Cougars finish perfect at home, set sights on Utah State

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Ari Davis
Senior quarterback Taysom Hill is honored during the final home game against Frenso State. The Cougars beat the Bulldogs 52-10. (Ari Davis)

True-blue Cougar fans sat through the bitter cold on Saturday to cheer the Cougars on to a 52-10 win over the Fresno State Bulldogs in their last home game of the season.

BYU finished the year undefeated at home for the first time since 2008, beating Boise State, UConn, East Carolina, Cincinnati, Wagner and Fresno State at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

The team’s seniors were honored before the game, including Taysom Hill.

“It’s crazy,” senior defensive lineman Bronson Kaufusi said following the game. “Time flies and you never think it’s going to be you walking off the field for the last time. It hasn’t hit me yet. It’s a feeling of gratitude for everything I’ve been blessed with and given here in support from coaching staff and friends and family. I’m excited to play some more.”

Kaufusi led the defense through the game with three sacks, four tackles for loss, one pass breakup and a blocked field goal. His 10 sacks so far this season, a career high, is the most for a BYU player since Kyle Van Noy had 13 in 2012.

Offensive coordinator Robert Anae gave the senior inside receivers the opportunity during the week to design a trick play for Saturday’s game.

Terenn Houk and Remington Peck drew up a play and practiced it every day during the week, but they didn’t believe Anae would ever call it. The two were shocked when the playcall came at the start of the fourth quarter, and Tanner Mangum handed off the ball to defensive end–turned–tight end Peck. Peck then threw a 15-yard pass to Houk for a touchdown.

“I heard the play call, and I was as intrigued as anyone else watching that,” head coach Bronco Mendenhall said in post-game interviews. “It looks like he throws it in the backyard to his wife every day to practice for that. It was really fun. Remington has really helped our team as much if not more than anyone down the stretch, filling in at tight end. He’s playing really, really well. He’s very versatile and as you can see, he can throw it, catch it and run with it, so it’s pretty fun. I don’t think I’ve seen him smile as much in his whole career at BYU than when he came off to the sideline after the throw. It was a great throw, a tight spiral.”

Ari Davis
Terenn Houk catches the ball in the end zone for a two-point conversion—BYU’s first since playing TCU in 2011. (Ari Davis)

The Cougars also scored a two-point conversion with Houk and attempted a fake punt from Jonny Linehan. The two-point conversion is BYU’s first since playing TCU in 2011. Kai Nacua also had two interceptions and returned one for a touchdown.

Mangum is far from being a senior, but that didn’t stop him from shining and setting some more records. He recorded his fourth career game with 300 or more passing yards. He now has seven wins as a starting freshman quarterback, seven consecutive games with a touchdown pass and 226 completions by a freshman. He surpassed Jake Heaps with all three records.

The Cougars now set their sights on Romney Stadium in Logan, where they’ll go this Saturday to battle in-state rival Utah State (1:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network).

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