Freshman quarterback Matt Berry was named the MWC Offensive Player of the Week after racking up 360 yards and 3 TDs in the Cougars' 35-31 win over Wyoming. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
COLORADO SPRINGS -- Quarterback Matt Berry has been named the Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Week after leading the Cougars to a 35-31 victory over Wyoming on Saturday.
The 6-foot-6, 225-pound redshirt freshman completed a career-high 31-of-45 (.689) attempts for 360 yards against the Cowboys, and for the second straight week, completed three touchdown passes, including the game-winning toss to tight-end Gabe Reid.
Trailing 31-28, Berry orchestrated a 12-play, 64-yard drive late in the fourth quarter to give BYU the go-ahead touchdown. Facing fourth-and-inches at the Wyoming 8-yard line, Berry powered through the middle on the quarterback-keeer to pick up the crucial first down. Two plays later, Berry found Reid in the endzone for the game-winning touchdown.
Berry's 300-yard outing marked the Cougars' first 300-yard passing performance since Bret Engemann opened the season with 386 yards against Syracuse. The Redmond, Wash., native also carried the ball 8 times for 26 yards, including a 19-yard scramble that set up a 15-yard touchdown pass to tight end Spencer Nead in the second quarter.
Berry leads the BYU roster with 7 touchdown completions, and has thrown for 1,069 yards, averaging over 267 yards per game.
Berry is the fourth BYU player to earn MWC Player-of-the-Week honors. (Bret Engemann, Sept. 1; Curtis Brown, Oct. 7; Matt Payne, Nov. 4)
Following his collegiate debut -- a respectable 6-of-8 performance for 95 yards against Air Force -- BYU head coach Gary Crowton announced Berry would be the Cougars' starting quarterback against UNLV. Berry became the first redshirt freshman to start at quarterback since Ty Detmer back in 1988. Berry is also the first starting quarterback to wear jersey No. 8 since Steve Young.
In his first start since his senior season at Redmond (Wash.) High School, back in Nov., 1998, Berry completed 14-of-27 (.519) attempts for 186 yards against UNLV. In his second start, against Colorado State, Berry got off to a respectable pace, connecting on 7 of his first 7 attempts for 82 yards. He did not throw an incompletion until the 9:34 mark of the third quarter. In the second half, he was 10-of-19 for 66 yards, finishing the night with a 65.4 completion percentage. In the second quarter, Berry led the Cougars on an 84-yard drive, capped by a one-yard run -- his first career rushing touchdown.
In his third career start, Berry led BYU to a commanding 34-10 victory over league co-leader San Diego State. He threw for 280 yards on 19-of-31 (.613) attempts and completed 3 touchdown completions, including a 37-yard strike to Jason Kukahiko in the first quarter, a 4-yard screen pass to Reno Mahe in the third quarter, and a 27-yard, game-clinching 27-yard completion to Reid.
Berry gained valuable experience during the JV season, completing 12-of-23 attempts for 144 yards against top-ranked Dixie State College, including a touchdown pass to Kish Beverley. Against Snow College, Berry led the Cougar offense on an 80-yard drive, finishing with a 28-yard touchdown pass to tight end Andy Hadfield.
Game-by-Game Stats Att. Comp. Int. Pct. Yds TD Lng
Air Force 8 6 0 .750 95 1 43
UNLV** 27 14 1 .519 186 0 46
Colorado State** 26 17 1 .654 148 0 24
San Diego State** 31 19 3 .613 280 3 43
Wyoming** 45 31 2 .689 360 3 29
Career Totals 137 87 7 .635 1,069 7 46