BYU vs. Fresno State Postgame Notes and Quotes
FLAG BEARERS: ALUMNI: Eli Herring (OT, 1987, 91-94) TEAM: Jake Ziolkowski (Jr., WR) SPECIAL TEAMS: Austin Heder (Jr., LB)
GAME CAPTAINS: Bronson Kaufusi (Sr., DL), Mitch Mathews (Sr., WR), Remington Peck (Sr., DL/TE) and Ryker Mathews (Sr., OL)
40 Years of Memories. At halftime, BYU honored photographer Mark Philbrick who is retiring at the end of the 2015-16 school year. He started at BYU in 1976.
Protecting Home. BYU finished undefeated at home (6-0) for the first time since 2008 and the fourth time under Bronco Mendenhall.
Behind Opponents’ Lines. The Cougarsare 49-2 in games under Bronco Mendenhall in which the defense records three or more sacks. BYU had four sacks and 11 tackles for loss against the Bulldogs. In 2015 the defense has recorded at least six tackles for loss in 10 of 11 games and three or more sacks in eight of 11 games.
Since 1999. BYU has 35 team sacks on the season which is most under Bronco Mendenhall era and the most since the Cougars had 38 in 1999.
Blocked Kicks. BYU has blocked five kicks on the year (3 FG attempts, 1 PAT att. & 1 punt).
Scoring. BYU’s 52 points are second most in a game this season.
Spreading the Ball. BYU now three players with 500 or more receiving yards this season (Mathews 571, Blackmon 537, Kurtz 509) for the first time since 2008.
Touchdown Drive. BYU had its second longest TD drive of the season, going 95 yards on six plays in the third quarter. The longest was a 99-yard drive against Nebraska.
Total Offense. BYU’s 520 total yards are third-most this season. The Cougars have totaled 500 or more yards in five games in 2015.
Opponent Total Yards. The defense held Fresno State to 275 total yards (85 rush, 190 pass). It is the fourth-best outing by the BYU defense this season.
Had his fourth career game with 300 or more passing yards, finishing the game 24 of 37 for 336 yards and one touchdown. He surpassed Jake Heaps for most wins by a starting freshman QB (7), consecutive games with a touchdown pass (7), most completions by a freshman QB (226). Heaps had six wins as a starter, six games in a row with a TD pass and 219 completions.
Recorded three sacks, four tackles for loss, one pass breakup and a blocked field goal. His 10 sacks is a career high for a season and is the most for a BYU player since 2012 when Kyle Van Noy had 13. It is his fifth career game with two or more and second game this season with at least three sacks. His block on Fresno State’s 37-yard field goal attempt in the second quarter is his second blocked kick of the season.
Picked off the quarterback two times to move into a tie with Daniel Sorensen for No. 2 at BYU in career interceptions (Since 2000). His six interceptions are the most since 2001 when Jernaro Gilford also had six. (Since 2000)
Notched his second interception of the year and returned it 27 yards. He finished with four tackles and one tackle for loss
Had two pass breakups, upping his career total to 17. He is now tied for No. 5 all-time at BYU since 2000.
Scored BYU’s first two-point conversion since 2011 vs. TCU. Also caught his third receiving touchdown of the season.
Had four catches for 37 yards along with two rushing touchdowns for his first career multi-touchdown game.
Has caught a pass in 35 consecutive games. Totaled 52 yards on two catches and tied longest of reception of season with 45-yarder.
CAREER HIGHS (The following players recorded notable career highs)
Long Reception – Moroni Laulu-Pututau (23 yards)
Receiving Yards – Moroni Laulu-Pututau (95 yards)
FIRSTS (The following players recorded their first in a respective category)
Touchdown— Moroni Laulu-Pututau (18-yarder)
Multiple Rushing TDs – Francis Bernard (2)
Overall it was a solid win, a win that we hoped for and expected. We had the chance to play a lot of younger players. We’ll keep assessing where the program is that way. I’m just grateful that this senior class played well enough and led well enough to make us undefeated at home. That’s really important at any really, really good program. I’m pleased with their accomplishment. It’s a great memory for them. Overall a good performance that I’m pleased with and we worked really hard.
On the offense’s slow start
I don’t know, I can’t put my finger on it yet as to why we’re starting a little bit slow. Once there was a little buffer they loosened up and played a little better. After the takeaways we gained a little bit of identity and confidence.
On the defense
I think they’re playing more consistently than they have all year. A bunch of our backups played which is always great and their job is to come in and show us what they can do, and they’ve earned the chance to go out there and play. I think the group played fine for the entire day.
On Kai Nacua’s Interception
First I thought the receiver was open and that he caught it because his back was to me, so it kind of shielded the play. Kai has tremendous range and the way that he plays the football and the ground that he can cover is surprising. That’s why I thought their receiver had caught it was because of where Kai was and the ground that he closed–that doesn’t happen very often. He has fantastic hands. Players like that, who have those instincts to play the football in the air, don’t come around very often, and Kai is that type of a player. I don’t know where or how he fits in terms of number of interceptions in a season for our program, but that’s one of his skills. He’s also a very, very good runner after he catches it and we knew that. I saw him play up to four or five positions in high school and he’s great with the ball. He’s becoming a really good safety.
On Remington Peck’s TD pass
I heard the play call, and I was as intrigued as anyone else watching that. It looks like he throws it in the back yard 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.
On the fake punt
We have it built in on the punt if there is a certain alignment and it appears we have more blockers than they have defenders, then it’s built in to his choice on every punt to possibly do that. He made the right decision, but we just couldn’t make the guy miss. There was one guy and three blockers, so we’ll execute better next time.
On the crowd chanting Devon Blackmon’s name
So I didn’t know until we were coming off the field that they were chanting for Devon. I knew they were chanting something, but I didn’t know what. I was oblivious to it. I’d love to see Devon have a touchdown this year and we’ll have two more chances to do it.
On his interception return for a touchdown
I caught it and I returned it. It was fun because I had a half-drop, and so I was showing away from where I needed to go. When the ball was snapped I moved back over to where I thought the receiver was going to go and the ball came that way and I caught it.
On the stop after the fake punt.
I think it was huge to hold them to a field goal rather than a touchdown. It helps keep the offense positive because they feel like they don’t have to chase the other team to score more points.
On the defense forcing turnovers helping the offense
When the pick-six made it 16-3, that was huge was for us. It was a huge boost. It gets everyone fired up. Then Fred Warner got his pick on the next series and it was big and gave us great field position. So obviously, it starts with the defense. That’s a quarterback’s best friend, and they’ve helped us out all year and put us in good position. They help to get us going and the whole team going too.
On Remington Peck’s throw
That was a beautiful throw, it was right on the money. No guarantees next week for who the starter is. He’s been practicing all week and I didn’t even have to help him, he’s a natural athlete on both sides of the ball.
On the slow start for the offense
I think that’s on me. I was missing just a little bit on some of my throws. They were just a little bit off at the start. If we complete those passes, then we can get things going. So obviously it wasn’t the way we wanted to start, but we’ll work on coming out hot and firing the way we want to. Once we were rolling, things were clicking, and that’s when the game is fun. We get more guys involved and things start rolling on all cylinders.
On Devon Blackmon chant
We had a couple good plays set up for him with a few good options, but they had him double covered and you can’t force it. It’s tough because you want him to score, but you have to play the game. His time will come. We’ll get him some more chances. Everyone likes him. He’s had an amazing year and he gets along with everyone. He’s made some big plays to help out team. He’ll be able to score once soon and we’ll do what we can to help him out.
Defense and holding them
The coaches prepared us well for them. We had a really hard week of practice, and we didn’t take them lightly at all. We know they have good players and a good team. We had a really good game plan and were able to execute well today.
Situation with punt fail
It’s big. I view that as momentum for us because they’re on the 20-yard line and we hold them to a field goal instead of getting a touchdown. That built momentum and confidence in our defense knowing we could stop them.
Emotions on senior day
It’s hard because of every motivational talk. Harvey Langi got us emotional in the locker room. I got emotional knowing it’s my last time being with everyone in this locker room and this stadium. Once we got on the field, I was able to clear my head and play the game. Once in awhile, you have to reminisce, and people on the field keep reminding you. It was good and I’m just grateful I was able to play.
Enjoying fourth quarter
Coach asked us if we wanted to stay in because it is senior night, but it is team sport. I said I’m going to see Eric Takenaka and Grant Jones get some time because they’re going to be here next year and they’re going to be building the program. I was fine taking a seat and cheering them from the sidelines.
Emotions on senior day
Gratitude. It was a blessing to go out there and play because I didn’t know if the trainers would clear me or not. Also, to just have a good game and get that win is an awesome feeling to go out on.
Touchdown pass from Peck
It was emotional. I can’t believe that play was going to work. We drew it up on Tuesday as a joke. We said, “Hey, coach Anae, we should do a trick play.” Rem just said, “Hey, I should throw you the ball,” and I said, “Alright.” We practiced it a couple times, and then they called it out there. I’ve never been nervous before, and then I was just like, “Please don’t drop it.” It was like Tanner was back there throwing the ball.
Coach Anae said, “You inside receivers have one chance to come up with a trick play and I promise we’ll run it on senior night.” So Terenn and I drew it up. We practiced it every day during the week, and we didn’t believe he’d call it. He said he promised us he would call it and he did. Man, I didn’t think it was going to work, but Terenn got open and luckily, I made an okay pass and it worked. I thought I overthrew it. I hoped he would get there, but he’s a big guy and I figured it would work out.
Senior year, switching positions, what he’s been through
It’s been a roller coaster ride. You never know what I’m going to do. Next week they’ll probably put me on defense. Who knows? I’ve been grateful to help wherever they need me. People might say it’s been upsetting, but has it been upsetting? Not at all. I’ve enjoyed playing with the guys in the different positions and it’s been good.
Emotions with the team
There’s so much emotion that comes with senior night. Personally, I didn’t think I played so well at the start of the game. I felt like we started a little slow. After that, I thought it’s just a football game. It’s funny for a play like that to end your last game in the stadium.
Walking off the field
It’s emotional. I really enjoyed my time here. I’ve enjoyed playing with these guys more than anything. We’ve been together for four years, and it’s something I’ll never forget.
This guy is always throwing the ball before, after and during practice. I knew when they were going to run it that he was going to throw the touchdown.
Fiery start of the game
I was just excited. It’s senior day, and that played a role. I just wanted to do my best and play my best for the last game.
Walking off the field
It’s crazy. 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.
Breaking through double team and satisfaction of those plays
It felt so good when you can get double team and things open up for you and you are able to see the ball carrier or quarterback standing right there and they have no idea you’re coming full speed. I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s a good feeling.
Ranking this game in career
If I had to rank this one, it would definitely be up there towards the front because it’s senior night, being able to play with all the guys for the last time, enjoying the moment and being there on the sideline and enjoying every single second of it.
Fresno State head coach Tim DeRuyter
On what the team can learn from the loss
We just have to learn to keep fighting, and we have to learn to make good decisions. If you don't, you're going to be on the wrong end of things. It's always tough on seniors when they are getting down to their last couple of games. You have one more opportunity to leave this season with a good taste in your mouth.
On the strength of BYU
Defensively, I thought they were very physical. They’ve got some large guys. Kaufusi is a big man, and he runs really well. Their linebackers run well and are thick and physical. Offensively, their line is big and their backs are big and physical. The receivers had tremendous length and made plays on contested balls. This is a good football team. They are well coached and have a lot of talent.
On the failed fake punt by BYU
There are all kinds of momentum plays during the game, and if you make them, the momentum changes. I think them making us kick the field goal at that point was a momentum turn. We had the short field and we needed to get seven points there. And we didn’t. And it goes from a positive for us to a positive for them.
On the team effort
I feel like when I look at that final score, it doesn’t reflect how hard we played on defense. That’s not bashing the offense at all. We competed as a team. That BYU team is a good team. Their receivers run by a lot of corners and catch a lot of deep balls, and I feel like as a defense, we competed the whole game. It’s a testament to our coaching staff getting us prepared.
On the team's unity
It’s been a tough season, but we’ve been able to rally around each other. This next game is senior night, and we want to send the seniors out the right way. We always have to have the offense’s back, because they always have ours. We just have to prepare to go out there and make a play. That’s just what we have to do.
Thoughts on the game
We were definitely in the game the first quarter. In the end, you could tell that our guys didn't give up and we made some plays but it was a little too late.
On learning from each play
BYU is a great football team, but you can turn on the tape and see that we didn’t get pushed around. I didn’t get pushed around and I know my defensive brothers didn’t get pushed around. But we have to learn how to forget the play that happened and then make a play next time.
BYU did a great job of responding. We make a play and they make a play. We have a three-and-out then they match it. We kick a field goal, and then they kick a field goal. They just did a great job of responding. Football is just like life: it’s not what happens, it’s how you respond.
BYU football wrapped up its first week of fall camp with its fifth practice on Saturday morning.