PROVO, Utah –– Bronco Mendenhall returned Saturday night to the football stadium where he was head coach of the home team for 11 seasons.
It was not the homecoming he was hoping for. In front of a crowd of 57,685 at LaVell Edwards Stadium, No. 25 BYU amassed 734 yards of offense, recorded 36 first downs and defeated Virginia 66-49.
Worse for the Cavaliers (6-3), they lost record-setting quarterback Brennan Armstrong to a rib injury in the fourth quarter.
UVA, which is in its sixth season under Mendenhall, came to BYU with a four-game winning streak. The Wahoos’ defense had been inconsistent all season, but never had it struggled as much as it did against BYU (7-2).
The 25th-ranked Cougars scored on a touchdown on each of their first four possessions. The Hoos, after falling behind 21-0, rallied behind Armstrong to take a 42-38 lead into halftime, but their productivity dipped in the final quarter as the Cougars’ ramped up. BYU scored the game’s final 21 points.
On a night when both offenses posted outrageous numbers, BYU came up with three takeaways and turned them into 21 points. The Cavaliers, meanwhile, forced no turnovers.
Armstrong finished 21-of-33 passing for 329 yards and four touchdowns, with two interceptions. He rushed 11 times for 94 yards and two more TDs.
For the season, Armstrong has passed for 3,557 yards, a UVA record. Mendenhall said after the game that he wasn’t sure about the severity of Armstrong’s injury.
The Cougars tormented UVA with their balanced offense. Quarterback Jaren Hall passed for 349 yards and three TDs, and tailback Tyler Allgeier rushed for 266 yards and five TDs.
Virginia is off the next weekend. The Cavaliers have two ACC games remaining, against Pitt and Virginia Tech. If they win both, they’ll capture the Coastal Division title.