The following are notes and quotes from BYU's 17-14 loss to UCLA in the 2016 home opener on Saturday night. For the game recap click here.
BYU has held its first three opponents to 20 points or less in each game (16, 20, 17). The last time a BYU team has accomplished this was in 1984 (14, 13, 15). The 1984 team held its first five opponents to 20 points or less.
Tackles for loss
In every game this season, the Cougars have tallied at least six tackles for loss. In tonight’s game, they notched eight.
Third quarter points
The Cougars scored in the third quarter on a 1-yard rush from Jamaal Williams. That was the first third-quarter score for BYU this season.
The defense held UCLA to just 50 rushing yards, the fewest of the season for a BYU opponent. The last time BYU held the opponents to less than 50 was against Mizzou last season when the Tigers had just 46 rushing yards.
For the first time in 2016 and first since 2014 against Boise State, Williams found the end zone. His 1-yard rush in the third quarter got BYU on the board for the first time in the game. The rushing TD for Williams gives him 24 for his career, tying Pete Van Valkenburg and Ronney Jenkins for No. 7 in BYU history.
Williams led the team in rushing with 28 yards and one touchdown on 14 attempts. He also caught a 39-yard pass in the first quarter for the longest completion of the season, which also ties his career long reception from at Georgia State in 2012.
After just the first quarter, Pau’u led the team with six tackles. In UCLA’s first series of the second half, Pau’u notched his career-high 11th tackle. By the end of the game, he had a game-high 19 total tackles, tying the BYU record since 2000 for tackles in a game (Uani Unga at Notre Dame in 2013).
In the fourth quarter, Hill passed Virgil Carter (5,125) in career passing yards with 5,147 for No. 12 at BYU. He finished the game going 26 of 48 for 250 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
For the first time this season, Kurtz hauled in a touchdown. He caught a 23-yard pass from Hill with 37 seconds left in the game. The touchdown is the fourth of his career. Additionally, he led the team in receiving yards with 83 and in receptions with eight, which are both season highs.
Warner’s interception in the first quarter was his first of the season, fourth of his career. He notched nine tackles and two pass breakups in addition to his interception.
In the first quarter, Linehan kicked a 55-yard punt, which was his longest of the season. He punted the ball nine times for a total of 411 yards.
Butch Pau’u – Total tackles (19) and solo tackles (11)
Garrett Juergens – Receptions (1), reception yards (6) and punt returns (4)
Morgan Unga – Total tackles (1) and tackles for loss (1)
Moses Kaumatule – Sacks (1) and QB hurry (1)
Troy Warner – Pass breakup (1)
Chris Wilcox – Tackles (3)
Kavika Fonua – Tackles (2)
FIRSTS (The following players recorded their first in a respective category)
First career start for: Chris Wilcox
BYU TEAM QUOTES
BYU head coach Kalani Sitake
Tough loss, there’s some things we’ve got to work through obviously. We have to find more ways to score more points, but we’ll keep working together and get ready for next week.
We’ve got to start clicking offensively. We need to be able to sustain that and be more consistent. That’s what our focus is going to be next week. I thought we would have more success running the ball. You have to get them credit though. They had a great game plan, but we weren’t able able to make plays and be more balanced. So, offensively we’ve got to to get going. We’re just trying to be patient with it, but we keep running out of time.
On reasons for offensive struggles
There’s a lot of different variables to it, so it’s hard for me to nail it down to one thing. It’s probably a combination of things—protection, routes, getting open— I think all that combined, nothing about it was really good so we need to find ways to keep the defense honest. I thought our defense played well and our special teams did some good things. We just need to have the offense step up and believe in our system.
I was really pleased to how coach Tuiaki called the game. I think a lot goes into and you have to look at how the offense is doing. I think he was able to make some adjustments along the way. They made some good plays and we were able to bend a little a bit. We’ve obviously like to be a bit aggressive and get more sacks. We have to give the quarterback a lot credit, he was able to to slip out some, but in order for us to get out of some of these drives we need to create more disruption for the quarterback and that means sacks. I’m looking forward to finding ways to get more aggressive and making more plays.
On the loss
You can either let adversity divide you or unite you and I think our teams united. We’re all on the same page, and nobody is pointing fingers and blaming anybody else. You just have to be better in some phases than others. Nothing is going to divide this team; we’ll come back together stronger and that’s the answer. We just have to work extremely hard and make things better for us to win games and that’s in every phase. So, you can’t blame it all on one phase. On special teams, defensively, and offensively, we just need to play our game plan. We’ve got to get back on it.
Senior QB Taysom Hill
On the UCLA offense
They played well on defense. I felt like they were well-prepared and had answers for the stuff we were doing defensively. We had difficulty getting off man press a little bit. We have to clean that up. They have a good defensive line and they like to bull rush. But we need to run the ball.
On what to improve from tonight’s game
Every drive is the same: one play at a time. You can’t let previous plays dictate how you play in the next play and the one after that. We take it one play at a time, that’s what we try to do. We came up short. Their defense played a great football game. We got to put more points on the board offensively.
On back-to-back losses
Losing is never a good thing. I felt like we had a good week of preparation, but we didn’t execute like we should have nor well enough to win a football game. We’ll start tomorrow on watching the film and making sure we make necessary corrections.
What we did right
We finally found some holes in their zone and threw some shots down the field. We all fulfilled our assignments on the play and we were able to move the ball. When we do that, we’re pretty good, but we just need to be more consistent.
On throwing to Nick Kurtz
I am always looking for matchups and Nick is a big body, especially when we’re trying to get the ball down the field. A big body like that is nice to throw to. Some of it was play call; some of it was just that he was a big body on the field.
On what was said at halftime
It was ultimately that we need to get back to the basics. We need to execute and understand our assignments. We made some second-half adjustments and we came out and executed those. I thought some of the adjustments we made were good, but again, just not enough to win.
Freshman DB Troy Warner
On tonight’s defense
I think we were all assignment sound. Obviously there are things we need to clean up a little bit. UCLA did score two touchdowns, and we’ll go back and look at those things. But overall we played really well. We did the things we needed to do to get their offense off the field.
On Rosen and UCLA offense
I think we did a good job containing the deep ball. We made them throw short and less than 15 yards at a time. Rosen is a phenomenal player and is going to be a high draft pick. I think his arm is great too.
On Butch Pau’u
Butch is a great player. It’s always fun being around him because he’s always hitting guys and knowing how to tackle guys. We all kind of mold together and it helps each and every one of us play better. Seeing Butch with 19 tackles is crazy. He’s a phenomenal player as well.
Sophomore LB Butch Pau’u
On his 19 tackles
I didn’t even know I had that many. I think the credit has to go to the defensive line. What’s nice is when you have a defensive line that’s stout up front. There’s gaps that open up, and it’s just one on one with the running back. The guys trust the linebackers enough to make a play. We prepared really well throughout the week. Coach Tuiaki is always great with his schemes and we have to make sure we execute what he planned. Our defensive line did a great job of putting pressure on. UCLA still scored touchdowns, but that’s what happens when you play great teams. We just have to make sure we are assignment sound so that doesn’t happen.
On playing at home
It’s just fun. It’s fun to go one-on-one with the running back and then to hear the crowd cheering for you. It was just nice to have the crowd on our side.
On focusing the defense
We have to make sure we’re sound of defense. Coach Sitake has put it upon us to make sure that offenses don’t score more than 10 points. We feel like we can hold offenses to one touchdown or to even zero points. Today we somehow managed to let some assignments go. It happens. We’ll watch film and get better.
On playing with respect on the field for UCLA
That’s the biggest thing from Coach Sitake. He says we are going to play with love and respect but make sure the opposing team knows that we’re there. Rosen knew we were coming after him because he’s such a great quarterback. We have to give respect to him and his offensive line. Respect is just part of the game and something we all should be doing.
UCLA TEAM QUOTES
UCLA head coach Jim Mora
BYU is a really tough opponent on the road and a tough place to play at. I’m really proud of our guys and the way they hung in there. They played tough, disciplined and fought hard. As always, there are a lot of things we want to improve upon. We didn’t run the ball as well as we’d like to or expect to run the ball. BYU had a lot to do with that, and then of course we have to execute better and give our guys a better chance. To come in here and get a win in this environment, I’m proud of our guys. The defense played well. We made a huge emphasis on stopping the run. We felt it was imperative we not let the quarterback get out and go with his legs. He made the one really nice third down run, but other than that I think we did a good job against him. He’s a competitive kid and has overcome a ton in his life in terms of injury to continue to play. This was just a classy team and a classy place with classy fans. We’re happy to get a win. Now we just have to get on to the next one.
I think we execute well on defense. We had a good plan and the players executed. They owned it. They took it upon themselves this week in practice to take responsibility for themselves and the way we’ve been playing against the run. I’m proud of the way they matured and of course this week is going to be an amazing test against a great top-five team, Stanford. We’ve got to take the same approach. The way we rushed is what was impressive. We were squeezing the pocket and not giving him much chances to get out. And that kid (Taysom Hill) is one of the best runners in the history of college football.
On Josh Rosen
I thought he struggled in the first half. He was tight. I think sometimes Josh has such high expectation for himself that sometimes he lets that get the best of him. He has to realize he’s not going to play a perfect game. He just needs to play up to his ability level and his capabilities. At half time he settled down a little bit and took a deep breath and gathered his composure. He came out and he lightened the load a little bit on himself. He might give you a completely different answer, but that’s what I felt.
We put a lot of emphasis this week on our rush lanes and putting dots on the quarterback and not giving him escape routes. I think anytime the quarterback is sacked you have to look at the reason why he was sacked. Tonight, I think as much credit should go to the secondary as it does to the front. It’s a team thing. We played a ton of man coverage and those young men did a tremendous job under a lot of stress and that allowed our rush to get there. When they’re working together like that it allows good things to happen.