BYU vs. Washington State Postgame Notes and Quotes

(Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

BYU defeats Washington State 30-6

BYU held Washington State to just 224 total yards. It is the seventh consecutive game the Cougar defense has held an opponent to less than 300 total yards in a game and the 224 yards is the lowest during the streak. Head coach Mike Leach dropped only his second season opener as a head coach, held to his lowest scoring output with six points along with the lowest total yards.

A number of firsts took place for different Cougars. Freshman Taysom Hill took his first snap at BYU, tossing an 18-yard touchdown on 4-and-1, later on getting his first rushing attempt as well, a four-yard gain. Linebacker Ezekiel Ansah recorded his first tackle for loss and linebacker Uona Kaveinga grabbed his first interception as a Cougar. Wide receiver Skyler Ridley made his first career reception count, a 7-yard touchdown and wide receiver JD Falslev recorded his first career rushing attempt. All of these took place in the first half. Freshman Jamaal Williams got his first carry as a Cougar, a four-yard rush in the third quarter. Defensive end Remington Peck also recorded his first sack for BYU in the fourth quarter.

Wide receiver Skyler Ridley took advantage of his opportunity with an injured Cody Hoffman. Ridley recorded his first career catch in the first half, a 7-yard touchdown grab in the back of the end zone. Ridley went on to haul in six balls for 54 yards.

Cody Hoffman caught his first pass of the game in the first quarter for six yards to extend his streak to 20 games with a reception. He has now caught a pass in 26 of 27 career games. Hoffman finished the first half with 3 catches for 46 yards.

With four catches for 65 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, tight end Kaneakua Friel surpassed his 2011 season total of 55 receiving yards and one touchdown. His two touchdown receptions in a single game are the first by a BYU tight end since Dennis Pitta in 2009 in a 38-21 BYU victory vs. Air Force. That game was also the last time a tight end had 100 receiving yards (111) until Friel notched his sixth catch for 23 yards to give him 101 for the game.

BYU was led out of the tunnel today by injured senior offensive lineman Walter Kahaiali'icarrying the team flag. Junior linebacker Spencer Hadley also ran out the special teams flag. Itula Mili, (1991,94-96), a first team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association and 10-year NFL veteran carried out the alumni flag.

BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall
“I thought they gave a really great effort. I thought our team played hard and physical. I liked the competitive nature of our team, and I liked the tempo. It was a nice way to start the season and to kick off the 2012 season. It was a cool atmosphere with the fans, and it was just a cool, cool night to for our players to play football.”

“Riley is competitive and so tough. He has great leadership and that suits him really well. He demands respect, and when it’s hurry up, he gets everyone to the line and pushes the ball forward.”

“I thought WSU was a quality opponent. They have a good coaching staff and a good team. But our team was hungry.”

“I was impressed with our team in general. I like their mindset: in the way they started, the way they took the field, and the way they finished. The players did a great job executing their assignments.”

“Anytime you have experienced players, you hope to put them in critical situations where they make plays. It was fun to watch this team play tonight. Again, hungry is a great way to describe them.”

“I liked the hard nose running of Jamal Williams at the end. I liked what he brought to the team.”

Tight end Kaneakua Friel
“All of us at tight end have been taking the role pretty serious. We are trying to be like what it was in the past. We want to bring back a strong tradition of tight ends. We are not claiming to be like them, but that is our goal. We have a great brotherhood on this team. If I succeed, I’m helping the team and everyone’s happy.”

“I noticed I was going to be one of the main guys towards the end of fall camp. I have also noticed that all the tight ends have made incredible strides in camp and came into this game ready.”

Linebacker Brandon Ogletree
“We did really well against the run. Overall, I thought it was a really good start. I couldn’t tell you what caused a lot of the injuries, but players may be trying to do too much.”

“The times Washington State got yards on us, it wasn’t because they did anything special. We made some mistakes, and I still expect them to have one of the top offenses in the country. I think that also says something about our defense, to have held them to what we did.”

“It’s an insult to say that we’re going to be scared of teams. We had one of the top 15 defenses in the country last year. I don’t think we have to be scared of anyone.”

Washington State head coach Mike Leach
“Any time we were about to ignite or catch fire, something negative would happen. I think we need to play tougher up front on the offensive line. We just gotta get those guys ready to play.”

“I think as a team we’re a lot closer than we realize because the good stuff is great. But then also out of the blue you’ll see street ball out there. As coaches we got to have the ability to settle them down, the ability to not try to do too much. I thought we vacillated between playing frantic and then we’d play overly consciensous so that we’re trying to not make a mistake. At some point we gotta reach that happy medium where each play is separate and we just do your part on each play.”

“Obviously I was disappointed [with the lack of getting momentum]. About the time we did, with either of those two touchdowns, the momentum we’d get from that, we’d probably play pretty good in the next series.”

“We’ve got to be a mentally tougher team. If something negative happens, we can’t have all those basset hound looking faces on the sidelines. As coaches, we’ve got to improve that. We have to have a way to improve that.”

“We definitely squandered too many plays. We’d get a play or two going that was pretty good, then we’d squander two more and never really got in a rhythm.”

“The first half defensively we couldn’t get lined up. Then the second half when we did get lined up, we had a nice half defensively.”

“I thought he [Nelson] really had good leadership there. You could see they draw a lot of confidence from him. You could see that he’s used to being there with those guys in that position and I thought he did a really good job of that. He’s a tough gritty guy and I thought his leadership was one of the best weapon's they had. I didn’t see any skills where I thought, ‘wow he’s just awesome.’ He’s just a great leader, he did a great job of herding their offense, circling the wagons at the right time.”

“We put two of them [touchdowns] on and then they took them off as fast as we put them on there. That was unfortunate.”

“I think in general we made plays. “