AUSTIN, Texas – Quarterback Taysom Hill's three rushing touchdowns led BYU football to a 41-7 domination of revenge-thirsty Texas on the Longhorns' home field Saturday.
Hill made sure to remind the Longhorns of his 2013 performance by rushing for 99 yards and passing for 181 yards.
"Once it became really clear what Texas’ plan was defensively–which was a very strong plan–and we were able to identify what they were doing, it was apparent that Taysom on a few different types of looks could carry the ball more," BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "So we targeted him to do that. We already know what kind of capable runner he is. Schematically we made some adjustments to make sure that could happen."
Dallin Leavitt led the Cougars with seven tackles, followed by Robertson Daniel and Zac Stout with six tackles apiece. The defense held Texas to 2.1 yards per carry and a total of 82 rushing yards on 35 carries. Hill and Williams both out-rushed the entire Texas team.
"Going all the way back to Monday and the first look we had at this opponent, we thought we matched up really well," Mendenhall said. "We thought we had a great chance to have a good win, and we thought we had a really good chance to win convincingly."
Up 6-0 at halftime, Cougar offense turned the tide to start the second half and scored touchdowns on four consecutive drives. Hill completed the first drive with a 30-yard touchdown run after hurdling a Longhorn defender on the 5-yard line. After the defense forced a quick three and out, an acrobatic catch by Leslie set up a 16-yard touchdown run by Hine.
BYU's defense forced another quick three-and-out, and Mitchell Juergens returned the ensuing punt to the Texas 29-yard line. The short field set up a quick scoring drive for the Cougars, as Hill rushed for his second touchdown from a couple yards out. The Cougars proved they were not done on the subsequent kickoff, with Michael Alisa forcing a fumble that was recovered by Harvey Jackson on the Texas 24-yard line. Hill recorded his third rushing touchdown of the game from a yard out with just under six minutes left in the quarter.
"It was a great third quarter because of both sides," Mendenhall said. "Not only did we make a few key corrections offensively, but we created some turnovers that had short fields. So with the combination of playing good defense and taking the ball away, and then the adjustments we made offensively, it really came together nicely."
The offense hit its first snag of the half in the fourth quarter when Hill lost a fumble at midfield, but the defense recovered momentum when Alisa intercepted Tyrone Swoopes and returned it 30 yards into Texas territory. Hine took advantage, scoring his second touchdown of the game from eight yards out. The interception was Alisa’s first, which brought BYU’s streak of consecutive games with an interception to 12 to tie the longest streak in Mendenhall’s tenure.
The first quarter brought a defensive struggle, as BYU was the only team to score on a 21-yard field goal from Trevor Samson. Williams set up the field goal with a 31-yard rush to the Texas 16-yard line.
The Cougar defense showed physical dominance throughout the first half, forcing two punts and a missed field goal. In his first start, Texas quarterback Swoopes completed his first seven pass attempts for 72 yards, but BYU’s rush defense only allowed 21 yards on the ground.
Defense continued to be the theme in the second quarter, with Daniel stripping the ball from a Texas receiver and recovering the ball on the 50. The Cougar offense couldn’t capitalize on the turnover and was forced to punt the ball back to Texas. On the first play of Texas’ next drive, linebacker Jherremya Leuta-Douyere forced another fumble, recovered again by Daniel at the Texas 23-yard line. Samson connected on a 29-yard field goal to take the score to 6-0.
BYU is now 4-1 against Texas and returns to Provo for its first home game of the season against Houston Thursday at 7 p.m. MDT. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN and the Cougar IMG Sports Network.