admin | Posted: 20 Oct 2019 | Updated: 8 Nov 2020

BYU vs. No. 14 Boise State Postgame Notes

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The following notes are from BYU's 28-25 win over No. 14 Boise State at LaVell Edwards Stadium. 

TEAM FLAGS:  Austin Kafentzis, Ethan Atagi
ALUMNI FLAGS: Tanner Mangum (QB 15-18), Russell Tialavea  (DL 05-09, 12), Jeff Cowart (DL, 99-02)
GAME CAPTAINS:  Gunner Romney, Dax Milne, Keenan Pili, Max Tooley

Beating Ranked Teams
For the first time in school history, BYU has defeated two ranked opponents in the same season at home with wins against No. 24 USC and No. 14 Boise State.

It was the second consecutive season BYU has beat top-15 opponents after beating No. 6 Wisconsin last year.

It is the sixth time in school history that the Cougars have beat at least two ranked teams in the same season, the first since 2009 with wins against No. 3 Oklahoma, No. 16 Oregon State and No. 22 Utah.

It is the 28th win over a ranked team and seventh since 2009.

Series Notes
BYU picked up its third win over Boise State in the series, improving to 3-7 overall. All three wins have come in Provo, with the Cougars now at 3-2 in LaVell Edwards Stadium.

Long Scoring Drives
On the Cougars opening drive, the team managed their longest scoring drive of the year with 16 plays for 78 yards while taking 6:49 off the clock, ending in a four-yard touchdown run by Lopini Katoa.

In the third quarter, BYU bested the 78-yard drive with an 80-yard touchdown drive, culminating in a 27-yard touchdown pass from Baylor Romney to Matt Bushman. BYU also had 75-yard drive to open the second half, with Sione Finau running 46 yards for a score.

Quarter High Points
A 46-yard run from Sione Finau as well as a pair of touchdowns from Baylor Romney to Matt Bushman gave BYU 21 points in the third quarter. It was the most points the Cougars have scored in a quarter all season.

Baylor Romney
In his first career start, BYU quarterback Baylor Romney went 15 for 26 with 221 passing yards and two touchdowns. With the win, he joins Ty Detmer, Taysom Hill, Tanner Mangum, Joe Critchlow and Zach Wilson as the only freshman (both redshirt or true) to win their first start at BYU.

Sione Finau
In the first drive of the second half, running back Sione Finau took off running 46 yards down the field scoring his first touchdown of the season. The 46-yard run was the Cougars longest scoring run of the season.

Matt Bushman
The junior tight end recorded his first 100-yard game, finishing with five receptions for 101 yards and two touchdowns. It was his first multiple touchdown game.

Aleva Hifo
Hifo had two receptions for 11 yards, putting him over 100 career receptions (101). He is the 36th Cougar to reach the 100-reception mark. 

Kaufusi Brothers
Brothers Isaiah and Jackson Kaufusi both grabbed interceptions against Boise State. Isaiah had a diving interception in the first quarter while Jackson intercepted a pass in the third quarter and returned it 13 yards, setting up a BYU touchdown.

Career high passing yards: Baylor Romney (221)
First passing touchdown: Baylor Romney (3rd quarter, 27 yards)
Career high rushing yards: Sione Finau (89)
Career high rushing attempts: Sione Finau (11)
Career high receiving yards: Matt Bushman (101)
First career touchdown: Sione Finau (3rd quarter, 46-yard run)
Career long rush: Sione Finau (3rd quarter, 46 yards)
First interception: Jackson Kaufusi (3rd quarter, 13-yard return)
Career high tackles: Tyler Allgeier (9)

BYU head coach Kalani Sitake

I’m glad that we got this win. I’m extremely proud of the players and the coaching staff worked their tails off. I’m really happy with the guys who stepped up and made plays. Boise State is a great team and coach Harsin does an amazing job getting his team ready.

On the fourth down conversion on the final drive of the game
I trust the players. I think in my mind I thought we should maybe punt it, but I just had a good feeling. I liked the look they gave me on the sideline and we went to win the game. I trust Austin Kafentzis and we practice that scrum formation quite a bit.

Keys to the 21-point third quarter
I think coaches trusted Baylor Romney to makes some plays and execute. But it was everyone, we saw runs from Lopini Katoa and Sione Finau and the offensive line doesn’t get enough credit for blocking. I liked the way our game went and the way we executed.

On relying on depth while dealing with injuries
I believe in the guys. It’s been a rough couple of weeks leading up to this game and we had to take our licks a little bit, but we’ve got to keep trusting them. These guys are a resilient group and when their backs are against the wall they respond the right way. The guys did a great job getting ready for this game.

On responding to adversity
I like being in a tight spot. I’m going to keep manufacturing tight spots. I think we respond better that way. We’re going to have fun. We’re going to go to church tomorrow and get to work on Monday. I’m comfortable saying that these guys need to play with a chip on their shoulders all the time and that’s what BYU is all about. The fact that we’re independent we’re going to play some tough teams and ranked teams.

On Baylor Romney as the quarterback
I thought he was great. You saw the composure he had in the pocked and making guys miss while having his eyes down field. I give a lot of credit to coach Grimes and coach Roderick for getting him in a situation where he can be comfortable and using his strengths. You also have to give a lot of credit to him. He’s come to work every day with the same mentality. He watched a lot of film and prepared well. That’s the culture that we have with our guys right now.

BYU tight end Matt Bushman
On the celebration after the game.
It was great and it was definitely something our team needed. Coming off a three-game losing streak is not fun, and neither is playing bad football where we know we can play better. We came into this game knowing that we could compete with Boise State. We’re just as good or better and we played like that. Props to Baylor Romney for coming in and being confident out there in the worst weather situations for football and we didn’t have any turnovers. So, props to him for coming out tough.

On the difference between this game and last game.
I don’t know. Offensively we played more aggressive this game and even though we had some weird weather, I just think it was a collective effort. Our defense played really well and it was just a collective effort. We needed this win.

On the trick play
Baylor Romney has some good acting skills. They faked a fumble on the exchange and I faked a block. We knew it was going to work, we just needed the right situation to do it and it paid off.

On the fourth down with half a yard to go.
We knew we were going to go for it, we knew that as an offense. We had that with our special teams package and quarterback sneak. We really wanted it because we didn’t want to punt and let the opportunity fall into their hands, so we were just as confident as we could be. We believed and like I said, we made some pretty bold moves this games and it paid off. We’re grateful that it went in our favor.

BYU quarterback Baylor Romney
On what made the difference for the offense to break out.
Our game plan coming into this game was to be aggressive and we tried in the first half, but that didn’t work out. But then in the third quarter we had them where we wanted them and it paid off.

On the weather.
You just have to take it as it is. You can’t control the weather, obviously, so you have to focus on what you can control in this game.

On when he knew he would start the game.
I didn’t get a call until Wednesday night from coach Aaron Roderick explaining the situation. But, I was preparing the whole week like I was going to start. It was good to get some reps with the ones in practice and to get the chemistry down before the game.

On how the win may build his confidence.
This is what I’ve been preparing for since I graduated high school, for my opportunity to come play at a collegiate level and it showed tonight.

BYU linebacker Isaiah Kaufusi
It was a lot of fun. I looked like a little kid running out on the field when my brother got that pick. I was jumping up and down and ecstatic for him. I think the greatest feeling for me on the football field is getting an interception. To be able to go through that with my brother, there are so many emotions and I’ll cherish that forever. We’ll tell our kids and grandkids.

On how he describes the team this season
Off the top of my head, we’ve always talked about putting a complete game together. For some reason, it hasn’t happened. I think tonight, it did and it showed. When we do put a complete game together, we’re a great football team. I think we found the formular for what it takes. This week in practice, we worked really hard. We know how much time and effort it’s going to take to really game plan. Moving forward, I think you’re going to see a better team. We’ve kind of figured it more.

On how practice has changed
I think Kalani really challenged us and gave us some goals that were attainable and got after it. He challenged us to be better. We were a lot more physical this week than we had been the whole season and it paid off. We had four of five guys on the ball every play.

BYU defensive back Dayan Ghanwoloku
On being able to be back on the field to make an impact.
It was fun, watching on the side sucks because I have so much energy just balled up and I wanted to let it all out. This was the game for sure. We came out big on defense and we knew how to stop the run. The coaches had a good game plan for us and we executed. That’s all we need to do is execute.

On the fans rushing the field tonight versus when it happened against USC.
It went a little slower, and I was wondering if they were all going to come, but they made their way down. We had a good showing, so I want to make a shoutout to our fans for coming out to this cold game. Having our record be what it is, we have a lot of support from them and they’ve stuck with us all the way through.

On the feeling on the defense about the half-yard play.
We were going for it all the way. Coach Sitake was right there on the sideline, letting us decide pretty much because he had faith in us. Austin Kafentzis on the scrum play, he had a good push and we were just hitting and pushing in the back to get him past the line. Coach had trust in us that we could get him over and we showed him that we could do it.

On what that play half-yard play felt like.
It’s aggressive. You can see all their defensive linemen with their heads down like they were going to cut - everyone’s going to go low. It was a dog fight and all physicality, so that’s what we came out doing. We knew it was going to be a physical game because they wanted it too, but we wanted it more.

Boise State Head Coach Bryan Harsin
First thing, give credit to BYU, they were ready to play and if you look at the game, the turnover battle, the field position battle, those become key factors.

Number one, they hit us with some explosive plays, but overall, we knew they were a good football team. They played a very tough schedule, so we got a chance to see these guys, study them, see what type of players they have and then getting on the road and traveling, always hard to get on the road and travel. All of those things were addressed, all those things we talked about, and I don’t think there was one thing going into this game that our guys weren’t aware of.

Now, the execution and making plays in the critical situations, that’s what it comes down to, those are the key moments in the game, they made more than we did. There was a little bit of momentum going into the half, we got some points, a field goal. 4th quarter, a little bit of momentum there, our guys were charging back, but it wasn’t enough. Not enough time.

They did a good job with their time, we had to use our timeouts in those situations and they were able to get that 4th down with the half yard, you want to win ball games like this and we didn’t get it done. Our guys care, I know they work hard, but this is a check right here.

We’re going into a bye week, you have to be honest with ‘alright where are we with our focus, our consistency’ all the things that we talk about all season long, now it’s just a matter of doing it better. Tonight, we didn’t do it. We’ve been talking about it, and this evening BYU took advantage of their opportunities and we didn’t enough.

On what he saw from Chase Cord
Yeah, Hank didn’t play tonight, but Hank’s going to be OK. As far as Chase, he had a good rhythm early on, but BYU, they have a really good defense, we know that. They made it difficult in some of the windows. On the pick, I thought we had a really good play, and then the linebacker made a great play, he came back on the ball and they were familiar with that situation, that was a play they’d been hit on before and I thought we called it the right time, they just made a great play.

But, Chase competed, you saw him tonight. He ran the ball, got out of bounds, made good decisions later on, he was competing. He was working hard to prepare for this game, that’s the thing about him, he’s a competitor and I’m proud of him. We just had the two turnovers and that’s what it comes down to. I don’t think we ran the ball as effectively as we hoped we would in the game. We didn’t have the rush yards that we thought we’d be able to get and a team like BYU on the road you have to run the ball.

What did you see on the 4th down play that sealed the game?
We got a timeout back, they got buzzed, so they moved it back, it was half a yard, and you have to be just right on defense to stop half a yard. That’s the bottom line. We had seen that formation in what they’ve done, they’ve got to go out and execute, but it gives us a shot. First down it went back, they did a good job on that, the officials did, it went back half a yard in our favor, they were able to just get more push than we did. That was critical. The 4th down play where they hit the tight end, that was really the one, they took the time, they hit the tight end, he’s a really good player and they were able to hit him. We didn’t have any guys in position to make any kind of a play on the ball. At the end of the game, it was about execution, that’s what it came down to. But I think early on, down there when they were going for it, they made some decisions to go and they were able to execute on them.

Boise State offensive lineman John Molchon
On offensive rhythm during the first three quarters
I think we were trying to attack them with the plays that were being called. We tried to piece together what BYU gave us defensively. I think that was the biggest thing­ to try to figure out exactly what they wre doing and adjust accordingly. They switched it up alignment wise, but I’d have to watch the film. The coaches prepared us very well, we just didn’t get the job done.

On Chase Cord starting the whole game
Chase did a good job. He stepped up. As far as operations wise, he handled the huddle and did a great job communicating to us about everything.

On being more physical against BYU
I think schematically we were planning to run the ball. This game is always physical. Defensively, they do a great job as far of shots on their back end. We knew that it was going to be a physical game and we knew we’d take chunks out down the field.

On the end of a perfect season
Everyone knows that it’s upsetting. We’re not happy about it at all but we’re not going to let a loss beat us twice. We’re going to take time to review this game during our bye week. Hats off to BYU because they did a great job. They took care of business and we came up short. We need to snap out of it and be ready for what comes next.

On the touchdown drives in the fourth quarter
I think we just started piecing things together. There wasn’t one point in the game when we thought we were going to lose because we’re fighters. No one had their heads down. We really believed that we would come up on top and I think it finally started showing in the fourth quarter.

Boise State defensive tackle David Moa
On BYU’s touchdowns in the third quarter catching the defense off guard
I think it came down to eye control on our side of the ball. Those were plays we often see and do ourselves too. There really was no excuse, it was just bad eyes. We didn’t play with our fundamental techniques during those plays and BYU capitalized.

On getting scored on during the third quarter
Everybody knows that we usually come out strong during the second half. I felt like we did a good job self correcting, getting our defensive linemen, linebackers and back seven right, but it was just those plays that BYU did a better job executing.

On emotions during first loss of the season
Every loss is tough, especially when you know what these guys can do on defense, offense and special teams. We know that there’s a lot more football to go. The bye week comes at a time for us to self reflect, see what we did wrong and see what we did right.

On the frustrations that come with being so close to the sack all night
In the first and second quarter we could have killed a drive. That could have potentially changed the game. We just have to fight to get it. They had their biggest guys out there but we had our best guys out there too. It’s a situation we knew would happen, they just had a better push.

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