This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Landover, Md. • BYU found the offensive firepower it has been missing in Big 12 country on Saturday afternoon, only to have a couple of costly mistakes wipe out the unit's best performance of the season.
The Cougars racked up a season-high 521 yards against West Virginia, but quarterback Taysom Hill was intercepted three times, running back Jamaal Williams lost a fumble for the first time in his career and the Cougars suffered a 35-32 loss at FedEx Field.
"It was just great to see the game plan that we have been working on in practice happen in the game," said Williams, who had 24 carries for 169 yards and two touchdowns.
Coach Kalani Sitake said he saw a lot of improvement from the offense after it put up just 273 yards in a 17-14 loss to UCLA last week.
"I thought Jamaal ran the ball really well," Sitake said. "West Virginia did some things to counter it by loading up the box a little bit and pressure a little bit more. We had to find some opportunities to make big plays on the throw game."
They may have looked for one chance too many to go deep.
West Virginia (3-0) stayed unbeaten with a goal-line interception with a minute remaining after BYU had driven to its 28-yard line.
"They had been giving us a lot of man coverage, so Taysom [Hill] threw it up, the ball got tipped around a little bit, and they made a play on it," Sitake said. "A little frustrating that we had opportunities to score and it didn't happen, especially with the coverage they were giving us."
Hill got the Cougars within striking range with some medium-range throws to Nick Kurtz and Moroni Laulu-Pututau. He finished 23 of 35 for 241 yards, but also threw a costly pick-six in the second quarter.
"Taysom did some good things," Sitake said. "I thought he created some bigger plays with his feet, was able to do some things with the run. … One bad pass I wish he wouldn't have throw was a pick-six. That cost us seven points going the other way."
Hill went to the locker room after diving for the ball that Williams fumbled, and backup Tanner Mangum briefly warmed up on the sidelines, but Hill returned to the game.
"Yeah, he got a little banged up and then had to go check on some stuff and then came back out," Sitake said. "It was a minor deal."
Hill rushed for 101 yards on 13 carries behind a makeshift offensive line that was without three-year starter Ului Lapuaho for the second straight week. Hill was sacked once.
"I was proud of our offensive line, to be honest," Williams said. "They came out with a chip on their shoulder, and they showed it. They came off the ball and did their job. I couldn't be prouder of them. This is the level they should be playing at all the time. … This is the level I am going to keep them up to."
Kurtz finished with six catches for 78 yards, while Colby Pearson had four grabs for 55 and Mitchell Juergens five for 50 and a 25-yard touchdown to get BYU on the board.
The interception to seal it for WVU "was just kind of one of those things that went their way," Pearson said. "Corbin [Kaufusi] tipped a ball down there late, and it just didn't happen to go to one of our guys. It was just an unfortunate thing."
BYU's offensive production in 2016
Opponent Plays Total Yards Points
Arizona 76 415 18
Utah 68 328 19
UCLA 74 273 14
West Virginia 76 521 32