It's not often a player gets ejected from a fall camp scrimmage, but that's just what happened Friday night at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
"I haven't [seen that in a scrimmage]," BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "But I asked them [the referees] to call it exactly as they would in their first game, when they start in two weeks and they took that literally."
Although there were flashes of brilliant play from a variety of individuals, there were too many mistakes and penalties for the Cougars to be happy with their execution, particularly on offense.
"We were too sloppy offensively," BYU junior quarterback Taysom Hill said. "I was disappointed in the way that we played as a whole."
He said it can be hard to get the same feel for game atmosphere when it's just a practice.
"We try to keep it game-like, but everyone knew it was a practice, so there were a few late hits and guys getting in scuffles," he said. "We definitely can't have any of that on game day."
Hill said the scrimmage gave them plenty of specifics to look at to see what needs to be worked on, but it was pretty clear the Cougars can't set themselves backward through penalties.
"I think it's something you can get mad about, but you might as well get the bad ones out now," BYU junior defensive lineman Remington Peck said. "I think people are more excited to get out and play. Hopefully we can clean that up in the next couple of weeks."
The bright spot for the day was the way the Cougar defense stood tall and really shut down the BYU offense for the second half of the scrimmage.
"After last Saturday, the whole defense was furious," Cougar senior linebacker Michael Alisa said. "We came back a little stronger this week. There were a few errors, but we'll go back in the film room and tighten the screws. Then we'll come back a little better the next day."
Hill had a number of opportunities to try and move the ball, but the BYU defense proved up to every challenge on the final six offensive possessions, including intercepting two passes.
"We had a big emphasis on stopping the run, especially after that first scrimmage," Peck said. "I felt like we did a good job of that, especially the No. 1s. I felt it went pretty good."
Alisa was one of the recipients of a gift from the offense, snatching a pick when a pass intended for sophomore running back Algernon Brown bounced off his hands.
"You can't go in wanting to make big plays," Alisa said. "You have to go in to do your job and then big plays happen ... unless you are Kyle Van Noy. Then you just make big plays all the time."
The defense and the offense each had players make some really impressive catches.
Cougar defensive back Garrett Juergens picked off a deep pass from Hill, while BYU wide receiver Kurt Henderson made the best catch on the offensive side when he pulled down a 21-yard touchdown with a defender right in his face.
Other offensive players who had some superlative moments included running backs Jamaal Williams (seven carries for 42 yards, three catches for 34 yards) and senior quarterback Christian Stewart (11-of-16 passing for 128 yards with one interception and one rushing touchdown).
The overall goal was to get an idea of what needed to be improved on over the next two weeks before the first game and BYU certainly got a taste of that.
"I think it shows we can't get complacent," Hill said. "I'm not overly worried. With what we have, I think we're really good offensively. Our defense played really well today. I have no worries. Heading into UConn, we'll be sharp."