BYU Athletics Blog | September 2016 | Officially Home of Cougar Club

BYU Athletics Blog | September 2016

Week 6 Review (Sept. 18-24)

Sep 28, 2016 - Posted by Jack Urquhart at 1:24 pm | Updated: September 28, 2016 1:26 pm | Permalink

PROVO, Utah – For BYU, it was another week of local and national attention, with two wins at South Field for the Cougars.

BYU was ranked No. 4 by the NSCAA (coaches) poll, its highest ranking since 2012, when the Cougars eventually topped out at No. 2 in the nation. Top Drawer Soccer and the Hero Sports algorithm both placed BYU at No. 2 for the week.

On Thursday, the Cougars welcomed Denver for a rain-soaked game that was delayed by lightning at halftime. Play eventually resumed, and BYU's offensive barrage produced a 7-0 win. Goals were scored by Nadia Gomes (2), Ashley Hatch, Michele Vasconcelos, Elena Medeiros, Bizzy Phillips Bowen and Elise Flake. The late goal by Flake was the first for a Cougar freshman this season.

BYU Athletics put together a highlight reel.

Two days later, the Cougars were at it again, and played a hard-fought game against visiting Long Beach State. BYU broke through with a goal in the 85th minute on a connection from Jocelyn Loomis to Ashley Hatch. The 1-0 result increased the Cougars' win streak to eight games, which is tied for second-longest in the nation.

Again, BYU Athletics produced a video of highlights.

During the week, several stories were written about the team. Among those was a Fox 13 story on the team, two features (KSL and Salt Lake Tribune) on Vasconscelos and a Daily Universe feature on Taylor Isom and Danika Bowman. KSL recapped the Denver game while the Daily Herald covered the Long Beach State game.

Silent auction to be held during fall softball games

Sep 28, 2016 - Posted by Kimberlie Haner at 11:25 am | Updated: September 28, 2016 11:34 am | Permalink

During BYU softball’s fall games, there will be a silent auction involving game helmets that fans can bid on.

The helmets are game helmets for hitters and, there are home plates for the pitchers. All items have the award stickers on them from the 2016 season and have been autographed.

At each fall game, the items will be on a table to bid on. They will be sold to the highest bidder on October 15 with the money going to charity.

For information on the fall schedule, head to the BYU softball schedule page. The first game is on Thursday against Snow College at 7 p.m. MDT.

Getting to Know Sae Tautu and Aleva Hifo

Sep 28, 2016 - Posted by Kimberlie Haner at 11:16 am | Updated: September 28, 2016 11:34 am | Permalink

Sae Tautu
Senior defensive lineman

What did you do during the offseason?
Just fishing and golfing. My wife just had our baby boy so I’ve been home hanging out with him.

What is your dream job?
The NFL has been my dream job for so long.

What is something outside of football you’re looking forward to this year?
It’ll be nice once football is over to get out and go fishing and golfing, focus on other things.

What is your favorite football memory?
Definitely the Nebraska game of last year when Mitch (Mathews) caught the ball on the 1-yard line. All of us were just hoping and praying that would happen, and when it did, it was awesome to be there and the energy was crazy. Definitely one of the happiest football experiences I’ve had.

Thoughts on the new coaching staff?
Love them. We’ve got a bunch of coaches here who love us and you can feel that they love us and care about us. It’s a lot of fun to play for them and I’m excited. Everyone is going to put their best foot forward because of the respect and love that’s been shown.

What is the most embarrassing song on your iPod?
Honestly I listen to country music more than any other music and being on this football team, that’s not very popular. So my whole playlist is probably embarrassing if it starts to get played.

Who is your favorite country artist?
Sam Hunt.

Aleva Hifo
Freshman wide receiver

Why he came to BYU
I didn’t get recruited by this staff, but by the last coaching staff. But when I came to visit it was a really comfortable environment. I have a lot of family members here, which made it easier to make the move.

Thoughts on the new coaching staff
It’s a family environment and that’s what we’re trying to build here and the culture we are trying to set. Instead of them just being my coaches, I feel like they’re my uncles too.

On his role models and who he looks up to
Of course of all the seniors on the team. The Juergens, Colby Pearson and Nick Kurtz are mentors and guys I look up to. It’s cool to play with them.

If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go?
Probably some island. I’d just want to lay out and relax and get away from all of the stress.

Favorite sport besides football?
Definitely baseball. Baseball was my number one sport ahead of football at one point. I played center field and pitcher. I threw a two-seam fastball, a curveball and a changeup.

One thing people don’t know about him
One of the things that people would say about me when I was being recruited was that I wasn’t fast, but I got the job done. When I came here and showed how fast I really was, people were shocked that the recruiters had said that about me.

Pre-game ritual
I just listen to music and think everything over in my head, nothing too special. My walkup song for baseball was reggae. People are surprised that I don’t listen to hardcore rap or hip-hop. I just like mellow, chill or like reggae and just jam out.

One thing outside of football he’s looking forward to this year
The relationships that I’m going to make this year. Not just the guys on the team but everyone that I meet on campus and getting to hear from apostles when they come visit. Just being in their presence would be something special.

Williams named Madness Independent Offensive Player of the Week

Sep 27, 2016 - Posted by Kimberlie Haner at 12:51 pm | Updated: September 27, 2016 12:58 pm | Permalink

Jamaal Williams has been named the College Sports Madness Independent Player of the Week following his performance against West Virginia on Saturday.

Williams rushed for 169 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries against the Mountaineers. This was the 12th time of his career and the second time this season that he has rushed for over 100 yards.

This is the second Madness Player of the Week award for the Cougars after Butch Pau’u was Madness Defensive Player of the Week after the win over Arizona.

Massachusetts linebacker Steve Casali was named Madness Independent Defensive Player of the Week. For the national Madness awards, Colorado quarterback Steven Montez received the offensive honor while Wisconsin linebacker T.J. Watt took the defensive honor.

BYU returns home to face off against Toledo in Provo on Friday at 8:15 p.m. MDT.

Team retreat reminds gymnasts to focus

Sep 27, 2016 - Posted by Kristen Kerr at 10:41 am | Updated: September 27, 2016 11:26 am | Permalink

BYU gymnastics went on an overnight team retreat in Pleasant Grove, Utah, over the weekend to build team chemistry and increase focus.

Head coach Guard Young’s parents offered their home for the retreat while BamBams BBQ catered the event.

“There is never a time when all the girls are under one roof in one room sleeping, hanging out and enjoying each other’s company,” Young said. “The fact that you can do that once a year is fun. It’s good for the girls.”

They participated in team activities, played games, relaxed and watched movies Friday night. Playing pool, air hockey, ping pong and fooseball brought out the competition among the gymnasts and staff but also united them. 

The team created a "vision board" to post in the locker room where they can see it every day. It reminds them of the reason for the grind and the goals they are working to accomplish. 

Young spoke to the gymnasts not only about finding and maintaining focus, but also how to do so amidst hard times and distractions. 

“We try to keep our focus and eliminate distractions the best we can,” Young said. “We need to manage the distractions because they’re always going to be there.”

BYU gymnastics concluded the retreat by completing an escape room activity at Getout Games Saturday in Provo.

“I was really impressed with how much the girls jumped in and got it done,” Young said. “I was always one step behind them, thinking ‘how in the world did you figure this out?’”

Other photos of the retreat can also be seen on the team’s Facebook page.

(All photos by Natalie Broekman)

Viewing Options: BYU vs. West Virginia

Sep 24, 2016 - Posted by Kimberlie Haner at 11:37 am | Updated: September 24, 2016 11:38 am | Permalink

BYU will play West Virginia today at FedEx Field, home of the Washington Redskins, in Maryland today at 3:30 p.m. EDT.

The game will be televised live nationally on ESPN2. It will also be streamed online on or with the WatchESPN app.

Additionally, live television coverage on BYUtv will begin at 2:30 p.m. EDT with the one-hour pregame show, Countdown to Kickoff. Live postgame coverage on BYUtv will follow after the game.

Radio coverage of the game can be heard on the Cougar IMG Sports Network with the Voice of the Cougars Greg Wrubell. The broadcast begins with the pregame show at 1:30 p.m. EDT on KSL 1160 AM and 102.7 FM. It can also be found online at

Visit the gameday page for additional information on the matchup against West Virginia.

Getting to Know: Fred Warner and Squally Canada

Sep 21, 2016 - Posted by Kimberlie Haner at 12:37 pm | Updated: September 21, 2016 1:09 pm | Permalink

Fred Warner
Junior linebacker

Outside of football, what is he looking forward to
I always look forward to sleeping at the end of the day. I just like it; I’m a homebody. At home, I like to hang out, play video games and watch TV. I like watching ESPN on TV, but I don’t really have a favorite show.

Favorite type of video game
Any type of sports game. Madden, NBA2K, whatever. I’ll compete with other guys on the team, but I am the best at Madden, 2K, FIFA, anything. Ask anybody, I’m the best.

Pre-game rituals
I do the same thing no matter where the games are. When we run out onto the field for the coin toss, I’ll run to the opposite end zone to the field goal post and I’ll say my own prayer at the field post and then run back to the sideline. It’s something I started doing last year and it’s something I always do.

Most embarrassing song on iPod
I can’t remember names of songs, but probably something Justin Bieber. I like the Biebs sometimes. New stuff and old stuff, but mostly new. 

Favorite football memory
My freshman year when I got a pick-six at Boise State. That was pretty exciting. That catapulted me and my career. It was midway through the season, my first big play 

Dream job besides NFL
I’m not sure yet. I’m still feeling around what I like. I’ve thought about being a firefighter before. 

How did you spend summer your summer?
Lot of grinding, working out. I had an internship with NuSkin in the marketing department. Hanging out with friends was a highlight.

Favorite ice cream flavor
I’m a vanilla bean person. I like it simple and sweet. It’s classic.

Squally Canada
Junior running back

What made you decide to come to BYU?
I had a friend of mine commit here, and so he ended up telling me about it.

When did you start playing football?
I started playing organized football when I was when I was four and tackle football when I was seven.

What is your favorite sport besides football?
I have never played anything but football. My girlfriend plays soccer, so we’ll go with soccer.

What do you like to be doing when you are not playing sports?
Playing video games, watching Netflix. I am definitely not a Pokémon Go person. It’s not safe. People are playing the game in their cars, walking in the middle of the street, walking off cliffs.

What is something that people don’t know about you?
Not much. I put everything out there; I am a pretty open person. But my friends around me know…I can’t swim. They are actually taking us to go swimming soon, so I don’t know what’s going to happen. My plan is just to stay in the shallow end. Five feet and lower.

What is one of your favorite football memories?
One would be my senior year, in the championship game. I scored four touchdowns: three rushing, one receiving. And my favorite touchdown was the receiving one because I only caught the ball twice that year. So I catch the ball on third and 10, run up the sideline, make three people miss and score.

What was the highlight of your summer?
I went back home to California for a week. So I got to see my family and we went to a water park. But I had my life vest on! I only stayed in the wave pool, with my life vest on. Everybody was making fun of me.

How did you get the nickname Squally?
My dad gave it to me when I was a kid and it just stuck. It used to be Boo-squally, but as I got older we dropped the Boo.

Butch Pau'u added to 2016 Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award Watch List

Sep 20, 2016 - Posted by Kenny Cox at 2:12 pm | Permalink

HONOLULU - BYU linebacker Butch Pau'u was added to the 2016 Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award Watch List on Tuesday announced by the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame. 

Pau'u leads BYU and is ranked No. 3 nationally with 37 total tackles through three games. He had 19 of them against UCLA, tying the school record for most tackles in a single game since 2000. 

The sophomore from California is also tied for No. 13 in the nation with 5.5 tackles for loss. 

The Cougars already had more players on the list than any other school with six before the season began. Adding Pau'u brings the BYU total to seven with defensive linemen Harvey LangiTravis TuilomaLogan Taele and Sae Tautu along with offensive lineman Ului Lapuaho and defensive back Kai Nacua.

The Watch List candidates have been selected based on past performance and future potential. Additions to the list may be made as the 2016-2017 season progresses. The finalists and the winner will be chosen by the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee, which includes Coaches Dick Tomey (Chairman), LaVell EdwardsRon McBride and Dick Vermeil, past NFLPA President and Inaugural Inductee Kevin Mawae, ESPN Sportscaster Neil Everett, NFL player personnel legend Gil Brandt and Honolulu Sportscaster Robert Kekaula.

Click here for the complete list.



Week 5 Review (Sept. 11-17)

Sep 19, 2016 - Posted by Jack Urquhart at 11:02 am | Updated: September 19, 2016 11:10 am | Permalink

PROVO, Utah – In two wins, BYU's trio of starting forwards each netted goals for the No. 6 Cougars as they beat No. 19 Ohio State 3-0 in Columbus, Ohio, on Monday, and Utah State 3-1 in Logan on Saturday.

Three polls—the NSCAA, Hero Sports and Top Drawer Soccer—all placed BYU at No. 6 at the beginning of the week.

The Deseret News previewed Monday's game with a feature on senior forward Ashley Hatch. The Salt Lake Tribune wrote a story about versatile junior forward Carla Swensen Haslam.

Following their win against the Buckeyes, the Cougars got some good ink from Ohio and national sources:

Ohio State's The Lantern

Soccer America

Head coach Jennifer Rockwood was on BYU Sports Nation to discuss the win and preview the game against the Aggies.

The Cougars punctuated their week with their sixth win in a row and 13th win in 13 games against Utah State.