Freshmen Hill, Williams lift BYU over Hawaii 47-0
PROVO, Utah (AP) — Hawaii coach Norm Chow joked a few days ago that Provo would bring back some fond memories.
Friday night instead was a nightmare, one the former BYU assistant couldn't wait to escape as evidenced by a noticeably brief postgame handshake with Cougars coach Bronco Mendenhall after being shut out 47-0.
"We've got to grow up," said the 66-year-old Chow, who watched as two defensive linemen were carted off early and also lost two offensive linemen to injury. "This is a big-boy business; nobody is feeling sorry for us. We can't feel sorry for ourselves."
It didn't help that a couple of freshmen backups — quarterback Taysom Hill and 17-year-old running back Jamaal Williams — did most of the damage as BYU (3-2) racked up 396 yards rushing.
"We came out and started fast," said Hill, making his first college start in place of injured senior Riley Nelson. "It was the first time we scored on the first drive, which was phenomenal. And to come out and win the way we did was great."
Hill ran for 143 yards, including a 68-yard TD scamper out of the no-huddle offense.
"On the sideline I've been asking for that play," said Hill, who also passed for 112 yards and two TDs. "They were gassed and when we could go no-huddle and run something like that, it works pretty well. My line got to their backers and their safeties split. It became a foot race, and luckily I outran them."
The Cougars led 20-0 at halftime and 40-0 through three quarters.
The shutout was BYU's first since Nov. 7, 2009, when it beat Wyoming 52-0.
Hawaii (1-3) had not been shut out since Oct. 3, 1998, a span of 182 straight game. The 47-point margin of defeat was the largest since a 70-14 loss at Fresno State in 2004 — another reason social media sites lit into first-year head coach Chow afterward.
In three losses, Hawaii has been outscored 165-34. Its only win this year came against unheralded Lamar.
Against Nevada last week, running back Stefphon Jefferson scored seven TDs.
Friday, BYU split up the wealth, with rugby player Paul Lasike adding a pair of late TDs in mop-up duty.
Williams was the one who stepped up early when starter Michael Alisa broke his right forearm.
"It felt pretty good, to be 17 and to have them trust me like that," said Williams, who gained 155 yards on 15 carries, with two TDs.
"I'm learning to mature faster."
So is Hill, who is a returned missionary and not the average freshman.
Hill finished 12 of 21 for 112 yards, with TD passes of 22 and 12 yards. His rushing totals were the most by a BYU quarterback since Brandon Doman — the Cougars' offensive coordinator — gained 164 yards on 18 carries in 2001.
Despite Hill's solid showing, Mendenhall insisted Nelson would remain his starter when healthy and capable.
For now, Mendenhall said Nelson's injured back needs rest to heal and couldn't say how long that would take.
"I am a Riley Nelson fan and believe in his leadership ability when he is healthy," Mendenhall said.
Hill, meanwhile, wasn't about to get caught up in any quarterback controversy but was preparing as if he'd start next week against Utah State.
Chow, who was back in Provo for the first time as a head coach, was simply trying to regroup — especially after seeing defensive tackles Geardon Hanohano and starter Siasau Matagiese carted off the field following apparent helmet-to-helmet collisions on back-to-back series during the first quarter.
Team officials said initial X rays to the neck area were negative and both had movement in their limbs.
Both players flashed the "shaka" — the Hawaiian sign for hang loose — as they were being carted off the field.
That was about the only good sign for Hawaii fans, who watched on national television as BYU outgained the Warriors 540-149, and held a 30-9 advantage in first downs and a 396-41 edge in rushing.
Still, BYU defensive back Preston Hadley was not about to get overconfident.
"I do not think we should walk off just patting ourselves on the back," he said. "That is not the best team we played. But it is a confidence booster to hopefully get us in the right direction."
Chow has a ways to go for that to happen.
Chow spent 27 years at BYU (1973-1999), from graduate assistant to offensive coordinator and assistant head coach, and helped the team win a national championship in 1984. But the first-year Hawaii coach stirred things up in July when he reiterated the university's position that a returning missionary, defensive back/return specialist Michael Wadsworth, could transfer to any school except BYU and intimated the Cougars engaged in unfair recruiting.
Mendenhall denied the charges, and let his team handle things on the field.
"Our team took some steps forward today, certainly with an emphasis on running the football," he said.