CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall smiled, but was clearly still processing his disappointment.
Virginia's Kevin Parks ran 13 yards for a touchdown with 2:36 to play Saturday night and the Cavaliers beat BYU 19-16 in a wild, rain-drenched season-opener that had a 2-hour weather delay.
"Certainly no one is more disappointed than I am and the team is hurt right now," Mendenhall said. "It's a great chance to discover who we're going to be, and how we're going to be going forward. It will take a day or two; this one wasn't an easy one."
Parks' run came one play after Anthony Harris intercepted a tipped pass from Taysom Hill and then flipped the ball to teammate Henry Coley, who was running alongside and carried it to the 13.
The third-and-6 play was one that will serve as a learning experience for Hill, only a sophomore.
"I didn't think it was a badly thrown ball," Mendenhall said. "Maybe it was a little high, but that's one that, if it's not clearly there, just throw it in the ground."
After Virginia went ahead, BYU drove quickly from its 8 to its 41, but Hill threw four consecutive incompletions, badly overthrowing his receiver on the final one, and the Cavaliers held on.
Hill finished 13 for 40 for 175 yards with a touchdown and the interception.
Only minutes earlier, Hill seemed like the hero when he dove one yard for a go-ahead touchdown, capping a 92-yard, 11-play drive against a new-look Virginia defense that had been solid.
On the drive, Hill hit Brett Thompson for 11 yards, Skyler Ridley for 12 and got an 18-yard run by Jamaal Williams that set him up for the scoring run. Virginia cornerback DreQuan Hoskey also got called for a 15-yard pass interference penalty against Ross Apo, setting the Cougars up and the Virginia 19.
Williams gained 144 yards on 33 carries.
"He ran like a man today when it was raining the way it was," Hill said.
The game was delayed and the stadium was cleared for 2 hours, nine minutes at the end of the first quarter when lightning was reported in the area. The storm eventually brought a heavy downpour, too.
By halftime, as the team returned to the locker rooms, more rain began falling, building up to another heavy downpour, and many in the announced crowd of 53,310 headed for cover again. Then, perhaps realizing they were already drenched, many returned, creating one of the liveliest crowds at Virginia in years.
All the fireworks came after the delay.
David Watford, making his first start for Virginia, threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Darius Jennings to give Virginia a 10-7 lead, and a safety gave Virginia a 12-7 lead later in the third quarter.
Anthony Harris set up the score when he blocked a punt, giving the Cavaliers possession at the Cougars' 16. The Cougars had punted a play earlier, but had to kick again because of a penalty.
Watford finished 18 for 32 for 114 yards with an interception. Parks ran for 65 yards on 20 tries.
JD Falslev's 17-yard punt return gave the Cougars the ball at Virginia's 32 in the second quarter, and the Cougars needed just five plays to lead 7-0. Hill finished the drive with a 4-yard pass to Falslev.
Virginia countered with a 53-yard field goal by Ian Frye to end the half.
Virginia 19, BYU 16
At Charlottesville, Va.
BYU 0 7 0 9 -- 16
Virginia 0 3 9 7 -- 19
BYU--Falslev 4 pass from Hill (D.Sorensen kick), 5:12.
UVa--Frye 53 field goal, :00.
UVa--Jennings 11 pass from Watford (Frye kick), 12:28.
BYU--Hill 1 run (pass failed), 6:26.
BYU--D.Sorensen 36 field goal, 5:02.
UVa--Parks 13 run (Frye kick), 2:36.
First downs 21 14
Rushes-yards 53-187 42-109
Passing 175 114
Comp-Att-Int 13-40-1 18-32-1
Return yards 34 96
Punts-avg. 11-36.6 13-41.3
Fumbles-lost 3-0 3-1
Penalties-yards 7-43 6-41
Time of possession 25:51 34:09
Rushing--BYU, Williams 33-144, Hill 11-42, Alisa 2-9, Hine 2-5, Lasike 3-5, Team 2-(minus 18). Virginia, Parks 20-65, Shepherd 5-18,
Mizzell 7-16, Watford 10-10.
Passing--BYU, Hill 13-40-1-175. Virginia, Watford 18-32-1-114.
Receiving--BYU, Falslev 3-32, Ridley 3-29, Apo 2-59, Williams 2-25, Thompson 2-20, Mi.Mathews 1-10. Virginia, Jennings 7-62, Swanson 3-21, McGee 3-9, T.Smith 2-19, Terrell 1-4, Shepherd 1-0, Skrobacz 1-(minus 1).