The night started off eerily similar to last week's road loss to Virginia with an extended rain delay, but that was the extent of the similarities as the offense and Taysom Hill found their rhythm and the Cougars shocked No. 15 ranked Texas, 40-21.
The night began with a promising drive that sputtered in the red zone and the Cougars had to settle for a field goal, but that would be the only speed bumps the offense would encounter on the night. The Cougars set a new school record with 550 rushing yards, which also was the most rushing yards Texas had allowed in its history.
BYU hammered the middle of the field early and often, softening the heart of the defensive line enough for Hill to exploit his speed to the outside. Hill finished the night with 17 carries, amassing 259 yards and touchdown runs of 68, 20 and 26 yards respectively.
Hill ran for more yards than any BYU quarterback since Virgil Carter, and the 259 yards is second in the NCAA in the past 10 years, only trailing former Longhorn Vince Young. Hill bounced back after an early interception, adding 129 yards to give him 389 total yards.
Lost in the excitement surrounding Hill was BYU’s workhorse Jamaal Williams and his career-high 182 yards on 30 carries. Paul Lasike chipped in 87 yards on 15 carries and a 10-yard touchdown and helped BYU total 679 yards of offense on the night.
Cody Hoffman was the lone bright spot in the passing game, picking up 63 yards on two receptions.
Traditionally, a team will set up the pass with the run or the other way around, but Saturday night BYU set up the run with the run and did it flawlessly. The passing game was virtually nonexistent, and with the Cougars that would typically mean the offense would receive a low grade, but Hill converting the pass-happy fan base into devout spread option believers overnight is deserving of the highest marks possible.
The banged up secondary gave up a 57-yard bomb in the first quarter, and in the second quarter allowed the only long sustained scoring drive of the game, and gave up 83 yards on five plays in the third quarter for the only scoring by the Longhorns.
The Cougars picked up four sacks and eight tackles for a loss as the defense stymied a Texas offense that produced more than 700 yards of offense the week before. Although 445 yards by the Longhorns appears like a lot on paper, most of those yards came in garbage time when BYU was working with a three-score cushion.
The secondary was playing shorthanded and was exploited a couple of times, but for the most part the reserves held their own. Kyle Van Noy and Bronson Kaufusi were as destructive as always to lead the charge, and while the defense played lights out for the majority of the game, giving up the big play and allowing 21 points puts the effort a notch or two below its top performances.
Justin Sorensen connected on four of four field goals, 34, 32, 36 and 26 yards respectively, and Bronco Mendenhall couldn’t ask any more from him. Most importantly, BYU avoided the big mistake on special teams that can change the momentum of a game.
BYU players took the pressure off their coaching staff, allowing Mendenhall and crew to avoid facing difficult decisions. The game plan was perfectly executed and the play calling was made easy by the performances of Hill, Williams and Lasike.
It’s hard to find anything wrong with BYU’s performance offensively, and defensively the Cougars were solid and had a good enough performance to keep the game out of reach for most of the second half. BYU's 550 yards rushing covers up a lot of blemishes, and it will be interesting to see how Cougar fans react to not having 550 yards come from the arm of their quarterback and instead from his legs.