BYU overcame a rough first half and its first deficit of the season to beat Virginia 41-33 in the first BYU afternoon game on ESPN since 2004.
In the first half of the game BYU did not look like the team it did early in the year. The offensive line did not have a lot of push, the defense struggled to get stops, and neither unit could take advantage of momentum shifting plays, specifically a delay of game penalty after a Rob Daniel interception.
The Cougars came out in the second half looking much better. The defense came up with a couple stops that led to scores, a tough 15-yard run by Hill and an untouched 2-yard run by Jamaal Williams. Not only was the defense playing better by getting more pressure on Greyson Lambert, but the offense seemed to click much better. Hill started hitting his receivers and Williams started to pick up yards through the middle to get the chains moving.
The UVA defense had a solid game plan and good tackling to contain Taysom Hill and successfully kept Hill from making game changing plays that Cougar fans have become used to seeing from Taysom. The UVA offense looked like BYU as they ran over 100 plays. Hill ended up completing 13-23 passes for 187 yards with 2 touchdowns (Leslie and Juergens) and added 72 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Jamaal Williams also contributed with 68 yards and a touchdown.
Special Teams play kept the Cougars in the game with Scott Arellano pinning the Cavaliers deep inside their own territory multiple times. BYU’s second touchdown was set up by a deep punt then a 25 yard punt return by Devon Blackmon. Another big special teams play was a 99 yard kickoff return for touchdown by Adam Hine.
The BYU defense really did not answer the bell today. They gave up yardage in chunks, missed tackles and could not get off the field by giving up big plays on third down, and gave up 33 points. They also gave up 519 yards of total offense including 327 through the air. BYU only had 334 yards of total offense and gave up 133 penalty yards.
There are things to learn, and BYU still has not played well for all four quarters but this is still a solid win against a team from a Power 5 conference.