PROVO, Utah – Juniors Adam Hine and Taysom Hill electrified the crowd as No. 21/23 BYU overcame an early deficit to notch a win over Virginia, 41-33 at LaVell Edwards Stadium Saturday afternoon.
Hine’s 132 kickoff return yards, including a 99-yard return for a score in the fourth quarter, proved to be a necessary buffer to preserve the victory. Hill added two passing touchdowns and 17 carries for 72 yards and one rushing touchdown to energize the offense.
“Each time we took (the lead) from eight to 15, to their (Virginia) credit they responded. We needed the players to respond as well,” BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “Between Taysom and Adam Hine and what was happening with that combination, at least offensively, kind of kept us separated.”
Junior running back Jamaal Williams helped pace the offense with his 68 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown while senior receiver Jordan Leslie had four receptions for 41 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore receiver Mitchell Juergens chipped in with two catches for 53 yards and a touchdown.
On the defensive side of the ball, senior Craig Bills tallied 10 tackles, 0.5 tackle for loss and one pass breakup. Senior Robertson Daniel notched four tackles, an interception and two pass breakups. Seniors Skye PoVey and Alani Fua each contributed with eight and nine tackles, respectively.
Beginning the third quarter down 16-13, the Cougars were forced to punt on their first possession. Scott Arellano notched a season-long 65-yard punt down to the Virginia 5-yard line. The BYU defense stalled Virginia.
With 10:45 left in the third quarter, the Cougar offense manufactured a 49-yard drive to take the lead for the first time in the game. On second down and 11 yards to go, Hill rushed to the right side, stiff-arming his way around and dragging a Virginia defender into the end zone for the 20-16 lead.
On the subsequent drive and after a 20-yard Virginia completion, the BYU defense ratcheted down to force fourth and inches. On the Cavaliers’ conversion attempt, the Cougars forced and recovered a fumble.
The teams then exchanged punts before BYU renewed its ground attack on the next drive with 4:28 left in the third quarter. The Cougars issued a 10-play drive to stretch the lead to 27-16. The drive featured 25 yards on the ground for Hill and 29 yards and a touchdown for Williams.
Virginia countered with a drive starting from its own 25-yard line. The drive stalled due in part to three tackles for loss by the Cougars. The Cavaliers then kicked a 46-yard field goal to cut the lead to 27-19 with 12:14 left in the game.
After Hine’s 33-yard kickoff return to the BYU 33, the Cougars struck again to make the score 34-19. The offense moved the ball to the 50-yard line on five plays. Hill then completed a pass to Juergens who bolted down the right sideline for a 50-yard touchdown, the first of his career.
Virginia took over at the 10:17 mark and countered again, this time with a touchdown to narrow the lead to 34-26. Sophomore backup quarterback Matt Johns passed for 51 yards while Khalek Shepherd rushed for 24 yards and the touchdown.
On the ensuing kickoff, Hine received it at the 1-yard line and sprinted up the middle of the field for a 99-yard return for the touchdown, upping the score to 41-26. It was the first BYU kickoff return for a touchdown since Cody Hoffman’s in 2011 against Central Florida.
The Cougar defense forced a Virginia turnover on downs to take over possession at 5:53 left in the game. The offense was forced to punt, and Arellano pinned the Cavaliers at the 2-yard line and inside the 20-yard line for the fourth time in the game.
Virginia marched down and scored after a 98-yard drive ended with a touchdown pass to Kyle Dockins from Johns, cutting the lead to 41-33. BYU secured the win as Fua successfully held on to the onside kick.
The Cavaliers began the game with a burst, returning the opening kickoff 47 yards. Virginia quarterback Greyson Lambert then had a 37-yard carry to set up a score two plays later at 1:06 into the game to take the 7-0 lead.
At 8:10 in the first quarter the Cougar offense fought back to get on the scoreboard. Hill completed five passes on a 10-play, 66-yard drive that culminated in the first score of the game for BYU, a 28-yard Trevor Sampson field goal.
The Cavaliers marched back down the field behind 3 of 5 throwing by Lambert and 17 yards rushing by Shepherd. On fourth down on the BYU 1-yard line, the Cougar defense held strong as Virginia commited a penalty before the play was snapped, resulting in a field goal of 23 yards and a 10-3 Cavaliers lead.
Following the kickoff, junior receiver Devon Blackmon hauled in a 56-yard pass from Hill for the longest reception of the season, advancing the Cougars down to the Virginia 19-yard line. Two BYU carries for 11 yards set up an 8-yard Leslie touchdown, securing the reception as he headed across the field from the right side and over the goal line to tie the game at 10 with 13:48 left in the half.
Scoring for the Cavaliers continued as they converted a 41-yard field goal to take a 13-10 lead.
On the next Virginia possession, Daniel nearly intercepted Lambert’s pass on the second play of the drive . Four plays later on third and 10 yards to go, Daniel stepped in front of the intended receiver and intercepted Lambert’s pass to the right side of the field and returned it 32 yards to the Vigrinia 23-yard line. The Cougars then knotted the game on the next drive at 13 apiece on Trevor Sampson’s field goal from 37 yards out.
Despite the aggressive play by the BYU defense, Virginia advanced down the field for 70 yards on 16 plays to take a 16-13 halftime lead with a 22-yard field goal as the clock expired.
The Cougars have a bye next week and return to action at home Oct. 3 against Utah State at 8:15 MDT.
Subscribe to ESPN700's News!
Get the latest sports news, contests and flyaways, and more straight to your inbox with our weekly emails.