Behind remarkable first-half passing efficiency from quarterback Taysom Hill, BYU defeated Georgia Tech 38-20 Saturday evening. Hill finished with the second highest single-game completion rate of his eight-start career.
Here's a look at how the Cougars graded out against the Yellow Jackets.
Rhett Wilkinson is a project manager for UtahPolicy.com and hails the true-blooded Aggies from Utah. The co-founder of magazine Aggie BluePrint.com, he's been an intern for the Deseret News and other publications. [email protected] | @wilklogan
With 189 rushing yards, BYU finished well short of its 277.8 per-game average, which was 13th nationally entering Saturday. With Hill’s 244 passing yards, however, the Cougars didn’t need to be as much of a threat on the ground against the 20th-best total defense in the nation. After averaging 185 passing yards through the first four games of the season, Hill has averaged 261 yards the past two weeks.
With five receptions and one touchdown catch, Cody Hoffman is now one reception and two touchdowns away from becoming BYU’s all-time leading receiver in both categories.
Jamaal Williams rushed 17 times for 86 yards and a touchdown, while Hill had 15 carries for 65 yards and a score. The Cougars committed no turnovers but had eight penalties.
Georgia Tech’s greatest threat coming into Provo certainly was its rushing offense. The Yellow Jackets were seventh in the nation in rushing yards per game (300) entering the contest. Saturday, BYU limited Tech to 242. The No. 24-ranked total defense in the nation also limited Yellow Jacket quarterback Vad Lee to just 8-of-21 passing despite being on the field for 37 minutes.
Linebacker Spencer Hadley returned after missing three games for violating the BYU honor code, which was a boost for the Cougars.
Justin Sorensen made one field goal (from 23 yards) and missed a 51-yard attempt in the second quarter. Punter Scott Arellano was mediocre, averaging 38 yards on five kicks. Adam Hine was steady in kickoff returns, with three for 85 yards.
Head coach Bronco Mendenhall and offensive coordinator Robert Anae let Hill thrive in the first half when he went 16 of 20. But then play-calling became conservative in the second half, and Hill completed just six passes. Fortunately for BYU, it didn’t impact the final outcome.
Undoubtedly, the Cougars have made strides since their loss to Utah. Hill has found his passing groove after being maligned for his inaccuracy through the first three games. With an efficient passing game, BYU has a complete team heading into its matchup with undefeated Houston.