Some notes and quotes from BYU's 37-20 victory over Boise State on Friday night in Provo, which was seen by a national television audience (ESPN) and a mildly disappointing crowd of 62,924 at LaVell Edwards Stadium. ...
The Cougars were hoping for a sell-out in their second-to-last home game of the season, 64,000 or so, but couldn't quite get there. Boise State fans made a strong showing. At least 3,000 folks were dressed in orange and cheering for the Broncos, by my estimation.
The Cougars (6-2) became bowl eligible with the win, and accepted an invitation to the Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco on the field after the game. Coach Bronco Mendenhall has taken the Cougars to a bowl game in each of his nine seasons, and won four straight bowl games.
Game ball has to go to Taysom Hill, doesn't it?
The sophomore from Idaho accounted for 408 yards -- 339 passing, 69 rushing -- after accounting for 545 yards last week against Houston, and had no turnovers.
"He's one of the best players I've ever coached," Mendenhall said of Hill. "He's really good."
It was Mendenhall's 80th career win, and the first win ever for BYU over Boise State. The Broncos' 21-game winning streak over Utah teams was snapped, as was their 50-game winning streak in October games.
"We have a good team. We have a good program," Mendenhall said, calling the win as important as beating Texas and Georgia Tech.
Nine different receivers caught passes, the most this season for BYU. Tight ends caught seven of those passes as the Cougars re-introduced that position to their offense. With Brett Thompson sitting out with an undisclosed injury, Kaneakua Friel caught three passes for 53 yards and Devin Mahina caught four passes for 40 yards.
Marcus Mathews and Kurt Henderson also caught passes, and Ross Apo had his third TD catch in the last two games.
But the receiving star was once again Cody Hoffman, who broke Austin Collie's career TD receptions record with a 4-yard grab at the end of the first half and now has 31. Hoffman needs just 14 receiving yards to become the school's all-time receiving yardage leader. That should come Nov. 9 at Wisconsin.
"It feels great. It feels amazing," Hoffman said. "I am almost speechless about it because it was set by such a great player [Collie] before me. It's not an easy record, and I take a lot of pride in that … Coming out of high school and barely recruited, and then to think that I'd come to a major program like this and rewrite the record book, I never thought that would happen."
The Cougars did not come out of the game unscathed. Daniel Sorensen suffered a concussion and Mike Hague injured his shoulder. Mendenhall did not give any details regarding the injuries in his post game news conference.
Defensive leaders were Craig Bills, Uani Unga, Remington Peck and Alani Fua.
Bills recovered two fumbles and forced a fumble.
Unga had 15 tackles, including five solo stops. It was his fifth game of 10 or more tackles this season. He also forced a fumble.
Peck recovered two fumbles and had a pass breakup.
Fua had a career-high 13 tackles.
Skye PoVey, who moved over to safety when Sorensen went out, had his first career interception.
A few post game comments, distributed by BYU's sports information staff:
Boise State coach Chris Petersen on turnovers and going 2 for 5 on fourth down:
"We're putting our defense in too much harm's way. There's no way they can hold up that long to a really good offense. BYU is a good team. They're good on defense as well."
Petersen on BYU:
"Hat's off to them. They made the plays when we didn't."
BSU linebacker Corey Bell:
"They have a good offense, and it is tough when they are just in their zone-read, you never really know what's coming. Also, they get back on the ball really quick. It is tough for us to make sure we get realigned and get the play, and once we get the play, making sure we make whatever calls we need to make."
BSU quarterback Grant Hedrick on BYU's defense:
"They're super good and super athletic. They made a lot of plays. It was rough getting prepared for them."
BYU quarterback Taysom Hill on his improvement:
"I feel like I've gotten better every week. Not only have I gotten better bus us as an offense have gotten better. I realize that I play a position that's in the limelight. It's easy to just talk about my progression, but it's been a team thing and it's been an offensive thing. With this new staff and this new system, it took a little bit of time, but we found it."
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