Postgame Notes: BYU vs. Sam Houston

The following are postgame notes and quotes from BYU football's 14-0 win over Sam Houston on Saturday night at LaVell Edwards Stadium.


PROVO, Utah — The following are postgame notes and quotes from BYU football's 14-0 win over Sam Houston on Saturday night at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

ALUMNI FLAGS: Devin Mahina (TE, 2010-14), Paul Shoemaker (QB, 1995-97), TJ Sitake (1999-2000, 2005) 

TEAM FLAGS: Kingsley Suamataia (OL), Isaiah Glasker (LB), Jake Retzlaff (QB), Mata’ava Ta’ase (TE) 

SERIES RESULTS: 1-0 (BYU leads) 

Attendance: 59,006 


  • Season-opening scoring drives 

    • For the second-consecutive season the Cougar offense opened its campaign with a touchdown scoring drive. A season ago BYU recorded a touchdown on its first play from scrimmage with a 75-yard touchdown run from wide receiver Puka Nacua in its 50-21 win at South Florida.  

    • The Cougars last scored season-opening touchdown scoring drive in consecutive seasons in 2001-2002 (70-35 win over Tulane, 2001; 42-21 win over Syracuse, 2002). 

  • Fourteen Points to open a New Era 

    • BYU opened the Independence era with 14 points scored vs. Ole Miss in 2011.  

  • Shutout 

    • BYU recorded its first shutout since a 64-0 win over Savannah State in 2014. This is BYU’s first shutout over an FBS opponent since a 47-0 win over Hawaii in 2012.  

    • BYU and Oklahoma are the only two FBS teams to shutout another FBS foe in Week One. 

  • First Half Scoring Defense 

    • Saturday marked BYU’s first time barring an opponent from the end zone in the first half since its 35-27 win over South Florida on Sept. 25, 2021. The Sam Houston game also became BYU’s first opening-half shutout since its 55-3 win at Navy on Sept. 7, 2020.  

  • First Half Total Defense 

    • BYU held Sam Houston to 81 yards of total offense in the first half, its least allowed in an opening half since playing Navy, and allowing 26 yards, in 2020.   

  • Pressuring the Quarterback 

    • BYU’s seven forced quarterback hurries are its most since its 2012 season-opener vs. Washington State.  

  • Forcing Turnovers 

    • BYU’s three forced interceptions are its most in a single game since forcing three in its 42-14 win over Utah State in 2019.  

  • BYU vs. CUSA 

    • BYU moves to 10-3 all-time vs. opponents from Conference USA. 


  • Kedon Slovis 

    • Three completions into the evening Slovis surpassed the 10,000-yard passing mark for his career and finished the night with 10,118 career passing yards. Entering the weekend, this would put Slovis at third nationally among active FBS passers behind only Sam Hartman of Notre Dame and Bo Nix of Oregon.  

    • In his 39th-career collegiate game, Slovis recorded his first-career rushing touchdown with a 5-yard keeper to post BYU’s opening score of the season.  

    • Slovis’s two rushing touchdowns marked the first time a BYU quarterback has rushed for two or more scores since Zach Wilson did so in a 49-23 win over UCF in the 2020 Boca Raton Bowl. 

    • Robinson recorded his fifth and sixth-career interceptions and first since BYU’s 52-26 win over Utah Tech on Nov. 19, 2022. Robinson last recorded two single-game interceptions in BYU’s 34-17 win over Georgia Southern on Nov. 20, 2021. 

    • Martin’s 91 rushing yards are the most from a BYU true freshman running back since Jamaal Williams’ 104 vs. Idaho in 2012.  

    • Martin’s 16 carries are the most from a BYU true freshman running back since Williams’ 19 vs. New Mexico State in 2012.  

    • Bywater’s nine tackles give him 14-career games with nine or more tackles. 

  • Max Tooley 

    • Tooley’s nine tackles give him six-career games with nine or more tackles.  

  • Eddie Heckard 

    • Heckard recorded his 8th-career interception and first at BYU. 

  • Ryan Rehkow 

    • Rehkow recorded career-highs in punts (nine) and punt yardage (479). Four of Rehkow’s punts landed inside the 20-yard line, with seven punts of 50+ yards and a long of 65.  


    • First-career tackle-for-loss, leading the team in tackles-for-loss with 1.5.  

  • Career-high tackles: Tanner Wall (2) 

  • First-career receptions were recorded by: 

    • Mason Fakahua (TE) 

  • First-career tackles were recorded by: 


Head coach Kalani Sitake

On the game overall 
“Obviously, we felt like we didn't play our best, and that's okay. We finished it, and that's my job as a coach, to make sure these guys are ready to roll, and that they're playing at a higher level.” 
On Sam Houston
“Give a lot of credit to Sam Houston. I thought they came ready to play. I’ve been praising coach K.C. Keeler from the very beginning. He's a legend. He's one of the best coaches in college football. So it's really cool to see him tonight and be able to talk to him. I think his staff does an amazing job coaching their guys. I’ve said since the beginning, we see that they're well coached.” 
On the defense 

“Just glad that we were able to make more plays and get the win and the shutout. I am really happy with what our defense did. I thought they tackled well. A couple of mistakes gave them some plays, but it is stuff that we can fix. More than anything, I was really happy with the aggression and how they tackled, specifically the defensive backs. I thought coverage-wise, we did some really good things, so we were able to handle the run game for the most part. I thought they threw the ball pretty quickly, so it didn't give us enough time to be disruptive in terms of sacks, but getting tackles-for-loss and stopping the run at the line of scrimmage was a big goal for us. Happy that we were able to do that. Obviously, played better on the third downs on defense and got turnovers.” 

On the offense 
“On the other side, offense, obviously, we’ve seen our offense perform better than that, so I expect them to be better. There are some issues that we need to fix, and a lot of them are fixable. For some reason, it was flat and not good enough. They know that, but I want them to be proud of taking care of the football.” 

“Really proud of the guys overall. Proud of all three phases. There’s definitely some room for improvement. In week one and week two, we can make a lot of improvements. You can’t just show up and think that guys are going to give you plays and give you points, so that’s humbling a little bit for our players, especially on the offensive side, but we’ll get better and make sure that we show up next week. Southern Utah played a tight game against ASU, so it’s not going to be easy. We need to make sure that we learn from this, get better, find ways to put points on the board while still taking care of the football, and we will find ways to be disruptive, especially on defense.” 

“I’ve seen our offense be really explosive against our defense, so we’ve got to get that back. It’s obtainable. We just need to stop shooting ourselves in the foot by getting more momentum plays and finding more urgency to get lined up and play. We had late calls and had to take some timeouts, which is a momentum killer. That’s something that we can fix and can handle on the coaching part. I have to be better at demanding that from our offense.” 

On special teams 
“As far as special teams, I thought we kicked really well. The way he [Ryan Rehkow] punted was amazing. That fake punt was on me, not him. That's on us coaches. We were trying to create a spark, and sometimes you don't create a spark by trying to do something like that, so my error. We will get better at that.” 

On the Offensive Line  

“I think Sam Houston did a good job exposing us in certain areas, but we need to be better. We need to play more as a unit on our front line, and I’m looking forward to making that happen.” 

On Ryan Rehkow’s performance 

“There’s a lot of room for improvement, but there are a lot of things to praise from tonight. I want to make sure our guys can stay consistent, and I want to see if Ryan can play at a high level again next week, but I don’t want him punting that many times in a game. I was really happy with his overall performance tonight.” 

On how Quarterback Kedon Slovis played tonight 

“We have seen him perform a lot better than he did tonight because I think he tried to force the throw instead of taking what was there, but we will get that fixed, and Kedon has a lot of great abilities and he’ll figure it out. He got his first game under his belt now, we play at home again next week, so we will get better for the second game. I have a lot of confidence in our players and our talent.” 

Quarterback Kedon Slovis

On the overall win 

“You’ve got to stay positive. You’ve got to appreciate a win. A win’s a win. We got 14 points but we didn’t have any turnovers, and as an offense we had higher expectations than it happened tonight. We know we are better than that, and we’ll play a lot better than that in the future.”  

On how he would rate himself 

“Pretty harshly. Not happy, but obviously happy with the win and happy with no turnovers. … But I have higher expectations for myself and higher expectations for the offense. Really, everybody felt that way after the game. Even at halftime, guys were coming in, beating themselves up. I tried to remind them ‘Hey, we're not gonna be perfect. You made some mistakes and move on.’” 

Running back LJ Martin

On having older teammates to look up to 

“They've taught me a lot in just the few months of me being here. It's just been really fun and really means a lot to me. All those dudes are supporting you through whatever you're doing. You go out there and get one yard, they're happy for you. You go out and get negative two, they're happy. You get 20, they're happy. They're just the greatest mentors to me.” 

Linebacker Ben Bywater

On the shutout 

“It felt great. I tip my hat to the whole defensive staff, because they really put us in the right places to make those kinds of plays. Two picks. That doesn't really happen. I thought we played well across the board, and we were firing on all cylinders. So, really proud of the way the guys fought. Getting a shutout in college football is not easy, and we were able to do it.” 

On the contrast between the offensive and defensive performances tonight 

“Our coaches are always preaching to us the mentality that we're going to have their back, no matter what. If it's a fourth down, and they go for it, and they don't get it, we are always going to be there to rally. We're not there to point fingers, but when it’s our turn to go on the field we say, ‘Hey, we’ve got your back.’ So, I think having that mindset when you face adversity is going to be big-time for us down the stretch.”

On Jay Hill and the defense’s preparation 

“Us and our teammates were coming in to play hard. So, I'm not surprised by the score, as I think a lot of people are, because we kind of knew going in that this team is going to come and compete. We knew they were going to play hard for them. [Sam Houston] has some good athletes as well. I thought that they played well. So, to go get the shutout tonight was big for us.”

On expectations for defense in the offseason compared to now 

“Obviously, this offseason there were a lot of question marks for fans. There was a lot of hype with the addition of the new staff. But for us to go out there and be aggressive and play the way that our coaches wanted us to play was key. Obviously, we are going to go watch the film and keep learning. We're going to fix our mistakes, but I think we're in a great spot right now moving forward, just defensively. But we have to keep practicing day after day and then next week versus SUU, we have to do the same thing.” 

On LJ Martin’s performance 

“He is the man. He has made an impact since the very first scrimmage he was in at BYU. He’s going to be special. I'm really excited to see what he does in the future.” 

Cornerback Jakob Robinson

On Jay Hill and the defense’s preparation 

“The preparation level was off the charts. I think this is the most prepared we’ve ever been. Formation-wise, we just knew what was coming. We called it out before it even happened.” 

On the locker room’s mood after the game 

“I think the offense thought that they were going to score more, but everyone has games like that. We have to play as a team by backing them up, and we know that if we have a game like that, they're going to back us up too.” 




Head coach K.C. Keeler 

On playing in the BYU atmosphere 

“What a great atmosphere. Their student section showed up and were loud. We played at Texas A&M last year and got some weather that came in fairly early, but it was louder here. That's such a testament to how excited they are about getting in the Big 12 and the opportunity they have in front of them. We knew we were going to get a really good, well-coached football team. And I thought they did a really good job in the portal, getting some and filling in some spots. I think they’re just so well coached and do such a great job. It's such a great culture here. I'm just so impressed by just the whole program, and it was great. It was great to come and play.” 

On Sam Houston’s overall performance 

“You know, we didn't play clean enough to win, and that was the bottom line. I said, ‘If we win on special teams, and we play clean, we're going win this football game.’ And we didn't. We didn't play clean enough, and we didn't play well enough on special teams. So, there's no moral victories. Yeah, we played hard, and that's who we are. You know, that's what we do. But we have to battle to get this thing fixed, because obviously offensively we could do a better job getting points on the board.” 

On facing the Cougars’ defense 

“I really liked the guys they added to their defense. I know they struggled last year statistically in some of the areas. The new coordinator [Jay Hill], he’s a proven guy, and he's really good. I thought those kids played really hard, and if you look at the transfer portal, I thought they really improved their team defensively and showed up there.” 

Linebacker Trevor Williams 
On defensive side of the ball 

“We just make sure we get out and play hard. It was 7-0 for a long time. So every time you are going out there, you are one stop away from the potential of getting back into the game. Every play was important. Our job is to get off the field, and get the ball back to the offense. Regardless of the circumstance, that is our mindset.” 

Quarterback Keegan Shoemaker 

On Sam Houston’s offense 

“Our defense played great. As an offense, we need to play cleaner, and that starts with me. We need to make the most of our opportunities and capitalize.”