Junior running back Reynaldo Brathwaite was caught at the one-yard line by UNM defender Gabriel Fulbright after an 89-yard carry in the first quarter. Brathwaite carried the ball 19 times for 169 yards in the Cougars' 10-7 victory over the Lobos. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
COLORADO SPRINGS -- Junior running back Reynaldo Brathwaite has been named the Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Week after racking up 169 yards on 19 carries in the Cougars' to a 10-7 win over New Mexico. Brathwaite becomes the second BYU player to earn MWC Offensive Player-of-the-Week honors this season. (Daniel Coats; Sept. 1)
The 5-foot-10, 170-pound junior college transfer (Grossmont JC) recorded the Cougars' first 100-yard rushing performance of the season, averaging an impressive 8.9 yards per carry. He was also credited with three receptions for 18 yards, in addition to a game-saving pass completion to Toby Christensen for 26 yards.
Brathwaite's rushing average was enhanced following an 89-yard run on the Cougars' second drive of the game, setting up a 20-yard Matt Payne field goal that would prove to be the difference in BYU's three-point MWC victory over the Lobos. On the play, Brathwaite took the handoff to the left side and promptly ran in to a wall of New Mexico defenders. After changing directions, and picking up a key block from tackle Brandon Stephens, Brathwaite sprinted down the sideline 89 yards before being brought down at the UNM 1-yard line.
Brathwaite's run marked the longest in BYU history since Weldon Jackson rumbled for a school-record 93 yards way back in 1958 -- over 45 years ago. Brathwaite's run also tied Colorado State's Cecil Sapp for the second longest run in MWC history.
With his performance, Brathwaite became only the seventh player to eclipse the 100-yard mark against the Lobos since the start of the 2000 season -- a span of 40 games. It was also the most yards recorded by a single player against New Mexico since Utah's Dameon Hunter reeled off 177 yards in 2001.
Perhaps the most crucial series of the game came with 4:47 remaining in the fourth quarter. With the game still very much in doubt, Brathwaite became the go-to-guy for the Cougars.
On first-and-10 from the BYU 30-yard line, Brathwaite was credited with a nine-yard carry, setting up a second-and-one from the BYU 39. Another Brathwaite carry gained four yards, followed by another one-yard run. Two plays later, facing second-and-12 from the New Mexico 42-yard line, Brathwaite picked up six more yards. On third-and-six, head coach Gary Crowton went to his bag-o-tricks. Brathwaite took the pitch from quarterback Todd Mortensen, looked off his primary receiver, Jason Kukahiko, and found Toby Christensen for a 26-yard pass that gave BYU the game-clinching first down.
All totaled, Brathwaite was credited for 213 of the Cougars' 308 total net yards -- 70 percent of BYU's total offense in a 10-7 victory over New Mexico.