Flashback: Steady ground game, dominating defense, and big special teams play gives BYU win over Hawai'i (1997)

BYU RB Brian McKenzie

Twenty years ago, the BYU Cougars had some serious deficiencies throwing the ball. However, with the rest of the team playing great, BYU was able to pull out a two touchdown victory against the Hawai'i Warriors.

Between Paul Shoemaker and Drew Miller, BYU managed just 89 yards passing for the game, and completed 10 of 22 passes with two interceptions. Shoemaker left the game in the second half with an injury that required six stitches. Ben Cahoon caught six of those 10 completions. He was the only Cougar with more than one reception.

Offensive production wasn't a necessity in this game because the Cougar defense dominated. Hawai'i had just 151 yards total offense (97 pass, 54 rush). The Warriors converted just one of 13 third downs. Ben Cook got BYU's first interception of the season (game six).

The lack of offensive production was offset, also, by Jaron Dabney's 83-yard punt return for a touchdown. Dabney got the Cougars on the board with 8:33 to play in the first quarter.

The BYU defense got the ball back quickly, and the offense grinded out a 15-play, 69-yard drive that consumed 7:44. Unfortunately, BYU wasn't able to get into the end zone on the drive, and had to settle for a 42-yard field goal by Owen Pochman.

The only touchdown drive for the BYU offense started with 8:27 in the second quarter. It was another pound and ground drive covering 64 yards in 11 plays, and took another 5:15 off the clock. Brian McKenzie finished the drive with a five-yard run.

At halftime, BYU held a 17-0 lead.

Hawai'i would kick a 46-yard field goal early in the third quarter. That was the only scoring of the second half.

McKenzie finished the game with 120 yards on 30 carries. That was nearly half of BYU's 242 yards of total offense.

Dabney finished with 155 yards on six punt returns. His yardage set a new stadium record for most punt return yards in a game.

The 17-3 win gave LaVell Edwards 232 wins for his career, which matched Bear Bryant for wins at a single school.

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