The following notes and quotes are from BYU's 30-3 win over McNeese at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
TEAM FLAGS: Corbin Kaufusi, Devin Kaufusi, Isaiah Kaufusi, Jackson Kaufusi
ALUMNI FLAG BEARERS: Alani Fua, Sae Tautu, Jray Galea’i
Spreading it around
BYU had nine different receivers record at least one catch and 10 different rushers carry the ball. Three receivers had multiple catches while seven runners had multiple carries.
All four Kaufusis played in the game against McNeese, three at the same time. Brothers Corbin and Devin are the sons of Steve Kaufusi and brothers Jackson and Isaiah are the sons of Jeff Kaufusi, Steve’s younger brother.
The Cougars forced four turnovers in the game. The last time BYU forced four or more turnovers was five against San Jose State in 2017.
Scoring in the second
BYU’s 24 points in the second quarter are the most points scored in any quarter under head coach Kalani Sitake.
Katoa scored his first and second career touchdowns. He had a career day with 10 carries and 64 yards to go along with his two scores.
Hifo had two 14-yard receptions in the first half putting him at 600 career receiving yards. He had a total of four receptions for 38 yards, bringing his total to 624 now.
Canada recorded his 250th career carry in the second quarter for four yards. At the end of the game, he had a total of 10 carries for 57 yards, giving him 256 to date.
Mangum posted his 500th career competition with a pass to Matt Bushman in the third quarter. He finished 15 of 25 for 118 yards and one touchdown.
Kaufusi blocked his fourth career kick and first of the season in the second quarter. Troy Warner picked up the ball and ran for 22-yards which eventually lead to a Cougar touchdown. The block sparked a 24-point second quarter for the Cougars.
Southam recorded his longest career field goal with a 47-yard kick to put the Cougars up 30-3 in the third quarter. It is BYU’s longest field goal since 2010 against UNLV when Mitch Payne hit s 48-yarder. Southam hit three field goals in the game. It was the first time BYU connected on three field goals since getting a trio if triples in 2016 against UMass.
NOTABLE CAREER HIGHS and FIRSTS
Career long rush: Lopini Katoa (15 yards, first quarter)
First career punt: Danny Jones (39 yards, third quarter)
First career touchdown: Lopini Katoa (4 yards, second quarter), Talon Shumway (7 yards, second quarter)
First career interception: Tanner Jacobson (second quarter), Rhett Sandlin (third quarter)
First forced fumble: Michael Shelton (second quarter), Austin Kafentzis (fourth quarter)
First fumble recovery: Sawyer Powell (second quarter), Alden Tofa (fourth quarter)
First career rushing attempt: Gunner Romney (third quarter, 5 yards), Matt Hadley (fourth quarter, 2-yard loss)
Career long field goal: Skyler Southam (third quarter, 47 yards)
First career pass completion/attempt: Zach Wilson (12 yards to Gunner Romney)
BYU head coach Kalani Sitake
On tonight’s win
Obviously there are some things we can fix to get better, but I think I will say that after every game. I thought it was good to celebrate the win and get to the next game. We will celebrate this one and get ready for Washington.
On players stepping in
I thought they were ready. I have to watch the film still to see how everyone did. Squally is a little banged up with his ankle still bothering him a little bit and it was nice to be able to rely on Lopini to get in there. I thought offensively it wasn’t great numbers, but we were able to get the win and get some drives going. There are a lot of things we can fix on that. We need to be more efficient as an offense, but I am pleased with them. I thought they executed the game plan and did enough to win and control the game.
On McNeese’s start
We knew that we were going to face some adversity sometime, we just didn’t know it was going to be that early. It was a nice wakeup call, but I was pleased with the way they were able to hold strong in the red zone and force some field goals. We got the blocked kick and forced some turnovers. The guys worked hard and I will have to watch the film and see what we could have done different defensively. After giving up the three points I feel like we controlled the game. We will be ready for the next one and we have to improve on this. It feels good to win and I told the guys to celebrate every win. It’s hard to match the intensity and the emotion of last week’s game. We did what we were supposed to do so we need to celebrate the win and then move on. The next one will be a tough one.
On putting in the younger players
I felt like it was going to be a long drive and we didn’t have the right personnel in. It felt like a good time to take a timeout and get the young guys in there. I felt like we had a good handle on the game by then. Obviously we kicked field goals and the offensive guys want to get in there and score touchdowns. I felt comfortable with where we were at. I really just wanted to get through the game and make sure our guys were healthy.
On the passing game
It needs to improve. We need to throw better and be more efficient. We ran the ball very well, but there were a lot of things we could have done differently. Probably with this game as we look at it we need to be better offensively in all positions. At the same time taking care of the football and allowing us to stay in games and drives is important. I don’t care much about the numbers, but the interceptions are what bother me in the game.
Senior quarterback Tanner Mangum
On the first quarter of the game
It’s tough to pinpoint just one thing. It requires 11 guys doing their job to be successful and we weren’t doing that. We had to dial it in and focus on being deliberate in our execution. I thought we did a good job of pushing through it and not letting it ruin the whole game. We bounced back and were able to put some points on the board. That’s definitely something that we have to learn from. We can’t do that every game. We have to be able to execute from the very start. That’s something we can learn from for sure.
On setting up the team for success, especially the younger guys
It feels good. That’s how you want every game to be. You want to be able to come out with a victory. Even though it wasn’t pretty, we’re not going to complain about a win. Anytime you can get guys on the field that don’t see it as much is fun because they work just as hard as anyone that starts. Zach Wilson is a great player. He didn’t have as many opportunities, but I thought he did a great job out there. Lots of guys got in and made the most of those opportunities. We’re a team and we want to enjoy those moments together.
On picking up the game in the second quarter
I thought we started executing better all around. We went more up tempo which kept them off balance. I thought that opened up our run game and that set up some play actions. We started doing our jobs and that’s all we can control. We kept fighting through that tough start. We were able to put points on the board when we needed to and I’m happy that we were able to get through that lull and get back on executing.
Freshman running back Lopini Katoa
On his performance
It felt good. The offensive line opened up some huge lanes to make it possible. I’m just happy that I can be part of such a great team and contribute like I am.
On learning and developing in the offense
I’m still learning. I run with a lot of great backs and they are teaching me a lot. Each person has their own strengths to take from. Coach Steward does a great job of teaching all of us. It’s nice to learn from a back like Squally, with his play-making abilities.
Senior defensive lineman Corbin Kaufusi
On holding McNeese to just a field goal
It was good. The one thing we expect is to make it difficult to score points. They did get movement on us early but the important thing is how we end the drive.
On head coach Kalani Sitake’s early timeout message to the defense
It was basically just, “Get going. You’re not playing with enough energy. You’re not having fun.” It’s easy when you don’t make big plays to not have energy. It doesn’t build as easy. He reminded us to have fun and play with energy. I like when he does that. He knows when we can give more.
On his field goal block
The whole defense knew we needed to make a play. We needed something. Luckily I got my two big guys in the middle to push them back and make it easy. Special teams is where big plays can be made. That’s the time to make a big play. We love when something big happens.
On four Kaufusis appearing in the game
It was amazing. Especially this week, because our grandpa passed away. So to have us all come in and do something was great. We were happy to put out that performance for him, because he loves BYU football.
Senior defensive back Tanner Jacobson
On interception and defensive play
It was awesome. It was one thing that I’ve wanted for a long time. I was thinking that I was going to have the opportunity to do something. Years of work led to a play like that. I was very excited to be able to help in that situation for the team. We needed a little momentum and then we went down and scored.
On playing without several defensive starters
It’s just a testament to how hard everyone is working and the preparation that we put in. That’s definitely a goal of ours, to have no difference between the starters and non-starters. Whoever goes in the game should know what they’re doing. We prepared very well for this game. The biggest part
McNeese head coach Lance Guidry
On feelings of overall game
I thought we came out pretty good at the beginning of the game. Then you you get a blocked field goal, they gain momentum and tempo on us. There were probably like eight or nine minutes left in the half and within six minutes a lot of stuff happened. You can’t win games even when you’re playing against Nicholls State, ASU and Sam Houston with things like that happening. You got to be able to stop the bleeding. We didn’t play well enough today to win no matter who we played.
On experience gained from the game
We knew we were up for a tall task. They are so long, tall and big. We really weren’t scared of their speed. We didn’t think they were faster than anyone else we’ve played, but they were definitely bigger and we knew that they were physical and they showed that today. They were able to run the ball well and were able to stop the run, so the coaches have them playing really well. Kalani Sitake showed a lot of great class dealing with the ball at the end of the game.
On surprising BYU
They did a lot of trading and shifting, which we knew they would, but they attacked us a little bit inside, which took away a lot the things to bring some pressure. They kind of went wide at us, and we had some rotation problems, and guys getting out of gaps, but I think we surprised them.
On short fields in first quarter
We had big turnovers on defense and you have to come away with points and we didn’t get any and should’ve had a touchdown. We could’ve been up 10-nothing and in big games like this you have to get momentum early, you have to make it a fourth quarter game. If it gets out of reach early, these teams have too much depth and size that you aren’t going to get back in it, so you have to be out in front in order to have a chance in the fourth quarter, and we knew that going in. But hats off to them, I thought they played another good game and Sitake’s has them going in the right direction, that’s for sure.
Senior running back David Hamm
On thoughts of the overall game
We could have done better, as an offense, all-around as a unit, special teams was a major factor. We knew coming into this game that we would have to win with special teams. It came down to field goals and the field goal block. I think that changed the game. Defensively they held their own, we were going against a big offensive line, a good quarterback and a solid running back.
On how this game will help them improve for season
It just shows us that we can compete. First half we showed that we could compete with them, as an offense and defensive, but we have to move on to next week. We have a lot of mistakes to correct because today wasn’t perfect, we have a lot to look forward to in our offensive scheme and defense.
Sophomore defensive back Cory McCoy
On thoughts of the overall game
I feel like we came out moving really fast and strong, but we just have to continue to finish games and to push the ball and stop them from scoring.
Thoughts on defensive effort
I think we did well, but we need to lock in more at the safety position. We need to remember our keys, watch all the signals and we just have to play football.
Thoughts on forcing the fumble
It felt good, it was definitely a change of events. It brought the momentum back for McNeese.