PROVO, Utah — Texas gave the perfect lesson on how not to play run defense.
The 15th-ranked Longhorns missed tackles, missed defensive assignments and allowed BYU to run the ball up and down the field at will. In the end, it added up to a school-record 550 rushing yards for the Cougars and a 40-21 loss for Texas on Saturday night.
"We didn't get done what we needed to do on either side of the ball," Texas coach Mack Brown said.
Taysom Hill took the lead in running through the Longhorns' defensive line for four quarters. He finished with 259 yards rushing – the second-most in school history – and three touchdowns on just 17 carries, guiding the team's new read-option offense to break a team rushing record that had stood for 55 years.
The elusive Hill scored on runs of 68, 20 and 26 yards. His 68-yard scamper was the longest ever by a Cougars QB, surpassing other distinguished BYU luminaries such as Jim McMahon and Steve Young.
Hill's total was also the highest by a QB since former Texas great Vince Young had 267 in 2005.
"We expected to run on them," Hill said. "We didn't expect to break the school record. But, hey, it was working and we were able to move the ball efficiently on the ground. There was no need to go away from it, so we didn't. This was the result."
Hill even came close to breaking BYU's single-game rushing record of 272 yards, a mark set by quarterback Eldon Fortie in 1962. He thinks he could've, too, but coach Bronco Mendenhall told him to take it easy on BYU's final drive of the game, not risk any sort of injury. Following orders, Hill slid down when defenders got close to him.
"There at the end, there was some opportunities where I could have pulled it and ran," Hill said. "But there was no need. I'm not trying to pad a stat. The only stat I'm trying to get is a win and we got it."
Jamaal Williams had a career-high 182 yards and Paul Lasike added 87 along with a score.
Things turned sour for the Longhorns when a roughing the kicker penalty gave BYU new life in the second quarter. The Cougars trailed 14-10 after a short TD run by Joe Bergeron and Texas stopped the Cougars on the ensuing drive. But a couple of Longhorn players ran into Scott Arellano on the punt and gave BYU a first down.
The Cougars cashed in on the mistake, taking the lead for good on a 20 yard TD run from Hill that made it 17-14 with 7:48 left before halftime.
Brown felt his team lost momentum on more than that play alone.
"They moved it on the first drive," Brown said. "I don't think one play can make a difference in the ball game. You got to be able to stop them after that. Give them credit. They took the momentum from us, kept it and we couldn't get it back."
For the Longhorns (1-1), this conjured up memories of last year when they were plagued by a myriad of defensive breakdowns.
It ruined a decent outing by the offense. David Ash threw two TD passes to Mike Davis. The Longhorns set a school-record with 715 yards of offense last weekend in a blowout win over New Mexico State. They gained 445 against a stingy BYU defense that was one of the best in the nation last season.
"We fought hard – the whole team," Davis said. "I feel like we all fought hard and played our butts off. We just didn't execute as well and they played good."
The teams had to wait out a lengthy weather delay after a storm rolled through the area, complete with a gusty wind and violent rain. When lightning began to flash near the stadium, the kickoff was pushed back 1 hour, 47 minutes.
It's the second straight game BYU had to wait out a lengthy delay.
Hill and the Cougars came out of the locker room ready to go to work, taking the opening drive and marching down the field, before stalling out and settling for a field goal.
He was just warming up. So effective was Hill with his legs that he had 166 yards rushing at halftime.
When Texas tried to focus on the run to start the second half, Hill simply turned to the air, throwing a few down the field to keep the Longhorns honest. He finished 9 of 26 for 129 yards. He also threw an interception.
After a 19-16 loss at Virginia to open the season, the Cougars shuffled around their offensive line. It seemed to do the trick, paving the way for BYU's rushing attack. The previous record for most yards rushing in a game was 465 against Montana in 1958.
That total was eclipsed on Williams' 34-yard run in the third quarter that led to a 24-yard field goal from Justin Sorensen – his fourth of the night – to make it 40-21.
The defense certainly did its part, too, thwarting the Longhorns three times on fourth down in the final quarter.
"We're actually playing offense and defense," BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy said. "It showed tonight we were able to get after the quarterback a lot. It was fun tonight."
BYU receiver Cody Hoffman was back on the field after missing last week with a hamstring injury. He had two catches to move closer to Dennis Pitta's team record for most career receptions.
The loss snapped the Longhorns' streak of 13 straight road wins against nonconference opponents. Texas' speedy Daje Johnson hurt his left ankle in the first half and only had two carries for 4 yards.