PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Down 14 points in the first half in front of 70,000-plus fans at Arkansas Saturday, and down ten in the second half, BYU didn’t panic. The Cougars fought back.
“I love the resiliency and the fight in our young men,” said head coach Kalani Sitake. “To come back from two scores down early in the game, and then to do it again in the second half. I’d like to start a lot better this week, but it’s nice to see a team fight back when they need to.”
The Cougars scored 21 unanswered points in the first half, and 17 straight points in the second half to beat the Razorbacks, 38-31, to improve to 3-0 on the year.
“We knew we had a lot of time to regain the momentum,” said linebacker Max Tooley, who had a crucial second half interception. “We just kept our composure. It’s not the way you want to start, but it’s how you finish, and we always had that in our heads.”
There were a couple of spectacular one-handed catches. One by tight end Isaac Rex to set up the game-tying touchdown, and then a spectacular grab by Chase Roberts to give BYU the lead.
“Chase’s was for the win, so it’s hard to compare,” said a smiling Rex. “Chase’s was all-time. That was one of the coolest catches. Seeing that live on the field was awesome. What a great moment in BYU history.”
More history will be made on Saturday as the Cougars play their first Big 12 Conference game ever at Kansas.
“This is our opening game in the Big 12 Conference,” Sitake said. “We’re not going to ever get this back again, so I need these guys to understand the seriousness of the situation, and why there needs to be a huge sense of urgency. We’ve been hoping for this since we were in independence.”
This game will be especially meaningful for BYU receiver Darius Lassiter. His late father Kwamie played at Kansas, and his brother Kwinton is currently a cornerback on the team.
“It means a lot,” Lassiter said. “We always dreamed about playing with each other or against each other, whether it be at this level or the next level. So just having the opportunity in our first Big 12 game for BYU, it’s just great.”
BYU (3-0) and Kansas (3-0) will kick off at 1:30 MT this Saturday in Lawrence, Kansas.