Fullback Joe Semanoff stretches out for a fourth-quarter touchdown that helped seal the Cougars' 35-16 victory over Colorado State on Saturday. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
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COUGAR TOWN -- Playing its first conference game in three weeks, BYU (6-2, 4-0) became bowl-eligible for its third straight year under the reign of head coach Bronco Mendenhall with a 35-16 win against Colorado State (1-8, 1-5) on Saturday.
BYU is currently on a 12-game league winning streak dating back to the 2006 season and have won the past 10 games at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Saturday's game was also the fourth straight sell-out at home. The listed crowd of 64,411 was the first time the Cougars have had four sell-outs in a single season since 1999.
"It's another good win in LaVell Edwards Stadium," said BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall. "I think our players take a lot pride in how they play here and I think it matters to them to play in the stadium and it matters for them to play conference games."
Harvey Unga's 51 rushing yards moved him into the top spot on the list of BYU's all-time freshman rushing leaders, surpassing Ronney Jenkins' previous record of 733 yards.
Sophomore quarterback Max Hall led the Cougars completing 22-of-30 passes for 355 yards and three touchdowns. Hall connected with Austin Collie for a total of 111 yards, Collie's second 100-yard game this season. BYU had a second 100-yard receiver in Unga, who racked up 110 yards. Other high notes for BYU included Jan Jorgensen recording a career-high 2.5 sacks against CSU, giving him a total of 6.5 on the season.
To open the game, the Rams recorded a 45-yard kick-return, the longest allowed by BYU all season. Despite its good field position, defensive stops by the Cougars forced CSU to kick a field goal, but the Rams were held off the scoreboard on a miss by Jason Smith.
For the 18th time in its last 20 games BYU was the first to score. A pass from Hall to Unga resulted in a 53-yard gain. The reception was Unga's longest of the season. The Cougars ended the scoring drive with a nine-yard touchdown pass to Michael Reed.
Senior Ben Criddle recorded his second interception of the season after picking off a pass from CSU quarterback Caleb Hanie to end the Ram's second drive.
With junior running back Fui Vakapuna back from injury, the Tongan Trio was reunited and running full force on the next Cougar drive to begin the second quarter. Vakapuna and Unga combined for four carries and 32 yards, which were capped off by Manase Tonga's three-yard touchdown run.
The Cougars then went up 20-3 with 8:18 to play in the half after a 45-yard touchdown pass from Hall to Collie. Collie's fifth touchdown reception leads the team this season.
Coming out of the break, Hall connected with Collie for a 19-yard reception, which then set up a 35-yard pass to Unga over the middle. On second-and-goal, Unga recorded his first touchdown of the day and eighth on the year. He currently leads the team, along with Tonga, for the most touchdowns recorded this season.
"My intent is to try to keep Harvey Unga grounded and try to keep him growing and learning with his work ethic developing.," said Mendenhall. "He has so much ahead of him and we all know he is very capable and to this point he handles it really well."
Jorgensen recorded his sixth sack of the year against Hanie on a CSU third-and-10 midway through the third quarter. The Cougars have recorded 18 sacks on the year and have had at least two sacks in seven out of eight games this season.
After a punting miscue, C.J. Santiago reacted quickly and picked up a 15-yard run, converting it into a Cougar first down.
The Rams' first touchdown came halfway through the fourth quarter on a three-yard run by Michael Myers. CSU's attempt at a two-point conversion failed.
Hall connected with Dennis Pitta for a 45-yard reception which put the Cougars on CSU's 6-yard line. A five-yard touchdown pass to Joe Semanoff and Mitch Payne's extra point put another seven points on the board for the Cougars.
Sophomore quarterback Brenden Gaskins threw an interception in the fourth quarter, which was returned 31-yards for a CSU touchdown.
"We can improve," said Mendenhall. "Certainly we can play cleaner football. For the majority of the game the plan was executed the way we had hoped."
The Cougars will have a quick turn-around this week as they prepare to host TCU on Thursday, Nov. 8. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. (MT) and will be shown on VERSUS.
Box Score (Final)
Colorado State vs Brigham Young (Nov 03, 2007 at Cougar Town, UT)
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
----------------- -- -- -- -- -----
Colorado State...... 0 3 0 13 - 16 Record: (1-8,1-5)
Brigham Young....... 7 14 7 7 - 35 Record: (6-2,4-0)
1st 08:57 BY - REED, Michael 9 yd pass from HALL, Max (PAYNE, Mitch kick), 7-
80 3:26, CS 0 - BY 7
2nd 14:02 CS - SMITH, Jason 25 yd field goal, 15-41 5:43, CS 3 - BY 7
10:40 BY - TONGA, Manase 3 yd run (PAYNE, Mitch kick), 9-67 3:13, CS 3 -
08:18 BY - COLLIE, Austin 45 yd pass from HALL, Max (PAYNE, Mitch kick),
5-57 1:13, CS 3 - BY 21
3rd 12:43 BY - UNGA, Harvey 3 yd run (PAYNE, Mitch kick), 6-65 2:17, CS 3 -
4th 08:20 CS - MYERS, Michael 3 yd run (HANIE, Caleb pass failed), 10-80
4:12, CS 9 - BY 28
05:44 BY - SEMANOFF, Joe 5 yd pass from HALL, Max (PAYNE, Mitch kick), 6-
65 2:27, CS 9 - BY 35
04:07 CS - NADING, Jesse 31 yd interception return (SMITH, Jason kick),
CS 16 - BY 35
FIRST DOWNS................... 20 21
RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............ 43-150 38-106
PASSING YDS (NET)............. 161 355
Passes Att-Comp-Int........... 35-18-1 31-22-1
TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS..... 78-311 69-461
Fumble Returns-Yards.......... 0-0 0-0
Punt Returns-Yards............ 1-8 2-32
Kickoff Returns-Yards......... 6-120 3-64
Interception Returns-Yards.... 1-31 1-6
Punts (Number-Avg)............ 6-46.0 4-35.0
Fumbles-Lost.................. 0-0 3-1
Penalties-Yards............... 5-30 4-30
Possession Time............... 31:47 28:13
Third-Down Conversions........ 8 of 18 4 of 11
Fourth-Down Conversions....... 1 of 2 1 of 1
Red-Zone Scores-Chances....... 2-4 4-5
Sacks By: Number-Yards........ 2-17 3-18
RUSHING: Colorado State-JOHNSON, Gartre 19-72; MYERS, Michael 6-37; BELL,
Kyle 5-28; HANIE, Caleb 13-13. Brigham Young-UNGA, Harvey 11-51; VAKAPUNA,
Fui 10-29; LATU, Wayne 8-26; SANTIAGO, CJ 1-15; TONGA, Manase 5-4; TEAM 1-
minus 1; HALL,Max 2-minus 18.
PASSING: Colorado State-HANIE, Caleb 18-34-1-161; KAYLOR, Jimmie 0-1-0-0.
Brigham Young-HALL, Max 22-30-0-355; GASKINS, Brende 0-1-1-0.
RECEIVING: Colorado State-MORTON, Damon 5-62; WALKER, Johnny 4-26; ROBERTS,
Luke 3-32; STARR, Mark 2-9; BELL, Kyle 2-8; PAUGA, Zac 1-13; MORTON, Dion 1-
11. Brigham Young-COLLIE, Austin 8-111; PITTA, Dennis 4-70; UNGA, Harvey 3-
110; GEORGE, Andrew 2-25; REED, Michael 2-21; TONGA, Manase 2-13; SEMANOFF,
INTERCEPTIONS: Colorado State-NADING, Jesse 1-31. Brigham Young-CRIDDLE, Ben
FUMBLES: Colorado State-None. Brigham Young-HALL, Max 2-1; UNGA, Harvey 1-0.
SACKS (UA-A): Colorado State-GALUSHA, Jake 1-0; WILLIAMS, Darry 1-0. Brigham
Young-JORGENSEN, Jan 2-1; NIXON, David 0-1.
TACKLES (UA-A): Colorado State-PAGNOTTA, Mike 2-6; BREWER, Ricky 2-5; BRYSON,
Zac 2-5; RUCKS, Joey 4-2; WILLIAMS, Darry 2-4; LANDERS, Wade 2-4; HILL,
Tommie 0-5; CLARK, John 1-3; PAULY, Nathan 1-3; NADING, Jesse 1-3; SANDIE,
Erik 1-3; SMITH, Blake 1-3; VANHORN, Kyle 1-2; HORINEK, Jeff 0-3; CORNELSON,
Curt 0-3; RUPP, Matt 0-3; MILLER, Guy 0-2; MADRID, Joey 0-2; POTTORFF, Jake
1-0; BELL, Kyle 1-0; GALUSHA, Jake 1-0; SMITH, Jason 0-1; WALTERS, Jermai 0-
1. Brigham Young-POPPINGA, Kelly 2-13; JORGENSEN, Jan 4-9; GOOCH, Quinn 3-
10; NIXON, David 1-6; HODGKISS, Corby 0-7; KEHL, Bryan 2-4; STAFFIERI, Mark
1-5; DOMAN, Shaun 1-5; CRIDDLE, Ben 3-2; BOLDEN, Chris 1-4; DENNEY, Brett 1-
4; DULAN, Ian 1-3; NELSON, Grant 2-1; MANUMALEUNA,Eth 1-2; BUCHANAN, Kayle 1-
2; ANDERTON,Judd 0-2; JOHNSON, Scott 0-2; HOWARD, Brandon 1-0; MUEHLMANN,
Chri 1-0; JORGENSEN, Aste 0-1; BELL, Jeff 0-1; BAUMAN, Matt 0-1; WOLFLEY,
Rick 0-1; HOOKS, Terrance 0-1.