BYU football overcomes early mistakes in victory against Middle Tennesee

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The Cougars gave ground, committed penalties and fumbled away early opportunities on Sept. 27 against Middle Tennessee, before scoring 30 straight points en route to a 37–10 victory.

Taysom Hill keeps the ball for a gain against Middle Tennesse in Friday night's game. (Photo by Maddi Dayton)
Taysom Hill keeps the ball for a gain against Middle Tennesse in Friday night’s game. (Photo by Maddi Dayton)

“It was a great turn around,” said defensive lineman Eathyn Manemaleuna, who finished the game with six tackles.

Two plays — one defensive and one offensive — changed the game for the Cougars. The first came after Middle Tennessee recovered a fumble on its two-yard line. Linebacker Kyle Van Noy busted through the line of scrimmage to wrap up Blue Raider running back Jordan Parker for a safety — trimming the opponents’ lead to 10–9.

“It was just time to make a play,” Van Noy said. “I just played run and made a play.”

Following the safety, Hill sprinted 50 yards for his second touchdown of the game. The Cougars never looked back. Repeated defensive stops accompanied three more BYU touchdowns as the home team coasted to a win.

“It’s nice to see our players smile and have success,” head coach Bronco Mendenhall said.

BYU’s second win of 2013 came despite five fumbles — four of which were recovered by Middle Tennessee.

“Five fumbles — that’s unacceptable,” receiver Ross Apo said. “We’ll clean that up. There’s a much higher level we can play at.”

The Cougar defense was on the field for 33 minutes and 48 seconds in the contest but gave up only 212 yards to the Blue Raiders. Prior to the game on Sept. 27, Middle Tennessee had recorded at least 265 yards in each game of 2013.

Mendenhall commended his defense for their effort.

“There’s hard to find much that they didn’t do well tonight,” he said.

In the third quarter, J.D. Falslev returned a punt 71 yards for a touchdown. Prior to his touchdown, the typically sure-handed returner fumbled two punts. He fumbled a third punt in the fourth quarter. Falslev commented on his performance.

“My performance today was unacceptable,” he said. “I put the defense in a bad position twice, almost three times. It won’t happen again.”

BYU fans witnessed another worrisome injury as Adam Hine sustained a concussion in the second quarter. Hine remained on the ground for an extended period of time before standing up and returning to the sideline.

The Cougars were without star receiver Cody Hoffman, who was suspended prior to the game. Mendenhall indicated that if Hoffman meets certain conditions, he will play on Oct. 4 against Utah State.

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