he didn’t know how to put on his pads three years ago is something else. You could make a movie about this at this point.”

Quarterback Taysom Hill
“I think I felt a lot better this week compared to last. Every time I get more experience, I feel a lot more confident going out the next time. We moved the ball pretty well against Utah State tonight. Our mind set going into the last few seconds of the first half was to score. As for the 19 carries, I thought it was fine. It’s just one of the things where you don’t know what’s going to happen. If that’s what I need to do, that’s what I’m going to do to help us win.”

Tight end Kaneakua Friel
“Having a physical, defensive game is my type of game. There were some great defensive plays. We had to battle for every yard that we got. They were very loud and vocal up front. We were able to move the ball consistently, and even though we didn’t score very much, we moved the ball. I’m not sure what was different about the drive that we did score. We were going for the end zone, but mostly running down the clock and getting first downs. Jamal did a great job running the ball and getting it down field.”

“We knew that our defense was going to come up big, so we knew we needed to score. I don’t think Utah State expected us to hurry up and try to score. I think they were thinking we were going to take a knee and take it into the half.”

Wide receiver Cody Hoffman
“I have a lot of faith in Taysom. I know that he’s young, but we have been able to connect. Several of the other players are young, but they are all going forward. Things are going well for us.”

“The key is practice. Taysom and I have been working a lot at connecting during practice. We are on a better pace now and it’s only going to get better from here on out. I felt Utah State played us well. I think I won against my defender most of the game, but he is a great player.”

“Taysom has more confidence. We can see it in the huddle. If Riley does start next week, I don’t think it’s going to be much different. He and Taysom are similar players. Both are really athletic, but we all adapt really quickly and things will continue to progress.”

Linebacker Spencer Hadley
“We knew we could be good from the beginning of the season. We knew we could limit teams to a very few points. I believed in our defense from the beginning. To us, it’s a result of a lot of hard work paying off.”

“Anytime we shut out a team, you are really excited. Personally, I didn’t know a lot of the things that were said going into this game. We are trained in practice to take it one play at time. They don’t gain a yard on this play or they don’t score on the next play. I don’t pay attention to what is said, but we knew going in that Utah State had a great team, but like I said, I didn’t know people have been saying Utah State was the best team in the state, and I don’t care.”

Defensive back Preston Hadley
“I think a lot of it goes into coach Mendenhall calling the right plays in the right situation. I think it comes down to holding to our assignments. He emphasized staying on our man when he is trying to scramble. A win is a win for us. We will take it any way. It was fun being out of there. I think I lost a couple years off my life because of the stress, but any way you get a win, we come out smiling.”

“Keeton is an athlete. You saw that he got out and made some plays with his legs. But we focused on the pass rush, working man on man trying to drive the other guys back. We knew the type of athlete that he is, and we tried to practice that during our practices.”

Linebacker Kyle Van Noy
“We needed to get a stop. We stopped them all game, but then we allowed them to make some plays. I don’t think any team was able to hit Utah State’s quarterback the way we hit him. Ziggy had him all night. He didn’t just hit him, he wrapped him up, swallowed him and dumped him on his head.”

“Touchdowns are not good. We train everyday to stop offenses from scoring. We feel our secret is we try harder than other teams. We know we are going to run for it on Monday, so we might as well stop them during the game.”

Utah State head coach Gary Andersen
“You look at the stats and we played against a tremendous defense, obviously. We’re six weeks into the season and it’s happened week after week after week, but we did not play well enough on the offensive side of the ball to have a chance to win the football game – numbers will speak for that.”

“We didn’t throw well enough; we didn’t take advantage of opportunities well enough; we didn’t catch it well enough; from A to Z, we were not good enough.”

“Defensively we knew it was going to be a battle. We were going to have to play extremely well to get us into a position to have an opportunity to win the game. We did play well.”

“We played well on defense and made plays at times, gave up a drive at the end of the first half that ended up being ultimately a big factor in the football game.”

“Special teams were solid at times and we missed a kick. It’s a team loss, from top to bottom and a tough loss.”

“My credit goes to BYU-a physical, tough-minded football team. A very difficult place to play, my hat goes off to the crowd.”

“It’s a tremendous crowd, a great place to play, unbelievable environment. I thought we handled that part of it very well, tough game though.”

“We got beat by a very good football team in a very, very difficult place to play and we’ll continue to fight. The bottom line is this, we’re 4-2, two games away from being bowl eligible, which is huge, and we haven’t started WAC-play yet.”

Thoughts on Taysom Hill:
“He’s a good quarterback. He’s going to be there for a long time. He’s athletic, he runs well. He’ll get better and better and better as he continues to grow up and throwing the football and they’ll give him more and more opportunities to throw the football.”

“He made some plays with the throw game and I thought his receivers went up and caught a couple balls. He’s a competitive, tough, minded kid.”

“He reminds me of Riley. A healthy Riley and him are kind of the same guy running around out there. Two very, very good quarterbacks who apparently are good leaders. He’s a fine quarterback and he’s got some good people around him and did some good things.”

BYU vs. Utah State game recap