BYU vs. Boise State Postgame Notes | BYU Cougar Club

BYU vs. Boise State Postgame Notes

(Photo by BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)

The following notes and quotes are from BYU's 24-7 loss to Boise State. 

AMERICAN FLAG BEARER: LTC Steven Ballard (Active Duty Army)
TEAM FLAGS: Brayden El-Bakri (RB), Handsome Tanielu (DL), Micah Hannemann (DB), Cody Stewart (DB)
ALUMNI FLAG BEARERS: Garrett Juergens (WR, 2013-16), Mitchell Juergens (WR, 2010, 13-16), Hala Paongo (DL, 2003-06), Travis Uale (DB, 2008-11)

BYU moves to 2-6 in the series against Boise State. The home team had won every year since 2012 until this season.

Opening Drive Score
For the first time this season, BYU scored on its first possession. Running back Ula Tolutau rushed for three yards into the end zone for his second touchdown this season.

Grant Jones had his first career interception and returned it for 20 yards in his first career start. Jones finished with two tackles.

Ula Tolutau rushed nine times for 38 yards and one touchdown.  

Matt Bushman recorded two career highs with 65 yards on sevenreceptions.

Fred Warner led the Cougars with 10 tackles and tied a career-high nine solo stops.

Receiving yards: Matt Bushman (65)
Receptions: Matt Bushman (7)

NOTABLE CAREER FIRSTS (The following players recorded their first in a respective category)
Start: Grant Jones
Interception: Grant Jones
Passing attempt: Joe Critchlow
Pass completion: Joe Critchlow

BYU head coach Kalani Sitake
You can respond from adversity and you can get back on the right track. The goal is to try and turn this thing and that’s what we’re going to try and do. And it requires hard work and some really good wise decisions from the coaches and from the players. I’m anxious to get to work right now and try to get this fixed. This is not what we thought it would be – this season and tonight – so we’ll work on everything.

No one is going to quit. If you look at effort wise, the defense was just getting run on them the second half more than before. I think Boise was just trying to run the clock. There was one drive that was just a third-down nightmare.”

Obviously, nobody likes losing this many games in a row. We’ve just got to erase it and start a new season over right now.

Consistency is the issue. When you start off hot and it tempers down, it’s not good. We’ve got to find a way to keep that momentum and keep it rolling. We started fast and the goal now is to sustain it and finish strong and we haven’t been able to do that on offense.

About Boise State
They were committed to run the ball, especially the second half. I keep going back to third downs on that one drive. We had some mistakes that cost us.

We need to develop an identity – I know it sounds crazy mid-season – but we need to have someone we can hang our hat on and I think his name is Ula Tolutau.

There’s definitely a lot of room for improvement in all three phases of the ball, but the focus right now is primarily on the offense.

Tonight we were without Butch(Pau’u) and without Matt Hadley and so Fred (Warner) has been the guy that has played hard every down. He’s played the most downs on our defense. He’s productive. He had 10 tackles tonight. We had 60 plays on offense and I think they had 67 and for him to have that much production is really good. He’s playing really hard and he’s a bright spot on the defense.

About Tanner Mangum’s play
I don’t know what it was in the first quarter, but it seemed like he was connecting on all of his throws. Things were going really well but as the game went along, we were making bad reads and obviously, the interceptions didn’t help. I’m not really going to sugar coat it. It’s just not good enough.

On things to fix on offense
Everything. That’s the easiest way to answer that question. Obviously, we felt that we were doing some positive things. Right now, it’s consistency and whatever the reason is, we need to fix it. This is not good. We don’t really have a chance to play if we’re not productive on offense.

About the receivers
Matt’s (Bushman) a big target and we knew going into the season that he would be a mismatch in our favor so when people are taking that away the others need to be options and we need to be spreading the ball out. We can’t keep forcing the ball to him.

The overall offense production is why there is no rhythm. Obviously, we want to run the ball more with Ula (Tolutau) but we need to have more production and we need to have better than what we did on third downs. Being 5 for 14 on third downs and one for four on fourth downs doesn’t really help you and the turnovers don’t help. In order for us to generate momentum we need to possess the ball and get first downs. And then we can utilize those guys. We’ve got to look at everything and see who we can hang our hat on and who are going to be our guys that we can go into the next game with. The focus is going to be on what we can improve right now and I just want to go to work and get it fixed.

BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum
We’ve got a lot of work to do. It’s tough. You work so hard and want to come out with a victory, but we didn’t play well enough and that’s frustrating. That’s the game, you’ve got to keep going and keep moving on. We have got to keep fighting to get better and we will do that.

I think that we didn’t execute the way that we could. I didn’t take care of the ball and threw a pick. That really changed the momentum. I have to be better there. They are a good team and they did some things that made us change the way we had to do things. They were physical and we didn’t continue with the same consistency that we should have.

We weren’t consistent in our execution. We couldn’t finish drives and a lot of that lands on me. I need to be more consistent with taking care of the ball and driving the ball down field.

I think it comes down to our heart. We’ve got to believe in ourselves and keep fighting. It’s a football game, you’re going to get down and the other team is going to have good plays as well. It’s a matter of us having the will to fight, sticking to our game plan and keep going after it. I believe in our guys and that we can get this thing going. It’s frustrating that we haven’t done it yet. We need to focus one game at a time and can’t change what’s happened. We need to learn from it. We are working hard. It’s not a matter of effort or heart. It’s a matter of execution, and I think we’ve got to crack down on that and be able to put a drive together and put points on the board to help our defense out.

We did some good things in the running game. The running game is huge — if we can run the ball, it opens up the passing game. When we throw every down, it makes it easier for the defense. They put pressure on every play during the last couple of drives and I took some hits. We need to be able to run the ball better. We had some good runs. We just need to be more consistent with it. I think it comes down to me being more accurate with the passes I am throwing. I need to be better at that. It would give us a chance to get some points on the board. I look forward working on being more accurate on my throwing and our running game.

We have the same philosophy, we need to control the running game and the front and be able to throw off that. I don’t question the coaches at all. I believe in everything they are doing. It comes down to us executing. It’s not the coaches fault I am throwing picks or that we are fumbling the ball or missing blocks and assignments. That’s on us and we know that. We know what we can improve. We know how we can get better. Regardless of what the coaches put us in we know we can do it. Now it is up for us to execute. I accept full responsibility for our struggles. We have to get back to work and get this thing going.

BYU tight end Matt Bushman
During the first half, I found openings in the zone and in the second half, they started bracketing. I should still be able to get open, but a couple good plays we found with Micah Simon with a deep ball. That’s the kind of stuff we have got to keep executing. Even if they are bracketing us we should still be able to find openings and make plays.

I feel like we are confident. We are trying. We aren’t giving up. We have heart every time it is just frustrating that we can’t get drives to last to get to the end zone. Our leaders are stepping up to keep us motivated and keep us positive. It’s just hard having to rely on the defense so much. We have to get points on the board.

BYU linebacker Grant Jones
We ran blitzes. They had pressure on them, and I was in the right spot at the right time.

I found out right before the game started that I’d be starting as linebacker.

The mood in the locker room is the same as the beginning of the season. Obviously we are disappointed and frustrated, but we love each other and know that next week is Mississippi State.   

We don’t feel more pressure from the offense. We go out and do what we know how to do. We love being on the field. If something unfortunate happens, we don’t hang our heads. We are excited to play football.

BYU linebacker Adam Pulsipher
On the talent of the linebacker core
We have a lot of guys who can play. Grant (Jones) isn’t new to the group; he played linebacker last year. We have a lot of talented players: Fred (Warner), Butch (Pau’u), Johnny (Tapusoa), me, Va’a (Niumatalolo) and Isaiah (Kaufusi). I think we have a belief in our group that if anyone steps in, it doesn’t matter — we can all make a play.  

On the chemistry of the linebacker group
We all are good friends off the field, and that helps on the field. We trust each other and we know where everyone is going to be, and that allows us to make good plays like Grant made today. That is nothing new. We see Grant making big plays in practice all of the time.

On Boise State’s offensive scheme
They ran a lot of their shallow cross stuff. They would bring two across and kind of set a pick, and then they would send it back on the wheel and bring the receiver over from the other side. They got us on that a couple times. We should have expanded a little more on those plays, or fought over a block. We need to fix the little things. I think third down is where we need to pin our ears back and make big plays. You saw us do it a few times, but we need to do it a little more.

On Fred Warner’s play
Every day Fred is working to get better. He is a great person to learn from. He is someone who is going to be playing football for a long time. 

Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin
I’ll say this — one: I’m really proud of our guys over the last couple of weeks. Coming off of the game that we did going and back out there, going to work and working on the same exact things that we work on every single week. Just because we lose a game and win a game doesn’t mean that we’re not working on things. I think that’s crazy. What we did is we go back and we focused on what we do in practice. We focused on why we were good in practice. And we talked about how about we carry over what we do in practice to the game. That’s really what the whole message of this week was. We’re going to play faster up front in the O-line. We’re going to play more physical. 

The first practice we had when we came back was fast and physical. It’s amazing when you do that in this game, when you just play fast and physical, and you play like you practice and you play lose — and you play in your assignments, it’s going to show when you go out there. We re-emphasized things we already emphasize and tried to show our guys why it’s so important and to do it for four quarters. 

I’m just proud of our guys that they trusted that process and went out there and actually did it tonight. We ran the ball better. We had a turnover early in the game — we overcame that. It’s one of those — you have a turnover early, you’re on the road — now what’s going to happen? It’s just the silly emotions that we all go through. Well, what you do is you respond. You show back up in the next play and you go down there and try and find a way to score. It’s really that simple, and I’m trying to get our guys to understand when they’re young — that’s really all it is. It’s not complicated. 

I thought defensively we played well. Keko’s interception was a major momentum changer. Layton’s interception towards the end of the game after he went out and you don’t know if he’s coming back in. All of the sudden he’s back in and has the ball — he said it felt really good to carry the ball again and he looked good with it. These guys showed up tonight, they played extremely hard. They played for four quarters. They wanted to win — which they’ve wanted to win in every single game that we’ve played  —  and they executed better. 

I thought their coaches did a very good job with their planning. I thought the way that they called the game and how we had to go out there and execute it wasn’t perfect. But, you know, it was pretty good tonight. And the communication was pretty good. 

Overall, we got a win on the road — our first one. We’re happy about that. We’re going to build from this. We have 24 hours to enjoy it, and then we’ll go back to work on Sunday. That will be the first practice towards San Diego State and finding a way to beat them. 

Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch
Just taking it one play at a time. I think that we did a very good job of that and playing every single snap as hard as we could go. We really wanted to emphasize stopping the run this week because they have a big running back and they like to run the ball.

It was fun to get back out here on the field after two weeks, especially after that last game against Virginia. It felt really good to get out there with the guys. The offense did a great job and we did everything we could to get the ball back to the offense. BYU’s defense is good, so you have to give props to our offense they did a great job the whole game chipping away at the field.

Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien
We have had to fighting through adversity the whole year. It’s been a tough start to the year but to finally get up and through a touchdown pass felt really good. It was a tough start to the game but you have to bounce back and there is a lot of game left to play. I knew that, the coaching staff knew that so I thought we did a good job with that.

This is a very hostile environment to play in as a road team. It is probably the most people that we will play in front of all year. The crowd was loud tonight and you could feel it on the offense.

Boise State running back Alex Mattison
On being physical
It’s something that I pride myself in a lot. We prepare and preach it. It’s all about showing what you practice. We came out and the offensive line hit it fast and physical. I followed their blocks and trusted the process. I know that tonight was a night that we were going to hit it and do great things tonight

On the run game tonight
We are trying to get different guys in there, as many as we can. It’s all about hitting it fast and physical whichever back is in, we are all going to try to do the same thing. We just knowing that we don’t have the time and the opportunities to sit there and dance around.