RENO, Nev. — Through two quarters, BYU running back Jamaal Williams had only had three carries, but had run for 32 yards.
In the second half, the Cougars turned more to Williams — and that was exactly what they needed to overcome a 7-0 halftime deficit and beat Nevada, 28-23, Saturday afternoon.
Williams ended up with a career-high 219 yards, and quarterback Taysom Hill ran for 154 more. Williams opened the half with a 66-yard touchdown run, and Hill had a 35-yard TD run with 6:40 left in the game.
“Right at the end of the first half, we knew that was the direction we would have to go,” coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “The combination of running the football with Jamaal and Taysom and throwing the quick game, and moving the chains that way, that was the difference. That approach helped us. … Taysom especially, and Jamaal running the ball physically, both of those two, I thought, was the difference in the game.”
With his performance, Williams eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the season, and now has 1,202 yards this fall. He also has 2,016 yards for his career, putting him No. 10 all time at BYU.
Williams joins Hill in rushing for more than 1,000 yards this season — marking the first BYU duo to run for more than 1,000 yards in the same year.
“I’m happy I got to it and I’m grateful to my line for helping me get over 1,000 yards, too,” Williams said. “This is a great milestone for me.”
What was the difference for the offense in the second half?
“For me, it was personal — not towards (Nevada), but for our team, for it being our seniors’ last game before our bowl game,” Williams said. “That first half wasn’t how we planned it to be. At halftime, it was a reality check in our attitudes, to see how we were going to come out the next half. I feel like we came out in the second half ready to go and motivated, to show people that we are BYU.”