Revenge? Maybe a little. But BYU just wants to win
BYU quarterback Taysom Hill hinted that maybe there’s a little bit of revenge at play when the Cougars host Virginia. Mostly, BYU just wants to keep winning.
The Cougars are 3-0 and at No. 21 in the rankings, with the Cavaliers (2-1) up next on Saturday.
The two teams met last year in a stormy — literally and figuratively — season opener.
Kevin Parks ran 13 yards for a touchdown with 2:36 left after a tipped ball led to an interception, a lateral and 33-yard return, and Virginia came away with a 19-16 victory. The game also featured a two-hour lightning delay between the first and second quarters.
Hill laughed when asked if he wanted “payback” against the Cavaliers.
“I’m very excited about that football game. I don’t know if you want to say revenge or whatever, but I’m very excited to play Virginia again,” he said. “I’ve watched them on tape and some of their games on TV, and they’re a good defense, a good football team. So they will be a good challenge for us.”
The Cougars are coming off a 35-25 victory over Houston in their home opener last week. Hill ran for 160 yards with one score and threw for 200 yards and another, while Jamaal Williams rushed for 139 yards and two TDs.
As a result of the victory, BYU jumped to No. 21 in the AP Top 25, extending its first appearance in the rankings since 2012. The ranking, along with Hill’s ever-increasing profile, has raised expectations for the Cougars.
“I like being in that position, it’s great exposure and we’ve earned it through the first three weeks of this season and really over the last 10 years,” BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “That can change as we go through the season, but we’re anxious to play Virginia and we’ll go from that.”
Virginia is coming off its first win over a Top-25 opponent in three seasons, a 23-21 victory over then-No. 21 Louisville last Saturday in Charlottesville.
Louisville’s fumble on its own 25 was recovered by Virginia’s Kelvin Rainey, and four plays later, Ian Frye’s 42-yard field goal gave the Cavaliers the winning margin.
Here are some other things to consider when Virginia visits BYU on Saturday:
LATE CALL: Virginia linebacker Henry Coley gave coach Mike London a call late Saturday night after the victory over Louisville. Coley wanted his coach’s blessing for a team-only meeting to remind the Cavaliers that one win does not make a season. “Unusual after a win, a big win, but the captains always have the opportunity to call meetings whenever they feel fit,” London said.
DUAL THREAT: Hill is averaging 118.7 yards rushing per game, most among FBS-level quarterbacks. The junior signal-caller has run for six touchdowns and thrown for four more overall this year. He has been named offensive player of the week for the independents for all three weeks of the season.
HILL’S VIRGINIA COUNTERPART: Sophomore QB Greyson Lambert threw for a touchdown and ran for another in Virginia’s win over Louisville. The 6-foot-5 QB has started all three games for the Cavaliers even though he had a rocky debut against UCLA.
SPEAKING OF QUARTERBACKS: BYU announced this week that it will retire the No. 9 jersey of former BYU and NFL quarterback Jim McMahon in a halftime ceremony at the home game against Utah State on Oct. 3. McMahon will be inducted into the school’s athletic Hall of Fame a day earlier.
HEADING WEST: Virginia leads the all-time series against BYU 3-1. The Cavaliers haven’t been to Provo since 1999, when they came away with a 45-40 victory. The trip is just the team’s 17th overall west of the Mississippi. The trek to Provo is the fourth-longest that Virginia has made. The Oahu Bowl in 2000 was the longest.