PROVO — A year ago, BYU’s defense finished No. 2 nationally in turnovers gained (31) and No. 4 in passes intercepted (21).
This season, the Cougars are ranked No. 104 in turnovers gained (5) and No. 92 in interceptions (3).
Defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki, whose goal is to force three turnovers per game, is stressing takeaways every day in practice.
“We’ve got to continue to strip the ball,” he said. “But a lot of the takeaways that we’ve gotten in the past are disruption up front. We’ve got to be better up front. We’re not disruptive enough. We’ve got to be better. A lot of disruption comes from tipped balls from the linemen. We missed one this last game and one guy didn’t catch it. We’ve got to capitalize on those situations as well as create more — getting after the quarterbacks and put them in long situations where they’re a little more predictable.”
MISSED OPPORTUNITY: Defensive lineman Kesni Tausinga is haunted by his dropped interception after a tipped pass in the third quarter last Friday against Boise State.
“Man, I didn’t sleep that night,” he recalled. “The ball went up in the air and I thought touchdown in my head. I’ve re-lived it a bajillion times. I thought about retiring after that.”
M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I: All-time, BYU has defeated only two teams from the Southeastern Conference on the road — Ole Miss and Mississippi State.
The Cougars won at Ole Miss (their first game as an independent) in 2011, 14-13. In 2001, BYU won at Mississippi State, 41-38.