Cougars Blank Utah State

Sophomore running back Fui Vakapuna ran for three touchdowns in the first half, helping BYU to a 38-0 victory over Utah State. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

COUGAR TOWN -- BYU improved to 2-2 on the season with a shut-out victory over Utah State (0-4) on Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium. The 38-0 victory over the Aggies marked the first time BYU has recorded a shutout since beating UNLV, 29-0, in 1999.

"I'm excited for the victory over Utah State," said BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall. "It is good to see players on both sides representing the state. I have a lot of respect for Coach Guy and the job that he is doing at Utah State."

With starting quarterback John Beck sitting out to nurse injuries, backup Jason Beck (no relation) stepped in and held his own in his first career start. The senior completed 20 of 28 passes, throwing for 305 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Among Beck's targets were Jonny Harline, who finished with five receptions and 75 yards and Curtis Brown, who had 43 yards on four receptions. Wide receivers Matt Allen (61 yards receiving) and Zac Collie (51 yards receiving) each caught three passes combining for 112 yards.

Utah State had no answer for BYU running back Fui Vakapuna, who gave another strong performance rushing for 73 yards on 13 carries and scoring three touchdowns. Brown added an additional 59 yards on 17 carries. BYU finished with 441 yards of total offense, while the Cougar defense held USU to a meager 242 yards of total offense while forcing the Aggies into three turnovers.

Vakapuna started the day off with a 16-yard run on the first play of the game. Nine plays and 89-yards later, it was Vakapuna with the ball in his hands again, this time scampering into the end zone on a six-yard rush for a touchdown. Vakapuna carried four times gaining 44 yards on the opening drive.

A three-and-out for Utah State was followed by a 44-yard field goal by BYU's Jared McLaughlin, putting the Cougars up 10-0 going into the second quarter.

BYU kept the offense coming, as Vakapuna romped into the end zone on an 11-yard carry giving the resilient running back his second touchdown of the day and BYU a 17-0 lead. The play capped a seven-play, 60-yard drive that began in the closing minutes of the first quarter and ended with 14:02 remaining in the second quarter.

Nearly nine minutes later, the end zone was once again stamped by Vakapuna's foot prints as the 6'1," 234-pound sophomore scored his third touchdown of the half on an eight-yard run. The score, BYU's fourth out of five drives in the first half, gave the Cougars a 24-0 halftime lead. It also tied a LaVell Edwards Stadium record for most rushing touchdowns in a half. Vakapuna's three touchdowns matched Luke Staley's three first-half rushing touchdowns against Colorado State in 2001.

A series of turnovers opened the second half with BYU's defense striking first as Russell Tialavea blocked a USU field goal attempt. The Aggies answered back by intercepting a Beck pass intended for Zac Collie near midfield.

A few plays later, BYU's Justin Robinson picked off a Leon Jackson toss and ran it back for a 64-yard touchdown giving the Cougars a 31-0 lead. The interception and touchdown were both career-firsts for Robinson.

The game's final margin came when Beck connected with Harline for an 18-yard touchdown pass with 2:16 left to play.

BYU will travel to Fort Worth, Texas, to open its Mountain West Conference schedule Thurs., Sept. 28, against defending conference champions TCU. Kick-off will be at 5 p.m. CDT, and the game can be seen on VERSUS, the channel formerly known as OLN.

Box Score (Final)

USU vs Brigham Young (Sep 23, 2006 at Provo, Utah)

Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score

----------------- -- -- -- -- -----

USU................. 0 0 0 0 - 0 Record: (0-4)

Brigham Young....... 10 14 7 7 - 38 Record: (2-2)

Scoring Summary:

1st 10:22 BYU - VAKAPUNA, 6 yd run (MCLAUGHLIN kick), 10-89 4:38

04:53 BYU - MCLAUGHLIN 44 yd field goal, 5-30 2:52

2nd 14:02 BYU - VAKAPUNA 11 yd run (MCLAUGHLIN kick), 7-60 2:10

05:24 BYU - VAKAPUNA 8 yd run (MCLAUGHLIN kick), 11-65 5:01

3rd 08:21 BYU - ROBINSON 64 yd interception return (MCLAUGHLIN kick)

4th 02:16 BYU - HARLINE 18 yd pass from BECK (MCLAUGHLIN kick), 7-99 2:52

USU BYU

FIRST DOWNS................... 17 23

RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............ 42-120 34-136

PASSING YDS (NET)............. 122 305

Passes Att-Comp-Int........... 28-17-1 28-20-1

TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS..... 70-242 62-441

Fumble Returns-Yards.......... 0-0 0-0

Punt Returns-Yards............ 1-15 2-29

Kickoff Returns-Yards......... 4-71 1-6

Interception Returns-Yards.... 1-0 1-64

Punts (Number-Avg)............ 6-43.0 3-36.3

Fumbles-Lost.................. 2-1 0-0

Penalties-Yards............... 6-46 4-55

Possession Time............... 34:10 25:50

Third-Down Conversions........ 2 of 14 5 of 10

Fourth-Down Conversions....... 1 of 3 0 of 1

Red-Zone Scores-Chances....... 0-2 4-5

Sacks By: Number-Yards........ 0-0 1-7

RUSHING: USU-Cross, Marcus 27-127; Jackson, Leon 9-15; Johnson, L. 1-4; Black,

Bryan 2-3; McDaniel, A. 2-3; TEAM 1-minus 32. Brigham Young-VAKAPUNA, Fui 13-73;

BROWN, Curtis 17-59; BECK, Jason 4-4.

PASSING: USU-Jackson, Leon 14-24-1-90; Black, Bryan 3-4-0-32. Brigham

Young-BECK, Jason 20-28-1-305.

RECEIVING: USU-Cross, Marcus 5-38; Richards, T. 5-21; Myers, Rob 2-31; Robinson,

Kevin 2-14; Bohm, Jimmy 2-13; Nelson, Otis 1-5. Brigham Young-HARLINE, Jonny

5-75; BROWN, Curtis 4-43; ALLEN, Matt 3-61; COLLIE, Zac 3-51; SEMANOFF, Joe

2-22; JACOBSON, McKay 1-35; MEIKLE, Nathan 1-11; VAKAPUNA, Fui 1-7.

INTERCEPTIONS: USU-Drew Pearson 1-0. Brigham Young-ROBINSON, Justi 1-64.

FUMBLES: USU-Cross, Marcus 1-1; Jackson, Leon 1-0. Brigham Young-None.

Stadium: LaVell Edwards Attendance: 58659

Kickoff time: 1:06 End of Game: 3:55 Total elapsed time: 2:49

Officials: Referee: Bill Athan; Umpire: Mike Rhoades; Linesman: George Gusman;

Line judge: Lance Thompson; Back judge: Jim Settle; Field judge: Jay Taylor;

Side judge: Vern Sparling; Scorer: Media Relations;

Temperature: 54 Wind: 7 mph s Weather: partly cloudy

SACKS (UA-A): USU-None. Brigham Young-KEHL, Bryan 1-0.

TACKLES (UA-A): USU-Cumbee, Derrick 7-4; Hall, Devon 5-2; Drew Pearson 4-0;

Washington, T. 3-1; Taylor, Antonio 3-1; Murphy, Kejon 3-0; Taylor, Caleb 2-2;

Calderwood, Ben 2-1; Golden, Darby 1-2; Shepherd, Kerry 1-2; Igboeli, Paul 1-2;

Hutton, Jake 1-1; Howard, Bevan 0-3; Childs, Ben 0-3; Overton, Jon 1-0; Charles,

M. 1-0; Brindley, James 1-0; Bishop, Alan 1-0. Brigham Young-WAGNER, Aaron 6-6;

JENSEN, Cameron 6-5; KEHL, Bryan 6-2; CRIDDLE, Ben 4-2; HODGKISS, Corby 4-0;

NIXON, David 3-2; POPPINGA, Kelly 2-2; GOOCH, Quinn 2-2; ROBINSON, Justi 2-0;

BOLDEN, Chris 1-1; PAONGO, Hala 0-3; TONGA, Matangi 1-0; DOMAN, Shawn 1-0;

HOWARD, Brandon 1-0; DULAN, Ian 1-0; HUTCHINSON, Nat 1-0; MIYAHIRA, Cole 1-0;

ANDERTON, Judd 1-0; STAFFIERI, Mark 1-0; LUEKENGA, Kyle 0-2; TAFUNA, David 0-1;

JORGENSEN, Jan 0-1; TIALAVEA, Russe 0-1; HOOKS, Terrance 0-1; VAN SWEDEN, Dan

0-1; PRINGLE, Tico 0-1; COATS, Daniel 0-1.

Tags: Results