PROVO, Utah – The BYU football team couldn’t overcome seven turnovers and fell to the University of Utah 54-10 on Saturday in the Deseret First Duel at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
After BYU took a 10-7 lead in the second quarter Utah went on to score 47 unanswered points and picked up 481 total yards against a tired Cougar defense that spent much of the second half on the field.
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"Turnovers played a huge role in game and they just played better," said head coach Bronco Mendenhall. "When you look at the first half, that was the way I expected the game to go. The first half was much more how we prepared the game to go and the second half was not."
BYU lost six fumbles and threw one interception, several of the turnovers leading directly to Ute scores.
"The turnovers were the critical difference in the game," Mendenhall said. "There were a lot of differences but those were number one. We will look at anything we can do to improve our football team."
Quarterback Jake Heaps found his first 300-yard passing game amidst the loss, going 27 of 50 for 305 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Wide receiver Cody Hoffman was also a bright spot, rolling up a career-high 277 all-purpose yards, the sixth-highest total for a single game in BYU history. Hoffman had a career-high 138 receiving yards on eight catches while returning eight kicks for 139 yards.
Utah got on the board first with its defense. After a bad snap on the Cougars' first possesion, the Utes’ Derrick Shelby recovered the ball in the BYU end zone for a touchdown to give them the early lead 7-0.
BYU got on the board with nine seconds left in the first quarter and Justin Sorensen hitting a 46-yard field goal to cut the lead to 7-3.
Heaps finished the first quarter 10 of 15 for 136 yards, a new career-high for one quarter of play. Hoffman also caught five passes in the first half for 98 yards, also a career high for one quarter.
Linebacker Uona Kaveinga forced a fumble on Utah’s first play of the second quarter, hitting Utah receiver DeVonte Christopher and knocking the ball loose. Llinebacker Brandon Ogletree recovered the ball at the BYU 47-yard line.
Heaps and the Cougars picked up their first lead of the game with 6:23 left in the first half. Heaps connected with tight end Austin Holt for a 30-yard gain to get BYU to the Utah 32-yard line and then two plays later Heaps found receiver Ross Apo for a 32-yard touchdown. Sorensen would make the extra point to give BYU a 10-7 lead.
Utah would take the lead back in the air shortly after with a 30-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jordan Wynn to tight end Jake Murphy. After the made extra point Utah would lead 14-10 going in to the break.
The Utes got a quick touchdown to start the second half with Wynn connecting with receiver Dres Anderson for a 59-yard touchdown down the sideline on their first possession. The score extended Utah's lead to 21-10.
With a 39-yard field goal on their next possession, the Utes would add on, going up 24-10 with 9:11 left in the third quarter.
BYU’s problems would only get worse as the game continued. Turnovers would continue to plague the Cougars with Heaps fumbling at the BYU six-yard line, giving the Utes possession again. This time Utah added a field goal at the start of the fourth quarter, giving them a 33-10 lead. The Utes would run away with the game, scoring three more rushing touchdowns in route to the victory.
BYU stays at home next week to host the UCF Knights at LaVell Edwards Stadium on a Friday game at 6 p.m. MT on ESPN.
Click here for postgame notes and quotes
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BYU will host its home season opener against Utah as part of the Deseret First Duel on Saturday, Sept. 17, with kickoff set for 7:15 p.m. MT. The game will be broadcast live from LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, on ESPN2, WatchESPN.com and KSL Radio 1160 AM, 102.7 FM and ksl.com.
BYU (1-1) vs. Utah (1-1)
Sept. 17, 2011
7:15 p.m. MT
LaVell Edwards Stadium
For the complete BYU vs. Utah game notes, see the attached PDF file below.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
- BYU and Utah are playing as non-conference opponents for the first time ever. The two teams began their series in 1922 as members of the Rocky Mountain Faculty Athletic Conference.
- Saturday, Sept. 17, marks the earliest date BYU and Utah have ever met. The only other time the two teams have met in September was on Sept. 27, 1958.
- Under head coach Bronco Mendenhall, BYU is 3-3 against Utah. Against the rest of the Pac-12, the Cougars are 7-4 under Mendenhall with wins over Arizona (2007), UCLA (2008), Washington (2008, 2010) and Oregon State (2009).
- Going into the game against Utah, BYU has the chance to beat teams from two different BCS conferences in the same season for the seventh time in program history. The Cougars also accomplished the feat in 1984, 1985, 1988, 1990, 2001 and 2009.
- BYU is currently on a four-game home win streak and has not lost to an in-state school in LaVell Edwards Stadium since overtime against Utah in 2005, Bronco Mendenhall’s first season as head coach. Since then, the Cougars have gone 4-0 at home against Utah and Utah State.
THE BYU-UTAH SERIES
This will be the 87th matchup between the Utes and Cougars. In the latest chapter of the rivalry, Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham and BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall have three wins apiece heading into the seventh year of their respective head coaching careers. Five of the previous six games have been decided by a touchdown or less, with two of them going to overtime. Last year the Cougars dominated for three quarters, holding Utah scoreless until the fourth. The Utes managed to score 17 points in the final 15 minutes to lead 17-16 and blocked BYU’s 42-yard attempt at a game-winning field goal as time expired.
A GOOD UPBRINGING
Several coaches at Utah have either played for BYU or spent time on the staff over the years.
Head Coach Kyle Whittingham
BYU LB (1978-81), Grad. Assist. (85-86)
Co-Off. Coordinator Norm Chow
Various BYU coaching positions (73-99)
Co-Off. Coordinator/WR Coach Aaron Roderick
BYU WR (96-98), Grad. Assist. (90-91)
Def. Coordinator/Linebackers Kilani Sitake
BYU FB (94, 97-00) Grad. Assist. (2002)
BYU vs. BCS AQs
With the victory over Ole Miss, BYU has defeated a team from a BCS automatic-qualifying conference six-straight years, the third-longest streak in the nation. The Cougars have defeated at least one AQ school in 15 of the past 16 years dating back to 1996.
THIRD TIME'S THE CHARM
The third game has been a successful one in recent years in putting points on the board. In the last six years BYU has scored an average of 36.2 points in the third game of the season, compared to an average of 22.9 in the first two games.
This will be the seventh game against Utah for head coach Bronco Mendenhall. He currently has a 3-3 record against the Utes. Five of the six games have been decided by seven points or less.
INDEPENDENT PL AYERS OF THE WEEK
A nationwide media panel has been created to honor the most outstanding weekly performances among players at the four independent FBS institutions: Army, BYU, Navy and Notre Dame. Each week, players will be honored for contributions on Offense, Defense and Special Teams. The inaugural week of awards includeded BYU’s own Kyle Van Noy for his performance at Ole Miss while in week two BYU sophomore kicker Justin Sorensen was honored as the Special Teams Player of the Week. Weekly winners are as follows:
Offensive Player of the Week
Week 1 - Navy QB Kriss Proctor, Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd
Week 2 - Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd
Defensive Player of the Week
Week 1 - BYU LB Kyle Van Noy
Week 2 - Navy LB Matt Warrick
Special Teams Player of the Week
Week 1 - Navy PK Jon Teague
Week 2 - BYU PK Justin Sorensen
Starting the season 1-1 is nothing new for head coach Bronco Mendenhall. In 2006 and 2007 Mendenhall and the Cougars started 1-1 in the first two games and went on to 11-2 seasons each year.
Through two games, BYU has not lost a fumble. There has been one fumble of record but the Cougars were able to recover and keep possession. Meanwhile, BYU has managed to force three fumbles and recover two of them. In addition to intercepting two passes at Texas, the Cougars have a +1 turnover margin.
MORE THAN JUST A RUNNER
BYU’s offense has featured the passing game for decades, including the running backs getting into the action. Often times the running backs can be seen spreading out into the slot receiver position or catching passes out of the backfield. Four different running backs have caught passes for the Cougars in the 2011 season, including JJ Di Luigi (eight catches for 56 yards), Michael Alisa (four catches for 33 yards), Bryan Kariya (three catches for 20 yards) and Josh Quezada (two catches for 8 yards).
HOFFMAN KEEPS IT GOING
As a top target and leading receiver in 2010, sophomore Cody Hoffman continues to make an impact, catching at least one pass in eight-straight games.
Hoffman caught his first pass for six yards with 44 seconds left in the first quarter at Texas. Hoffman finished the day with two catches for 11 yards. He extends his streak to eight games with at least one reception and 14 of 15 career games.
BYU has given up just 30 points in its first two games of the season, the third time in seven starts under Bronco Mendenhall the Cougar scoring defense has held opponents to that mark.
In the first start of his career, in place of the injured Brandon Ogletree, sophomore Spencer Hadley led the BYU defense with 12 total tackles, including seven solo and five assisted. The action was the first significant game time Hadley has seen since his freshman season in 2008. That year, Hadley totaled 13 tackles, a number he nearly surpassed against Texas. Hadley had more tackles than any other player, for BYU or Texas, who saw action on Saturday.
SUB-100 YARD STREAK BROKEN
For the first time since October 16, 2010, the BYU defense allowed an opponent over 100 yards rushing as Texas totaled 166 yards on 43 attempts. The last time a BYU defense allowed 100 yards rushing also came in the state of Texas as the TCU Horned Frogs ran for 108 yard on that day in October. During the sub-100 yard streak, the Cougars were 6-1, with the lone loss coming against Utah in the 2010 regular season finale.
NO SOUP FOR YOU
In its last seven games, BYU has outscored its opponents 143-16 in the first half. UTEP scored 10 of those points in the New Mexico Bowl.
DOING IT AGAIN
BYU is ranked in the top-30 in nine different defensive categories after the first two weeks of the season, including a No. 22 ranking in total defense. Last season, the Cougars posted the 24th-best total defensive mark in the country.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
For his efforts against No. 21 Texas last week, sophomore kicker Justin Sorensen was named the FBS Independent Special Teams Player of the Week and
an honorable mention Placekicker Performer of the Week from the College Football Performance Awards. Sorensen went 3 for 3 on field goals and converted his only PAT attempt, scoring a career-high 10 points against the Longhorns.
3 FG BAD LUCK?
Sophomore kicker Justin Sorenson nailed all three of his field goal attempts against Texas, the second time a BYU kicker has gone 3 of 3 on field goals since Mitch Payne did it against Utah - both games resulted in a 17-16 loss.
30, 31, 32, 33
With field goals of 30, 33, and 32 yards, respectively, sophomore kicker Justin Sorensen added to the only field goal of his career, a 31-yarder against Wyoming in 2008.
PINNING THEM BACK
Junior punter Riley Stephenson twice pinned the Ole Miss Rebels inside the 20-yard line, giving him 30 career punts downed inside the 20. Stephenson also placed one kick just inside the 10-yard line against the Rebels. Against Texas, Stephenson helped BYU win the field position battle with a punt that was downed on the Texas three-yard line.
Redshirt freshman cornerback Jordan Johnson, led BYU in all-purpose yards in the second game of the season against Texas with 71 total yards all on kick returns.