The following postgame notes and quotes are from BYU's 35-31 win at USC on Saturday night.
ALUMNI FLAGS: Aleva Hifo (WR) Curtis Brown (RB) Tim McTyer (DB)
TEAM FLAGS: Talmage Gunther, Tyler Batty, Maguire Anderson, Sione Finau, Tyler Little
SERIES RESULTS: 2-2
Pac-12 and Power 5
BYU went 5-0 against the Pac-12 this season, beating Arizona, Utah, Arizona State, Washington State and USC. BYU also beat Virginia to win six Power 5 games this year, the most in program history.
BYU won 10 games for the second consecutive season for the first time since the 2008 and 2009 seasons. It is BYU’s 18th season with at least 10 wins.
Playing as a ranked team
BYU improved to 18-4 under Kalani Sitake while playing as a ranked team. BYU is currently No. 13 in the College Football Playoff and AP Top 25 and No. 15 in the Coaches Poll.
BYU tonight recorded its second win of the season when trailing in the 4th quarter. BYU also beat Virginia after trailing 49-45 going into the 4th. BYU trailed USC 31-28 in the 4th quarter.
Tyler Allgeier ran for 111 yards on 21 carries, scoring two touchdowns. It was his 6th 100-yard game this year and 12th of his career. Allgeier moved to No. 2 in single-season rushing yards at 1,409 and No. 7 in career rushing yards at 2,707. His two rushing touchdowns moved him into No. 5 in career rushing scores at 32. He was also BYU’s leading receiver with five receptions.
McChensey’s number was called late in the game in the fourth quarter and he delivered with three carries for 17 yards including the game-winning 7-yard touchdown run. It was his first touchdown run of the year and fourth of his career.
Tooley set a new career mark with 13 total tackles, including nine solo stops, 1.5 tackles for loss and a pass breakup.
Bywater added 13 tackles, one shy of a career high. It gave him a team-leading 93 tackles on the year.
Notable career highs/career firsts
Long reception: Masen Wake (36 yards, second quarter)
Total tackles: Max Tooley (11)
Total receptions: Tyler Allgeier (tied, 5), Keanu Hill (tied, 4)
Fumble return: Dallin Holker (22 yards)
USC vs. BYU
United Airlines Field at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum | Los Angeles, California
BYU HEAD COACH KALANI SITAKE
On what led to going with RB Jackson McChesney on the last drive?
“Well Tyler was spent. I could see that he was tired and he’s been banged up all year long. He’s running on fumes at that time. I mean credit to USC, they’re bringing a lot of physicality to the game and tackling well. They’re striking really hard and I think he knew at that moment that he wasn’t ready to go and trusted Jackson to get in there and make plays and obviously broke tackles to score touchdown for us. We feel like we have a lot of depth on this team. I’m so proud of our guys stepping up. Tyler, that’s true leader when he knows that he could possibly hurt the team and that you need the rest. Giving the opportunity to Jackson is a true sign of a leader.”
On picking up a come from behind win:
“I was really proud of the guys. You look at the stats and we’re down a bunch of guys on defense. We had to rely on our depth and so to have Max and Ben step up and get 13 tackles each, that’s huge. But you saw a lot of guys chip in and make plays and we had to use a bunch of different guys. We knew that we were going to get USC’s best shot. This is their senior night and credit to their coaches and credit to their players for stepping up and being really competitive. They’re fighting for bowl eligibility. There’s a lot to play for, for them and for us and I’m glad that we’re able to fight back and get this win because it was looking pretty bad but once we regained our composure I thought the guys rallied back and we felt really positive about getting this win.”
On the message to guys who were asked to step in:
“If you looked at the guys that actually participated and contributed on the field, we played with a lot of down the line guys. We had to use some guys that we probably haven’t seen a lot early in the season. I credit them for getting better and developing even through the season. We felt really good about the progress that we saw from a lot of different people.”
On if his team deserves to play in a New Year’s 6 bowl game:
“I don’t control any of that. All I know is that we played well enough to get one more game together as a team. There’s a committee obviously, but we’re just gonna just be thankful for the opportunity to play. We’re just really thankful for that one more game that we’ve earned to be together and have some more fun and get 60 more minutes to play.”
On how much playing for Coach Lavell Edwards impacted him:
“I appreciate you bringing up the words of a mentor of mine. I wish he was still alive, he had a huge impact in my life. When I was a fan cheering for BYU and as a player. I felt like I grew so much being under his tutoring and mentoring. There’s nothing original about me. I’m stealing a lot of his ideas and the culture that he had in place. I’m trying to do my best to do what he did for me and be good for these guys. I’m really thankful. I get to coach some great kids, so I feel very blessed to be here and be around these young men.”
MAX TOOLEY, LB
On how much he trusts the defense in big spots:
“We’re all about sudden change, things happen. Big plays happen and defensively there’s nothing much you can do when they’re down there, but minimize the reward for them. Coming away on the first drive with a field goal, I’ll be honest, I was gassed and honestly, I don’t know if I was ready for the full game. We trust in everybody to do their 1/11th and trust the offense as well.”
On getting the stop on the final play:
“I was taking a beating all game and it came down to it and Coach decided to not put me in for the last play. That’s his decision and I respect that he did what’s best for the team in the end. We’ve been talking about depth. We have guys that stepped in, guys we believe in, we have confidence in them and there’s no doubt in my mind they are going to get that fourth down stop and win the game. I think just relying on our depth and it paid off in the end.”
On how this season has improved the status of BYU football:
“In the past year, especially last year, a lot of people were talking about how we didn’t have too many hard games. I think this year was just a year to prove that we can play against power five teams. Obviously we went 5-0 against the PAC-12. That’s a successful season in my eyes.”
JAREN HALL, QB
On the play of the defense in big moments:
“A lot of trust. From game one our defense has done a great job. I think when we haven’t played our best offensively the defense has. I think that’s what’s helped us be so successful this year. The defense has really been slept on a lot from the outside. We see every day the work they put in. You look at the scoreboard and we hold a lot of these good offenses to low points and so tonight they stepped up in a big time, especially at the end of the game. It doesn’t get much bigger than that. Needing a stop on fourth down when the other team’s about a score. It just speaks to the coaching, the way they set them up. I can think of five six guys right now that stepped up and made plays so I’m super happy for all those guys on defense. They deserve it. They made big plays when we needed to. That’s why we won the game.”
On what was going through his mind heading into the final drive:
“Stick to our basics. Just take it one play at a time. Get behind that big o-line and find that energy. I think that was it really, just getting the energy back. That’s when we play our best, when we’re high energy. Get the ball to Tyler and then throwing off of that.”
On where USC’s defense ranks among those they have faced:
“You should not look at these guys’ record to determine how good of a team they are. They’re just as talented as some of the best teams in the country and we felt it tonight. I feel banged up. They’re a big, physical team from every position on defense. They’re really talented, really athletic, and they play hard from beginning to the end. They gave us a fight and luckily we were ready for it. Our coaches prepared us well. No one should take any credit away from them. That’s a really good defense. They’re gonna have a lot of guys that’ll play in the NFL. Props to them.”
USC INTERIM HEAD COACH DONTE WILLIAMS
“Ultimately we didn’t get the final outcome that we wanted. The kids fought extremely hard tonight. We battled back from mistakes that we made and made it a ballgame up to the last play of the ballgame. We fought hard all night and created turnovers, we ran the ball the way I would like for us to run the ball and controlled at the line of scrimmage. We had two running backs, one with 100 rushing yards, one with almost 100, that ran well. At the end of the day, we had one too many mistakes and unfortunately we didn’t come up with outcome we wanted.”
On team perseverance tonight:
“I’m happy with the way the guys fought. We have a lot of younger guys that are stepping up and at the same time, a lot of these older guys, including Kanai and Vai that battled all night. The future’s bright here, and I’m definitely happy by the way that we continued to fight. That’s what you’re gonna do a USC, fight on no matter the circumstances.”
On team energy tonight:
“Everybody says, the most energetic team wins, but I think it’s the most positive energy. You can have energy and it can be fake, but it needs to be positive energy and tonight no matter what, the guys that weren’t even suited up, had energy all night. The team stuck together and when we came in there during halftime, you would have thought that we were up by 21, just by the positive energy that the guys provided. I hurt for them tonight. Some losses, you don’t really hurt, but tonight, I wish I could have done maybe one thing more than what I did.”
On offensive line:
“I think they did a good job controlling the line of scrimmage. We started out a little slow, but as the game started going and we started getting a rhythm, Graham did a good job calling plays. Even the tight ends had some good blocks out there on the perimeter, so I’m really proud of the way that the team continued to fight and battle.”
On crowd energy:
“BYU travels well, and the Trojan nation fed off that a little bit. When BYU got loud, the crowd got into it to let them know that this is USC’s home, this is the Coliseum. We’re going to get this thing back on track and make sure people understand this is not PAC-12 After Dark, this is USC after dark. We’re going to do the things we need to do to turn this around and create the outcome that we all want to see.”
VAVAE MALEPEAI, TB
On team energy tonight:
“I feel like we found that energy within each other, the coaching staff, and just everybody on the sideline. Coach Donte really preached about bringing positive energy, not just from coaches or players, but everyone involved. Staff, training staff, anyone who’s associated with the USC football team has to bring that positive energy. Today, we did a great job of doing that. We didn’t get the outcome we wanted, but with the way that the guys fought today, I can honestly say I’m proud to be their team captain.”
On big highlight moment play on senior night:
“It felt great, but everything is a team effort. I don’t get into the end zone if everybody doesn’t block their guy, and Kanai doesn’t make that pick if the defensive line doesn’t get to him or Isaac Taylor Stewart comes up to disrupt the play. So yes, we got credit for those plays, but there’s 11 guys on the field. Those plays don’t happen without everybody executing their assignments. I’m proud of the guys, this was a really emotional game, but I felt like we were able to stay level-headed throughout the calls. As a offense, we fed off of the defensive plays and that gave us momentum coming into a drive.”
On role as captain:
“It means everything. No one gets the credit without everyone doing their job on offense, and it’s humbling but it was a great experience to test where I was at. I learned a lot from Keonte and everybody in the room, to just be ready. It’s a team effort and everything we do for team success. I take pride in being in whatever role the team asked of me, I loved every moment of it. I’m going to soak up this last week with each and every one of the guys, coaches included. It’s a game, but we have to have fun playing this game, and regardless of what the outcome was, I can honestly say every game I went out, played my heart out, and had fun playing this game.”