BYU vs. Middle Tennessee postgame notes and quotes



BYU defeated Middle Tennessee 27-7 at Johnny “Red” Floyd Stadium. The Cougars are 5-4 on the season and 543-397-26 all time.

Nate Carter and Brad Wilcox carried the team and special teams flags, respectively. Former tight end Jon Pollock (1989, 1992-94) carried the alumni flag.

Official attendance for the game was 18,952.

This is the first time BYU was tied at the half this year.

The Cougar defense shut out the Blue Raider offense in the second half. The last time the defense shut out an opponent for an entire half was the first half of the 41-7 win over then-No. 25 Texas.

With four freshmen starting today, BYU now has a combined 25 games started by freshmen this year. Last year BYU had four total starts by freshmen.

With the win, the Cougars are now 7-2 in the Mendenhall era in games following a loss of 24 or more points.

Scott Arellano set a BYU record for longest punt (81 yards), surpassing Lee Johnson’s 80-yard record set in 1983 against Wyoming.

Linebacker Teu Kautai tied a BYU record with three sacks in a game and is the fifth Cougar to do so since the NCAA began keeping official defensive statistics. The other four are Brady Poppinga in 2002, Justin Maddux in 2005, Jan Jorgensen in 2007 and Kyle Van Noy in 2012 and 2013.



Scott Arellano

Senior punter Scott Arellano set career highs with punts inside the 20-yard line (5) and longest punt (81 yards). The 81-yard punt from the BYU 6-yard line to the MT 13-yard line set a BYU record for longest punt, surpassing the previous long of 80 yards by Lee Johnson against Wyoming in 1983.

Tomasi Laulile

Sophomore defensive lineman Tomasi Laulile recorded the first interception of his career in the first quarter. Additionally, he ended the game with two solo tackles, one tackle for loss and one quarterback hurry.

Jordan Preator

Freshman cornerback Jordan Preator came up with the first interception of his career on the Blue Raiders’ drive near the beginning of the fourth quarter. He also notched the first forced fumble of his career. He added two solo tackles and two pass breakups.

Teu Kautai

Junior linebacker Teu Kautai recorded the first sack of his career in the first quarter. His second sack of the game forced a punt on Middle Tennessee’s opening drive of the second half. He notched his third sack on second down and 11 yards to go from the Middle Tennessee 12-yard line, tying the school record for sacks in a game. He is one of five Cougars to reach the record. He is also the second Cougar to record the first two sacks of his career in the same game this season. Freshman Sione Takitaki had two against Central Florida.

Robertson Daniel

Senior defensive back Robertson Daniel had his 10th pass breakup of the year, passing his 2013 total of nine and passing Jernaro Gilford for third all-time at BYU with 19. (Official NCAA defensive statistics began in 2000.)

Keanu Nelson

Senior receiver Keanu Nelson had his longest catch of the year (19 yards) on a 1st-and-10 down to the MT 42-yard line.

Christian Stewart

Senior quarterback Christian Stewart completed 28 passes on 45 attempts for 316 yards and two touchdowns for a 135.9 rating. His 1-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter is his second rushing TD this season. He also completed passes to 10 receivers for the second time this season (the other was vs. Nevada). It is the second time he has thrown for over 300 yards in his career (he totaled 408 pass yards against Nevada on Oct. 18).

Jamaal Williams

Junior running back Jamaal Williams rushed for 49 yards, surpassing Doak Walker Award winner Luke Staley (2,493 yards) for No. 6 all-time at BYU. His 8-yard run with 4:04 left in the second quarter pushed him into sixth. He needs 137 yards to pass Jeff Blanc’s 2,663 for No. 5 on the list. He also registered his longest catch of the year on a 28-yarder on third down and 10 yards to go in the third quarter. The grab was on the second Cougar scoring drive in the half.

Paul Lasike

Senior running back Paul Lasike rushed over the right side for a 2-yard touchdown score with 20 seconds left in the third quarter, extending BYU’s lead to 21-7. The TD on the ground was his second of the year and fifth in his career.

Devin Mahina

Senior tight end Devin Mahina totaled 40 yards on four catches – tying a career high for receptions.

Colby Pearson

Sophomore receiver Colby Pearson hauled in his third touchdown reception of the season on a 37-yard catch for BYU’s first touchdown of the game.

Jordan Leslie

Senior wide receiver Jordan Leslie caught his second touchdown of the year on a 3rd-and-6 pass from Stewart with 9:24 left in the third quarter, helping the Cougars take a 14-7 lead. He has now caught a pass in 37 consecutive games.

Adam Hine

Junior running back Adam Hine had his longest rush of the season on an 18-yard carry in the fourth quarter on the drive that led to BYU’s fourth TD of the game.

Mitch Mathews

Junior wide receiver Mitch Mathews had six grabs for 60 yards – his third-most receptions in a game this season.

Bronson Kaufusi

Junior linebacker Bronson Kaufusi tied his career high for solo tackles with five while recording his fourth sack of the year.


Bronco Mendenhall

Opening Statement

“I’m proud of our players and I’m happy for our coaches. We played a good football game today. It wasn’t a perfect football game, but we played a good football game today. Nick Howell had a fantastic plan together defensively. The kids executed it really, really well against an explosive offense. The second half, our run game allowed us to add some balance to our offense and make us more difficult to defend. Scott Arellano’s punt was absolutely critical and excellent. So it’s fun to see our players get a tangible reward for the work they’ve been putting in. I’m glad October is over and I’m optimistic for November. I’m really happy for our staff, our players, and our program.”

On stopping the MTSU offense

“It’s just been time and consistency. There’s been seven or eight first-year starters over there and they’ve been learning a lot. Nick is an excellent coach and I’ve been able to now add myself as an assistant coach to help. The players keep working hard and so it’s just been a matter of time to keep catching up and I’m optimistic on how they’ll finish.”

On scoring in the 2nd half

“We didn’t capitalize on two, three, or four opportunities in the first half. I thought if we had been able to keep creating those, you’re never positive. I was frustrated that we didn’t capitalize on those, but I felt like that we would have a chance over time.”

Ending the losing streak

“It’s just a relief. They believe they’re a good team. They have a close overtime lost to UCF and they were driving to comeback against Nevada. They’ve been close. It’s fun to see a team growing up and developing. Those that stay with us in heart and in spirit on our team and how hard our coaching staff is working. It’ll be fun to see how we finish.”

Scott Arellano

On breaking Lee Johnson's record

"Lee Johnson is obviously a brilliant mind, and I think he'd tell you the same thing that every punter is different. It's not that he could tell me, 'This is how you do it" and then I'm good at it. The whole time it was him trying to help me find what I need to do. Not necessarily telling me what to do, but 'Hey, let's find out what works for you.' That's where he's helped a lot."

On the record-breaking punt

"I love being in the end zone. I love standing in the end zone and just going after it. I don't have to think about anything. I knew the wind was going that way, so I knew it was a good opportunity. I just hoped that guy wouldn't catch it, and he didn't."

On the win

"I'm not the best person to talk to about wins and losses. I just try to execute my position and hope that that helps the team. I can tell you that the energy feels really good. I know that we kind of needed this boost moving forward for these last four games. I think we got it tonight, and we're going to continue doing well."