EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — For all the good things BYU did in its 35-10 win over Connecticut Friday night, one of the glaring concerns was the inordinate amount of penalties.
BYU was whistled for 15 penalties — including 11 in the first half — for 150 yards.
The Cougars were whistled for late hits, holding, pass interference, offsides, and a personal foul.
Even coach Bronco Mendenhall was flagged for a sideline warning.
“I guess I stood on a certain part of the sideline I wasn’t supposed to and (the referee) was just talking to me,” Mendenhall said. “Next thing I know, he threw a penalty. I thought we were friends and he was marking a penalty. Holy cow. It was a learning experience for all of us.”
At one point in the first half, BYU had more penalty yards (53) than UConn had in offensive yards (42).
UConn was also penalty-plagued, with eight penalties for 90 yards.
When asked what he wants to see from his team moving forward, Mendenhall said, “Clean play overall.”
Added the coach: “Some of it might be first game, some of it certainly might be aggressiveness. In general, it reflects the preparation they’ve received. We need to make sure we play hard, fast, violent and tough and clean at the same time. That’s something clearly that has to happen.”
What did safety Craig Bills think about all of the penalties?
“I don’t know why it was,” he said. “We have aggressive players out there and we were excited. You have to be smart, too. You have to play hard and aggressive, but you have to be smart, too. It’s definitely something that can be fixed.”
FIRST START AT LINEBACKER: Bronson Kaufusi, playing in his first game at linebacker after being moved from the defensive line during the offseason, recorded a fumble recovery, two sacks, two quarterback hurries and two tackles-for-loss.
KICKING DEBUT: Senior Trevor Samson played in his first game as a Cougar Friday. His first kick, a PAT, fluttered just over the goal post after BYU’s opening touchdown drive.
A couple of his kickoffs were short and he missed a 33-yard field goal in the third quarter.
DATE CHANGE: BYU and UConn played for the first time Friday. The two teams are scheduled to meet next year in Provo. The schools announced Friday that next year’s contest has been moved from Oct. 31 to Oct. 2, which is a Friday.
Originally, BYU had a bye scheduled for the first week of October after facing Nebraska, Boise State, UCLA and Michigan the first four weeks of the season.
NOTES: Linebacker Harvey Langi did not suit up Friday. He is nursing a knee injury. The 35 points BYU scored was the most under Mendenhall in a season-opener on the road. The Cougar defense forced a turnover on each of UConn’s first two possessions.