BYU vs. Cal - Postgame Notes & Quotes


The following notes are from BYU's 21-18 loss to Cal on Saturday, Sept. 8.


TEAM FLAGS:  Lorenzo Fauatea, Kamalani Kaluhiokalani, Tanner Jacobson, Uriah Leiataua
ALUMNI FLAG BEARERS: Brandon Doman, Cliff Doman, Bryce Doman

Series notes
BYU and Cal played its 5th game in the series. The Cougars fell to 3-2-0 overall and 1-1 in Provo.

Spreading it around
BYU had 11 different receivers record at least one catch and eight different rushers carry the ball. Seven receivers had multiple catches while seven runners had multiple carries.

Zayne Anderson
Anderson recorded a career high of 12 tackles including nine solo stops. He also recorded his first career tackle for loss for two yards.  

Brayden El-Bakri
El-Bakri recorded his second career receiving touchdown. It was his fourth career touchdown (2 rush/2receive). His first receiving touchdown came in the 2017 season at Utah State.

Isaiah Kaufusi
Kaufusi recorded his first career interception and returned the ball for 15 yards.

Dayan Ghanwoloku
Ghanwoloku scored his second career touchdown for 36-yards in the third quarter on a fumble return. It was his first career fumble returned for a touchdown. Ghanwoloku had a pick-six at Boise State in 2016. He recovered a second fumble on a muffed punt in the second half.

Tackles: Zayne Anderson (12)
First tackle for loss: Zayne Anderson
First reception: Gunner Romney
First Interception: Isaiah Kaufusi
First field goal attempt/make: Skyler Southam (36 yards)
Punts: Rhett Almond (6)


BYU head coach Kalani Sitake
On playing against Cal
I was proud of how hard they played. We made way too many mistakes and we didn’t have time to fix them by the end of the game. Congratulations to Cal, they deserved to win that game, we didn’t help ourselves by making some errors and having some drive killers; we just have to be better.

On the miscommunications on the field
To be honest, I’m not really happy with how we played the run. We made too many mistakes, we gave up a touchdown on a missed assignment, which is not on the players, it’s on us as coaches. We shouldn’t be making any of these mistakes or miscommunications on the field, so we can’t give up layups, we can’t give up free points. I was proud of them, we had three turnovers. Those mistakes are hard to overcome. I thought we played better on every face of the game. We’re going to look at things and try to get them fixed. As head coach, I need to make sure that I put my guys in better positions so we can win games.

On the passing game compared to the game against Arizona
We’re going to look at that. Dropping the ball doesn’t help either and pass protection doesn’t help either. We were really excited about the o-line, I thought we had seen some physical part of the game and that was not consistent in the seconds half. They were challenged this week and they responded and we have to be better. We feel like we can get stronger and own the line of scrimmage, there’s no proof of that from the second half in the run game and there’s no proof of that even in the pass game. We just didn’t protect the quarterback well enough and we made errors. There’s enough blame to go around.

I would just like to see us catch the ball and be more efficient—22 for 41 is not good. The drops didn’t help either. We didn’t do enough to win this game. The effort was there and I’m proud of the guys and how hard they played. They battled and they didn’t quit and they kept going, but effort isn’t enough to win games. That’s a good key for us to have, but it hasn’t been enough to win. We need to be more efficient as an offense and be more disruptive as a defense and we need to find ways to win games.

Senior fullback Brayden El-Bakri
On offensive issues
The feeling was that there was a lack of communication in between blocks and combos and things like that but I mean that’s something that’s an easy fix and we can talk it out when we watch the film.

On fixing errors
We definitely need to clean up all of the mistakes. Coach Pugh was trying to correct everything and anything that we saw and make in game adjustments. I feel like with the weekend ahead of us we’re going to be able to dive deep into the mistakes and the little things that were happening on the field that were making us not successful. A tweak here and there, a new call here and there and we’ll be able to make things happen. I believe the game plan we had coming out here was the correct game plan and everything we practiced during the week was stuff that we just needed to execute better to succeed. Going into the next week, we can clean up the things that we need to. I think as a team we have really hard workers and they’re not afraid to put in extra work to get the things done.

On the emotional side of the loss
I think there’s a difference between going too far ahead and correcting a mental error on a call or a block or a route. I don’t think everyone’s going to try and start doing more than their one eleventh because that’s what our offense is built upon. Even last week, there weren’t a lot of guys who had huge stats but there were a lot of guys that had good stats to help us win the game. I think as a team we’re built in a way that everyone’s going to do their part to clean up their play so that we can come out and succeed. Emotionally it hurts, it sucks right now. Losses should just drive you forward to make you work harder and get the stuff done that you personally can get done to help out the team.

Junior tight end Moroni Laulu-Pututau
On missing opportunities
I mean it’s hard because the human response is to say, hey man let’s get that. If I’ve seen any team in the past, this team more than any team, doesn’t do that. They’re such good guys. They say, let’s go. Let’s get back up and make the next play. We left so many plays down the field. We still have confidence because we can make those plays and we’re not worried but those guys will make the plays. I trust that they’ll make the next play.

On communication in practice last week
First off, I want to say hats off to the defense. They worked hard and had a really impressive week. I love them for playing hard. But I think specifically Tuesday practice was amazing. We came out and worked hard but Wednesday was kind of a lull. I’m going to take that on me. I didn’t lead well enough. We didn’t have enough leaders to step up in practice to be ready for it so we know the things we need to fix and I think we have confidence to fix them.

Senior linebacker Butch Pau’u
We played well but we didn’t play our game. We have some things to fix. We do believe that we’re a better team. We just have to continue to work and practice well this week. We just have to do a better job of knowing our assignments and continue to practice hard because we’re a great defense, we know that. We just have to keep a positive attitude, that’s the biggest thing. We just have to keep playing together and keep our heads high. We just have to continue to believe in each other and we’ll be ok.

Junior safety Dayan Ghanwoloku
You have to have a short-term memory and just move onto the next play after a mistake. We can all improve as a defense on communicating together and being on the same page.

Cal head coach Justin Wilcox
On how the defense played
Well, how the team went – we all are. I’m really proud of how the guys competed again – coming into a place like this. It was a hostile environment. It was rocking. This was a real physical team that was well coached. We didn’t play our cleanest, but we found a way to win. We didn’t panic. Guys on the sidelines were always solving problems. Everyone was working on what we needed to do next instead of worrying about the last play and I’m proud of them for that. We’re making strides, and we still have a long way to go. They realize that. It’s hard to win. It’s a good football team we played and we battled. I’m proud of them for that. We’ve just got to play better. 

On controlling the tempo
It’s huge. You could tell in the first half what kind of a game it was going to be. You knew coming in that it could turn into one of those games where you just grind and everything matters. The first half, offensively, there were opportunities. Whether it was a deep ball that we couldn’t hit, a third-down drop or a penalty that put us behind the chains forcing us to punt the ball. You felt it. They did a good job of staying on schedule. We didn’t do a great job in the first half of finishing tackling. There were yards after contact for them. The possessions were a premium. In the second half, we made more of those plays on offense and that’s the difference. Our defense battled and got off the field in the second half. There were a couple of times in there, the two turnovers. Those exchanges where we had the muffed punt and the defense went out there without a panic and made plays. And the interception. To be able to get a three-and-out and make them punt. That was huge. I think offensively, you could see some of those drives where we were moving the chains, creating more explosives. We need more. We had chances for more, but that’s an improvement. I think as a whole, offensively and defensively, we played different in the second half.

On two quarterbacks
I’m proud of how they competed. They created some rhythm. The element of those different kinds of packages – being on the defensive side of the ball for so long – it’s tough. We still can do a lot of things better in terms of our execution and operation of those plays. I thought they did a nice job. You noticed it especially in the second half. We were stringing drives together. Even if we didn’t get the points, that was a possession game. We moved the ball down, punted it and did different things and that was big. 

Freshman quarterback Chase Garbers
On offensive performance
Obviously, it wasn’t our best performance. We struggled here and there, but we did what we had to do to get the win. That’s all you can ask for. After halftime, we came together as an offense and told ourselves we were going to take over this half and that is what we did.

On battle for time of possession 
BYU did a really good job keeping us off the field. They’re not a really bit tempo team and you saw that tonight with their huddling. Our opportunities to hold onto the ball for longer than we did in the first half really showed in the second half.

On his first collegiate start
Honestly, I just took it as another game. Coach Wilcox always preaches, “It’s just a fancy practice,” and that is how I thought about it, but being in a different environment was really cool.

On Cal’s defensive performance
Our defense is stellar. We go against it every day at practice. We love turnovers and we saw that today. Our defense really took over the game for us.

Sophomore quarterback Brandon McIlwain
On offensive performance
We played a tough game on the road and we executed enough. We made plays when we needed to and between the both of us (Chase Garbers) we did our jobs. We did everything the coaches were asking of us to and ended up with a great win. We stuck to the plan and kept going. We kept pushing through and they got more tired.

On his confidence throwing the ball this game
It worked and it got us a win. We’re going to keep doing whatever we need to do to continue to win. Whatever I can do to keep the ball moving and get the ball back to Chase if I need to. Once they’ve seen a bunch of runs, it opens up a lot of room for our receivers. As a quarterback, I just want to get the ball to our playmakers.

On running a two quarterback system
We both can throw and we both can run so you have to prepare for a lot. We do a good job at figuring out who is going to be playing at what time and completment each other. As long as one of us is in, we’re going to keep the ball moving and keep doing what we do.

Junior linebacker Evan Weaver
On Cal’s defensive performance
We played awesome. We had a great game plan by our coaches and great hard practices all week. We just came in and executed. Everybody was making plays. The D-line was holding their own, LBs were making plays and DBs were doing their thing as they always do. It really took a team effort today.

On Cal’s second straight game with a strong defensive performance
We still have a lot of work to do. We had some breakdowns today and gave up some really key plays, but those can be fixed with film. You can just tell that this team and this defense just wants to come play everyday and dominate the football every single play.

On the importance of beating BYU
“It’s huge. To start out 2-0, come into a great environment like this and beat a really good BYU team just shows how much we really want it this year. It should show the Cal fans that maybe they should come to some games this year because we’re ready to play and we want them there.