PROVO — Saturday’s game had Cougar revenge written all over it.
Last year, BYU dropped its season-opener at Virginia 19-16. This year, the Cougars wanted to flip the script.
An improved Virginia team came out fighting at LaVell Edwards Stadium and took a 16-13 lead into halftime.
Taysom Hill and Jamaal Williams each had a rushing touchdown in the third-quarter to put the Cougars up 27-16, a lead they would never relinquish.
A late Adam Hine 99-yard kickoff return was key in the victory as well.
With the win, the BYU Cougars (4-0) have a bye this week before facing Utah State at home Friday, Oct. 3 (kickoff is at 8:15 MDT).
A fourth-and-1 false start forced the Cougars to settle for a field goal on their second drive of the game.
The Cougars' first touchdown didn’t come until the second quarter when Hill found Jordan Leslie across the middle for an 8-yard touchdown.
Despite Hill only completing 13 of his 23 passes, he finished with two touchdowns and zero interceptions for 187 yards.
The tandem of Hill and Williams combined for 140 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
BYU matched its season high of 41 points (at Texas) with four different offensive players finding the end zone.
After the opening kickoff had Virginia almost in BYU territory, the Cavaliers needed only three plays in just over a minute to find the end zone, and the Cougars found themselves trailing for the first time this season.
BYU hadn’t given up any first-quarter points this season until Virginia’s quick score to open the game.
The Cougar defense did force two turnovers.
Robertson Daniel had an interception, and BYU linebacker Tomasi Laulile recovered a fumble on a fourth and inches quarterback sneak.
Overall, giving up a whopping 519 total yards to a Cavaliers team not known for its offense is inexcusable.
Adam Hine provided the play of the game. After Virginia had pulled within eight points in the fourth quarter, Hine returned the ensuing kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown.
Scott Arellano had a monster game with three punts of 60 plus yards and another that was downed at the 2-yard line.
Trevor Samson was perfect on the day with two field goals from 37 and 28 yards, respectively.
Alani Fua recovered an onside kick attempt to seal the Cougar victory.
The "one-game season" motto is vital to keep the players from looking ahead. The coaches have done a good job of taking it one game at a time.
Penalties are still a problem for the Cougars (12 for 133 yards). A few were questionable calls, but the personal fouls after the whistle was blown cost BYU on multiple occasions.
Clark Richardson is a graduate of Brigham Young University. EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org