BYU finishes regular season with win against Nevada

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The BYU football team went into Reno looking to finish off its 2013 regular season with a win. After overcoming a slow first half, the Cougars came from behind to beat the Wolfpack 28-23.

BYU came out looking flat and was held scoreless with only 150 yards of total offense in the first half. After two quarters, the Cougars trailed 7-0. After the halftime break, the Cougars looked like an entirely different team, scoring 28 points and totaling 342 offensive yards in the second half. The Cougars scored touchdowns on every drive in the second half except their last, and they converted 100 percent of their opportunities deep in Nevada territory during that time.

BYU defenders successfully try for a blocked field goal against Nevada. The Cougars defeated the Wolfpack, 28-23. Photo courtesy Mark Philbrick / BYU Photo
BYU defenders successfully try for a blocked field goal against Nevada. The Cougars defeated the Wolfpack, 28-23. (Photo courtesy Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

“Right now, an emphasis for me and for the offense is our blue zone offense,” said sophomore quarterback Taysom Hill.

Senior linebacker Kyle Van Noy, who is from the Reno area, had an off day with only three tackles. Even with the abnormal performance, the linebacker was still happy to be able to play his final regular season game in his hometown. Van Noy also came up with a critical interception on a two-point conversion attempt late in the fourth quarter.

The surefire NFL prospect praised Nevada’s offense, which opened with a touchdown on its first series and scored on three drives in the second half.

“They have a good offensive scheme, similar to the offense we run. They have a lot of confusion, a lot of motion, some tight end peels and they get their play-makers in space,” Van Noy said. “Their quarterback is pretty athletic. They can put up points, and they can put them up in a hurry.”

Coach Bronco Mendenhall praised Van Noy’s career at BYU, calling him one of the most celebrated players ever at the school.

“Kyle has probably had more attention and more praise and more spotlight than any other player, I can’t say in BYU history, but he would have to be top five,” Mendenhall said. “He is featured on billboards, on magazines and in books, etc. So if you think about that for a young person or any person and then to stay grounded, stable, consistent and continue to learn and grow and be teachable along the way, it’s quite a challenge.”

BYU running back Jamaal Williams led the Cougars with a career-high 219 rushing yards and one touchdown. His 66-yard touchdown run 32 seconds into the third quarter ignited the Cougar offense, and the team never looked back.

Hill finished the game completing 14 out of 18 passes for 98 yards and two touchdowns. He also added one more touchdown on the ground while rushing for 154 yards on 26 carries. The duo of Hill and Williams each had over 100 yards in a single game for the fourth time this season. They each have over 1,000 rushing yards on the season, marking the first time that BYU has had two players rush for more than 1,000 yards in a single season. The offense as a whole ran for more yards in 2013 than any other season in school history.

With the win, BYU finishes the 2013 regular season with an 8-4 record. The Cougars will play in the Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco on Dec. 27. The Cougars’ opponent is yet to be determined, but likely candidates are Washington, USC and Arizona.

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