BYU vs. West Virginia Postgame Notes


The following notes are from BYU's 35-32 loss against West Virginia. Read the recap HERE.

TEAM FLAGS: WR Mitchell Juergens LB Adam Pulsipher
ALUMNI FLAG BEARERS: Bart Oates, Peter Tuipulotu, Jack Damuni, Shaun Nua



BYU had 121 kick return yards in the game on five returns. BYU had three kick returns for 55 yards over the first three games. 

Butch Pau’u intercepted West Virginia’s Skyler Howard for BYU’s seventh interception of the season. BYU was tied for sixth nationally in interceptions entering the game.

BYU reached a season high in points with 32. The Cougars also scored in every quarter for the first time this season.

BYU had four scoring drives that were 2:14 or less. BYU picked up field goals on drives of 2:14 and 1:39 and a pair of touchdown drives with 2:01 off the clock.

The Cougars outgained West Virginia in total offense with 521 total yards to the Mountaineers 481. BYU also set a new season-mark with the output.


Jamaal Williams
Williams rushed for 128 yards on just 14 carries in the first half. Against UCLA, Williams had 14 carries for 28 yards in the entire game. He went over 100-yards rushing for the 12th time in his career and second time this season, finishing with 169 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries. He also moved into the No. 11 spot at BYU in career all-purpose yards with 3,506.

Taysom Hill
Hill passed for 241 yards and rushed for another 105 for 346 total yards of offense. It was his first 100-yard rushing game since Houston in 2014. He moved into the No. 7 spot in BYU history with 7,909 career yards. He also tied Riley Nelson and Brandon Doman for No. 14 at BYU in career touchdown passes with 35.

Fred Warner
Warner set a new career high with 14 tackles, including nine solo stops.  

Butch Pau’u
Pau’u had a quieter game in tackles with five but grabbed his first career interception.


Kick return yards: Aleva Hifo (50), Matt Hadley (41)

Tackles: Fred Warner (14)

NOTABLE FIRSTS (The following players recorded their first in a respective category)

Kick return: Aleva Hifo, Adam Pulsipher
Interception: Butch Pau’u
Fumble recovery: Francis Bernard

BYU head coach Kalani Sitake
Opening statement:
“Well, it was not the result we were looking for obviously, but we will keep working hard and trying to get prepared for next week. There were some good things that I saw, some positives, some negatives, but you know, we gotta get to work and find ways to pull out these close games. So I thought we had our opportunities, we gotta be more consistent as a team and we’ll have more success.”

On the final interception of the game:
“I gotta watch it again. I didn’t really get a good look on it. It looked like the ball was tipped. They had been giving us a lot of man coverage so, Tayson [Hill] threw it up, ball got tipped around a little bit, they made a play on it. A little frustrating that we had opportunities to score and it didn’t happen offensively, especially with the coverage they were giving us and just gotta find a way to make one more play than they do."

On the emotions of the team within the last five minutes of the game:
“Yeah, it was all over the place. The guys kept with it and I was proud of our team and the sideline. Our guys were in it from the beginning and it didn’t faze them at all. They were with it the whole time and we will find ways to get these games, we’ll find ways to get this turned around so we can come out victorious and there are a lot of things we can do differently, but we’ll have to review the film and everything and all coaches say that, right, so I’m gonna say it now and we had our chances and we didn’t capitalize on it and we are gonna find ways to capitalize on it next time.”

On the team being fatigued after this game:
“It’s actually four games, all of them they gone to. We just lost the last three, one by one point, one by three and this one by three. So, I’m not really concerned with our conditioning, our guys have been battling it out and been playing hard the entire game and I think when you go against quality opponents like we’ve had, you gotta find ways, this one play here and this one play there, that makes a difference and we were on the wrong end of it three games in a row so we gotta find ways to flip it.”

On going for the two-point conversion:
“Yeah, I mean looking at when we scored early in the send half, we were looking at our basically make up of it. You try and go for two and tie it up so obviously looking back at it you can’t sit there and plan on the future, we wanted to tie it up and it didn’t work out for us and we were chasing them the entire time but we still had our chances to win the game despite chasing the two point conversions.”

On the defensive struggles:
“Well, I think West Virginia took some chances. They threw the ball up in the air, tried to challenge our corners and they came out with some big plays and some big catches so they made some big plays, some big throws and we got PI on one so, they actually knew that we were playing a little bit of man out there and tried to expose us and throw it in the air but we need to give them credit for making those plays and we gotta find ways to get out of it and we really have been hurt with it as much as this game obviously and it cost us a little bit. Our guys need to focus on getting to the quarterback. In those deep shots it’s hard because the ball is out so quickly, but there’s opportunities that West Virginia had created by time and it’s difficult for any DB to cover for more than four seconds. When that happens, we need to get sacks and we need to do a better job of getting to the cornerback, in that aspect. Otherwise you have to come up with different ways to get to the cornerback which usually means blitzing and pressuring and that kind of puts you in a bad spot for the DB so we had to flip some things on defense and figure things out. But I thought I liked the way the guys were working we just gotta make more plays. They made some plays that we normally have been really good at defending, so hopefully somebody else tries to do the same things. It’s our system, it’s our defense that requires great coverage with guys sometimes being on their own as far as the pass rush we got to get to the corner back. When those are working well it’s really difficult defensively to beat. There’s some breakups here and there as far as what we are doing defensively and we gotta get it fixed. But I mean it’s not like it’s panic time. I think that combined with West Virginia making big time plays worked out in their favor.”

On making keys stops:
“I think that last fumble was just our crowd. It was our crowd being loud and making it difficult for them to communicate. Bad snap so that helps all the way out here in Maryland that you can have a crowd that’s loud enough to disrupt a team like West Virginia that’s close by. So you know that was huge for us. Having the fan support like we have, we appreciate that. I think the defense found ways to get out on drives. I don’t want to be too critical, but we need to find ways to make bigger plays. You know what I mean? Make impact plays. Be more disruptive as a defense. That usually ends up talking about our pass rush, which comes to defending the pass. We gotta be more ready to run. I think we did a pretty good job defending, being in the right spots. We missed some tackles. There are great athletes missing tackles. Put them on the ground. Gave them some yards. But other than that, the guys worked hard. It’s hard for me to sit here and berate them when I haven’t seen the film yet, from me watching the game and seeing on the sidelines.”

On Taysom Hill in the quarterback position:
“Taysom [Hill] did some good things. I thought he created some bigger plays with his feet, was able to do some things with the run, he was accurate in a lot of passes. Obviously, no quarterback is accurate on every pass, but there was a nice hustle and improvement in him. One bad pass that I wish he wouldn’t have done was a pick six. That cost us seven points going the other way. The other ones were him trying to make plays. I think it was off tipped balls, and West Virginia made plays and we didn’t. I don’t mind him being aggressive. The one error throw was the one he shouldn’t have done. He knows that.”

On outlook of the season after disappointing losses:
“I don’t think like that, and I know others may think that way. I just am really disappointed that we’re one and three because we had three close losses. I thought that if we would have played a lot more sound as a team, we would be in a different situation, but it’s easy to sit there and say, ‘I wish’ and ‘I wish we would’ve done things differently.’ That’s kind of like the story of life. I just know that our guys are resilient, they want to work hard, they want to win, and we really look forward to next week and getting ready for this next game and being home. I have to give a lot of credit to West Virginia. They did a great job and all the opponents we faced. You saw some of those guys and they’ve moved on and played and West Virginia’s undefeated. So is Utah, so there’s some great teams that we’ve played out there that did some great things. I just know we haven’t played our best game yet. I’m waiting for that to happen, but I guess that’s what every quarterback and every coach would say about their team. We want to play our best game.”