Kenny Cox | Posted: 3 Sep 2022 | Updated: 11 Sep 2022

BYU at USF Postgame Notes & Quotes

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Max Tooley TD at USF

The following notes and quotes are from BYU's 50-21 victory over South Florida on Saturday night at Raymond James Stadium. Read the game story. 

Weather delay: The game had a 2 hour and 35 minute weather delay due to lightning in the area.

ALUMNI FLAGS: Brandon Bradley (DB, 2006-10), Gio Fazzani (K, 1997) Brad Smith, DL 1980-84)
TEAM FLAGS: Houston Heimuli (FB)
STATE FLAG: Sam Dawe (OL)(
Due to the weather delay, flags were not actually run out of the tunnel)
Attendance: 31,521

BYU improved to 19-5 as a ranked team under Kalani Sitake. The Cougars also moved to 6-1 in season openers under Sitake. BYU closes the independence era 10-2 in season openers, with nine wins against FBS teams including six Power 5 opponents. Eight of the 10 wins have been away from Provo.

BYU posted 575 yards of total offense against the Bulls. It marked the second-most under Sitake in a season opener after 580 at Navy in 2020. The offense also rushed for 314 yards, the most in a season opener since 2001 (Tulane, 437).  

BYU scored 50 points against USF. It was the second time since 2001 (70 vs. Tulane) that BYU scored 50 or more in a season opener. Both games have been under Kalani Sitake (55 at Navy in 2020). The 28 points in the first quarter were also the most by a Sitake coached team in any game.

The Cougar defense held USF to just 293 total yards, 4 of 12 on third down and 1 of 4 on fourth down. The defense also got a pick-six to get on the scoreboard too.

Spreading the Love
BYU had 12 different players catch a pass, the most since 14 against Texas State in 2020. Six different players had multiple rushing attempts, five scored touchdowns and 26 players recorded a tackle.

Wide receiver Puka Nacua
Nacua started the game off with a 75-yard run on a sweep to the house. It was the first time since 1987 that BYU opened the season with a score on the first play of the game (Bob Jensen to Rich Zayas 73-yard pass). Nacua scored another rushing touchdown to give him his first two career rushing touchdowns. He added one reception for 22 yards.

Running back Chris Brooks
In his first game as a Cougar, Brooks led the team in rushing with 13 carries, 135 yards and a touchdown on a 52-yard run. He posted four 100-yard games at Cal in his 40-game career with the Golden Bears.

Linebacker Max Tooley
With his fourth career interception, Tooley took it 33 yards to the house for his first-career pick-six. Tooley finished with five tackles.

Notable career highs/career firsts
First rushing TD: Puka Nacua, Chris Brooks (at BYU)
First TD: Max Tooley (INT return)
First reception: Chase Roberts, Terence Fall, Chris Brooks (at BYU)
Tackles: Jacob Boren (6)
Receptions: Kody Epps (4), Chase Roberts (3), Terence Fall (1)
Receiving yards: Kody Epps (26), Chase Roberts (41), Terence Fall (19)



BYU head coach Kalani Sitake

Opening Statement

“Great game. I’m proud of our guys handling the delay. The boys did a good job responding and obviously I’m happy about the win. Obviously, there are things that we can fix. But congrats to South Florida, they have a great return team. We have to figure out a way to improve our kickoff team but defensively we put them in a tough spot. There are places to improve on. I thought we had some plays in the second half that were sloppy, but I think the guys responded really well. I’m proud of the win. South Florida has some pretty good athletes and some really tough kids on the team.”

On when he realized the team had handled the delay well

“I think we came in ready for anything. I thought the guys looked good in the warm-ups and that their mindset was great all game. It was pretty cool to have our trainers and sports medicine department and entire staff working together. We never gave the boys updates until it was time to go. I’m just really happy for the win. We’re 1-0. We had a great start to the game. Second half I thought was pretty clean but there were still some mistakes. I like the way Jaren played. I didn’t think he would go the season without throwing one interception so there you go, there’s his one. But I just want them to be aggressive. That was our mindset going into this game and that’s our mindset as a team between the players and the coaches. Obviously, we need to fix the kick-off team but we just need to keep working.”

On RB Chris Brooks performance

“I thought he did well. He broke off down the line and South Florida tried to take that run away from him. I thought the O-line did a good job. South Florida held their own for the most part. We just knew to keep chipping away and tings would work out for us.”

BYU quarterback Jaren Hall

On what the team did to make sure they were ready through the delay

“That’s hard to prepare for. We get stressed too much. We press ourselves to stay fired up and ready to go. We understand the situation, so we kind of lay back and relax.”

On any concerns about the delay 

“First of all, I think it’s staying focused. There are a lot of distractions. There are a lot of things in the locker room that can take you off course of the team’s goal, but I think it's just a matter of staying focused. We did a good job with that. Two-and-a-half hours or whatever it was delayed. Kind of just kept busy. We had to just stay focused.”

BYU running back Lopini Katoa

On the first play that led to a touchdown

“It was a great call. At the start of the game, you are under pressure, and that was a great way to start.”

On the way the team played and what could have been different

“Off the top of my head, we could have had a few more touchdowns. There are little mistakes that we need to clean up. We could have had a few more first downs situations; I could have added a few more first downs.”


USF head coach Jeff Scott

Opening Statement

“Obviously, it was a very disappointing performance tonight. I’m really very surprised honestly. Sometimes as a coach, you may see some signs during practice where guys aren’t quite locked in or focused. It really was the opposite of that. I felt like we were prepared. Obviously, we weren’t. Congrats to BYU. That’s a very good team out there. When you play poorly against a very good team, then the result is similar to what happened tonight. ... I do want to thank our fans. We had a great crowd and a great student section, even with the two-anda-half-hour delay. Our fans came out and were ready.

It was a very physical game. BYU is a really good-looking football team. We would have had to play much better than we did to have a chance to compete with them tonight. We’ve got to give them credit. They’re a good team. For us, we’re very capable of playing a lot better than we did tonight. That’s my job to get it fixed.”

On if BYU did anything unexpected

“They looked very good. I know that. Openers are hard. It was tough for them to try and figure out what we were doing. They definitely had a few wrinkles in things, but it wasn’t anything completely different. For us, it was a combination of us not doing our job, maybe with the calls and with the execution of the calls, and then at the same time, they were a well-oiled machine. They really were. We would’ve had to play much, much better in order to compete with them tonight. I don’t think it was some wholesale change that our guys weren’t prepared for. At the end of the day, it’s a lot of new moving parts and with the first time being out there, sometimes you have to go through that to be able to learn from it and correct it, and that’s what we’ll do.”

On Jaren Hall

“Really good player. We knew he was a good player coming in and he did not show anything other than that. Offensive line did a really good job protecting him. He made really good decisions; he used his legs when he needed to. Again, I don’t want to take anything away from them, that was as a very good team, we would have had to play extremely well. Probably the two surprises were that we weren't ready to play, we didn't play better and quite honestly, they played even better than I thought they would. They're a really good-looking team whenever I looked out there. They were big, thick, good-looking team. They’ve done a great job with their roster and with their team. And I think we'll see at the end of the year that that's a really good team. And, you know, for us, good challenge, a good opportunity to see that we got a lot of work to do, because we got some other really good teams in our schedule ahead.”

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