A win is a win.
That was the theme in BYU's postgame interview room Friday night after the Cougars held off Central Florida 24-17 at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
When you are coming off a 54-10 loss on your home field to your rival, of course it is.
Despite getting outgained by 139 yards (399-260), the Cougars somehow managed to pull off their second win of the season thanks to Cody Hoffman's 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and a muffed punt by UCF's J.J. Worton that led directly to BYU's go-ahead TD early in the fourth quarter.
"The momentum swung right when I took it to the house," Hoffman said.
It was the longest kick return for a touchdown by BYU since Mike Rigell against Hawaii in 1998 (96 yards), and the first TD by a BYU special teams unit since McKay Jacobson's punt return for a TD in 2006.
A few other odds and ends:
* Hoffman had 153 all-purpose yards -- 24 receiving and 129 on kickoff returns, after getting 277 last week vs. Utah.
* Linebacker Uona Kaveinga forced his third fumble in the last four games.
* The Knights were holding opponents to 166.0 yards per game. The Cougars totaled 127 rushing and 133 passing for 260 yards, all season highs against UCF.
Couple comments from BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall after the game as distributed by BYU's sports information dept:
* "It was a gratifying win, a hard-fought win, especially after coming off a very difficult loss last week in such a short amount of time."
* "I just saw progress overall as a team. I was very happy with the victory. It was hard-fought against a good team and a positive game overall."
* "Any time that you play below your potential or coach below your potential you are anxious to show that you are capable of more for yourself."
* "It wasn't easy, but we found a way and that's what's important at this point in the season."
* "I've been really proud and impressed with the defense for three-and-a-half games. I think they try and I love them."
Thanks to Iliana Limo of the Orlando Sentinel for transcribing these postgame comments from UCF coach George O'Leary:
On UCF’s performance:
"We get out there and turn the ball over. We had our opportunities and we just didn't take advantage of it."
On the kickoff BYU returned for a touchdown:
"It’s just sloppy coverage, bad kick as far as what took place. We’ve just got to make a play. We just didn’t make a play. Second half when we needed to make a play, we didn’t make a play. Some bad decisions out there. But you’ve just got to move on. It’s a long season for a reason."
On the team’s problems fielding punts during three of their first four games this season:
"We can’t keep shooting ourselves in the foot on punt return. It’s ridiculous. That’s 14 points in two weeks we’ve given up. It’s the difference in the game, seven point. You know just guys trying to make plays instead of trying to do what they’re coached to do, really."
On whether he was surprised by how much his team has struggled to overcome turnovers and errors:
"I think we’re playing some kids that really need to be evaluated and why we have them out there because I’ve seen enough now to know if they’re not disciplined, if they’re not responsible, we can’t use them out there. They can’t think at the right time, make right decisions and eventually they hurt you on the field. So we’ve got to look carefully at what we’re doing with some of the players out there."
On the play of backup quarterback Blake Bortles, who replaced injured starter Jeff Godfrey for one series:
"I thought Bortles did really a good job, you know as far as completing some passes and getting some things done. I was pleased with him and probably, hindsight, should have left him in."
On whether his defense and offense played well:
"No, we didn’t play well. You turn the ball over on both sides and the kicking game. You can’t do that in any game, especially when you’re playing away."
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