Men's Football Blog

Hoffman catch featured as part of CBS college football special airing Friday

Nov 23, 2011 - Posted by at 6:32 pm | Updated: November 23, 2011 6:35 pm | Permalink

GEICO Best of College Football 2011 will air this Friday, the day after Thanksgiving (Nov. 25), on CBS at 1:30 p.m. ET/11:30 a.m. MT.

Cody Hoffman’s incredible catch against Oregon State will be featured on the hour-long program as one of the finalists for the 2011 GEICO Play of the Year. The program features a countdown of the season’s top plays, as voted on by fans and ranked by CBS Sports’ college football experts.

Viewers will also be given an in-depth look at some of college football’s most intriguing topics from the 2011 season, including conference realignment, uniform trends and the issue of concussions in football. In addition, three unique and heart-warming stories from the past year will be highlighted.

“GEICO Presents Best of College Football 2011” is a special hosted by Tracy Wolfson. For a preview of the program on CBS Sports, check out the official trailer: http://bit.ly/sNDHK5

The show will feature Rutgers’ Eric LeGrand, who was paralyzed from the neck down making a routine tackle during a kickoff against Army on October 16, 2010. Just one year after the hit that changed his life, LeGrand, whom doctors said would not be able to breath without a ventilator, can now stand for 40 minutes at a time during rehabilitation and has aspirations of walking again.

Also, follow the improbable journey of Faulkner University’s 61-year-old place kicker Alan Moore. Serving in the Vietnam War brought Moore’s collegiate career to an abrupt end in 1968. Forty-three years later, Moore decided to “finish what he started.” He became the oldest player to compete in a college football game earlier this season, when he kicked an extra-point in Faulkner’s season opener against Ave Maria.

Lastly, meet an athlete who turned down full-ride wrestling scholarship offers so he could play football. Nate Eachus was a heralded wrestling champion coming out of high school, which earned him scholarship offers from Michigan, North Carolina and Virginia. Accepting any of the Division I offers meant Eachus would not be able to play the sport he loved most: football. Instead, Eachus enrolled at Colgate, a non-scholarship school, to focus solely on football. Eachus was named Patriot League Rookie of the Year in 2008 and in 2010, he was named the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year, All-Patriot League First Team, a Walter Camp AP All-American and a Walter Payton Award Finalist.

To view the top plays of the season and learn more about the show, visit www.facebook.com/bestofcollegefootball.

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Programming note: “GEICO Presents Best of College Football 2011” will air on CBS Sports at 12:30 p.m. ET in Little Rock, Ark; at 3 a.m. ET in Springfield, Mo.; and at 1:30 a.m. ET in Ft. Myers, Fla.There will be multiple encore airings on CBS Sports Network. 

Wagner, Stephenson Honored by College Performance Awards

Nov 21, 2011 - Posted by Jordan Christiansen at 1:22 pm | Permalink

Senior Jadon Wagner and junior Riley Stephenson were honored by the College Performance Awards for their efforts in BYU's 42-7 win over New Mexico State last weekend.

A linebacker, Wagner recorded a fumble recovery, forced fumble, sack, 1.5 TFL and four tackles overall in his final game at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Senior Night against the Aggies to earn Linebacker Performer of the Week honorable mention.

Stephenson earned Punter Performer of the Week honorable mention by recording a 53.0 yards-per-punt average, his best average of the season, with a long boot of 57 yards.

Up Close: Jadon Wagner

Nov 14, 2011 - Posted by Ralph R. Zobell at 2:50 pm | Updated: November 14, 2011 2:56 pm | Permalink

Take a closer look at BYU senior linebacker Jadon Wagner.

Nickname: JD, DD, double, Wags, J-Swag, Jody
Favorite cold cereal: Raisin Bran
Why did I choose to play football over other sports: I like contact and Mum wouldn’t let me play hockey.
Before a football game, I: Clear my mind and have fun.
How did I spend my off-season: Golfing and training.
What I want to be doing 20 years from now:  Playing Golf !
If I could play another position, what would it be:  Safety.
One place I would like to visit:  Travel Europe.
Who has had the greatest influence on my football career and why:  Those who doubted.
How did I select my jersey number: It was mostly random.
What is my favorite hobby or activity away from football: Golf.
If I had to give up all my possessions except one, what would be the one thing I kept and why: My iPhone.
If I were on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire,” the person I’d call for my lifeline is:  My Bro. in Law Nate Watson.
People say I look like: Liev Schreiber (sabertooth X-men).
My favorite professor or most interesting class I’ve taken at BYU:  Dr. Robinson (advertising).
My favorite scripture: Enos, verse 27
What is the best book I’ve ever read:  Standing for Something
On game day my friends and relatives: are living their lives.
My advice to youngsters: Think Big.
One rule I’d change in college football is: No roughing the passer.
If I could invite any people to dinner, who would they be: Cousin Rob, Uncle Bob, my brother Aaron.

Football Team Salutes Servicemen, Servicewomen and Veterans

Nov 12, 2011 - Posted by at 8:55 pm | Updated: November 14, 2011 11:50 am | Permalink

The BYU football team honored Veterans Day, Friday, Nov. 11, with a patriotic program called "Salute to Servicemen, Servicewomen and Veterans." 

The program took place in the Smith Fieldhouse and featured patriotic songs as well as addresses by BYU players Matt Reynolds and Romney Fuga, head coach Bronco Mendenhall, and former Cougar and NFL All-Pro tight end Chad Lewis. Several members of the football team also sang a musical number. Assistant coach Joe DuPaix, who previously worked at the U.S. Naval Academy, conducted the special fireside.

Reynolds, a preseason All-America offensive tackle, stressed the importance of doing our best, while Fuga, BYU’s starting defensive tackle, told how he came to BYU and talked about service and coming unto Christ. Coach Mendenhall praised our nation’s military and talked about standing for right.

Lewis, now an Assistant Athletics Director at BYU, spoke about his Wounded Warriors experience climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro with four wounded war veterans along other NFL representatives Tedy Bruschi and Jeff Fisher. A 10-minute video featuring the trip experience was shown as part of his comments. 

During the event the veterans and servicemen and servicewomen in attendance were recognized while hymns of the Air Force, Army, Marines and Navy were played.

The event was broadcast nationally on BYUtv.

Maverik to give away Lamborghini at Idaho game

Nov 11, 2011 - Posted by Jordan Christiansen at 5:05 pm | Updated: November 14, 2011 11:50 am | Permalink

Maverik, Inc., in conjunction with teamgive (www.teamgive.org), will give away a Lamborghini Murcielago Roadster LP640 during halftime of Saturday’s BYU vs. Idaho game. The giveaway is part of the ‘Joe Schmo to Lambo’ contest that raised money and awareness for the treatment and cure of rare neurological diseases. One of the contest’s ten finalists will be randomly selected to win the car, valued near $348,000, as well as driving lessons from Miller Motorsports Park (MMP). The other nine finalists will also win race-inspired packages from MMP.

Mr. October

Nov 04, 2011 - Posted by Kenny Cox at 2:09 pm | Updated: November 4, 2011 2:15 pm | Permalink

Quarterback Riley Nelson has been a spark and a star for BYU throughout the last month. Between his play on the field, his viral videos on YouTube.com featuring his hair or high-fiving antics, Nelson has been at the forefront of the BYU football team and provided a boost in the last month or so.

Nelson has led the Cougars to a 3-1 record since starting the last four games. The Logan, Utah native has helped an offense once ranked 103rd in total offense per game (323.2) after five games to 21st in the last four games (467.0) and 66th overall now (387.1). With the help of Nelson's legs, BYU's running game has drastically turned around as well. In the first five games the Cougars averaged just 94.4 yards per game and was 102nd in the country. In the last four games, BYU has averaged 233.75 yards per game, the 14th-ranked rushing offense over that span. The rushing attack has jumped nearly 40 spots to No. 63 with an average of 156.33 yards per game overall.

In his four starts during the month of October, the junior has put up some staggering numbers. Here is a breakdown of what Nelson accomplished last month, including his national ranking compared to others in the same month, playing the same amount of games.

Statistic National Ranking Actual Notable Players (ranked same or lower) Actual
QB Rating 18 157.47 Matt Barkley, USC              153.86
      Geno Smith, WV                 153.60
      Brandon Weeden, Ok St.    152.92
TD Passes 16 10 Robert Griffin III, Baylor       10
      Nick Foles, Ariz.                   10
      Russell Wilson, Wisc.          9
Yds/Att 14 8.9 yds Landry Jones, Okla.            8.9 yds
      AJ McCarron, Ala.                8.4 yds
      Kellen Moore, Boise St.       8.3 yds
QB Rush-Tot. yds 6 298 yds David Sims, Ga. Tech          288 yds
      Denard Robinson, Mich.      273 yds
QB Rush-Avg/Att 6 5.84 yds Jeff Godfrey, UCF                        5.70 yds
      Ryan Tannehill, Tex. A&M   5.59 yds

Di Luigi Does It All

Nov 02, 2011 - Posted by Kenny Cox at 3:26 pm | Updated: November 2, 2011 3:41 pm | Permalink

Senior running back JJ Di Luigi has been an incredibly versatile player for BYU throughout his career. At 5-foot-9, 185 pounds, Di Luigi has just the right size, speed and shiftiness to make him a weapon with the ball in his hands. For the 2011 season, the Canyon Country, Calif. product leads the Cougars in rushing with 81 carries for 415 yards and three touchdowns. He is also fourth on the team in receiving with 18 catches for 204 yards, including a team-best 57 yard reception.

In 2010, Di Luigi's 1,422 all-purpose yards were the 16th-best in BYU history. For his career, Di Luigi has 1,628 rushing yards, 920 receiving yards and 326 kickoff return yards, good for a total of 2,874 all-purpose yards.

Di Luigi is 19th all-time at BYU in all-purpose yards and is 12th in career rushing yards. He is in 64th in career-receiving yards. If Di Luigi can roll up 80 more receiving yards in his final year, he will be just the 10th player in BYU history with at least 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards for a career.

Not only does Di Luigi impress on the field, but CLICK HERE and check out his reporting skills in this clip from media day earlier in the year.

Here is how Di Luigi looks on the all-time lists and who he might pass in the coming weeks:

BYU Career All-Purpose Yards
1.   Brown, Curtis (2002-06)      4,996 yards
17. Hooks, Margin (1997-00)    2,929 yards
18. Pitta, Dennis (2004-09)       2,908 yards
19. Di Luigi, JJ (2008-)            2,874 yards

BYU Career Rushing Yards
1.   Unga, Harvey (2006-09)        3,455 yards
10. McKenzie, Brian (1996-97)    1,954 yards
11. Fortie, Eldon (1962-64)          1,666 yards
12. Di Luigi, JJ (2008-)               1,628 yards

BYU Career Receiving Yards
1. Collie, Austin (2004,07-08)      3,255 yards
61. Coats, Daniel (2003-06)        966 yards
62. Tuipulotu, Peter (1987-91)    965 yards
63. Davis, Bill (1978-80)             938 yards
64. Di Luigi, JJ (2008-)              920 yards

Fireside - TCU

Oct 27, 2011 - Posted by Jordan Christiansen at 10:20 pm | Permalink

The team held its usual pregame fireside at the Colleyville Stake Center in Texas on Friday evening.

Seniors McKay Jacobson and Moose Thorson spoke along with usual speakers Bronco and Holly Mendenhall.

Jacobson based his thoughts around a favorite scripture he often recited on his mission to Japan. In D&C 4:2, Jacobson was inspired to do all he was asked to do with his "heart, might, mind and strength." Whether it was learning Japanese, teaching those interested in his message or football upon his return, Jacobson expressed his testimony that following that verse of scripture has improved his life.

According to the senior receiver, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, recently came to a team meeting. Among other things, Jacobson said that President Uchtdorf told the team that God does not necessarily care whether they win or lose - but he does care how hard they try. The same principle holds true in all we do, from sports to all other aspects of life.

After a musical number by kicker Brian Smith, Thorson, an offensive lineman on the team, spoke of his journey from being a walk-on to a scholarship player who recently earned the first start of his career this season.

Thorson bore testimony that through the gospel, a person can do anything, giving himself as an example of a player with less skill who has been blessed by God to do things above his abilities.

After Coach Mendenhall's wife, Holly, reminded the congregation that they were all examples to people both known and unknown, Coach Mendenhall closed the meeting with his remarks. He told the story of being given the assignment by his father to break in new colts. Coach tied each colt to a mule; as the mules would being walking forward, the colts would dig in their heels, fall on the ground and resist being taken anywhere.

But with the mules plodding along despite the chaos behind them, the colts would learn to go along, eventually becoming more docile. Mendenhall compared the mules to himself, his family and all others who attempt to do good while the world around them fights and resists the standards of the gospel.

Kyle Van Noy ... One of everything

Oct 25, 2011 - Posted by Kenny Cox at 3:29 pm | Updated: October 25, 2011 3:38 pm | Permalink

Sophomore Kyle Van Noy is one of BYU's premier play makers. Van Noy, a 6-foot-3, 235-pound outside linebacker has been wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks and disrupting offenses ever since putting on a BYU uniform.

To this point in the 2011 season, Van Noy is the only FBS Division I player that has recorded at least one of the following statistics this season: tackle (36), tackle for loss (6.0), sack (3.0), interception (3), forced fumble (1), fumble recovery (1), quarterback hurry (5), pass breakup (3), punt block (1) and touchdown (1).

Whether it is dropping into coverage, batting down passes or blitzing left and right, Van Noy has a nose for the football.

He has often referred to himself as an "offensive player that plays defense." In fact, Van Noy has a goal of scoring at least one defensive touchdown each year, something he has accomplished in his first two seasons as a Cougar. In 2010, Van Noy recovered a fumble and returned it 44 yards for a touchdown in a 49-10 win over Colorado State. His goal was accomplished in the season opener in 2011, stripping the ball from the Rebels' quarterback at Ole Miss and scooping it up for a three-yard return and the winning touchdown in route to a 14-13 Cougar Victory.

With plenty of games left to play, Van Noy has opportunities to add even more to the stat sheet.

Special Returners

Oct 20, 2011 - Posted by Kenny Cox at 12:58 pm | Updated: October 20, 2011 1:04 pm | Permalink

Being a kick returner is not for the fearful. Catching a sky-high kick at the same time 11 speeding opponents are racing directly to hit you as hard as they possibly can is something only few are successful at. There will be at least two great BYU kick returners in LaVell Edwards Stadium, one past and one present.

Mike Rigell played for for the Cougars from 1998, 00-01 and is currently the all-time leader at BYU in kick return yards (1,625), tops in single-season kickoff return yards (865), second in career kick returns (65) and second in single-season kickoff returns (33). Rigell will be returning once again, but this time to the sidelines at LaVell Edwards Stadium as the current running backs coach for the Idaho State Bengals. The Tacoma, Wash. product has been mentioned among Cougar fans lately not only for his return to Provo, but because current kick returner Cody Hoffman recently equaled one of Rigell's best accomplishments on the football field.

Hoffman returned a kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown against UCF earlier this season and was the first to return a kickoff for a score since Rigell did it his freshman season in 1998. While visiting Hawaii in 1998, Rigell took the opening kick of the second half 96 yards to the house in route to a 31-9 BYU victory. Cougar fans waited 13 years and 160 games to see Hoffman do it again.

Rigell and Hoffman are very different type of players, at least in body type and style. At around 5-foot-7 and 184 pounds, Rigell's style was more of compact running, quickness and making people miss. Hoffman on the other hand towers over Rigell at 6-foot-4, 208 pounds and relies on his straight-line speed and physicality to pick up yards.

They both have the fearless mindset to return kicks that only few possess. While Rigell currently sits as the leader or in the top 10 of several kickoff return lists, he might just have to pass the torch to Hoffman eventually, who is averaging nearly 71 kickoff return yards per game in 2011. Take a look at some of the records that Hoffman, just a sophomore, could take hold of before he is done in Cougar uniform.

Career Kickoff Return Yards
1. 1,625 Mike Rigell (1998, 00-01)
2. 1,611 O'Neill Chambers (2008-10)
3. 1,391 Chris Farasopoulos (1968-70)
4. 1,277 Austin Collie (2004, 07-08)
5. 1,051 Eric Mortensen (1988-91)
6. 992 Jaron Dabney (1997, 99)
7. 973 Vai Sikahema (1980-81, 84-85)
8. 945 Mike O'Brien (1986-88)
9. 865 Homer Jones (1979-80)
10. 835 Cody Hoffman (2010-present)
Single Season Kickoff Return Yards
1. 865 Mike Rigell (2001)
2. 809 O'Neill Chambers (2008)
3. 723 Austin Collie (2007)
4. 659 Chris Farasopoulos (1969)
5. 638 Jaron Dabney (1997)
6. 617 Mike Rigell (1998)
7. 579 Homer Jones (1979)
8. 548 Chris Farasopoulos (1969)
9. 544 Dave Lowry (1976)
10. 507 John Betham (1974)
11. 495 Cody Hoffman (2011)

Career Kickoff Return Averages (min. 30 returns)

1. 27.27 Chris Farasopoulos (1968-70)
2. 26.09 Cody Hoffman (2010-present)
3. 26.06 Austin Collie (2004, 07-08)
4. 24.71 Homer Jones (1979-80)
5. 24.21 John Betham (1972-74)
6. 24.20 Jaron Dabney (1997, 99)
7. 23.77 Mike Rigell (1998, 00-01)
8. 23.55 O'Neill Chambers (2008-10)
9. 23.17 Vai Sikahema (1980-81, 84-85)
10. 22.50 Mike O'Brien (1986-88)
Career Kick Returns
1. 69 O'Neill Chambers (2008-10)
2. 65 Mike Rigell (1998, 00-01)
3. 51 Chris Farasopoulos (1968-70)
4. 49 Austin Collie (2004, 07-08)
  49 Eric Mortensen (1988-91)
6. 42 Mike O'Brien (1986-88)
  42 Vai Sikahema (1980-81, 84-85)
8. 41 Jaron Dabney (1997, 99)
9. 37 Bryce Mahuika (2004-08)
10. 35 Homer Jones (1979-80)
  35 Kent Oborn (1964-66)
11. 34 Cody Hoffman (2010-Present)
Single Season Kickoff Returns
1. 35 O'Neill Chambers (2008)
2. 33 Mike Rigell (2001)
3. 30 John Betham (1974)
4. 28 Austin Collie (2007)
5. 26 Jaron Dabney (1997)
  26 Dave Lowry (1976)
  26 Chris Farasopoulos (1970)
8. 23 Mike Rigell (1998)
  23 Golden Richards (1971)
10. 22 Mike O'Brien (1987)
  22 Homer Jones (1979)
11. 21 Bryce Mahuika (2004)
12. 20 Cody Hoffman (2011)