In the win, the Cougars notched 596 total yards, the best mark during the 2016 season, surpassing the 586 yards reached in the win over Toledo.
BYU threw for 441 yards in the victory over Southern Utah. The previous high this season was 250 yards against UCLA. The last time the Cougars had over 400 passing yards was in 2015 against Wagner (411). This is the highest total a BYU team as reached since 2008 when the team had 486 against Northern Iowa in a 41-17 win.
Short scoring drives
BYU’s two-play scoring drive in its first offensive possession of the game was the fourth scoring drive this season of two or fewer plays.
Following this win, the Cougars are bowl eligible for the 12th-consecutive season. BYU will participate in the Poinsettia Bowl on December 21 in San Diego against a team from the Mountain West Conference. The Cougars are one of eight teams that have a streak of at least 12 consecutive bowl games. LSU and Georgia can join the club with one more win this year.
This was Hill’s fourth career 300-yard passing game, his first since throwing 308 against UConn in the 2014 season opener. He finished the game completing 22 of 29 passes for 320 yards, two touchdown passes and one interception. Additionally, he rushed seven times for 29 yards and a touchdown.
In the Cougars’ first drive, Hill notched his 31st career rushing touchdown, tying Curtis Brown for fifth at BYU. He also passed Jeff Blanc (2,663) for No. 6 in career rushing yards.
The senior wide receiver had his highest number of receiving yards of the season with 82 on six catches to lead the team. This game saw the most yards he has had since his career-high 172-yard output against Boise State in 2015.
Hall achieved firsts in many stat categories in the win. He earned his first rushing attempt, reception and rushing touchdown. Leading the team, he had 12 carries for 59 yards and a touchdown. He added three receptions for 68 yards.
The sophomore quarterback played his first significant minutes in the game against the Thunderbirds. He completed 11 of 13 passes for 121 yards. Additionally, he rushed four times for 42 yards, including a career-long of 35 yards.
After coming into this game with no sacks on the season, Laulile notched two in the win over Southern Utah.
His 31-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter was his longest catch of the season, surpassing his previous high of 27 yards. Kurtz finished the game with 69 yards and a touchdown on five catches.
Pearson caught his third touchdown pass of the season with just under four minutes to play in the second quarter. He leads the receiving core with three touchdowns. In the win, he had four receptions for 51 yards and a touchdown.
Brayden El-Bakri: Reception long (27 yards), receiving yards (69)
Garrett Juergens: Punt return yards (68), reception long (11 yards)
KJ Hall: Rush yards (59), rush attempts (12)
Tanner Mangum: Long rush (35 yards)
FIRSTS (The following players recorded their first in a respective category)
BYU TEAM QUOTES
Head coach Kalani Sitake
It’s good to be bowl eligible and get it done early so we can make plans. I’ve never been in this position where we know this early where we’re going, so it’s a bit of a relief.
Thoughts on the game
It was a good game. Southern Utah did some great things up front. They have big offensive and defensive lines. They’re physical. They’ve shown it all year. We were able to control most of the game. We had a couple of sluggish things in the second quarter with turnovers. But I thought we rallied and stuck with it. Defensively, we had to be more disruptive. We had some opportunities for some big plays and let it get away. Overall, I’m happy about the win and I’m really proud of how the guys played and took the field from the start. We need to be more consistent, especially in the third quarter.
I think when we’re on the same page, it goes well. We sped up the tempo earlier in the game and that’s something we need to look at more. These guys are used to the high tempo being their comfort area. Defensively, we have had to make the transition from what they’ve known and done in the past and bring in a new scheme. We’ve also gone back to some of the stuff we’ve done in the past. They feel a little bit more comfortable with that. We’ve always practiced it. We need to highlight it more and get more scores on the field.
On Tanner Mangum
Ty (Detmer) talked about it earlier. He wanted to see Tanner in a part of the game where there were significant reps and the outcome of the game wasn’t already decided. I left it up to him to make that decision in the second quarter and he decided to do it. He was able to shake off some of the rust and do better later on in the second half. I thought overall, Taysom had a great attitude about it.
On the tempo of the game
I think the Cincinnati game was a little slower and a little bit more methodical. Changing the tempo was good for us. Not having Jamaal (Williams) in the game also allowed us to go a different route. Squally (Canada) wasn’t a hundred percent either. We’re trying to get the best guys on the field and the best team for what we’re trying to do. We knew Jamaal would be a game-time decision. We weren’t counting on Squally that early. We had to rally back and get some guys healthy, ready to go next week. If not, we need to find a way to put points on the board.
We’re still trying to figure out the range. Around that area, the choice is to take a long-range field goal or go for it. On that 4th and 17, it didn’t seem like it was a good spot for us to kick that field goal. I wanted to see what our offense would do with the play. Taysom had a great play deep and we were able to capitalize on that. That’s always going to be a gray area for us. I have to make those decisions pretty quickly and I thought that was the right decision for us.
We had quite a bit of reserve guys. When you that, it’s going to be a little sloppy. For the most part, Algie’s fumble shouldn’t happen. Sae (Tautu) had a penalty that was him just losing his cool. I was disappointed that the veteran guys made mistakes. Maybe there was a little miscommunication on a few things, but we’re going to try to get our back-up guys a lot of significant reps because that’s where you make the most growth in a program. I thought the young D-line and linebackers on defense and then receivers on offense were able to get some big plays. We saw KJ (Hall) come in and run the ball really well and (Colby) Hansen got in there. A lot of the young guys got in some really good reps.
Looking at the game as a motivation to win the sixth one, the guys were already motivated because of the crossover between Southern Utah and us with Ed Lamb, Jernaro Gilford, and also Andrew Eide and Keyan Norman. There are a lot of connections between the two. The guys were excited. I think it’s good for the state of Utah to play in-state opponents. It’s good for the state and good for football in the state. I thought the fans were great. The turnout was awesome. It’s nice to play a game during the day. We look forward to playing a little bit earlier next week at noon. It was a great setting and the guys were motivated to get the win. It’s time to get motivated for the next one and build on it.
Sophomore QB Tanner Mangum
Getting back out there and seeing reps
It was a lot of fun to get out there and play in front of a crowd. It’s always fun playing at home. I had to shake the rust off a little bit. It’s been almost a year since the Las Vegas Bowl against Utah, so it was fun to be out there with the guys and get the blood pumping. There’s obviously a lot to improve on, but it was a good time.
Missing passes, how you feel, shaking the rust off
I’m obviously pleased with the win, but there’s a lot to work on. Taking that one sack was a dumb play. I felt like an idiot. Being able to get through my reads I could be ore sharp with. It’s all good. This is a good learning experience to play again and now we just have to build from here. It was fun to play with the guys again.
A full year of off season work to get faster and stronger helps a lot; I definitely wasn’t able to do that last year. If the time comes and I’m forced out of the pocket I’ll do my best to get out there and get some yards. That was fun. It all started up front. The line did a good job protecting and creating a pocket. They gave me a good lane to run in and guys were blocking down field. Overall I thought as a team it was a pretty solid game. We had almost 600 yards in total offense as a team, so it was a good, solid team effort overall.
Knowing when he would play
He told me to be ready for a drive in the first half, but didn’t tell me when exactly. I just had to be ready to go. I did the best I could. I was a little bit amped up with a couple of those throws, those two incompletions. I put too much on it, but then I was able to settle in and just play. Overall it was just good to get in there and with KJ too. He was doing awesome out there.
I’ll always be ready to go. We take it game by game. It’s nice having good communication between coach Detmer and Taysom in the quarterback room. We all get along really well and we’re all in it together. We have a selfless group. It’s nice being able to come off the field and being able to celebrate with the other guys. They’re the first ones out there to celebrate and it means a lot. I think just as it’s been all year we’re in it together and we’re not going to worry about playing time or who goes in when. We’re going to go out there, have fun and celebrate together as a team.
Freshman RB KJ Hall
Time in the game
I was ready to do whatever was asked of me. I wasn’t bugging coach or riding him, but I was obviously ready to go in if they needed me and do my job.
Knowing if he’d get playing time
They’ve been mentioning all week I’d get some time. When Squally went down and Algie was hurt, I was just happy to be out here with my team. I hadn’t played against an opponent in 3 or 4 years. It was pretty fun.
Junior LB Fred Warner
On defensive play
I think we came in with a good game plan. Coach told us to treat it like any other game. We came out flew around the ball and made plays when we needed to. We did what we needed and we did what we were supposed to do in my opinion.
On missed tackles
The one problem we had was missed tackles. We’ll continue to work on that. We could have kept them out of the end zone, but props to them for getting in there.Most of the time we were out on the field we did well as a unit execution wise. Our main point of focus we need to work on is missed tackles, but assignment wise we did really well.
On quarterback pressure
We knew how the quarterback was and if we put pressure on him, it would fluster him so that’s what our coaches did. They got me in the mix more, blitzing, and I got a piece of a sack. Overall, I was happy with our performance.
Sophomore RB Brayden El-Bakri
Knowing about catching passes
We ran the same stuff we always ran. Today the check down was a hot route to throw, so it was fun.
Guys who don’t play much
It’s a confidence booster when you come out and play well. It’s a chance for younger people to see if they have it or not because games are a lot different than practices are. Every game is important; It doesn’t matter if it’s a hard game, a win or a loss. Every time you play you learn something.
SOUTHERN UTAH TEAM QUOTES
Head coach Demario Warren
On the game
We came back after a tough first half and battled in the second half. Our guys played hard, but there were just too many mistakes in the first half, and we gave away too many opportunities and the game got away from us early. And BYU did a good job of playing keep away there at the end. We made too many mistakes, so mentally I didn’t think the moment was going to be too big, but it turned out to be. Some missed assignments on defense hurt us early. I put us in a bad position early on the first drive on 4th and 17, going for it. Then they went down and scored, and that was a big part of the first half. We can’t do things like that against a good team like BYU.
On seeing Coach Ed Lamb and Coach Gilford
I am so thankful for what he (Coach Lamb) has done for me. He has been a mentor. He got me in the profession. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be in the profession. To be able to be where I’m at this age is a blessing, and it wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for him, so I owe that man a lot. He’s helped me and my family out a lot.
On going for it on 4th and 17
We were moving the ball, completing passes, and I felt that we could get a good completion (for a first down). I didn’t think we’d get negative yards on the completion, so that was my thinking of going for it. We were just trying to be aggressive, trying to get the ball rolling, and we were doing well on offense on that first drive, moving the chains. I thought we could get a completion for a first down, but we were a yard short.
Playing University of Utah and BYU this season
It’s huge, just for the guys in the state. We recruit a lot of Utah kids, so for them to be able to go to Rice Eccles Stadium and LaVell Edwards Stadium, and be able to play these games, it's great. It helps us in recruiting with the guys that deserve that opportunity, and hopefully we can continue at least playing them once every four years so those guys can have those opportunity to play in these stadiums.
On Kyle Hanneman
He made some plays; he was all over the place a bit, a little emotional at the beginning of the game, trying to get him lined up correctly and trying to block out some of the outside stuff that he had to deal with today. But once he stuck that I thought he had a really good game. But we need to do better in these big moments. We’ve had a lot of these this year and we don’t give ourselves a chance to win these game. So, we need to work on that and we have another big one next week to have a winning season in the conference and get six D1 wins, which in back-to-back seasons would be a big mark for Southern Utah.
On Michael Needham’s ejection
It’s just doing stuff out of character. It happens over and over again in some of these big games, so it is a little frustrating. He just made a bad decision, he thought the ball was coming, and he knew he was wrong as soon as he did it. That is just one of those things that you can’t let happen, let them get free yards and lose one of your best players on something that should have never happened.
Defensive Lineman Robert Torgeson
On playing with former teammates
It was something I was looking forward to. Both Drew (Eide) and Keyan (Norman) are good guys and great players. I thought it would be a great matchup, and I was looking forward to it all year. I knew coming in there would bring a lot of emotions, but I thought both of us handled it well. We talked before the game, all three of us, and after the game they are still my buddies.
On playing BYU and Utah
I think we have a solid defensive line when we communicate well, and when everyone is on the same page we play well together. Unfortunately we’ve been battling a lot of injuries this year, and a lot of guys have had to step up. We’ve done okay. I’m really happy with the guys that I play with. I wouldn’t trade those guys for anybody.
On breaking up BYU’s running attack
That’s something the defensive line prides themselves on extremely. We look forward to that because that’s something we always do well and plan for. The guys up front are my best buddies and always have been, and we fight for one another and play well off each other. When one goes down, one picks up the slack. It’s always nice to play against the guys that you know because then you can talk about it after the game and talk about what you did well.
Cornerback Josh Thornton
On seeing Coach Lamb and Coach Gilford
I feel like we handled it well. I don’t think the loss was too big for us. We made little mistakes, and it cost us. Too much went on in the first half, and it was too big of a slippery slope for us. Coach Gilford actually came out and found me before the game. We always have our little jokes back and forth, so it was good to see him and talk to him for a little bit. â€‹
On Mike Needham being ejected
It hurt, I’m not going to lie. We always pride ourselves on the next man up, but it was definitely a big blow considering what he is to our defense and how much of a leader he is. It hurt.