Kenny Cox | Posted: 9 Oct 2021 | Updated: 18 Oct 2021

BYU vs. Boise State Postgame Notes and Quotes

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FB 2021 BYU vs. Boise State

The following notes and quotes are from BYU's 26-17 loss to Boise State on Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium. 

ALUMNI FLAGS: Brandon Doman, Ryan Denney, Doug Jolley, Devon Blackmon

The Series

BYU dropped to 4-8 in the series. After winning the last two matchups, the Cougars fell to 3-3 in the series at LaVell Edwards Stadium and 2-4 overall under Kalani Sitake.

Turnover Troubles
BYU lost four turnovers today and did not get any takeaways on defense. BYU had just two turnovers entering the game in five previous contests. The Cougars had 10 takeaways coming into the game.

Jaren Hall

Hall made his first start after leaving the Arizona State game and missing the last two. He completed 22 of 37 passes for his first career 300-yard game with 302 yards. He had one touchdown and one interception. He also topped 1,000 career passing yards.

Ben Bywater
Bywater finished with a career high 14 tackles, his second game this year with double-digit stops (10, Arizona). The team’s leading tackler now has 49 on the season.  

Jake Oldroyd
The Lou Groza Award watch list honoree improved to 5-6 on the season after his 30-yard field goal in the first quarter. With the make, Oldroyd is now 37-47 on his career.

Neil Pau’u
With a catch in the second quarter, the wideout recorded his 100th career reception. Pau’u became the second receiver to hit the century mark this season after Gunner Romney did so last week in Logan. He is the 39th Cougar to do so.

Kaleb Hayes
The corner had two pass breakups in the game after breaking up three passes against Utah State last week. Hayes has six pass breakups on the year.

Notable career highs/career firsts
Passing yards: Jaren Hall (302)
Pass breakup: Ammon Hanneman (1)
Rush: Puka Nacua (16 yards)
Tackles: Ben Bywater (14)

BYU head coach Kalani Sitake
On what he saw from his team
I saw a lot of mistakes, and against a good team it’s hard to overcome those mistakes. We made mistakes, but they made the plays. Props to them for being aggressive… I thought they did a great job. We didn’t do enough to put ourselves in a position to get a W, but we’ve got to bounce back. We have a game next week, and we’ll ask the guys to overcome this and learn as much as we can. We’ll to stick together, love each other and support each other and see what we can do for next week.

On offense not running the ball as much as they have been
We made too many mistakes overall as a team. It’s not just defense or offense or special teams, it goes all around. We just need to improve and get better, and that falls on me. I’m the head coach and I have to get our guys ready.

On what the loss means going forward
We’ve won games and lost games and then focus on trying to learn as much as we can from this game. We’re going to do it with a positive attitude; I believe in the culture, I believe in the young men and we’re all going to rally together and try to get better. I really believe we can play better football as a team, and that’s what we’re going to try to accomplish in the next week.

On a moment in the game where BYU lost momentum
I don’t think we fell apart, we battled and had a chance to win the game. Defensively they had some big plays and we had some penalties that were costly and we’ve just got to play better. We’re going to improve and get better and make sure that we’re ready for next week.

On if there were any plays he would take back
In the moment, when we’re looking at analytics and our gut feelings and our preparation, we felt those were the right decisions to make. That’s on me as a head coach, I make those decisions and you’ve got to live with it.

On ball security and turnovers
Nobody feels worse than those running backs right now. Ball security is something that we’re always preaching . It’s something we can always improve and always get better. Mistakes happen; it just seems like we made way too many today to battle back from. Even with all of those mistakes that were made, I felt like the guys still battled and played hard and gave us their effort every time.

BYU wide receiver Puka Nacua 
On the shift of momentum in Boise State’s favor 
Coach Sitake always talks about the small and simple things and ball security was obviously a big problem for us. We didn’t handle the ball the way we wanted to and Boise State capitalized on that. It was just the small and simple things. We missed some simple blocks. We missed some small and simple things and those start to add up as the game goes on. I thought we fought back, but having four turnovers makes it harder to comeback.  

On playing from behind for the first time this season 
We have to bring our own energy. The fans are always engaged when we’re winning and that’s how it’s been most of the season, but we have to bring our own spark so the fans have something to be excited about. Today we were able to do that sometimes, but we also hurt ourselves with penalties and a [lack of] ball security. We weren’t connecting on all of our plays either. I’m proud of those guys in that locker room. It’s not fun to lose, but it’s fun to see everyone fight. 

On adjustments moving forward 
Everybody’s going to go to church tomorrow, get the day off and get some treatment in. We’ll be back at it on Monday before we go out to [Waco], Texas. We’ll watch some film and clean up what we need to. We had a good game plan coming in but we didn’t execute the way we wanted to. Right after Monday we have to let this one go. It’s never fun to lose, but we love and learn here, so we’re going to learn from it and be ready to go next week.  

BYU linebacker Ben Bywater 
On Boise State’s success running the football 
[Boise State quarterback Hank] Bachmeier did a great job scouting what we were doing on defense, and he was making checks [at the line of scrimmage]. In the second and third quarters we were able to make checks according to what he was doing, but they executed well. It’s hard to beat a team when you’re shooting yourself in the foot with turnovers and penalties. Hats off to Boise State. They played a great game, and we respect them. The team will make a big jump next week. I’m excited for next week’s game.  

On the defense facing short fields during the second quarter 
Those are not situations we want. Those are things that, as a football player, you have to battle back from. We held them to three points in the red zone a lot. I’m proud of the way our defense fought. We will clean it up. I’m fully confident in our team and proud of the way we fought back.  

On the message from the team captains in the locker room after the game 
There was a great, positive vibe in the locker room. Obviously, no one wants to lose. It stings to be 5-0 and then have this loss to Boise State. Coach Sitake has taught us that tough guys don’t leave after a loss all pouty, mad and sluggish, not hugging their family. Tough guys leave after a loss and hug their families. We have to get over it and move-on to next week.  

On playing from behind on defense 
It’s hard because you feel the pressure to get a stop on third down. That was our whole goal. Unfortunately, if not for that off-sides penalty, we could’ve had a turnover right there. [Linebackers] Coach [Kevin] Clune has taught us to be assignment sound, don’t worry about being a super star, just beat the man across from you and go make a play.  

BYU quarterback Jaren Hall 
On the offense’s performance 
I feel like we moved the ball well, except for a couple of drives. We just didn’t take care of the ball. We made a lot of uncharacteristic mistakes and put our defense in a tough spot a few times.  

On the difficulty of overcoming turnovers in a game 
Any adversity is going to be tough, and we just had to bounce back. I was confident we could. In some ways we did, but we also couldn’t finish drives.  

On the offense’s struggles in the second half 
We committed penalties and made uncharacteristic mistakes. We’ve done a good job to avoid those through five games and today, in the game we didn’t do that, we lost. We’ll bounce back. We know exactly what we need to do to improve.  

On the impact of rainy conditions 
Anytime it rains you tend to run the ball more. That’s part of our offense anyway, so I wouldn’t say the rain had much of an impact. Both teams had to play in it, they just handled it better than we did.  

On the focus of the team moving forward 
Go win the next one at Baylor. Even after winning five games, there’s never a talk about going undefeated or a look at what’s down the road because that’s when you end up shooting yourself in the foot. Our focus now is to go correct our errors and win next week.  

Boise State Head Coach Andy Avalos
On beating No. 10 BYU
I’m happy for the coaches and the players for being persistent and being real with each other. We obviously have a lot more to correct, but right now we’re going to enjoy the fact that we kept perspective and we worked harder than we have all season. The guys are finally understanding that to be our best each weekend it takes working hard every single day, and they did that this week.

On mentality going into the game
They weren’t going to leave here without the win. It was earned during the week, and the players know that. They held each other accountable.

On impact this win has on the team’s culture
It’s a huge win. Obviously the record is a big deal, playing a team like this and being able to do what we did today on the road. They’ve got an unbelievable team and coaching staff. This is just a part of reestablishing the foundation and reestablishing what Boise State has always been about, and that’s hard work, diligence and taking care of each other.

On the running game
I think it looked as good as it has all season, there’s no question about that. The guys have worked hard not getting down on themselves, having confidence and working together. The offensive line, the running backs and the tight ends did a tremendous job today in the running game.

On the outlook for the rest of the season
I’m not going to try and predict the future. But I can say that if we work the way we did this week and we commit ourselves to doing the things it takes to play like that for four quarters, then we have a really good team. I think the guys understand that now. Being in the underdog role today was awesome. We’re going to keep that mentality regardless of the situation. We got a lot to work for and a lot to prove.

LB Riley Whimpey
On coming out with the win
I really don’t have the words right now, but it feels good. All the work that we put in this week, we deserved this one as a team. The work at this point is irrelevant because of the feeling right now. We’re going to continue enjoying this one tonight and then put our heads down. The only way we can go from here is up.

On what the win says about the status of the program
When it comes down to it, we knew that we shot ourselves in the foot in previous games. We continued to believe in ourselves throughout the season. We put the work in this week and focused on simplifying everything so that we could go out there and play fast, and I thought we did a really good job of that.

On the turnovers forced
Turnovers are huge. Coach Collins has emphasized getting takeaway and he says that if we measure it, we’re going to be successful at it. Our defense has done a really good job of getting the ball back to the offense this year. A couple of those turnovers came at crucial points in the game and set up our offense with great field position and they capitalized.

Quarterback Hank Bachmeier
On the win 
I just think, for what we’ve been through this season, it is such an incredible win for us. Im so happy for the guys, for Coach Avalos, Coach Plough and Coach D as well.  We have had tough losses and it [this win] means a lot to me. 

On the offense 
I think schematically, BYU’s defensive structure, the way that they play is a bend, don’t break, drop eight, keep everything in front of you. They drop eight guys int coverage which makes it hard to throw the ball and we’ve been throwing the rock around a lot this year, so you have to be able to run the ball against the three-man rush and we were able to do that today. I credit Coach Keane and this o-line who has been criticized a lot throughout this year, so I’m happy for those guys.