Cougars, Aztecs Set for MWC Match-up

Set to do battle against San Diego State on Saturday, Curtis Brown is averaging a MWC-best 120.5 yards rushing per game against league opponents. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

PROVO -- Coming off of its first two-game winning streak in over two years, BYU returns to LaVell Edwards Stadium to take on San Diego State, losers of five straight games. Last week the Cougars got some much needed rest during their bye, while the Aztecs lost 51-28 to Utah at home. BYU edged the Aztecs 44-36 last season in San Diego in a game that was reminiscent of the shootouts the two team had played when they were members of the WAC.

SERIES INFORMATION

The Cougars lead the all-time series with the Aztecs 21-6-1, dating back to a 32-7 victory by San Diego State in 1947. An interesting fact about the series is that over the 29 games the two teams have played, the Aztecs have never won two games in a row. The longest streak by the Cougars was nine games stretching from 1976 to 1985. BYU has also won eight out of the last ten meetings between the two schools. One of the most memorable games between BYU and San Diego State was a 52-52 tie in 1991. The game featured reigning Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer and future NFL All-Pro Marshall Faulk. Detmer led BYU back from a 45-17 deficit with five minutes left in the third quarter to tie the score at 52 in the highest scoring tie in NCAA history. The two teams combined for over 1100 yards passing, including 599 by Detmer.

SETTING THE GAME

KICKOFF: 1 p.m.

SITE: LaVell Edwards Stadium (64,045)

TELEVISION (Local): ESPN Regional Television (KJZZ, Ch. 14)

LAST TEN GAMES: BYU leads, 8-2

LAST FIVE GAMES: BYU leads, 4-1

RADIO (Local): KSL-Radio; 1160 AM (Greg Wrubell, Marc Lyons, Andy Boyce)

INTERNET WEBCAST: http://www.byucougars.com/football

THE SERIES: BYU leads 21-6-1

LAST MEETING: Oct. 4, 2003 (BYU, 44-36)

LAST MEETING IN PROVO: BYU leads 12-2

LAST MEETING IN SAN DIEGO: Oct. 4, 2003 (BYU, 44-36)

SUNNY SAN DIEGO

Twenty-three Cougars hail from the state of California. Of those 23, three are from the San Diego area. Wide receiver Todd Watkins is from San Diego and prepped at Helix High School. While at Helix, Watkins became only the second person in the 25-year history of the school to letter in four sports as a senior, including football, volleyball, soccer and track. Following his career at Helix, Watkins starred at Grossmont College, a San Diego area junior college. The Marquardt brothers, Daniel and Michael, also hail from the San Diego area. They are from Vista and attended Rancho Buena Vista High School.

TALE OF THE TAPE

BYU's projected starting offensive line averages an enormous 6-foot-4 and 312 pounds. They will face an San Diego State defensive line that averages 6-foot-4 and 261 pounds. When the Aztecs have the ball, Cougar defensive linemen that average 6-foot-4 and 293 pounds will face a San Diego State front five that are listed at 6-foot-5 and 306 pounds.

KING OF PAYNE

After eight games, Matt Payne is seventh in the nation in punting with an average of 45.6 yards per kick. He has pinned opponents inside the 20-yardline 19 times. In the third game of the season, Payne booted a career-long and a then MWC record 79-yard punt. Unlike most punters, Payne likes to get into the thick of it during kick coverage. He had two highlight-reel quality hits against Boise State kick returner Chris Carr. On the season, Payne has racked up seven tackles on special teams, including six solo takedowns. Payne is no slouch as a kicker either. The senior from North Ogden, Utah has booted 12 of 14 field goals, including a perfect 10 of 10 from 40-yards or greater. His 46-yarder against Wyoming was his 12th straight make between 40 and 49 yards, tying him with John Carney who kicked 12 straight from that distance between 1984-85. On the season, Payne has matched his career high of 53-yards twice, against Notre Dame and Air Force.. He has also made all of his extra points this season. Payne has hit 65 straight point-after attempts, dating back to the 2002 season. Against Air Force he broke Owen Pochman's record of 62 consecutive extra points.

OH AUSTIN BEHAVE

Austin Collie is continuing to amaze during his freshman campaign. On the season, Collie has 43 passes for 519 yards and five scores. His 5.38 receptions per game leads all freshman in the nation, and his five touchdown passes leads the Cougars. Prior to his 14-yard touchdown reception against the Falcons, all of Collie's touchdowns had been at least 40 yards with a long of 57 against Boise State.

GOING DEEP

Junior College transfer Todd Watkins has made an immediate impact for the Cougars. He leads the team with 860 receiving yards on 44 receptions and is second on the team in touchdown catches with four. He has caught touchdown passes of 69, 70 and 79 yards on the season, leading Sports Illustrated to dub him the nation's top "deep threat." Watkins is first in the conference and eightth nationally in receiving yards per game with a 107.5 yard average.

GOOD GRIEF CURTIS BROWN

Despite a slow start, sophomore running back Curtis Brown has picked up the pace in his last four games. Over that stretch Brown has racked up 482 yards, including three straight games over 100 yards. His best performance came against Wyoming where he accumulated 230 yards (159 rushing, 40 passing and 31 receiving) and accounted for two of BYU's three touchdowns. On the season Brown has rushed for 585 yards and four touchdowns. Brown accounted for 230 of the Cougars' 416 total yards in the Cougars' 24-13 win over Wyoming. He carried 24 times for 159 yards, threw one time for 40 yards and had three receptions for 31 yards. He also scored one rushing touchdown on a nine-yard run in the fourth quarter to give the Cougars a 17-13 lead with 13:37 remaining in the game. Brown's touchdown run capped a nine-play, 80-yard drive. In the first quarter Brown accounted for 95 of the Cougars' 96 total yards, including 55 yards rushing and 40 yards passing. Brown connected with freshman receiver Austin Collie on a 40-yard touchdown strike to give the Cougars a 7-0. The game marked Brown's second straight 100-yard rushing performance -- the third of his career. He now has four career 100-yard games following his 128 yards against Air Force. He is averaging a team-leading 73.1 yards per game and is tied for the team lead in rushing touchdowns with four.

OFFENSIVE NOTES

Eight games into the 2004 season, BYU's offense ranks third in the MWC in total offense, averaging 384.13 yards per game. A majority of those yards come through the air, where the Cougars rank 10th in the nation and first in the MWC in passing, averaging 283 yards per game. Since the beginning of conference play BYU has picked its rushing game, The Cougars, who at one point in the season ranked last in the country in rushing yards per game, have picked their average up to 101.13 yards per game. The Cougars improvement can be traced back to the improvement of Curtis Brown, who had no 100-yard rushing games in the first five games of the season, but who has rushed for over 100 yards in his last three. BYU will face a defense that ranks second in the conference in total defense, giving up 339.75 yards per game. The Aztecs rank sixth in the conference against the pass and second against the rush. giving up 226.63 and 113.13 yards respectively..

DEFENSIVE NOTES

BYU ranks fourth in the MWC in total defense through eight games of the 2004 season. The Cougars allow 370.38 yards per game (245.75 passing, 124.63 rushing). BYU will face off against one of the more potent passing offenses in the country. The Aztecs rank fourth in the conference in passing yards per game with an average of 256.88 yards per game. Quarterback Matt Dlugolecki leads the SDSU air attack, averaging a MWC best 20.50 completions per game. The Aztecs also boast on of the nation's top receivers in Jeff Webb, who is 17th in the nation in receiving yards per game, averaging 91.50 yards a contest.

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