Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
PROVO — When the frightful storm that blustered through LaVell Edwards Stadium Saturday finally subsided and the black clouds lifted, BYU’s offense seemingly saw the light, found its identity, and unleashed its own kind of storm on Texas.
That identity? Running the football.
That storm? Hurricane Taysom.
One week after the "go-fast, go-hard" offense floundered in a rain-soaked loss at Virginia, the Cougars rushed for a school-record 550 yards, on 72 carries, and overwhelmed No. 15 Texas in resounding fashion, 40-21.
BYU’s previous rushing record of 465 yards was set in 1958 against Montana.
“We prepared better; we prepared harder; we prepared longer — as coaches and players,” explained coach Bronco Mendenhall.
The 550 rushing yards were the most ever surrendered by a Longhorn team. Ever. And the Texas defense offered a whole new meaning to the term “burnt orange.”
Bolstered by a revamped offensive line, BYU quarterback Taysom Hill ran wild against the Longhorns, gaining a school-record 259 yards and scoring three touchdowns. It was the second-best single-game rushing total in school history (Eldon Fortie rushed for 272 yards against George Washington in 1962).
"We expected to run on them," Hill said of the Texas defense. "We didn't expect to break the school record."
The running game worked amazingly well all night long. "There was no need to go away from it," Hill said.
“I love him. He’s completely loyal. He’s a fierce competitor,” Mendenhall said of Hill. “I was happy for him.”
Running backs Jamaal Williams and Paul Lasike had 182 yards and 87 yards, respectively, for the Cougars.
In all, BYU ran 99 plays and amassed 679 yards of total offense, and senior placekicker Justin Sorensen booted four field goals.
Meanwhile, BYU’s defense came up big again, putting constant pressure on Texas’ quarterbacks and wearing the Longhorns down. The Cougars gave up 445 yards of total offense, but allowed only a handful of big plays.
As a team, perhaps BYU established an identity as well.
“Tonight showed who we really are — our identity,” said linebacker Kyle Van Noy. “That is the heart that we have. Our team showed it tonight.”
The Cougars improved to 1-1 on the season, while the Longhorns fell to 1-1.
Saturday’s game was delayed for nearly two hours due to a severe storm that featured strong winds and dumped buckets of rain.
But the wet conditions certainly didn’t impact BYU’s run game. The Cougars converted on 10 of 21 third downs and scored on all six drives into the red zone.
The Cougars were sharp from the opening drive, which resulted in a 23-yard field goal by Sorensen. Meanwhile, BYU’s defense forced three three-and-outs against Texas.
However, a 57-yard pass from Longhorn quarterback David Ash to Mike Davis gave Texas the lead, 7-3.
But moments later, BYU answered as Hill exploded for a 68-yard zone-read run for a touchdown to make it 10-7.
At that point, the Cougars had rolled up 181 yards in total offense — more yardage than they had accumulated through the first three quarters last week at Virginia.
Texas regained the lead, 14-10, on a 2-yard run by Joe Bergeron in the second quarter, but that advantage was short-lived as the Cougars responded again.
A roughing-the-punter penalty on the Longhorns gave the BYU offense new life, and Hill capped a 75-yard drive with a 20-yard scamper to give the Cougars a lead they would not relinquish, 17-14.
BYU scored on its next two possessions before halftime — a 10-yard run by Lasike on a drive highlighted by a 36-yard run by Williams, and a 32-yard field goal by Sorensen.
At intermission, the Cougars found themselves ahead, 27-14, and in control of the game.
BYU opened the second half with another Hill touchdown run, this time for 26 yards.
Texas managed to keep things close as Ash connected with Davis for a 23-yard TD, but the Longhorns still had no answer for BYU’s run game.
Sorensen drilled two more field goals, from 36 yards and 23 yards, on the Cougars’ ensuing drives and took a 40-21 lead into the fourth quarter.
By then, BYU had already racked up 485 rushing yards.
The Cougars have a bye next Saturday, then host Utah on Sept. 21.
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