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BYU football halftime reaction: a defensive battle few expected

Many predicted an offensive shootout—and so far—they are wrong. BYU leads 9-0.

Arizona v BYU Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The much anticipated first half of the season for both Arizona and BYU comes to a close with the score of 9-0 BYU. Most sportsbooks in Vegas had the over/under at around 60 so few saw this defensive battle coming.

The new Sitake/Tuiake BYU defense came out strong right out of the gate, forcing Arizona to a 3 and out without gaining a single yard. BYU didn’t look much better on their first possession as they grabbed just two first downs before having to punt.

Arizona had the first big play of the night as Anu Solomon hit Trey Griffey for a 32 yard completion on 3rd and 13. The Cougars responded with a huge sack on third down by Butch Pau’u to force a punt.

The Cougar offense seemed to get some rhythm as Jonah Trinnaman hauled in two passes and Jamaal Williams seemed to settle into his zone. After 34 yards however, Jonny Linehan pinned Arizona on the one yard line with a fantastic punt.

Newly added to the football team Corbin Kaufusi came in and picked up his first tackle as BYU forced a quick punt from Arizona. Jamaal Williams then had a 40 yard run and appeared to score a touchdown for the cougars but it was ultimately called back on an illegal block in the back. BYU had to settle for a field goal.

Arizona began driving until former running back turned linebacker Francis Bernard made a fantastic grab for the interception.

BYU took over with great field position and was able to convert on 4th and 1 inside the five as Algernon Brown went straight ahead. Brayden El-Bakri (yes, the fullback you may have never heard of) took it in for the score two plays later. The extra point was missed as BYU went up 9-0.

Arizona tried to respond but it was Francis Bernard again with a HUGE sack on 3rd down that led to a missed 52 yard field goal as time expired.

For BYU, Taysom Hill finished the half 10/13 for 75 yards and Jamaal had a great half with 78 of the teams 95 rushing yards on 12 carries.

Anu Solomon finished 119 yards completing 11/19 attempts. Arizona had virtually no success running the ball as they finished the half with an astounding -12 rushing yards.