By The Numbers: Virginia Game


Sep 20, 2014; Provo, UT, USA; Virginia Cavaliers safety Anthony Harris (8) tackles Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Taysom Hill (4) during the first half at Lavell Edwards Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Payback. I came into this game nervous and a little unsure about who BYU really is. After this game I have no doubt that this is a special team. They have terrific leadership, they don’t give up, and they are now 4-0 (which is the best part). Allow yourselves to fully enjoy being a BYU fan right now. Here are the numbers that stood out against the 41-33 win over Virginia.

0. Turnovers by BYU. Virginia came into this game leading the country in forcing turnovers, and BYU gave up none. Something for this team to be proud of.

1. Kickoff returned for a TD. This amazing play by Adam Hine in the 4th quarter erased the momentum that had been gained by the previous touchdown drive by Virginia. Hine finally gets his due after no penalties were drawn on this return. He will go to the NFL if for no other reason than to return kicks. Just awesome.

2. TDs thrown by Taysom Hill. This BYU offense faced their biggest test yet against a stout Virginia defense that keyed in on stopping the run, and Hill came up big once again.

3. Points scored by BYU in the first quarter. The offense came out flat in the first quarter after Virginia started quickly with the lead. Adjustments were made along the way.

3.9 Yards per rush by BYU. Virginia’s game plan was to shut down the run, and while not completely able to do so, they could live with this average.

4. Receptions leader, Jordan Leslie, amounting to 41 yards. Leslie left the game early with what appeared to be an ankle injury but came up big in crucial moments before being taken out.

5. Punts by Scott Arellano, who averaged 55 yards per attempt. His excellent punting helped BYU stay in the game early and force Virginia to have long fields most of the game. He had a great performance.

6. Players with a reception, which is significantly less than the first three games (what happened to Ross Apo by the way?). Devon Blackmon ended up with only two receptions but lead all receivers in yards gained with 55. Every opportunity he has had to touch the ball he has left a huge impression, if only on fans. While we hope Leslie can come back quick from injury, this does mean more snaps for Blackmon.

8.1 Taysom’s average yards per pass. When he was able to connect with his receivers, the passing game was on point. It was interesting to see some bad balls thrown by Hill in this game, which really hadn’t happened so far this season. I think this becomes the outlier.

11. Virginia players with a reception. That’s spreading it out. The passing game was clicking for Virginia most of the time, helped by some poor mental mistakes by our defensive backs.

12. Penalties by BYU for 133 yards. I was hoping these would get cleaned up by now but at this point I don’t see it happening this season. There is obviously not an emphasis on limiting penalties by the coaching staff, and there seems to be an overall lack of mental discipline and care from the players. So far, it hasn’t hurt the team in the W-L record which is good.

13. Completions by Taysom Hill on 22 attempts. That is a 59% completion percentage which would be a season-low for Hill. Virginia has the best defense the Cougars will face all year and so I don’t see Hill struggling like this in the future. However, there were some flat out bad throws, but nothing to harp on.

17. Rushes by Taysom Hill resulting in 72 yards (net). Quite possibly he would have been over 100 if not for some big sacks given by the Cavaliers. The best 15 came on his touchdown run, dragging a defender on his collar into the end zone. Beast.

19. Minutes of possession by BYU. This is one of the interesting stats of the game as Virginia significantly led BYU in almost every statistical category (time of possession, number of plays, passing yards, rushing yards) but BYU still won. Sounds like the opposite of last year, right? Karma baby.

145. Rushing yards by BYU, coming from five players. Virginia had 192.

187. Passing yards by BYU. Virginia had 327.

332. Total yards by BYU. Virginia out gained them with 519, but ultimately it didn’t matter.

This was a great win for BYU Football. The Cougars and Taysom Hill in particular showed they can come back from a deficit and win a game convincingly on ESPN Saturday afternoon. The clips keep racking up for Taysom’s Heisman campaign and he will not be ignored.