After a disappointing 4-9 season last year, nobody knew what to expect after BYU head coach Kalani Sitake fired some of his staff — including offensive coordinator Ty Detmer — after the Cougars suffered their worst season in decades.
Despite hiring LSU offensive line coach Jeff Grimes to replace Ty Detmer — who I wrote would help turn the Cougar offense around — a number of national media pundits, including the ESPN College Gameday crew, gave the Cougars no chance to win Saturday’s game against Arizona.
But that’s why you play the game.
The Cougars dominated the Wildcats in all facets of the game as they turned Arizona Stadium into a home game thanks to a large crowd of BYU faithful in attendance.
Coming back from an Achilles’ tendon injury, senior quarterback Tanner Mangum threw for a game-high 209 yards and a touchdown while senior running back Squally Canada rushed for a game-high 98 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Cougars to a 28-23 road victory, and spoiled Kevin Sumlin’s Arizona coaching debut Saturday night.
Former players including ESPN’s Trevor Matich, Jonny Linehan, Taysom Hill and BYU basketball star Jimmer Fredette tweeted about Saturday’s game. Even rivals chimed in on the win as former Utah star and NFL running back Jamal Anderson praised the Cougars after the win.
Future BYU QB and 4-star recruit Jacob Conover, who was heavily recruited by Alabama, added “That was just a glimpse of what is about to come to pass.” Several national writers also chimed in saying “BYU is back!”
Here’s a look at all the best tweets from national media members, BYU fans, players, recruits, coaches and former players:
— Tom Fornelli (@TomFornelli) September 2, 2018
This may be the most surprising game of the day. BYU, coming off 4-9, just completely outplaying a promising Arizona team. Defense has stymied Khalil Tate.
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) September 2, 2018
All of a sudden, BYU at Wisconsin looks sort of interesting.
— Pete Fiutak (@PeteFiutak) September 2, 2018
BYU appears to not stink this season, which makes things interesting out west:
9/8: vs Cal
9/29: at UW
11/24 at Utah
— Jon Wilner (@wilnerhotline) September 2, 2018
ESPN FPI gave BYU a 3% chance to start the season 2-0. #BeatTheOdds
— CougarStats (@CougarStats) September 2, 2018
— Jacob Conover (@jacob_conover17) September 2, 2018
— Ethan Erickson (@e_erickson87) September 2, 2018
Someone tell Arizona they need to up their border patrol they got a problem with Canada walkin in#BYUFootball
— Radical Saint (@RadderdaySaint) September 2, 2018
— 🇺🇸 CJ (@BYUFanCJ) September 2, 2018
Don’t sleep on @BYUfootball Khyiris Tonga (@khyiristonga). The guy lives in the backfield and is an absolute beast. Arizona had no answer for him and we doubt anyone else will. #BYUFOOTBALL #BYUvsAZ #GoCougs #BYU pic.twitter.com/sMQbDrFZ5i
— Fan Insider (@FanInsider_) September 2, 2018
BYU moves into sole possession of first place in the PAC 12 with that win over Arizona.
— Robby McCombs (@rtmccombs) September 2, 2018
BYU’s O-Line: pic.twitter.com/Uboi1uNOG3
— Cameron Stewart (@camstew) September 2, 2018
JUST WIN BABY WINNNNN!!!
— Troy Warner ® (@TroWarner) September 2, 2018
— Dayan G. Lake (@Lake_Era5) September 2, 2018
— butchpauu (@butchpauu7) September 2, 2018
What a great TEAM win last night!! We have a special group of young men to coach. I feel so blessed to be a part of this team. Go Cougs!! #BuiltNotBorn
— Fesi Sitake (@fsitake) September 2, 2018
I don’t usually stay up this late but when I do it’s for BYU Football. This has been impressive so far!
— Jimmer Fredette (@jimmerfredette) September 2, 2018
— Taysom Hill (@T_Hill4) September 1, 2018
BYU is establishing a physical identity. OC Jeff Grimes was OL coach at Auburn for their 2010 National Championship run. His center was BYU's OL coach Ryan Pugh, who was All SEC 3 times, and a Rimington Trophy finalist. That mentality also makes their defense tougher. #BYUvsAZ
— Trevor Matich (@TMatich) September 2, 2018
I haven’t seen Kalani smile like this since last time we beat Arizona. I love the swag. We are back. I love this team. STAY WOKE! #GoCougs
— Jonny Linehan (@jlinehan9) September 2, 2018
-Grimes, Arod, Fesi, Pugh, Clark were even better than I expected
-OL was dominant
-Khyris is my fave D player
-Takitaki is the best D player
-Props to Tuiaki, absolutely shut down Tate
-I need @adamamin to call ALL BYU games.
— Jake Kuresa (@jake_kuresa) September 2, 2018
— Benjamin Criddle (@CriddleBenjamin) September 2, 2018
Love the games when BYU goes toe to toe physically. Squally continues to impress. And Tanner spread it around. Great first game Grimes. Good to be going to bed late like old times. @gregwrubell @marclyonsbyu
— Nate Meikle (@nate_meikle) September 2, 2018
Best of luck to @BYUfootball today! Destroy them dudes today.
— Ross Apo (@RossApo1_MILEWR) September 1, 2018
Ok Cougars. Ok. I know some of you are hard, hard core. But keeping it 💯my heart won't allow me to root against Kalani. Unless of course its against my UTES. So, happy for him.
— Jamal Anderson (@jamthedirtybird) September 2, 2018
Game 🏈 has to go to Grimes play calling and the o-line. 183 yds. rushing and dominated time of possession. That one felt good!
— Cameron Jensen (@cjenser33) September 2, 2018
What is going on with BYU football? Did @boneyfuller repent or something?
— The Stake Clerk (@Ldsstakeclerk) September 2, 2018
— Kevin Nixon (@KevinNixon33) September 2, 2018
Observation: BYU looks physically better than Arizona.
Impressed with what I'm seeing from #BYUFOOTBALL.
I preach in 8 hours☺️ but I'm still not sleeping.
— Dr. Derwin L. Gray (@DerwinLGray) September 2, 2018
I think they were saying Tanner for Heisman…Tate who????????#BYUFootball #ThisIsY#Byumomma
— ByuMomma (@uclagrad90) September 2, 2018
I just loved watching running backs fall forward so many times tonight, the pile pushing forward, offense keeping the opp D off balance, a quality return on special teams, a receiver making a great play on an imperfectly thrown ball. This should have BYU fans jacked up!!!
— Tony Parks (@tonyparkszone) September 2, 2018
Canada was terrific tonight. Looks like Williams did a few years ago
— Tony Jones (@tribjazz) September 2, 2018
— Brandon Judd (@brandonljudd) September 2, 2018
— BYU Football (@BYUfootball) September 2, 2018