Air Force Academy edges BYU in Conference Opener

Margin Hooks had three receptions for 42 yards against Air Force (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

The Air Force Academy edged BYU, 31-23, in the conference opener for both teams, beating the Cougars for only the second time in Falcon Stadium.

The Cougars and the Falcons battled closely for three quarters without a turnover by either team, but in the end, turnovers proved to be BYU's downfall. Two fumbles late in the game led to an Air Force field goal, putting Air Force up 31-23, with just over a minute left. On BYU's final drive, the Falcons intercepted BYU quarterback Bret Engemann, giving Air Force the ball and a chance to run out the clock.

"Those three turnovers in the fourth quarter just killed us," said coach LaVell Edwards. "Offensively, we couldn't get anything going in the second half. The guys tried hard, we just weren't playing very effectively at times."

After slow starts in the first two games of the season, BYU got off to a quick start against the Air Force Falcons, scoring on four of their first five possessions. Luke Staley's 14-yard touchdown with 5:25 left in the first quarter was the first touchdown for BYU in the first quarter since October 23, 1999 against UNLV.

In the second quarter, Brian McDonald broke a 37-yard run and Margin Hooks caught a 22-yard pass, which led to a Mike Rigell touchdown catch from the 19-yard line, putting the Cougars up 17-14.

In unusual fashion, Air Force scored three passing touchdowns in the first half to counter BYU's offensive attack and put the Falcons up 21-20 at halftime. Air Force quarterback Mike Thiessen passed for four touchdowns in all, the first option quarterback at Air Force to do so and the first time since 1982 that a Falcon quarterback has passed for four touchdowns in a game, an Air Force record.

"I thought our quarterback did an exceptional job," said Air Force head coach Fisher DeBerry. "It's been a long time since we've scored four passing touchdowns."

In contrast to last week's game, the Cougar offense struggled to move the ball in the second half against the Falcon defense.

"They had a pretty good defense," said McDonald. "We didn't capitalize when we had good field position."

Margin Hooks extended his record of consecutive games with a catch to 27, the fifth best in the nation. Hooks finished the game with three catches for 42 yards. Once again, Owen Pochman was perfect on the afternoon hitting field goals of 27, 40 and 43 yards, his third fourth and fifth straight of the season, along with two PATs.

BYU will have a short week this week as they take on Mississippi State Thursday night in Cougar Stadium. The game will kick off at 6 p.m.

Box Score (Final)

Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score

----------------- -- -- -- -- -----

Brigham Young....... 10 10 0 3 - 23 Record: (1-2,0-1)

Air Force........... 7 14 7 3 - 31 Record: (2-0,1-0)

Scoring Summary:

1st 10:07 BYU - POCHMAN, Owen 27 yd field goal, 7 plays, 36 yards,

TOP 3:02, BYU 3 - AFA 0

07:36 AFA - BROWN, Q. 13 yd pass from THIESSEN, Mike (ADAMS, Dave kick),

6 plays, 80 yards, TOP 2:31, BYU 3 - AFA 7

05:25 BYU - STALEY, Luke 13 yd run (POCHMAN, Owen kick), 5 plays, 94 yards,

TOP 2:11, BYU 10 - AFA 7

2nd 14:41 AFA - FLEMING, Ryan 53 yd pass from THIESSEN, Mike (ADAMS, Dave kick),

1 play, 53 yards, TOP 0:09, BYU 10 - AFA 14

09:54 BYU - RIGELL, Mike 19 yd pass from ENGEMANN, Bret (POCHMAN, Owen kick),

8 plays, 82 yards, TOP 4:47, BYU 17 - AFA 14

04:17 BYU - POCHMAN, Owen 40 yd field goal, 9 plays, 37 yards,

TOP 2:17, BYU 20 - AFA 14

00:55 AFA - FLEMING, Ryan 20 yd pass from THIESSEN, Mike (ADAMS, Dave kick),

11 plays, 80 yards, TOP 3:22, BYU 20 - AFA 21

3rd 06:15 AFA - BROWN, Q. 25 yd pass from THIESSEN, Mike (ADAMS, Dave kick),

7 plays, 55 yards, TOP 2:46, BYU 20 - AFA 28

4th 08:31 BYU - POCHMAN, Owen 43 yd field goal, 12 plays, 56 yards,

TOP 5:09, BYU 23 - AFA 28

02:32 AFA - ADAMS, Dave 35 yd field goal, 4 plays, -8 yards,

TOP 2:37, BYU 23 - AFA 31

BYU AFA

FIRST DOWNS................... 21 18

RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............ 26-125 53-186

PASSING YDS (NET)............. 235 203

Passes Att-Comp-Int........... 40-18-1 16-11-0

TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS..... 66-360 69-389

Fumble Returns-Yards.......... 0-0 0-0

Punt Returns-Yards............ 4-40 2-31

Kickoff Returns-Yards......... 3-28 1-20

Interception Returns-Yards.... 0-0 1-0

Punts (Number-Avg)............ 6-46.8 7-46.4

Fumbles-Lost.................. 2-2 0-0

Penalties-Yards............... 5-32 7-45

Possession Time............... 26:24 33:36

Sacks By: Number-Yards........ 2-15 5-26

RUSHING: Brigham Young-MCDONALD, Brian 10-88; STALEY, Luke 9-50; SNOWDEN,

Will 1-6; ENGEMANN, Bret 6-minus 19. Air Force-BEARD, Nate 10-59; BROWN, Q.

10-55; BECKER, Scott 6-25; THIESSEN, Mike 16-20; MCKAY, Scotty 7-19; PALMER,

Leotis 1-8; Air Force Team 3-0.

PASSING: Brigham Young-ENGEMANN, Bret 18-40-1-235. Air Force-THIESSEN, Mike

11-16-0-203.

RECEIVING: Brigham Young-RIGELL, Mike 4-34; HOOKS, Margin 3-42; PITTMAN,

Jonath 3-35; JOLLEY, Doug 2-66; STALEY, Luke 2-28; SITAKE, Kalani 2-17;

SNOWDEN, Will 1-8; OFAHENGAUE, Tev 1-5. Air Force-FLEMING, Ryan 5-145;

BROWN, Q. 3-38; JESSOP, C. 1-11; PALMER, Leotis 1-6; BECKER, Scott 1-3.

INTERCEPTIONS: Brigham Young-None. Air Force-DUFFY, Kurt 1-0.

Stadium: Falcon Attendance: 45277

Kickoff time: 11:07 End of Game: 2:11 Total elapsed time: 3:04

Officials: Referee: Clair Gausman; Umpire: Steve Storie; Linesman: Brian Matthew;

Line judge: Jack Wood; Back judge: David Lambros; Field judge: Charles Sisk;

Side judge: Ken Lucido; Scorer: Laura Fawcett;

Temperature: 75 Wind: SW 15-25 Weather: Sunny, few clouds

SACKS (UA-A): Brigham Young-GALI, Setema 2-0. Air Force-MEINROD, Sam 2-0;

NELSON, Corey 2-0; ZANOTTI, C.J. 1-0.

TACKLES (UA-A): Brigham Young-ENA, Justin 4-7; LEE, Jared 5-4; KELLEY, Isaac

4-5; DENNEY, Ryan 3-5; SMITH, Tyson 4-3; STALEY, Dustin 6-0; LOWE, Josh 2-3;

GALI, Setema 3-1; WILSON, Derrus 1-2; HOKE, Chris 1-2; OLSEN, Hans 0-2;

NIELSON, Mike 1-0; LAFITTE, Michae 1-0; PHILLIPS, Danny 1-0; CARLSON, Brent

1-0; KEISEL, Brett 0-1; FALES, Andrew 0-1; REID, Gabriel 0-1; EDWARDS, Elan

0-1. Air Force-GLISSON, Wes 4-8; ZANOTTI, C.J. 2-7; POMMER, Matt 3-3;

NELSON, Corey 4-1; MEINROD, Sam 2-3; JOHNSON, Zach 2-1; BUELOW, Joel 2-1;

DUFFY, Kurt 1-2; HANES, Adam 2-0; METTERS, Tony 1-1; PENDRY, Justin 1-1;

ALLEN, Kyle 1-1; CRAWLEY, Wes 0-2; PROBERT, Dan 1-0; CAGE, Tre 1-0;

THOMPSON, D. 1-0; RUNYON, Kevin 0-1; ARTHUR, Jamie 0-1; BEARD, Nate 0-1;

FINNAN, Ryan 0-1; LOGSDON, Travis 0-1.

Tags: Results