There’s a lot of people I looked up to when I was younger. It was good to see them and play for them, play for my family, play for my teammates. It was good. – Logan Taele
CINCINNATI — For BYU senior defensive lineman Logan Taele, Saturday marked a pleasant homecoming.
Taele, who hails from Columbus, Ohio — about 100 miles from Cincinnati — helped lead a Cougar defensive performance that limited the Bearcats to 295 yards of total offense and one field goal in a 20-3 victory.
“It’s my home state,” Taele said with a smile after the game. “It’s good to be back in Ohio.”
Taele recorded three tackles, including a key sack on third-and-14 when Cincinnati had driven to the BYU 15-yard line in the third quarter.
“It was really fun,” Taele said of the sack. “It was my first really good hit on the quarterback. That felt good.”
On the next play, the Bearcats missed a 39-yard field goal attempt.
A contingent of fans turned out at Nippert Stadium to watch Taele play.
“Mostly family and people from my (LDS ward) came here. It was really cool,” Taele said. “There’s a lot of people I looked up to when I was younger. It was good to see them and play for them, play for my family, play for my teammates. It was good.”
It was BYU's first game in the state of Ohio, and an estimated 7,000 BYU fans attended the contest.
While the Cougars gave up a field goal on Cincinnati’s opening drive, the defense was stingy after that.
“We kept them out of the end zone, which is the ultimate goal,” Taele said. “I feel like we played solid. We stopped the run and we were able to play together.”
“Our defense did a great job after that first drive, regrouping and playing assignment-sound football,” said coach Kalani Sitake. “Overall, the defense did a great job.”
Sitake said Cincinnati’s successful opening drive, that featured some missed tackles by his players, may have had something to do with a 16-day layoff following a bye week.
“They had to get used to the tempo and they settled down,” Sitake said. “Give credit to Cincinnati, they made some great plays. After that, we were able to capitalize.”
Saturday marked the sixth time this season an opposing offense has scored on its first drive of the game.
Why do the Cougars have that tendency? Taele attributed it to nerves.
“We have jitters and we have to tell each other to calm down, relax and play loose and do our assignments,” Taele said. “We just need to settle in a little bit.”
The Bearcats rushed for 97 yards and had the ball for only 22 minutes.
“That’s the difference in the game,” Sitake said. “Whenever you can run the ball, you can own the clock. It works out better for the team overall.”
While Taele is from Columbus, BYU backup quarterback Beau Hoge is a product of Highlands High School in Fort Thomas, Kentucky, about five miles from Cincinnati. As a senior, Hoge led Highlands High to a 13-2 record and the Kentucky Class 4A state championship