There’s just something about BYU in season opening football games.
In 2011 there was the Kyle Van Noy scoop and score for the go-ahead touchdown to complete BYU’s dramatic 14-13 victory over Ole Miss.
In 2015, freshman quarterback Tanner Mangum connected with Mitch Mathews on the final play of the game to beat Nebraska 33-28, ending a 29-game winning streak for season openers for the Cornhuskers.
Don’t worry, this year didn’t disappoint either.
After leading the entire game – up until the 1:26 mark on Nick Wilson’s 49 yard touchdown run – BYU found itself trailing 16-15.
But that’s “right where they want” the running joke has gone over the years due to BYU’s late game heroics.
On BYU’s final drive, Hill moved the offense 53 yards over nine plays to set up the potential 33-yard game-winning field goal.
After Rhett Almond missing an extra point earlier in the game, the Cougar coaching staff decided to go with Jake Oldroyd.
The true freshman out of Southlake, Texas, stepped up in his first collegiate game and with his first collegiate attempt and split it right through the uprights with four seconds left to give BYU a thrilling 18-16 victory over Arizona before a crowd of 50,528 at the University of Phoeniz Stadium – home of the Arizona Cardinals.
— Justin Giles (@JustinGiles_) September 4, 2016
BYU and its freshmen always pulling last-second finishes.
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) September 4, 2016
“I told him (Jake) that I wanted to give him a big kiss,” said quarterback Taysom Hill after the big kick. … “I couldn’t be happier or prouder of him.”
BYU fans on Twitter quickly pointed out that Oldroyd or “Jake the Make” was attending Prom just a couple of months ago and now kicked off the 2016 season with a bang in the debut for BYU head coach Kalani Sitake and offensive coordinator Ty Detmer.
Taysom Hill looked sharp after missing last season as the fifth year senior completed 21 of 29 passes for 202 yards and a touchdown. Running back Jamaal Williams was spectacular with 162 yards and would have had well over 200 if it wasn’t for some penalties from his teammates that negates several huge runs.
BYU’s defense lived in the backfield as they pressured Arizona quarterback Anu Solomon all night. Solomon had two interceptions, including a big one by Kai Nacua – his ninth of his career – late in the fourth quarter.
“Guys, I’m too old for this. Too much stress,” Hill said with a big smile afterwords.
What We Learned
BYU:The duo of Taysom Hill and Jamaal Williams looked like their old self again after both missed all of last season. Despite some mental lapses on defense in the fourth quarter, BYU’s defense was prety solid, holding Arizona’s up-tempo offense in check most of the night.
The only weakness BYU had was the inability to connect on deep pass. Use of the tight ends was a great addition but until those deep passes connect, defense will continue to crep closer and closer to the line.
Arizona: The offensive line had problem smost of the night but did give the team a chance to win at the end. Arizona’s defense held BYU in check for most of the night but couldn’t produce any turnovers.
BYU: The Cougars will trael to Salt Lake City to take on the Utah Utes in the Holy War showdown. The game will be televised nationally on FOX at 5:30 p.m.
Arizona: The Wildcats will play their home opener against Grambling State next Saturday.