PROVO -- No. 19 BYU (10-2 overall, 8-0 Mountain West Conference) will travel to Las Vegas to participate in its second consecutive Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl. The Cougars will take on Oregon (7-5, 4-5 Pacific-10) in Sam Boyd Stadium. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN at 5 p.m. (PST). The game will mark the second consecutive season BYU has qualified for--and played in--a bowl game. Previously, the last time the Cougars played in bowl games in consecutive seasons was in 1998 (Liberty Bowl) and 1999 (Motor City Bowl). BYU has not won a bowl game since the 1996 Cotton Bowl when the Cougars beat Kansas State to set an NCAA record for most wins in a season (14).
Since 1996, BYU has played in four bowl games. The Cougars are currently riding a nine-game winning streak, good for third longest in the nation (Ohio State and Boise State). BYU is coming off one of the most exciting games in the programs' history that saw the Cougars come from behind to beat Utah on the last play of the game--a play that took over 10 seconds before quarterback John Beck found Jonny Harline alone in the end zone with no time on the clock.
A LOOK AT THE DUCKS
Oregon started the season winning five of its first six games, including a 34-33 victory over No. 15 Oklahoma. The Ducks, who were ranked as high as 11th in the nation this season and remained in the top 25 for three months, finished their season 7-5 overall and 4-5 in league play. The program has been selected to play in 10 bowl games during Bellotti's 12 years as head coach and this year's trip will mark the 20th bowl game in school history. The first-ever Pac-10 team to appear in the Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl, Oregon defeated Air Force 41-13 on Dec. 20, 1997.
The Cougars will be matched against a familiar face when the two teams meet in Las Vegas. Oregon's offensive coordinator Gary Crowton served as the head coach at BYU from 2001 through 2004. During his four-year tenure, Crowton produced a 26-23 overall record, including a 12-2 clip and a Mountain West Conference Championship during the 2001 season.
The Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl will mark the sixth meeting between the two teams, dating back to the 1964 season. Oregon owns a 3-2 record over the Cougars, including a 32-16 victory in the last meeting between the two teams 16 years ago. The following are recaps of each BYU/Oregon game:
Sept. 19, 1964--Oregon 20, BYU 13 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.
Despite out-gaining Oregon, 270 total yards to the Ducks 260, BYU lost to Oregon, 20-13, in the two teams' first match up. The Cougars' Virgil Carter completed seven-of-17 passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns. The game was tied at 13 heading into the fourth quarter when Bob Berry completed a 35-yard touchdown pass to Ray Palm to give the Ducks a 20-13 lead with 12:46 remaining in the fourth quarter. BYU's comeback fell short when the Cougars fumbled on the Oregon 37-yard line. The Ducks ran out the clock for the win.
Oct. 2, 1965--Oregon 27, BYU 14 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.
BYU suffered its first lost of the 1965 season at the hands of Oregon, 27-14. The Cougars never led in the game and were out-gained 489 total yards to BYU's 140. The Cougars gave up 224 yards rushing. After Oregon jumped to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter, the Cougars tied the game at seven when Virgil Carter found Kent Oborn for a 37-yard touchdown connection. The Ducks scored 20 unanswered points to build a 27-7 lead early in the fourth quarter. Carter found Phil Odle for a 22-yard pass late in the fourth quarter.
Oct. 14, 1978--BYU 17, Oregon 16 at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore.
Behind Jim McMahon, BYU got its first win in program history over Oregon, a 17-16 come-from-behind victory for the Cougars. Behind 16-3 going into the fourth quarter, McMahon replaced starter Marc Wilson and led BYU to score 14 unanswered points and escape Eugene with a victory. McMahon completed 10-of-19 passes for 204 yards and a touchdown in just over one quarter of play. With BYU down 16-3 midway through the fourth quarter, Oregon's punter Mike Babb dropped the snap and was tackled at 21-yard line. The next play McMahon found Todd Thompson for a touchdown. Three minutes later, Doug Williams plunged into the end zone to give the Cougars a decisive touchdown in the 17-16 win.
Nov. 4, 1989--BYU 45, Oregon 41 at Cougar Stadium in Provo, Utah
BYU got its second consecutive win in the series as the Cougars won a back-and-forth game over Oregon in the first--and only---game the teams have played in Provo. The Cougars outscored the Ducks 24-8 in the final quarter to record a 45-41 victory. Sophomore quarterback Ty Detmer completed 29-of-47 attempts for 470 yards and three touchdowns in the game. With 7:14 remaining in the third quarter, Oregon's Derek Loville scored on a one-yard touchdown run to give the Ducks a 33-14 lead. The Cougars stormed back, outscoring Oregon 31-8 over the final 21 minutes of the game to take home the victory. Detmer found Jeff Frandsen three times for touchdown passes including a 15-yard touchdown connection that gave BYU its first lead of the game with 1:01 remaining in the fourth quarter. Oregon quarterback Bill Musgrave fumbled on the Ducks' final possession and the Cougars recovered to seal the victory.
Sept. 24, 1990--Oregon 32, BYU 16 at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore.
Oregon handed #4 BYU its first loss of the year in Ty Detmer's 1990 Heisman Trophy season. Detmer threw for 442 yards while completing 33-of-57 passes and two touchdowns. However, Oregon's defense sacked Detmer five times and forced five interceptions. The Cougars never led against the Ducks as Oregon jumped to an early first-quarter lead and never looked back. BYU was held to -47 yards rushing in the loss. Oregon's Bill Musgrave had an efficient outing, throwing for 286 yards and three touchdowns.
COMPLETE BROADCAST PLANS
TELEVISION: The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN. It will be the first time the Cougars have appeared on ESPN this season. Brent Musburger will do the play-by-play with Bob Davie offering commentary and Lisa Salters reporting from the sideline.
RADIO: Fans can also catch the game by tuning into KSL Radio - the 50,000-watt home of the Cougars - and follow the game live as Greg Wrubell calls the action, Marc Lyons offers expert analysis and James Dye reports from the sideline.
INTERNET: A live audio stream will be available on the following URLs: http://ksl.com and http://www.byuradio.org.
COUGARS ON NATIONAL TELEVISION
All totaled, the Cougars have played in a total of six nationally televised games this season. BYU has played on TBS (Arizona), ESPN2 (Boston College), VERSUS (TCU and Air Force) and CSTV (Wyoming and Utah). Interstingly, BYU played in the first nationally televised games on ESPN (1985), TBS (1982) and VERSUS (2006). All three were victories. The Cougars will be playing their first game on ESPN this season. BYU has a 4-2 record this season on national TV.
ANOTHER BOWL SELLOUT
The 15th annual Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl was sold out before any teams were invited. This year's sellout marks the second consecutive season the bowl has sold out.
Adding to the excitement of enjoying its first-ever, sold-out crowd, the 2005 Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl also drew a huge television audience on December 22. The 14th annual game drew a 2.40 national rating on ESPN and ESPNHD, which ranked an impressive seventh among the 20 bowl games broadcast during season by the ESPN networks. The number represented a 24 percent increase from the 2004 game that drew a rating of 1.94 rating when Wyoming downed UCLA.
An estimated 22,000-25,000 BYU fans attended the game in Las Vegas.
- The most obvious connection between BYU and Oregon is Oregon's offensive coordinator, Gary Crowton. Crowton served as head coach at BYU for four seasons (2001-2004). During Crowton's first season, BYU got off to a 12-0 record and posted a perfect 7-0 Mountain West Conference record. In his first year, Crowton led BYU to its last outright MWC Championship. BYU led the nation in total offense (542.9 yards per game) and scoring (44.1 points per game). The Ducks lead the Pac-10 with an average 189.17 yards rushing per game. Oregon ranks eighth nationally and leads the Pac-10 in total offense, producing 436.42 yards per game.
"I acknowledge that there will be an interest in Coach Crowton's relationship to our program," BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "I have the deepest respect for Coach Crowton. I admire him and his family at the highest level. He is a dear friend and I am grateful for the opportunities he has provided me throughout my coaching career. I'm thrilled and not surprised by the success Oregon's offense is having under Coach Crowton's direction."
- Bronco Mendenhall has coached with Gary Crowton on two occasions: at Louisiana Tech (1997) and BYU (2003-2004). Crowton was the offensive coordinator at Snow College (Ephraim, Utah) when Mendenhall was playing his junior college football for the Badgers. BYU's inside linebackers coach Paul Tidwell was the defensive coordinator of that team.
- BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall will be coaching against Oregon for the first time as a head coach. As a player, Mendenhall played for Oregon State. Mendenhall's Oregon State teams were 0-2 in his two years against the Ducks. As a graduate assistant at Oregon State, Mendenhall's teams were also 0-2 against Oregon.
- Two other Oregon players with Utah ties are wide receiver Ryan Mattice, who played junior college ball at Dixie State (St. George, Utah) and defensive end Victor Filipe, who hails from Salt Lake City and prepped at Highland HS.
- BYU secondary coach Jaime Hill was the defensive coordinator at Portland State University from 1993-1996. Hill was 0-1 (1994) against Oregon while he was at Portland State.
- BYU's outside linebackers coach Barry Lamb got his bachelor's degree at Oregon in 1978. Lamb coached the interior line (offensive and defensive) and the outside linebackers from 1977 1980.
- Three BYU players are from Oregon: linebacker Rex (Woodburn), quarterback Sam (Canby) and linebacker Shawn (Canby) Doman.
- Oregon head coach Mike Bellotti will be facing the Cougars for the first time in his head coaching career. Belkotti was the offensive coordinator for the Ducks from 1989-1994. During his time as offensive coordinator under head coach Rich Brooks, Bellotti was 1-1 against BYU.
- The two teams had one common opponent: Arizona. BYU lost to the Wildcats Sept. 2 on a last-second field goal in Tucscon. BYU had a second-half touchdown wiped away by a controversial offensive pass interference call in the end zone. Arizona beat Oregon 37-10 in Eugene.
BYU BY THE RECORDS
vs. Pac-10 (current members): 27-55-1 (.331)
vs. Pac-10 (Bronco Mendenhall): 0-2
vs. Oregon: 2-3
All-time Record: 433-367-26 (.561)
All-time Home Record: 257-126-6 (.668)
All-time Road Record: 197-222-19 (.470)
All-time Neutral Record: 19-19-1 (.500)
All-time MWC Record: 38-20-0 (.655)
All-time MWC Home Record: 18-11 (.620)
All-time MWC Road Record: 20-9 (.689)
Bowl Record: 7-16-1
Bowl Record (vs. Pac-10 opponents): 1-2
TALE OF THE TAPE
BYU's offensive line checks in at an average 6-foot-4, 316.8 pounds. The Cougars' front line will be going up against an Oregon defensive front that averages 6-foot-4, 283.5 pounds. (Advantage: BYU +33.3 pounds per man.) BYU's defensive line weighs in at 6-foot-3, 280 pounds, Oregon's offensive line averages over 6-foot-5, 320 pounds. (Advantage: Oregon +40 pounds per man.)
MENDENHALL NAMED REGION 5 AND MWC COACH OF THE YEAR
The American Football Coaches Association announced BYU head football coach Bronco Mendenhall has been named the AFCA Region 5 Coach of the Year. Mendenhall led the Cougars to a 10-2 overall record, including a perfect 8-0 mark in league play to collect the team's first outright Mountain West Conference title since the 2001 season. Mendenhall was also named the Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year.
Throughout the season, BYU climbed the national polls by winning nine straight games to finish the regular season. As a result, the Cougars earned top-20 rankings in the Associated Press Top-25, the USA Today Coaches Poll, the Harris Interactive Poll and the BCS rankings. The Cougars' nine-game win streak marks the third longest active streak in the country and is only the seventh time in BYU football history the Cougars have recorded at least nine consecutive wins in a single season.
Region 5 includes 19 different schools from both the Pac-10 and the Mountain West Conference. Other division honorees include Wake Forest's Jim Grobe (Region 1), Arkansas' Houston Nutt (Region 2), Michigan's Lloyd Carr (Region 3) and Boise State's Chris Petersen (Region 4). The AFCA began recognizing district coaches of the year following the 1960 season. In 1983, the award was changed to recognize regional winners instead of district winners.
BECK NAMED MWC PLAYER OF THE YEAR
The Mountain West Conference announced the 2006 all-conference football teams and individual award winners as selected by the nine head coaches and media panel. BYU quarterback John Beck was a unanimous choice for the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year.
Beck led the league in nearly every passing category. The native of Mesa, Ariz., led the league in passing yards per game (319.1), total offense per game (316.0), passing efficiency (173.3), completion percentage (70.4) and touchdown completions (30). During the season he had four games with over 300 yards passing, including 10 games with over 250 yards passing. He completed at least 65 percent of his attempts in 10 of the 11 games he played during the season and had three or more touchdown completions in seven games, including five games with four TD's. Beck set a Mountain West Conference record after being named the league's Offensive Player of the Week seven different times during the season.
Jonny Harline has been named a First Team All-American by The Sporting News, SI.com and CBS Sportsline.com and a Third Team All-American by the Associated Press. John Beck earned All-America honorable-mention honors by SI.com and Second Team All-America honors by The Sporting News. Freshman defensive lineman Jan Jorgensen has also been selected as one of the nation's top freshmen. Jan Jorgansen was tapped Third Team Freshman All-American by The Sporting News and Jake Kuresa earned honorable mention All-America honors by The Sporting News.
While Mendenhall has 16 years of assistant coaching experience, he is now in his second year as a head coach for the first time in his career. Despite his extensive experience, he is the eighth youngest coach in NCAA Division I-A football at the age of 40.
The BYU coaching staff leads the Mountain West Conference with five members of its coaching staff who have played football in the National Football League or the old USFL. Associate Head Coach and running backs coach Lance Reynolds was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1978 and also played at Philadelphia. Offensive coordinator Robert Anae was drafted in the third round by the New Jersey Generals of the USFL. Quarterbacks coach Brandon Doman was drafted by the San Francisco 49'ers in 2002 and also played with the Washington Redskins. Jeff Grimes and Steve Kaufusi also have NFL experience.
PLAYER AWARDS AND RECOGNITION
John Beck - MWC Offensive Player of the Week (Sept. 16 vs. Boston College)
Beck completed 38-of-59 passes for a season-high 436 yards in BYU's double overtime 30-23 loss at Boston College. He also threw one touchdown pass and added a rushing touchdown in the game. Beck's passing yardage is his highest output since posting a Mountain West record 517 yards against TCU last season.
John Beck - MWC Offensive Player of the Week (Sept. 28 vs. TCU)
For the second time in three weeks--and the fifth time in his career--BYU quarterback John Beck has been named the Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Week. The Davey O'Brien Award candidate helped lead the Cougars to a convincing 31-17 victory over 15th-ranked TCU on Thursday in Fort Worth, ending the Horned Frogs' nation's leading 13-game win streak.
The 6-foot-2, 216-pound senior completed 23-of-37 attempts for 312 yards and three touchdowns, avenging last season's 51-50 overtime loss to TCU in Provo. The victory also gave the Cougars' their first road victory over a ranked opponent since 1997--the same year Beck quarterbacked the Mountain View High School (Mesa, Ariz.) junior varsity squad as a sophomore.
John Beck - MWC Offensive Player of the Week (Oct. 7 vs. San Diego State)
For the third time in four weeks, and the sixth time in his career, BYU quarterback John Beck has been named the Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Week after leading the Cougars to a 47-17 win over San Diego State on Saturday. With his four touchdown completions, Beck broke the MWC career touchdown completions record, improving to 59 TD's throughout his career. Beck, a 6-foot-2, 216-pound senior from Mesa, Ariz., completed 16-of-21 attempts for 267 yards and a season-high four touchdowns in under three quarters of play. The Davey O'Brien Award candidate finished the game with a career-high efficiency rating of 245.9, marking the highest rating by a BYU quarterback since Steve Sarkisian posted a 260.8 rating against Rice in 1996.
Nate Meikle - National Scholar-Athlete Semifinalist
The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame has announced BYU receiver Nate Meikle has been named a candidate for the NFF 2006 National Scholar-Athlete Awards and a semifinalist for the 2006 Draddy Trophy, presented by HealthSouth. A senior at Brigham Young University, Meikle maintains a 3.8 cumulative grade-point average. The Idaho Falls, Idaho, native will graduate in December with a degree in business. Prior to coming to BYU, Meikle graduated Summa Cum Laude from Snow College in Ephriam, Utah with a 4.0 grade-point average. Last season, Meikle received second-team Academic All-America honors by CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine.
John Beck - MWC Offensive Player of the Week (Oct. 7 vs. San Diego State)
Beck led BYU to a 33-14 victory at Air Force, completing 23-of-31 pass attempts for 258 yards and three touchdowns. Beck posted a completion percentage of 74 percent en route to his fifth three-touchdown performance of the season, including his fourth straight game with three or more touchdown completions. BYU had a total of eight drives during the game. The Beck-led offense engineered points in six of the eight drives, including a 14-play, 81-yard drive to mark the fourth straight game BYU has scored on the opening drive.
Cameron Jensen - MWC Defensive Player of the Week (Nov. 4 vs. CSU)
Senior linebacker Cameron Jensen led BYU with nine tackles (seven solo), including a season-high two sacks for 15 yards, in the 24-3 win at Colorado State. The Jensen-led defense held Colorado State to just 151 yards of total offense, including just 26 yards rushing. Jensen's first sack came with Colorado State facing a third-and-two from its own 17-yard line. Jensen sacked Caleb Hanie for a 10-yard loss, forcing the Rams to punt from their own seven. His second sack of the night was a five-yard takedown of Hanie on a second-and-10 at the CSU 35 yard line.
John Beck - MWC Offensive Player of the Week (Nov. 9 vs. Wyoming)
Beck had a completion percentage of 76.9, connecting on 20-of-26 attempts for 313 yards in BYU's 55-7 victory over Wyoming. Beck also had two touchdown completions and two rushing touchdowns to help the Cougars secure at least a share of the MWC title. Beck became the Mountain West Conference all-time passing leader with 9,807 yards, surpassing the 9,684 yards by Casey Bramlet during his career at Wyoming (2000-03).
John Beck - MWC Offensive Player of the Week (Nov. 18 vs. New Mexico)
Beck completed 28-of-48 passes for a season-high 464 yards and accounted for five touchdowns as BYU defeated New Mexico, 42-17, to secure its first outright Mountain West title since 2001. Beck connected on touchdown passes of 20, 71, 9 and 4 yards as the Cougars improved to 9-2 overall and 7-0 in the MWC. Beck also rushed for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to cap off the day.
John Beck - Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week (Nov. 25 vs.
New Mexico) and MWC Offensive Player of the Week
Beck, a native of Mesa, Ariz., completed 28-of-43 attempts for 375 yards and four touchdowns, including a game-winning, 11-yard pass with no time remaining to complete the comeback. After completing 8-of-9 attempts for 178 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter, Beck completed just five attempts through the second and third quarters as Utah took a 24-14 lead into the final quarter. In the final 15 minutes, Beck completed 15-of-20 attempts for 156 yards and three touchdowns to overcome a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit. Beck owns the MWC record for Player of the Week Honors with seven earned this season.
Dan Coats, who added six receptions for 80 yards, including a critical two-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter, said Beck was confident and poised as the Cougars began their game-winning drive.
"He came in the huddle and said, 'We're going to get this done. We are going to go down and score.' He was just cool, calm and collected. John Beck was a man in there."
3,000 AND 1,000 IN THE SAME SEASON
Curtis Brown needs just 110 yards to reach the 1,000-yard mark. If he gets 110 yards against Oregon, John Beck and Brown will become the only duo to throw for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 in the same season twice in their respective careers. Last season, Beck and Brown became the first Cougar duo to pass for over 3,000 yards and rush for over 1,000 yards in the same season since 2001. The last time two players combined to reach that mark were Brandon Doman and Luke Staley in 2001. John Walsh and Jamal Willis are the only other duo to achieve the 3,000-1,000 plateau in the same season, which they accomplished in 1994.
Although there were several teams that had a 3,000-yard passer and a 1,000-yard rusher in 2005, only three schools featured a 3,700-yard passer and an 1,100-yard rusher: USC, Notre Dame and BYU. Brown would also become the first running back in BYU history to rush for 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons.
CAREER 300-YARD GAMES
In BYU history, 22 different Cougars have thrown for 300 yards in at least one game. All totaled, BYU quarterbacks have hit the 300-yard mark a combined 190 games. Senior John Beck has made a contribution of 16 games to that list. Beck entered his senior campaign with 11 300-yard games. Beck is now in fourth place for most 300-yard games. Ty Detmer tops the list with 34. Beck has thrown for more than 300 yards in three consecutive games for the first time in his career (Wyoming, 313; New Mexico, 464; Utah, 375).
CAREER 100-YARD GAMES
Curtis Brown picked up his 14th 100-yard rushing game of his career and third of the season against New Mexico, the same game he broke he all-time school rushing record. With 153 yards against Utah in 2005, Brown registered the 11th 100-yard rushing game of his career, the most in BYU history. He tied the record at 10 with 153 yards against Wyoming. Last season Brown recorded six 100-yard rushing games, including 110 yards against Eastern Illinois, 104 yards versus New Mexico, 147 yards against Colorado State, a career-high 219 yards versus Air Force and 153 yards in the Utah and Wyoming games.
WHERE THEY RANK NATIONALLY
Several BYU players rank nationally in various statistical categories:
Passing Efficiency: 2nd (173.3)
Total Offense: 4th (316 yards per game)
Completions: 5th (23.73 per game)
Total Passing Yards: 6th (3,510)
Passing Yards per Game: 4th (319.09)
Points Responsible for: 3rd (19.09 points per game)
Rushing: 47th (73.8 yards per game)
Receptions: 55th (4.58 receptions per game, third amongst running backs)
All-purpose yards: 10th (140.75)
Punt Returns: 18th (11.81 yards per return)
Field Goals: 46th (1.08 per game)
Scoring: 22nd (7.67 points per game)
Curtis Brown has been all over the field for BYU in its 12 games. In addition to leading the team in rushing yards and receptions, he has returned kickoffs for the Cougars. Brown returned a kick for 48 yards against San Diego State.
In seasons following a trip to a bowl game, the Cougars have recorded a combined 212-84-2 (.715) record (including 10-2 in 2006, bowl pending). Of the 24 seasons following a bowl game, the Cougars have averaged nearly nine (8.8) wins per season. BYU has had only one losing season following a trip to a bowl game. (In 2002, BYU went 5-7 after playing in the Liberty Bowl in 2001.)
ACTIVE WINNING STREAKS
The Cougars own the third longest winning streak in the country. Ohio State leads with a 19-game win streak, followed by Boise State with 12 consecutive victories. BYU's nine-game win streak is the longest since the 2001 season and only the seventh time in the program's history the Cougars have had nine or more consecutive wins in a single season. Interestingly, when BYU wins nine or more straight games in a season, it has won four of six bowl games. Below are the longest current winning streaks in the country:
Ohio State, 19
Boise State, 12
CALLED TO SERVE
There are currently 61 returned missionaries (59 percent) on the BYU fall camp roster who have served full-time, two-year missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in over 25 different countries around the world. All totaled members of this year's team have served missions in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, England, France, Germany, Ghana, Hong Kong, Honduras, Italy, Japan, Nicaragua, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Samoa, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tonga, United States and Venzuela. Members of this year's team can communicate fluently in at least 10 different languages. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints operates more than 330 missions around the world with approximately 56,000 missionaries.
There are 31 BYU players on the current roster who are married. Six current players have children.
TO THE DATE...
BYU will play in this year's Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 21, 2006. The game falls on same date, 22 years later, as the 1984 Holiday Bowl. The Cougars beat Michigan, 24-17, to wrap up a perfect 13-0 season and claim the 1984 National Championship.
HOME FIELD DOMINANCE
Since it was built in 1964, the Cougars have fielded several dominating teams. This season, BYU averaged 47.16 points per game at home while limiting its opponents to just 12. The margin of difference has the Cougars beating their opponents by an average of 35.16 points. The 35.16-point differential is a BYU record in scoring margin in the stadium's 42-year history (and the program's 84-year history).
BEST HOME TEAM IN THE COUNTRY
The Cougars finished the 2006 regular season as the most dominant home team in the nation. BYU averaged 47.2 points per game at LaVell Edwards Stadium while holding opponents to just 12.0 points per contest. The +35.16 margin not only led the nation in home scoring margin, but also set a new BYU record, eclipsing the old record of +34.2 set in 1979. LSU finished second behind the Cougars, posting a +31.9 home-field scoring margin:
IN THE TOP-25
Following a come-from-behind victory on Saturday over rival Utah, BYU climbed to No. 19 in the Associated Press top-25 poll and No. 20 in the USA Today/Coaches Poll. The Cougars also remained at No. 19 in the Harris Interactive poll and now sit at No. 20 in the final BCS rankings. The rankings are the highest for the Cougars, who have won nine consecutive games, since the 2001 season.
VARIETY OF RECEIVERS
All totaled, 13 different receivers have at least one reception for the Cougars this season. Curtis Brown leads all receivers in receptions (55). Jonny Harline leads BYU in receiving yards (754) and touchdown receptions (11).
In the 12 games of the 2006 season, BYU has allowed just 183 points. With an average of 15.3 points per game, the Cougars currently ranked 16th in the country in scoring defense. BYU's current average is nearly half (29.25) of what it averaged last season through 12 games. BYU's current average is the lowest scoring defense mark over the first 12 games of a season since allowing just 14.2 points per game back in 1985.
TOUCHDOWNS: TAKE YOUR PICK
BYU has scored 58 touchdowns this season (one against Arizona, seven against Tulsa, two against Boston College, five against Utah State, four against TCU, seven against San Diego State, seven against UNLV, four against Air Force, three against Colorado State, seven against Wyoming, six against New Mexico and five against Utah). All totaled, 14 different Cougars have found their way to the end zone for including Fui Vakapuna (RB), Jonny Harline (TE), Matt Allen (WR), Manase Tonga (RB), Daniel Coats (TE), Curtis Brown (RB), Zac Collie (WR), John Beck (QB), Harvey Unga (RB), Justin Robinson (CB), Michael Reed (WR), Dustin Gabriel (S), McKay Jacobson (WR) and Mike Hague (RB). Vakapuna and Harline lead the Cougars with 11 touchdowns apiece.
PERFECT MWC RECORD
With BYU's victory over Utah the Cougars finished the Mountain West Conference schedule with a perfect 8-0 record, marking the best league record for the Cougars since the 2001 BYU team went a perfect 7-0. BYU is the only MWC team to have gone undefeated against conference opponents twice in the league's history.
ONE QUARTER AT A TIME
After outscoring Utah in two of four quarters on Saturday, BYU has now outscored its opponents in 35 of 48 quarters this season, including 22 shutout quarters. The Cougars have trailed only once since the Boston College game.
UNDEFEATED AT HOME
BYU finished the season with a perfect 6-0 record at home. The last time BYU had a perfect record at home was 2001 when the Cougars went 6-0 at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Since the stadium was built in 1964, BYU has gone undefeated at home 13 times.
WHERE'S THE BEEF?
The Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl will showcase two of the largest offensive lines in the country. Oregon's line weighs an average of 320 pounds per man. BYU's line averages 316.8 per man. Oregon's and BYU's offensive lines rank among the largest (per player avaerage) interior lines in the country (by average weight).
FIRST HALF DOMINANCE
BYU took a 14-10 halftime lead against Utah. BYU has led at half in every one of its games this season. The Cougars have won every game in which they enjoyed larger than a one-point lead at the break. BYU has averaged a 16.16 point advantage at halftime this season. The Cougars have been ahead by at least 21 points at the break in six of their 12 games.
FIRST QUARTER DOMINANCE
BYU held a 14-0 first-quarter lead over Utah, marking the 12th straight game this season the Cougars have led after the first quarter of play. On the season, BYU has held its opponents scoreless in the opening quarter in eight different games. Overall, the Cougars are outscoring opponents 138-15 (an 11.5-1.25 average advantage) in the opening quarter of play, including a 93-6 advantage at home. BYU has allowed just one first-quarter touchdown all season (at Boston College).
BYU is currently third in the nation in turnover margin. The Cougars are coming off a game against Utah where there was no turnovers. In addition to holding on to the ball, the Cougars have found a way to force 25 turnovers. The Cougars have a +1.17 (per game) turnover margin heading into the bowl game. With only 11 turnovers lost on the season, BYU is second in the nation in turnovers lost (Michigan, 10).
A big reason for the Cougars ability to hang on to the ball is star offensive players John Beck and Curtis Brown. Beck has thrown just six interceptions in 371 pass attempts. Beck's touchdown to interception ratio is 30 to six. Brown has not fumbled all season in 184 carries. In fact the last time Brown put the ball on the turf was Sept. 10, 2005 in the second half of BYU's 45-10 victory over Eastern Illinois. Since that fumble, Brown has carried the ball 375 times without coughing it up. With 101 receptions and 13 kick returns, Brown has touched the ball 489 times without a fumble.
POINTS OFF TURNOVERS
Not only is BYU fourth in the nation in turnover margin (+14 total and +1.17 turnovers per game), the Cougars are taking advantage of their turnovers. BYU has scored a total of 76 points off 25 turnovers. The Cougars are averaging 6.33 points off turnovers per game. BYU was held without points off turnovers in only three games (Boston College, Colorado State and Utah). The game the Cougars scored the most off turnovers was UNLV when BYU scored 24 points off six turnovers.
LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY
BYU has now won 22 league championships, dating back to its first league title in 1965. BYU won a total of 10 straight conference championships from 1976-1985. Since the 1965 championship season, the Cougars have won 13 outright league titles. All totaled, BYU has recorded six seasons with a perfect league record (1979, 1983, 1984, 1996, 2001, 2006.)
The 2006 BYU team has used full team efforts to lead the Cougars to first place in the Mountain West Conference. Below are various team statistical categories where the Cougars are ranked in the top-25:
Scoring Defense: 16th (15.3 points per game)
Passing Effieciency Defense: 19th (107.84)
Interceptions: 15th (16)
Scoring Offense: 6th (36.67 points per game)
Total Offense: 5th (458.58 yards per game)
Passing Offense: 4th (319.25 yards per game)
Punt Returns: 11th (13.64)
Sacks Allowed: 18th (1.33)
When Manase Tonga bulled into the end zone for a one-yard touchdown run early in the first quarter against Utah, it marked the 11th consecutive game BYU has scored first. The only game in which BYU did not score first was in the Cougars season opener at Arizona. The Wildcats jumped to a 3-0 lead in that game.
113-GAME STREAK ENDS
McKay Jacobson's 77-yard punt return for a touchdown against Wyoming was the first punt return for a touchdown in 113 games for the Cougars. The last Cougar to return a punt for a touchdown was Jaron Dabney on Oct. 18, 1997 in BYU's 17-3 victory over Hawaii. Jacobson was 10 years old when BYU last returned a punt for a touchdown. More impressively, it was Jacobson's first-ever punt return.
BYU came up two yards shy of its first kickoff return for a touchdown in 101 games. The Cougars' Nate Meikle returned the opening kickoff 84 yards, getting knocked out of bounds at the two-yard line. Non-broadcast replay angles appeared to show that Meikle's return should have been a touchdown.
AN MWC FIRST
The 2006 season marks the first time in Mountain West Conference history two league teams have recorded 10 or more wins in a season. League champion BYU finished the regular season with a 10-2 record, while TCU defeated Air Force on Dec. 2 to improve to 10-2 on the year. BYU defeated TCU in head-to-head competition, knocking off the then-15th-ranked Horned Frogs, 31-17, in Fort Worth. The Cougars won the MWC Championship with a perfect 8-0 record, while TCU finished second with a 6-2 mark in league play.