BYU vs. Arizona Postgame Notes and Quotes
The following notes are from BYU's 18-16 win over Arizona in the Cactus Kickoff Classic. Click here for the RECAP.
BYU improved its record against the Wildcats to 10-12-1, and 3-2-1 in season openers.
The Cougars won their third consecutive season opener. BYU improves to 58-32-2 in openers and 9-2 since 2006.
BYU threw to eight different receivers in the game, with five of them having multiple catches.
The revamped offense under Ty Detmer threw to the tight ends more, as expected. BYU had four receptions by tight ends in the game for 34 yards.
BYU’s defense held the Wildcats to 16 points, Arizona’s fewest since a 49-3 loss at Washington last season. Arizona also managed just 328 total yards, its fewest since 314 at Stanford in 2015.
The defense also recorded four sacks. The Cougars move to 50-3 since 2005 when managing three or more sacks. BYU was No. 6 nationally in 2015 with 3.08 sacks per game.
The Cougars posted eight tackles for loss and have at least six in 13 of their last 14 games. BYU averaged 7.5 tackles for loss per game in 2015, No. 9 nationally.
Hill played his first game since injury in 2015. He finished 21 of 29 for 202 yards and one touchdown. He also added 37 yards on the ground on 11 attempts.
Williams rushed for 162 yards on 29 carries, his 11th career game over 100 yards and first time since Utah State (102) in 2014. His 162 yards were the most since 219 at Nevada in 2013. Williams also moves into No. 5 at BYU with 2,688 career rushing yards, passing Jeff Blanc.
Linehan punted six times for 274 yards with an average of 45.7 yards per punt. He dropped two punts inside the 20-yard line that were both downed at the 1-yard line and 2-yard line, respectively.
In his first career start, Pau’u led the team in tackles with nine, including seven solo, 2.5 tackles for loss, one sack and one forced fumble.
Bernard made his first start on the defense and recorded one interception, one sack and four tackles.
Oldroyd, a freshman, came in for his first career field goal attempt with eight seconds remaining and knocked in the 33-yard game-winner.
FIRSTS (The following players recorded their first in a respective category)
Reception: Tanner Balderree, Jonah Trinnaman, Hunter Marshall
Field goal attempt: Rhett Almond, Jake Oldroyd
Field goal make: Rhett Almond, Jake Oldroyd
Tackle: Corbin Kaufusi, Dayan Lake, Corey Edwards, Francis Bernard, Troy Warner, Johnny Tapusoa
Tackle for loss: Butch Pau’u, Francis Bernard, Corbin Kaufusi
Sack: Butch Pau’u, Francis Bernard, Corbin Kaufusi
Interception: Francis Bernard
Forced fumble: Butch Pau’u
BYU head coach Kalani Sitake
"Yeah, it was a good game. I am really thankful for the opportunity to play this game. Thank you to the Cactus Kickoff Classic for inviting us. I'm really thankful that we had a good opponent like Arizona, it was a great game. Things just went our way. We were able to get the victory, I’m super pleased with how the guys played. This isn’t about me, it’s about these guys, they worked extremely hard for this win. It was just a great game all together."
On using freshman kicker, Jake Oldroyd
"Our special teams coordinator, Assistant head coach, Ed Lamb, felt really comfortable with him. Especially after the field goal earlier. Probably not a good time to do it, but Ed felt comfortable with Jake being in that position. We had practiced it quite a bit. I had to lean on him as the special teams coordinator to make that decision, and I was okay with it and it worked out."
On watching kick go through the uprights
"I was excited, but I had to wait until it went through before I could celebrate. Then I had all the anxiety of having one more play left. It was a great game. I was really proud of Jake and it was a lot of fun."
Feelings after Arizona went ahead 16-15
"Surprisingly, I felt calm. I have a lot of trust in our players. While we’ve been in this position in practice, you can’t really simulate it at all but just the fact that we had that opportunity I think these guys were ready for the moment and they stepped up to the plate and were ready to roll. It helps having great players but I’m just really pleased with their demeanor. But the whole team was about the win. It was worth all the time and all the practice they put into it."
On feeling good after first win
"Well yeah, but this is not about me. These guys deserve it. I wish you would ask them more of the questions. I’ve been really impressed with the leadership on this team but that just shows the type of character we have on this team. The guys that we have. I’ll say one thing about Jamaal. He had some big time penalties take away big gains from them and the fact that he was that hungry to keep playing, he had a great attitude about it and our guys feed off of that. I thought the guys did a great job on offense, defense, and special teams. I thought it was a great team win."
BYU quarterback Taysom Hill
On the final drive thoughts
"Field goal for sure. Going into it, we were calm the whole time. Coach and I were talking through the entire process. We had two time outs, ninety seconds, We needed a field goal; this is what we do all the time. We knew we had a great opportunity. What really sprung it for us was that first completion that really built and established the momentum for us to continue to move forward. It allowed us to run the ball down and get the ball a little closer to field goal range. It’s a great way to win a football game."
On Arizona defense
"Yeah, they were a good football team. It wasn’t anything we hadn’t seen before but they have some good athletes and they got after us and quick guys up front that really pressured us around the edges. But I think we adjusted really well with what they were doing defensively. And I think a lot of it was we were kind of shooting ourselves in the foot. We were moving the ball really well but had a hard time finishing drives. It was a great win and they certainly gave us a lot of things that we can continue to work on. We will get it on tape and break it down and make sure we’re better next week."
On Jamaal Williams
"Yeah, Jamaal’s the MVP for sure. He carried us basically the entire game. He was a beast the entire game. I wasn’t surprised, when we needed a big play the entire game, Jamaal stepped up. Going into the last drive, guys were looking around the huddle and I think it is important to feel the energy and the confidence coming from me as I was making the calls in the huddle and I made sure I told the guys we were good, we got plenty of time here, trying to talk to them before each play in the huddle and guys continued to make plays and continued to step up. It was a team effort."
BYU running back Jamaal Williams
On what was said in the huddle prior to final drive
"Mostly just getting down the field. I knew we were going to have to pass and have a great pass rotation and that is what we did. I was proud of how the offense came out and we stayed cool and collected and we did everything we need to do to win. It showed, coming from practice we do that all the time and putting that in a game it just shows that hard work in practice works. I’m just really proud of my teammates and how they worked."
On putting the game in the hands of the kicker
“You know you gotta have faith in your teammates. And honestly you just got to stay positive and you gotta believe in your teammates. I have no doubt that everyone on that sideline was believing to make that field goal. And it was great to see [Oldroyd] coming off smiling and it’s just great for him to have that type of accomplishment. We couldn’t be prouder of him for doing something like that.”
BYU linebacker Francis Bernard
“We knew they were gonna come out and hurry up their offense and catch us off guard. So throughout the course of fall camp and the off season we just kind of practiced that. The offense helped us out a lot by slowing the game down. I’d say good for them for slowing the game down so we could get out there and run some plays.”
BYU linebacker Butch Pau'u
“I think the biggest thing for us was just to make sure that our defensive linemen were sound and that we knew our assignments. We know as backers that without our defensive lineman we can’t really do much. And what was nice was we saw throughout the game that our coverage from our defensive backs and safeties was on point, where they were in coverage for at least five to six seconds and then our defensive linemen would get there for the sack. So it was nice to prepare ourselves from the defensive linemen to the backers to the safeties and everyone was playing well together.”
On fourth quarter
“I think what I saw was that we weren’t assignment sound in the fourth quarter. The only reason they had those breaks was because we saw those first three quarters they weren’t running as well and there weren’t many passing yards. But we kind of broke down defensively a little bit but we managed to come back in the end.”
Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez
“I thought they played well enough for the majority of the game. We played a new scheme and we are a little undersized of course. [Defense] gave us a chance to win the game. There were still a lot of things out there that we could fix. The tackling was poor. I’m concerned about that and that is usually a concern when you are playing a really good, big running back. You worry about tackling and a couple things but they played hard. We played hard.”
“It was a little different. Things that they were doing in all three phases. But they could probably say the same thing so I don’t know if that was as big of a factor. Our guys didn’t look wide eyed and totally confused but again there are a lot of reasons we didn’t execute. Until I watch the film. Unless you guys are a whole lot sharper than I am and I should hire you. You usually have to watch the film and rewind it and see all 22 in slow motion to get the correct answer about some of the things that happened. Not all things but some of the things. Again starts with the staff and myself and working through that. And the one thing I said earlier, I think these guys are very conscientious. I think they love playing football and I think they will be committed to getting better. And that’s what you got to do. Win or lose, you gotta make the most improvement I think from your first game on. Without any preseason scrimmages or anything live against somebody else the first game there is a lot of things you need to fix.”