The following notes and quotes are from No. 13/14 BYU's 43-26 win at Houston Friday night.
FLAG BEARERS: Baylor Romney, Keanu Hill, Zach Dawe, Gunner Romney
COIN TOSS: Isaiah Kaufusi, BYU won the toss and deferred to the second half. Houston received the opening kick.
SERIES RESULTS: 3-0 BYU
BYU is 5-0 for the first time since 2008. It is just the sixth time in program history (2008, 2001, 1984, 1981, 1979).
BYU is 3-0 against Houston now, with the two wins in Houston coming behind 400-yard games from Taysom Hill in 2013 (417, 4 TDs) and Zach Wilson (400, 4 TDs). Hill also ran for another 128 while Wilson had 40 rushing yards.
BYU scored 43 points, giving them 40+ in four of the first five games this year. BYU also went on a 29-0 run to put the game away in the second half.
BYU had another 100-yard receiver in Dax Milne (184). The Cougars have had a 100-yard receiver in every game this season.
BYU had three sacks in the game, giving them 16 total after five games. Last season, BYU had 17 total for the year over 13 games.
BYU outgained its opponent again, making it every game this year. BYU posted 478 total yards to 438 yards for Houston. After giving up 234 passing yards in the first half, BYU’s defense gave up just 76 in the second half. BYU allowed just 104 total yards in the second half.
BYU trailed at halftime for the first time this year at 26-14. BYU also won for the first time when trailing at halftime since Boise State last year (Trailed 10-7).
Wilson had a career night, throwing for 400 yards on 25 of 35 passing and four touchdowns. His 400 yards set a new career high and four touchdown passes tied his career best. He also ran nine times for 40 yards. His four touchdown passes give him 35 for his career, tying Brandon Doman and Riley Nelson for 16th at BYU. Wilson has also gone 132 attempts without throwing an interception.
Milne also had a career night with nine receptions for 184 yards and three touchdowns. He was the first player with three receiving touchdowns in a game since Mitch Mathews caught three against Utah State in 2013.
Dawe had a career-best eight total tackles with a career-high three tackles for loss, including one sack.
Notable career highs/career firsts
First start: Caden Haws (DL)
TD reception: Masen Wake (8-yard, fourth quarter)
Career-high receptions: Dax Milne (9), Tyler Allgeier (5), Masen Wake (3)
Career-high receiving yards: Dax Milne (184), Tyler Allgeier (61), Isaac Rex (55), Masen Wake (42)
Career-high tackles for loss: Zac Dawe (3)
Career-high tackles: Zac Dawe (8), Bracken El-Bakri (tied)
BYU head coach Kalani Sitake
I’m proud of our team and proud of the players. We knew that Houston would have a great game plan and would make a lot of adjustments from game one to game two. They gave us their best shot and they had a lead on us. I’m proud of our players and the way they were able to respond to adversity. We got the momentum early and it started to slip away. We had to regroup at halftime and talk things over. We collaborated with our players and talked as a staff and came up with a great game plan on defense, offense and special teams. We went out looking forward to doing whatever we could in the last 30 minutes to gain the victory.
I feel our offense is clicking. Sometimes it takes a little while for it to get going, but they can score points. Defensively, we did some things differently schematically that I think we’re going to have to go to and be a little more aggressive in different ways. Obviously, being aggressive was the key tonight.
On the offensive game plan
Houston was committed to stopping the run. They did so many things up front to make it hard for us to run. We had to keep trying because we felt that if we could get bodies on bodies we’d be good, but they started overwhelming us with pressure. As we started looking at adjustments, I thought it was a good matchup between what they were trying to defensively and what our offensive minds were thinking about. I was glad we were able to go to a few things to make it work and that our guys came out with a win.
On the onside kick in the second half.
Ed Lamb is a great coach and he runs our special teams. You look at the things we were able to do against a really good, dynamic return team. We were able to pin them back and get stops on kickoffs. Ed saw something and Jake Oldroyd liked it a lot. You know me, they’re going to get the green light. I don’t think the drive resulted in anything, but we were able to pin them deep. More than anything, it is the mindset our team has to have. We focus on being bold and aggressive. It didn’t surprise our players when we called it and I’m glad we’re able to do things like that.
On the chemistry between Zach Wilson and Dax Milne
Those guys have known each other since they were kids. I think they’re used to being around each other. You look at the offseason with Zach as a leader getting the guys together to throw the ball. You already know what he’s willing to do individually to get better, but it’s the leadership that I like from him and other players on the team. You can see there is a connection and a rhythm that they have with each other. That’s with Zach and all the receivers. The hard work from our coaches and players to establish that connection is huge. You have to give a lot of credit to the players to work and be around each other.
On the defensive performance
I liked the second-half defense and the defense in the first quarter. I think defensively we had to change things up. We had to challenge them a little bit and we had to play some man defense. Our four man rush was getting there and hitting home. Houston did a good job at protecting their quarterback early. We feel really good about our strength and conditioning program and knew that in the fourth quarter we’re stronger than most teams.
BYU quarterback Zach Wilson
On tonight’s win
It’s a huge win for us. I feel like the statement that we made was that we are a big time team. An average team is inconsistent and they can’t finish games off. There wasn’t a moment of that tonight – even when adversity hit and we were down, momentum shifted. I am so proud of these guys for coming back.
On coming back from being down
It’s something we practiced in the offseason all year. I think what got us there is the pregame before this game even started we had talked about this. We talked about how they are a good team that could score, move the ball up and down fast and they can get stops on defense. We knew it would be a battle the whole time. We knew that there could be a moment in this game where we were down and we just had to keep the foot on the gas. The times we couldn’t score tonight, I still think was us killing ourselves. We put ourselves in a good situation but couldn’t capitalize on it. Still there is so much improvement to be made but just glad for how we responded to adversity.
On Dax Milne’s performance
He’s a playmaker. I love that guy. He’s one of my best friends and I am so happy for him. The ups and downs of being a preferred walkon kid and taking on the challenge when nobody thinks you can do it. I believed in that guy since day one. I always knew he would be a big time player for us. I am so happy for him.
BYU defensive line Zac Dawe
On the defensive change in the second half
I think we knew that there was some pressure and that things were slipping a little bit. But, we all came together and knew that we needed to put our foot on the gas. We just needed to play technical football and go through the fundamentals and that’s what we did. We all rallied together and the energy on the sideline really picked up. I am just proud of the guys. Everyone stepped up big time and we got the win.
On responding to the adversity
We are used to adversity, especially since this is an experienced team. We prepared for it in the offseason. We are ready for the fourth quarter and every time we will bring our best regardless of the outcome. We are ready and we are seasoned. At the end of the day this is a team that is so tight, on offense and defense, and we all have each other’s back.
BYU wide receiver Dax Milne
On stepping up in the game
It was tough losing Gunner Romney, but I think we all found ways to step up. I was just glad that Zach Wilson and I were on the same page. The line was giving Zach enough time to allow us to make plays. It was fun, that’s the only way I can put it.
On the confidence moving forward
It’s fun to get a win each week. We celebrate it thoughout the weekend and talk about it on Monday, but after that it’s over. I think our confidence remains at the same level. We know we are a great team and if we minimize mistakes we can play with anybody.
On playing with fans in the stadium
I would contribute a lot to the fans. It for sure helps us dig deeper and helps us compete. When you hear a bunch of people that have the same love for BYU football that you do it creates an exciting atmosphere and adds to our play.