Defense leads BYU to win over UMass 35-16
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – A dominant defense helped the BYU football team record a road victory against UMass 35-16 Saturday afternoon at Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots.
Despite going down 10-0 early thanks to a turnover on BYU's first offensive play, the Cougars (5-5) rattled off 35 unanswered points and stymied the Minutemen (4-7) offense the rest of the game.
BYU's defense held UMass to season lows in total yards (285), passing yards (183), yards per play (4.13) and yards per attempt (5.5). The Cougars also tied their own season high with 4.0 sacks.
Sione Takitaki and Isaiah Kaufusi led the BYU defense both recording career highs of 14 total tackles. Rhett Sandlin recorded his first career sacks with two and Corbin Kaufusi and Bracken El-Bakri both recorded one sack apiece.
Quarterback Zach Wilson went 14 of 22 for 167 passing yards and touchdowns, both going to Talon Shumway. Neil Pau’u recorded two receptions for a total of 62 yards and a career long of 40. Aleva Hifo also added his first two rushing touchdowns of his career in the win.
BYU outplayed UMass on the ground totaling 222 rushing yards to the Minutemen’s 102, holding them to just five rushing yards in the second half.
First Quarter Review
UMass started the scoring out early putting up three points with a field goal on their first drive of the game. BYU came out for their first drive of the game but Hifo fumbled the ball giving the ball back to the Minutemen. Eight plays later, UMass found the end zone taking an early lead with the first touchdown of the day going up 10-0 with 4:12 left in the first quarter.
However, the Cougars would quickly answered back with a touchdown of its own after a 36-yard run from Wilson and a 25-yard reception from Dallin Holker put BYU in the red zone. A four-yard pass to Talon Shumway put BYU on the board making the score 10-7 at the 2:33 mark.
- Zach Wilson recorded his longest rush of his career (36 yards)
Second Quarter Review
The Cougars took its first lead of the game as Shumway recorded his second touchdown of the day. A rush from Matt Hadley for 26 yards put the Cougars in the red zone and two plays later Wilson threw a 15-yard pass to Shumway making the score 14-10 to go into halftime.
- Corbin Kaufusi recorded a sack, giving him 8.5 for the season
- Talon Shumway tallied his first multi-touchdown game of his career with four-yard and 15-yard receptions in the end zone.
Third Quarter Review
A flee flicker play from Matt Hadley to Zach Wilson resulted in a 40-yard completed pass to a double-covered Neil Pau’u. It put the Cougars in the red zone in the third quarter. Two plays later Matt Hadley ran two yards into the end zone increasing BYU’s lead to 21-10 with 8:08 left in the quarter.
Two drives later Pau’u made another big catch for 22 yards from Wilson. The pass set the Cougars up to score its fourth touchdown as Aleva Hifo ran for three yards out, making the score 28-10 with 2:03 to go in the third quarter.
- Rhett Sandlin recorded his first career sack
- Neil Pau’u recorded the longest reception of his career at 40 yards
- Aleva Hifo tallied his first career rushing touchdown for three yards in the third quarter
Fourth Quarter Review
Only minutes into the fourth quarter, Hifo scored his second rushing touchdown of the game, running for 10 yards to push the lead to 35-10 at the 12:47 mark.
The Minutemen answered back with its first touchdown since the first quarter. A 23-yard pass to Andy Isabella put UMass on BYU’s 5 yard-line and quarterback Ross Comis would run the football into the end zone on the next play. After a failed two-point conversion the score stood at 35-16 with 5:16 left in the game. BYU got the ball back and ran out the clock to end the game with a victory 35-16.
BYU returns home for the final home game of the season and senior day to take on New Mexico State on Nov. 17. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. at LaVell Edwards Stadium. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN2 with radio coverage on BYU Radio Sirius XM 143/89.1 FM HD2, BYU Sports Network and KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM.
BYU center Connor Pay was named to the 2023 Rimington Trophy preseason watchlist for the second season in row.