Cougar offense awakens in 41-16 BYU victory over SUU
What a difference a week can make.
Just seven days ago, BYU fans were ready to push every possible panic button following an uninspiring 14-point performance for the Cougars against Sam Houston. Saturday in Provo, however, BYU was back to its usual humming self as six different players found the end zone in a 41-16 rout of Southern Utah.
“I think we just came out and played better and executed,” BYU quarterback Kedon Slovis said. “That’s the team that I have seen all fall camp, and that’s the offense that we are. We still have a lot of plays out there and yards on the field. It wasn’t a perfect game, by any means, but I’m proud of the guys, and when adversity hit, I thought we did a pretty good job executing.”
Much of that improved execution came thanks to Slovis, who rebounded from a concerning effort last week to throw for 348 yards and four touchdowns at a 195.1 rating. Other than an early pressure-aided interception, Slovis was accurate, poised and kept the Cougars moving downfield despite a poor team rushing performance — although the quarterback did scurry into the end zone himself on a six-yard keeper score.
“If you give Kedon the time to throw, he can do it,” BYU head coach Kalani Sitake said. “We need to find ways to keep him upright, because when he is there, and can throw and deliver the ball, all within the right timing, he is really good.
“Now he is getting a lot of confidence running the ball. I think that was a good pull that he did in the game to get a rushing touchdown. I do like him throwing the ball though. He is really clean, and we need to find ways to compliment what he can do on offense so that we aren’t predictable and aren’t just relying on his arm.”
While the offense did begin the afternoon a tad bit sluggish, Slovis and company rallied for 27 unanswered points to finish the first half, with Isaac Rex, Keanu Hill and Darius Lassiter grabbing touchdowns and Deion Smith running for his first career BYU score.
“I felt pretty confident in the offense as a whole and things just started working out for us,” Slovis said. “Shooters shoot, and eventually the shots start to fall. I just got to keep trusting the process, the calls and scheme.”
Along with his touchdown, Rex led the receiving charge with 112 yards and tied BYU legend Gordon Hudson for the most career touchdown receptions for a tight end in program history.
“I would be lying if I said it didn’t mean a lot,” Rex said of his new record. “I’ve grown up being a huge BYU fan coming to all of the games. I’ve looked up to players like Dennis Pitta, my dad of course and even old Gordon Hudson highlights. It’s been a dream of mine to play this position at this school. To get a record like that is really cool for me. I don’t take it lightly. I realize that this is a team sport, and I try to do my job every play, but to have a stat in the record books is really cool and I can’t deny that.”
BYU, now 2-0 on the young season, will begin facing Power 5 competition next week as the Cougars head to Arkansas before starting their first ever Big 12 conference slate.
“It’s going to be a new challenge every week, and there’s going to be some games where we play some really good defenses. I think that’s why I am here,” Slovis said. “I’m up for the challenge and I’m excited for the challenge. I’d take the guys on our side of the field with me anywhere and against anybody. I love our offense, scheme and players. It’s a great challenge and it’ll start to ramp up here starting next week and getting into conference play, but I know that we are all really excited for the challenge.”