2000 Football Season Summary

After roaming the BYU sidelines for 29 years, LaVell Edwards announced his retirement on August 17, 2000.

Playing defending national champion and second-ranked Florida State in the Pigskin Classic, BYU lost to the Seminoles 29-3. The Cougars scored on an Owen Pochman 42-yard field goal towards the end of the third quarter to keep its record for consecutive games without being shutout alive. Justin Ena had 7.5 tackles, including three for a loss and one sack, and was named the Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Week.

In one of the most exciting games of the year, BYU overcame a 21-point deficit to defeat Virginia in an overtime thriller, 38-35. The Cougars began the third quarter with a seven play, 80-yard drive, capped by Brian McDonald's six-yard run. After just three plays, BYU manufactured another scoring drive to cut the Cavalier lead to 21-14. McDonald punched the ball in from the one-yard line for his second touchdown of the game. After an interception, Virginia went 40 yards on five plays to push the lead back to 14 points. McDonald scored his third touchdown of the day, a six-yard scamper to close the margin to 28-21. The drive was highlighted by a 70-yard pass from quarterback Bret Engemann to receiver Jonathan Pittman. The Cavaliers seemed to take the wind out of the Cougars sail as running back Antwoine Womack scored on a 67-yard touchdown, again giving Virginia a two-touchdown lead. BYU scored on a six-yard pass from Engemann to tight end Doug Jolley to cut the lead to 35-28. With 4:48 remaining in the game, the Cougars drove 49 yards on eight plays and tied the game with 50 seconds to play on another six-yard pass from Engemann to Margin Hooks. David Greene missed a 48-yard field goal as time expired. In overtime, an interception by Tyson Smith returned possession to BYU. Pochman nailed a 26-yard field goal to give the Cougars a dramatic 38-35 overtime victory. Engemann passed for 447 yards and two touchdowns while being named the Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Week. McDonald rushed for 86 yards and three scores while Pittman caught six passes for 161 yards to lead BYU.

After the dramatic victory over Virginia, BYU came out strong against Air Force in its first Mountain West Conference game, scoring 20 points in the first half but the offense went silent in the second half as the Cougars lost 31-23. Pochman went 3-for-3 on field goals, including two of 40 yards or better. After 274 yards of total offense in the first half, BYU managed just 86 yards in the second half. Losing only its second game to Air Force in Colorado Springs.

Three defensive touchdowns by Mississippi State spoiled the BYU home opener as the Bulldogs recorded a 44-28 victory. A 39-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Charlie Peterson to Pittman brought the Cougars to within a touchdown but that is as close as they would get. Three second-quarter touchdowns by Mississippi State put the game out of reach. Pittman scored again in the fourth quarter on a 19-yard touchdown reception but it was too late. Peterson passed for 268 yards and two touchdowns in his first-ever start.

A 25-yard touchdown run by McDonald and a 42-yard field goal by Pochman in the first quarter gave BYU an early 10-0 lead against UNLV. The Rebels made things interesting when they scored a touchdown at the beginning of the fourth quarter and threatened again later in the game, but the Cougar defense held tough, winning 10-7. Luke Staley rushed 28 times for 167 yards to lead BYU and was named Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Week.

After the tough UNLV victory, BYU again traveled across the country only to be beat 42-14 by Syracuse. The Orangemen set the tone early, scoring 21 points in both the first and second quarters. The Cougars trailed 28-0 by the time they got on the board with a 28-yard touchdown pass from Peterson to Pittman. Peterson and Pittman combined for the second and final score of the game on a 27-yard pass. Peterson threw 18 completions for 206 yards and two touchdowns while Engemann sustained a season-ending shoulder injury in the first quarter.

After trailing early in the previous game, BYU took matters into its own hands, scoring 24 first-half points, including 21 in the second quarter, en route to a decisive 38-14 win over in-state rival Utah State. Pochman got the Cougars on the board first with a 28-yard field goal in the first quarter. Staley punched the ball in from three yards out to cap a 12 play, 86-yard drive that put BYU up 10-0. The Aggies made it interesting early, responding with a drive of their own to cut the deficit to 10-7. However, that is as close as Utah State would get. Staley scored again on a nine-yard run and Mike Rigell caught a 21-yard touchdown pass from Peterson for a 24-7 halftime lead. The Cougars increased their lead to 31-7 when Staley scored his third touchdown of the game. McDonald capped the scoring in the fourth quarter with a seven-yard touchdown run. Peterson passed for 324 yards and one touchdown. Staley rushed 16 times for 75 yards and three touchdowns while freshman Marcus Whalen ran for 91 yards on 10 carries. Pittman caught seven passes for 105 yards.

After the dominating performance against Utah State, the BYU offense struggled as San Diego State hit a last-second field goal for the 16-15 win-the Aztecs' second victory ever in Provo and the first since 1992. Pochman kicked a 24- and 28-yard field goal to put the Cougars up 6-0. San Diego State took a 7-6 lead on a Larry Ned 19-yard touchdown run. Peterson threw a two-yard touchdown pass to Margin Hooks at the end of the half to send BYU to the locker room with a 12-7 lead. The Aztecs scored the only points of the third quarter-a two-yard touchdown run by Ned. With 46 seconds to play in the game, Pochman hit a 50-yard field goal, his third field goal of the game and longest of his career to put the Cougars up 15-13. San Diego State proceeded to march 62 yards on six plays with Nate Tandberg hitting the game-winning 36-yard field goal with one second remaining. Peterson completed 34 passes for 376 yards and one touchdown. Hooks caught nine passes for 124 yards and one touchdown.

A 12-yard touchdown pass gave Wyoming a 7-0 lead going into halftime, as the BYU offense couldn't get on track. A five-yard Peterson touchdown run with a failed extra point attempt cut the Cowboy lead, to 7-6 early in the third quarter. Pochman nailed a 48-yard field goal near the end of the third quarter to put the Cougars on top 9-7. Ten fourth-quarter points on a Whalen four-yard run and another Pochman field goal sealed the win for BYU, 19-7. Safety Tyson Smith had a MWC record three interceptions on the day and was named the MWC Defensive Player of the Week. Peterson passed for 225 yards while Staley rushed for 88 yards and caught three passes for 78 yards.

Colorado State scored 38 points in the first half, winning 45-21. The Rams led 45-0 before BYU scored on an eight-yard touchdown run by quarterback Brandon Doman. Pittman caught a three-yard touchdown pass from Doman and Staley scored on a four-yard run in the fourth quarter. Big plays hurt the Cougars as Colorado State had touchdown passes of 69, 51 and 13 yards, and a 39-yard run for four of its seven scores.

In the final home game of Edwards' career, BYU's offense took form as it amassed 512 yards of total offense and defeated New Mexico 37-13. In a pre-game ceremony, LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley announced that the name of the stadium would subsequently be known as LaVell Edwards Stadium Home of the BYU Cougars. Staley started the scoring with a two-yard touchdown run to put the Cougars up 7-0 after the first quarter. In the second quarter, a one-yard score by McDonald and a BYU-record 56-yard field goal by Pochman as time expired put the Cougars up 17-10 at the half. BYU scored three times in the third quarter on a two-yard Staley run, an eight-yard Doman scamper, and a 32-yard Pochman field goal to increase the lead to 34-13. A 33-yard field goal by Pochman in the fourth made the score 37-13 and sent Edwards out a winner in his final home game. Pochman was honored as MWC Special Teams Player of the Week.

BYU needed a win in the final game of the season against rival Utah to prevent sending Edwards out with a losing record for only the second time in his 29 years of coaching. The game was dramatic and emotional, but BYU won 34-27 to even its record at 6-6. Things didn't start out well for the Cougars as Andre Dyson returned an interception for a touchdown less than a minute into the game. BYU responded, scoring 13 points on two Pochman field goals (45, 38) and a three-yard touchdown run by McDonald. Field goals were the name of the game in the second quarter. Pochman hit one from 35 yards out and another from 22 yards before Utah's Ryan Kaneshiro nailed a 40-yarder. BYU led 19-10 at the half. The Cougars increased their lead by scoring the only points of the third quarter on a Rigell 36-yard touchdown reception from Doman, capping a 77-yard drive. The majority of the fourth quarter belonged to the Utes as they mounted a comeback, scoring 17 points and taking a 27-26 lead with just 2 minutes and 16 seconds to play. The game-winning drive started at the BYU 20-yard line and looked bleak as the offense faced fourth down, needing 13 yards for the first down. Doman dropped back and fired a 34-yard pass to Pittman. The very next play saw the two hook up again as Doman fired a 36-yard pass with Pittman making a spectacular sideline catch at the Utah 13-yard line. After a Staley rush and a BYU timeout with 30 seconds to play, Doman scampered around the right end, scoring a four-yard touchdown with 23 seconds to play. The two-point conversion was good as the Cougars went on to win 34-27 and send Edwards out a winner in his final game. Doman passed for 284 yards and one touchdown while Pittman caught four passes for 117 yards. Pochman was again named the MWC Special Teams Player of the Week.