Dallas • BYU's defensive plan for Tulsa was to contain quarterback G.J. Kinne's run game and make him pass.
"When we broke it down in the most relevant games we pulled, he'd only been sacked three times in five games," BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "We thought if we could make him move and move into similar or agile athletes, it would shift the game to our favor."
Mendenhall and the Cougars thought right. Kinne, who was 17 for 31 for 214 yards and three touchdowns, was haunted all day by the BYU defense in the Cougars' 24-21 victory in the Armed Forces Bowl. He was sacked three times, two of which were by BYU sophomore Kyle Van Noy.
Van Noy finished with 10 tackles, including five for loss, and a forced fumble.
"It's hard to stop an offense like that, but we did a great job containing them today," Van Noy said. "They've been averaging 35 points, and to hold them to 21 points is a great victory for us."
With Kinne contained, Tulsa had just 37 rushing yards on 27 carries.
Such a strong performance seemed far-fetched when Tulsa scored on its first drive, which covered 76 yards in 11 plays.
But that drive was just what the defense needed to wake them up a bit, linebacker Jameson Frazier said.
"We were on our heels a bit there, but then our guys pulled together," Frazier said. "Our focus was stopping the run game and forcing them to pass and once we did that, it became more predictable."
Tulsa finished with 272 yards, 107 of which came in the second half.
"We had a few miscommunications at key moments, but we never lost confidence," linebacker Brandon Ogletree said. "We regrouped at halftime and played a lot better in the second half."