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Virginia can't hold back No. 21 BYU, fall to Cougars 41-33

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PROVO, Utah — Rolling up more than 500 yards of total offense and holding the ball for nearly 41 minutes wasn't enough for Virginia to upset BYU.

The Cavaliers led in nearly every key statistical category for four quarters, but Taysom Hill and the 21st-ranked Cougars came from behind for a 41-33 victory Saturday.

"Our coaches did a great job of putting a game plan together that allowed us to be competitive in this game," Virginia coach Mike London said. "We made some good things happen and we did some things that didn't help us. They played better than us in the end and they deserved to win."

Virginia (2-2) racked up 519 total yards on a school record 102 plays. The Cougars committed 12 penalties for 133 yards and scored only three points off of two Virginia turnovers.

BYU (4-0) generated a modest 332 yards offensively. Hill completed 13 of 23 passes for 187 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also rushed for another 72 yards and a score on 17 carries.

The Cougars trailed 16-13 at halftime, but came to life with a pair of third quarter touchdowns. BYU sealed the comeback victory when Adam Hine returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown midway through the final quarter.

"We ran 60 plays, which wasn't a lot," Hill said. "Offensively, they had a good game plan. Their best defense was keeping their offense out there.."

That strategy helped contain Hill, who averaged nearly 230 yards passing and 130 yards rushing per game through BYU's first three games.

Virginia wasn't helped by seeing its own drives repeatedly stall in the red zone. The Cavaliers had to settle for four field goals by Ian Frye on four possessions that went deep into BYU territory.

"The offense put up a good amount of numbers," Virginia receiver Canaan Severin said. "I feel like this game showed we can move the ball. We just need to execute."

PHOTO: Brigham Young running back Jamaal Williams (21) carries the ball as Virginia linebacker Henry Coley (44) defends in the second half during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014, in Provo, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Brigham Young running back Jamaal Williams (21) carries the ball as Virginia linebacker Henry Coley (44) defends in the second half during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014, in Provo, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Greyson Lambert completed 21 of 35 for 188 yards for Virginia before leaving with a lower leg injury late in the third quarter. Matt Johns came in and threw for another 139 yards in the fourth quarter completing 14 of 23 passes with one TD.

BYU's turnaround was aided by two huge punts by Scott Arellano, one 65 yards and the other 63 yards, that helped give the Cougars good field position on both of their third-quarter scoring drives.

"Special teams was a big difference in this game and it helped us win it," BYU safety Craig Bills said.

Lambert scored on a QB sneak to put Virginia up 7-0 only 1:06 into the game. Hill then connected with Jordan Leslie for an 8-yard TD toss, knotting the score 10-10.

Virginia regained the lead on Frye's second field goal, this one from 41 yards. On the Cavaliers next possession, however, BYU's Robertson Daniel picked off a Lambert pass near midfield and returned it 36 yards. But all the Cougars could get from the turnover was a 37-yard field goal by Samson.

A 22-yard field goal by Frye gave Virginia a 16-13 lead at the break.

Hill gave BYU its first lead at 20-16 when he broke a tackle near the 10-yard line and then carried another Cavalier through the final 5 yards of a 15-yard TD run.

BYU's run game finally found its form on the Cougars next drive with Hill and Jamaal Williams combining for 57 rushing yards of a 73-yard scoring drive that put the Cougars up 27-16. Williams capped the drive with a 2-yard TD run.

"You could tell it was different for us," BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "It was different for us really from the beginning of the game. It was an appropriate and necessary situation to learn from and we put ourselves in it and we showed ourselves what we could do."

After holding Virginia to another Frye field goal, a 46 yarder, Hill burned the Cavaliers again when he avoided a sack, rolled right and found Mitch Juergens behind the defenders for a 50-yard TD reception.

Virginia made things interesting with Kahlek Shepherd's 9-yard TD run to cut BYU's lead to 34-26 with 8:06 remaining. The momentum was short lived, however, Hine took the ensuing kickoff and raced right up the middle for a score.

"At the end of the day we didn't win and it's frustrating," Johns said. "But I think our offense gave us a chance and at the end of the day that's all you can ask for. This team never gives up."

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