Racking up the rushing yards, BYU shuts out Hawai'i 47-0
Hill started under center for the Cougars (3-2) and secured the first victory in BYU history for a true freshman in his first start. He was just the fourth true freshman at BYU to start a game at quarterback, joining Drew Miller, Jake Heaps and John Beck. Hill finished the night completing 12 of 21 for 112 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Hill added another score on his feet and gained 143 yards rushing on 15 attempts, the most rushing yards by a BYU quarterback since 164 from Brandon Doman in 2001.
Williams tallied 155 yards on 15 attempts and two touchdowns. The last time BYU had two 100-yard rushers was Oct. 21, 2006 against UNLV when Curtis Brown and Mike Hague rushed for 148 yards and 123 yards, respectively.
“Jamaal has a great vision. He is a great athlete and we have seen all of that in practice," BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "He made the most of his time. It was fun to see him get him.”
Sophomore Paul Lasike, a former BYU rugby player, also had an offensive presence with 10 touches for 40 yards and two touchdowns.
Senior Brandon Ogletree led a stout defensive effort with seven tackles, two tackles for loss, one pass breakup and one quarterback hurry. Senior Preston Hadley contributed with six tackles, two pass breakups, one sack and one tackle for loss. Junior Kyle Van Noy added two sacks and one quarterback hurry. Hadley and Van Noy each had a forced fumble.
“Our defense can still get better," Mendenhall said. "I tell them that all the time. We have high expectations for them. We do have great players, our front three, our inside and outside linebackers and our safeties. They all have great abilities.”
BYU outgained Hawai’i (1-3) 540 to 149 total yards. The 149 yards marked for the 11th consecutive game the Cougars have held their opponent to under 300 total yards and are the lowest during the streak. BYU's 396 rushing yards are the most under Mendenhall and the most since racking up 410 yards on the ground in a 56-34 win over Colorado State in 2001.
Hill quickly marched down field in BYU’s opening drive of the game, that included a 24-yard pass to Williams. On the 2-yard line, Williams pushed into the endzone for the first score of the game with 10:48 on the clock. The opening drive touchdown is the first in seven games for the Cougars.
BYU's Daniel Sorensen intercepted Hawai'i but then BYU gave it back with one of their own with five minutes left in the quarter.
The Cougars picked up big rushing gains, with Hill moving the chains 15 yards and Williams breaking away for a 27-yard pickup, before Hill found a wide-open Ross Apo for a 22-yard touchdown, his first of the season. The 7-play, 80-yard scoring drive extended BYU’s lead to 14-0 only seconds into the second quarter.
After just two plays into the drive, Hill showed his speed, breaking away up the middle for a 68-yard run, the longest of the season, going all the way for a touchdown. The Warriors blocked the PAT attempt to move the score to 20-0 with 6:16 to play in the half. The play moved Hill’s rushing total past the 100-yard mark, breaking BYU’s streak of 17 consecutive games without a 100-yard rusher.
The No. 7 BYU defense came out in full force after the break, with Van Noy forcing a fumble on the first play of the second half. Spencer Hadley recovered the ball to set the Cougars up at the 2-yard line where Williams worked his way into the end zone for his second score of the night, padding BYU’s lead 27-0 at 13:38.
Williams continued to add up yards with back-to-back breakaway rushes of 19 yards and 35 yards. Hill would score through the air again, finding Devin Mahina for a 12-yard reception to push the BYU advantage to 34-0 with 4:18 left in the third quarter.
BYU’s defense continued to create highlights as Hadley forced a fumble while Bronson Kaufusi recovered it to set the Cougars up at the Hawai’i 23-yard line. Lasike took advantage of the short field and scored a touchdown, followed by a missed PAT, to bring the score to 40-0 to end the third quarter. Lasike found the end zone once again with 6:58 left in the game to tally a 47-0 final score.
The Cougars remain at home for an Oct. 15 matchup with in-state rival Utah State. The game will be on ESPN and kickoff is set for 8:15 p.m. MDT.
BYU center Connor Pay was named to the 2023 Rimington Trophy preseason watchlist for the second season in row.