In a game that was supposed to display the new and improved Cougars offense, it fell flat and was ineffective for most of the game. The defense showed up to play but were handed two short fields that turned into Cavalier touchdowns. Virginia capitalized on both of their redzone possessions and added a 53-yard field goal and a safety to round out their scoring.
Both teams came out flat in the first quarter with dropped passes, missed tackles and ineffective play calling. As the 2nd quarter was set to start, lighting struck within 6 miles of the stadium sending the game into a 2 hour weather delay. After a short warm up, the Cougars rushed three straight times before having to punt. The defense came back with a Craig Bills interception, but another stalled drive led to a punt that put the Cavaliers at the 8-yard line. Again the defense held, creating a 3 and out, and JD Falsev returned the punt 18-yards to the Virginia 32. This drive belonged to Falslev as he caught a makeshift screen and took it 22-yards to the 10. Jamaal Wiliams took a hand off into the pile before popping out and turning it from a loss to a gain before Taysom Hill found Falslev for a 4-yard TD. With the Cougars up 7-0 the defense played conservative and allowed large chunks of yards before holding and forcing Ian Frye to kick a 53-yard field goal, the longest of his career.
With the rain coming down hard to start the 3rd, the offense again went 3 and out before punting. An illegal formation call on the Cougars brought back a punt that would have put the Cavaliers at their 27 but instead resulted in a bobbled snap and a blocked punt. The ball was recovered by Virginia at the 16 and the offense started in the red zone for the first time. David Watford threw a pass to the back of the endzone where Darius Jennings made the catch with one foot in bounds. With the converted extra point the Cavaliers went up 10-7.
More defensive plays, and offensive ineptitude followed as punts were flying back and forth. Hill, after being pinned deep, lost a high snap into the endzone before recovering it himself for a safety. With the score 12-7 the game moved into the 4th quarter and it seemed that BYU continued to receive the ball deep in their own territory. With the help of quick strikes, a pass interference call and an 18 yard run to the 1 by Williams, the Cougars set up a 1 yard touchdown run by Hill. With the 2 point conversion failing, the Cougars held a 13-12 lead. On the ensuing kickoff, Khalek Shepherd fumbled the ball and Blake Morgan recovered it for the Cougars at the 27. The offense again sputtered and the Cougars could only muster a 35-yard field goal by Justin Sorensen.
With the score 16-12 the defense held again and it seemed like the game was in hand and Bronco did a double armed windmill after the 3rd down stop. With just over 4 minutes left, Robert Anae slowed down the tempo of the game to try and run out the clock. After rushes that only picked up 4 yards, and Virginia using 2 time-outs, the Cougars decided to pass for the first down. With a slippery ball and a high throw to Williams, the ball went through his hands and into the arms of Virginia's Anthony Harris. While being tackled, he lateraled to Henry Coley who returned it to the BYU 13. One play later Kevin Parks took the ball into the endzone for the go-ahead score. With the Cougars down 19-16 the offense started at their own 8 due to a holding penalty on the kickoff. Hill and the offense made it out to their own 40-yard line before he overthrew an open Falslev on 4th and 10. The Cougars had one last shot with 20 seconds, from their own 20 but couldn't gain the yardage to get into field goal range. The game ended on a hailmary pass to Ross Apo that was caught at the Virginia 28 as time expired. He was quickly brought to the ground.
Hill ended the game with less than stellar stats. He completed 13 out of 40 passes for 175 yards, one touchdown and one costly interception. He also rushed 11 times for 39 yards. Jamaal Williams led all rushers with 137 yards on 33 attempts. Six different receivers caught passes with no one catching more than 3. While the defense kept the team in the game again, lost opportunities will haunt the offense.
Virginia was led by Watford who completed 18 of 32 and 118 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Their leading rusher was Kevin Parks with 69 yards and a touchdown on 21 attempts.
The game consisted of 24 punts for over 950 yards while the two offenses combined for 585 yards. The Cougars come home next week to play a strong Texas team for the home opener.