Sophomore running back JJ DiLuigi scored two touchdowns in the Superdome against Tulane. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
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NEW -- Max Hall passed for more than 300 yards in just over three quarters of action as No. 9 BYU crushed Tulane 54-3 in the Louisiana Superdome Saturday afternoon.
“Max [Hall] played extremely well and we were very efficient,” BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “I think he managed the offense very well. The defense is just playing so well due to a lot of [defensive coordinator] Jaime Hill’s emphasis and attention to detail.”
The Cougar defense did indeed excel against Tulane after a superb effort last week in holding high-powered Oklahoma to 13 points. BYU held the Green Wave to not only a single field goal but also 162 yards of total offense. The defense also force turnovers with two interceptions and two recovered fumbles, returning one of the fumbles for a Cougar touchdown.
Offensively, Hall directed an attack that never put the team's punter on the field and amassed 527 yards with a strong balance of 321 yards through the air and 206 on the ground. The senior signal caller completed 26-of-34 passes for 321 yards and two touchdowns. He connected with 11 different receivers before leaving the game early in the fourth quarter. Overall, BYU quarterbacks found 12 different receivers, the most Cougars to catch a pass in a game since a 52-7 victory over Nevada on Sept. 1, 2001.
The Cougar ground attack saw the return of back-to-back 1,000-yard rusher Harvey Unga but his play was limited in his first action since a fall-camp hamstring injury. He carried the ball only three times, gaining 17 yards, while the bulk of the workload was shared effectively between sophomores Bryan Kariya and J.J. Di Luigi. Kariya picked up where he left off last week with 63 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown, while Di Luigi had a breakout game with 71 yards on 12 carries and two touchdowns.
Kariya added 23 yards and a touchdown as a receiver and Di Luigi hauled in two passes for 16 yards. McKay Jacobson led all receivers with 79 yards, including his second touchdown catch of the season. Tight end Dennis Pitta and receiver O’Neill Chambers led the team with four catches apiece. Pitta extended his streak of consecutive games with a receptions to 32 games.
The only points of the first quarter came from a 31-yard field goal by BYU’s Mitch Payne, but the Cougars dominated the play on the field with 127 yards of total offense compared to just 24 for the Green Wave. The slow start to the scoring would soon accelerate.
BYU took a 6-0 lead early in the second quarter when Payne converted from 20 yards to cap a 13-play, 86-yard drive. After Tulane struck back with a 56-yard drive for a 29-yard field goal with 6:03 to go in the half, BYU made the most of the final minutes with two touchdowns to push the lead to 20-3 at intermission.
Junior wide receiver Luke Ashworth teamed with Hall for 37 yards on back-to-back plays to set up the first touchdown. After getting behind the defense for a 30-yard reception, Ashworth made a diving grab for seven yards on the next play to take the Cougars to the 7-yard line. The offensive line helped Kariya cover the rest of the ground on consecutive carries and bull into the end zone from the 1-yard line.
Leading 13-3, BYU forced a Tulane turnover on the next possession to set up the final score of the half. Linebacker Jordan Pendleton made an athletic play to reach up and tip a Joe Kemp pass, which then sailed into the arms of BYU cornerback Brian Logan. The junior college transfer returned the ball 21 yards to the Tulane 38-yard line to set up a short-field drive that culminated with a 12-yard touchdown reception by Kariya with just 25 seconds remaining in the half.
The Cougars totaled 236 yards during the first half while holding Tulane to 98 yards, including just 11 yards on 14 carries on the ground. While BYU’s defense continued the tough play it exhibited last week against Oklahoma, the BYU offense was efficiently gaining yardage using a multitude of weapons. Nine different Cougars caught a pass and five players carried the ball in the opening half as 12 receivers and 10 ball carriers contributed overall during the game.
BYU put together back-to-back drives of 80 or more yards in the third quarter to extend the lead to 34-3. Hall directed a 13-play, 89-yard march to pay dirt on BYU’s second possession of the second half with Di Luigi recording his first career touchdown with a three-yard dash to the corner with 6:24 to go in the third. The next time the Cougars got the ball they took only 1:07 to go 80 yards with Hall finding Jacobson over the top for a 38-yard scoring play.
The fourth quarter opened with BYU en route to another score. During the 73-yard drive, Hall and Jacobson connected for another long pass play, this one for 29 yards. Di Luigi had the honors when the team reached the end zone with 13:07 remaining in the game, taking it in from the 1-yard line for his second touchdown of the contest.
A missed point-after made the score 40-3 but the Cougar defense quickly made the Green Wave deficit 47-3 when Pendleton picked up a fumble and returned it 12 yards for a touchdown. On the play, linebacker Terrance Hooks force Tulane receiver Ryan Grant to fumble after a catch with Pendleton alertly picking up the lose ball for the score.
The Cougars forced another fumble on Tulane’s next possession as linebacker Jordan Atkinson jarred the ball from Grant again with Shane Hunter recovering. Backup quarterback Riley Nelson then entered the game at the 10:15 mark and led BYU the 19 yards to the end zone, taking it in himself from the 1-yard line for the game’s final touchdown.
True freshman Craig Bills came up with an interception in some of the highlights of the games final minutes as BYU closed off an impressive 54-3 victory. BYU is now 2-0 on the season while Tulane falls to 0-2.
After consecutive games on the road, BYU will open its home schedule on Saturday against Florida State in LaVell Edwards Stadium. The game kicks at 5 p.m. MT and will be televised nationally on VERSUS.
Box Score (Final)
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
----------------- -- -- -- -- -----
BYU Cougars......... 3 17 14 20 - 54 Record: (2-0)
TLN................. 0 3 0 0 - 3 Record: (0-2,1-0)
1st 06:23 BYU - PAYNE, Mitch 31 yd field goal, 10-45 4:48, BYU 3 - TLN 0
2nd 14:15 BYU - PAYNE, Mitch 20 yd field goal, 13-86 4:45, BYU 6 - TLN 0
06:03 TLN - THEVENOT, R. 29 yd field goal, 16-56 8:12, BYU 6 - TLN 3
03:28 BYU - KARIYA, Bryan 1 yd run (PAYNE, Mitch kick), 6-67 2:35, BYU 13 - TLN 3
00:25 BYU - KARIYA, Bryan 12 yd pass from HALL, Max (PAYNE, Mitch kick), 7-38 2:53, BYU 20 - TLN 3
3rd 06:24 BYU - DI LUIGI, JJ 3 yd run (PAYNE, Mitch kick), 13-89 4:59, BYU 27 - TLN 3
03:02 BYU - JACOBSON, McKay 38 yd pass from HALL, Max (PAYNE, Mitch kick), 5-80 1:07, BYU 34 - TLN 3
4th 13:07 BYU - DI LUIGI, JJ 1 yd run (PAYNE, Mitch kick failed), 9-73 3:30, BYU 40 - TLN 3
11:47 BYU - PENDLETON, J. 12 yd fumble recovery (PAYNE, Mitch kick), , BYU 47 - TLN 3
08:15 BYU - NELSON, Riley 1 yd run (PAYNE, Mitch kick), 5-19 2:00, BYU 54 - TLN 3
FIRST DOWNS................... 35 9
RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............ 45-206 24-37
PASSING YDS (NET)............. 321 125
Passes Att-Comp-Int........... 34-26-1 28-20-2
TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS..... 79-527 52-162
Fumble Returns-Yards.......... 1-12 0-0
Punt Returns-Yards............ 0-0 0-0
Kickoff Returns-Yards......... 2-45 8-149
Interception Returns-Yards.... 2-37 1-1
Punts (Number-Avg)............ 0-0.0 5-37.0
Fumbles-Lost.................. 0-0 2-2
Penalties-Yards............... 5-47 10-102
Possession Time............... 33:40 26:20
Third-Down Conversions........ 6 of 9 4 of 12
Fourth-Down Conversions....... 0 of 1 0 of 0
Red-Zone Scores-Chances....... 7-7 1-1
Sacks By: Number-Yards........ 3-19 0-0
RUSHING: BYU Cougars-DI LUIGI, JJ 12-71; KARIYA, Bryan 12-63; UNGA,
Harvey 3-17; HALL, Max 3-15; HAGUE, Mike 4-15; LAMB, Tucker 2-9; CHAMBERS, O.
1-8; TONGA, Manase 2-7; HEIMULI, A. 1-4; NELSON, Riley 2-2; TEAM 3-minus 5.
TLN-ANDERSON, A. 12-36; JASON, P. 4-15; WILLIAMS, J. 2-4; WILLIAMS, A. 2-minus
1; KEMP, J. 4-minus 17.
PASSING: BYU Cougars-HALL, Max 24-32-1-309; NELSON, Riley 2-2-0-12.
TLN-KEMP, J. 14-19-1-101; MOORE, K. 4-6-1-10; GRIFFIN, R. 2-2-0-14; WILLIAMS, J.
RECEIVING: BYU Cougars-PITTA, Dennis 4-47; CHAMBERS, O. 4-38; JACOBSON,
McKay 3-79; ASHWORTH, Luke 3-49; GEORGE, Andrew 2-28; KARIYA, Bryan 2-23;
HAFOKA, Spencer 2-19; DI LUIGI, JJ 2-16; TONGA, Manase 1-6; THOMPSON, Brett 1-6;
HEIMULI, A. 1-5; UNGA, Harvey 1-5. TLN-WILLIAMS, J. 5-56; GRANT, R. 5-14;
ANDERSON, A. 3-12; JASON, P. 2-10; ROBOTTOM, C. 2-9; HELM, T. 1-12; PONDER, D.J.
1-7; MITCHELL, A. 1-5.
INTERCEPTIONS: BYU Cougars-LOGAN, Brian 1-21; BILLS, Craig 1-16.
TLN-ECHEBELEM, C. 1-1.
FUMBLES: BYU Cougars-None. TLN-GRANT, R. 2-2.
SACKS (UA-A): BYU Cougars-NELSON, Grant 2-0. TLN-None.
TACKLES (UA-A): BYU Cougars-HOOKS, Terrance 4-0; JOHNSON, Scott 3-2;
DOMAN, Shawn 3-2; BAUMAN, Matt 3-2; NELSON, Grant 3-1; BRADLEY, B. 3-1; TE'O,
Shiloah 3-0; RICH, Andrew 2-2; CLAWSON, Coleby 2-2; SO'OTO, Vic 2-0; OGLETREE,
B. 2-0; LOGAN, Brian 2-0; HUNTER, Shane 1-1; PENDLETON, J. 1-1; AGUIRRE, Lee
1-0; ATKINSON, Jorda 1-0; HOLA, Tevita 1-0; HAGUE, Mike 1-0; LAMB, Tucker 1-0;
PAYNE, Mitch 1-0; MARSHALL, Matt 1-0; BILLS, Craig 1-0; PITTA, Dennis 1-0;
MORGAN, Blake 1-0; JORGENSEN, Jan 0-2; TIALAVEA, R. 0-1; FUGA, Romney 0-1.
TLN-ECHEBELEM, C. 6-3; PODET, A. 5-2; WACHA, A. 4-4; SMITH, S. 4-3; DAVIS, P.
3-3; KIRKSEY, D. 3-3; GARRETT, J. 3-1; LAURICELLA, A. 2-3; KWENTUA, A. 2-2;
BURKS, T. 1-4; HARRIS, C. 2-1; KELLEY, L. 2-1; ECHOLS, T. 2-0; ADAMS, J. 1-2;
SANDERS, B. 1-0; ASUMNU, C. 1-0; CUNNINGHAM, B. 1-0; HOWARD, H. 1-0; SMITH, J.
1-0; RHYMES, K. 1-0; DELERY, S. 1-0; FARLEY, D. 0-2; ALUKO, E. 0-1; WILSON, C.
0-1; BLUM, C. 0-1.