CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Neither Virginia nor Brigham Young will forget the way the 2013 season started.
Virginia may just want to keep remembering a whole lot longer than BYU. Playing in soaked conditions amid a two-hour lightning delay that stalled the beginning of the second quarter, the Cavaliers gritted out a 19-16 win at Scott Stadium.
"As far as the delay goes, it's funny because it actually happened at our final scrimmage," Cavaliers guard Luke Bowanko said. "But we've been in that situation a bunch, coming from last year."
Playing scattered all day on a soggy field, Virginia had just enough confidence left to string together a late rally. An interception deep in BYU territory, followed immediately by a game-winning 13-yard touchdown run by Kevin Parks with 2:13 remaining, crushed BYU's hopes and helped the Cavaliers make memorable amends for last year's 4-8 finish.
"A very trying loss, under very unique circumstances," BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said.
With 6:26 remaining, down a point after a BYU touchdown, Virginia fumbled the kickoff and never gave itself another decent chance.
Justin Sorensen's 36-yard field goal with five minutes left sealed a wild debut for BYU, which went 8-5 last year and has a bigger season pegged.
BYU quarterback Taysom Hill had a 1-yard touchdown run to cap an 11-play drive after he misfired most of the time in the start to his sophomore year.
Both offenses struggled. BYU was trying to unveil a "Go fast, go hard" execution style under new offensive coordinator Robert Anae, but all it did mostly was force a lot of quick possessions that afforded the Cavaliers a chance to control the game's tempo and even score an unexpected three points at the end of the first half on a 53-yard field goal by Ian Frye.
BYU had the ball with 2:06 before the first half ended, but failed to move the ball. A punt left Virginia with a long field 57 seconds before the break, but the Cavaliers moved 32 yards to set up a field goal.
"I just think it's a mindset of our team this year," Virginia receiver Darius Jennings said. "We have some returning players, but at the same time we have some new coaches and players that have to step up. We're just a tough team. We just have to keep fighting."
Virginia took the lead early in the third quarter - which came after a brief 10-minute intermission because of the long weather delay - when it blocked a punt and quickly converted it into an 11-yard touchdown pass from David Watford to Jennings for a 10-7 margin.
Both teams happened to have the weekend of Sept. 14 open on their schedules, but the obvious preference was to stick around. Two storms rolled through, and the temperature dipped from a kickoff start of 89 degrees to about 70.
The teams faced a two-hour weather delay when lightning was too close to ignore late in the first quarter.
Hill, who missed most of last season because of a knee injury, was rusty. He started the game 12-for-31 passing and misfired on his first eight passes of the second half.
The Cavaliers made up for producing just 210 yards of offense by capitalizing on mistakes. That included a safety when Hill lost the ball on a snap near his goal line, giving the Cavaliers a 12-7 lead with 2:38 left in the third quarter.
Virginia was good enough to keep its composure late. After its own kickoff-return fumble, the Cougars could only gain nine yards on five plays.
But Sorensen's field goal to produce a four-point cushion was followed by the Cavaliers going three-and-out on its next possession.
It looked over, until Anthony Harris picked off a deflected Hill pass and set up the Cavaliers for a wild finish to a wild day.
Anae said he accepted "total fault" for the aggressive third-down call that Virginia took advantage of. Hill's wet-ball pass slipped off the hands of running back Jamaal Williams.
"Yeah, I wish we could have that one back," Anae said.
NOTES: BYU WR Cody Hoffman was a late scratch from the game, citing an injured hamstring suffered in the days leading up to the season opener. The senior is a preseason All-America who had 100 catches for 1,248 yards last season and had caught a pass in 32 consecutive games (38-of-39 in career). He was hurt earlier in the week, and coaches figured he would be touch-and-go. ... Virginia punter Alec Vozenilek was a game-changer, averaging about 41 yards over nine punts, including four that landed inside the Cougars' 20-yard line.