The BYU defensive line made several big stops against Wyoming (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- In a game that saw both offenses struggle in the first half, BYU outlasted Wyoming, 19-7, in a a crucial Mountain West Conference game Thursday at Cougar Stadium. The win improved the Cougars to 4-5 overall and 2-2 in conference play. Wyoming dropped to 1-8 and 0-5 in the MWC.
The win was also a milestone for BYU head coach LaVell Edwards who recorded his 255 win while a coach at BYU. His 255 wins tie him with legendary Nebraska head coach Tom Osborne for the second most wins by a head coach at one school. The record is 320 wins by Joe Paterno of Penn State.
"Obviously it's nice (to tie Osborne)," Edwards said. "I think it took him about 25 years and it took me about a hundred. He's a great guy and a great friend."
The milestone looked like it was going to be easy to reach after the Cougars opened the game by driving 72 yards to the Wyoming six-yard line. However, the Cowboys stopped BYU on a fourth-down run and took over possession of the ball.
The ensuing Cowboy drive was also stopped on the goal line when BYU's Michael Madsen intercepted a Jay Stoner pass at the Cougar 1-yard line. That was as close as either team would come to scoring until Stoner hit Malcom Floyd on a 12-yard touchdown pass that gave Wyoming a 7-0 lead with 49 seconds remaining in the first half.
Both teams were plagued by turnovers in the first half. Stoner threw three interceptions and lost a fumble in the first half. BYU's Luke Staley fumbled twice, Peterson threw an interception and senior wide receiver Margin Hooks was charged with a fumble after a lateral pass from Peterson flew over his head and was recovered by Wyoming. The interception thrown by Peterson broke a BYU record-setting streak of 164 consecutive passes thrown without an interception.
"We came out a little dead-legged the first half," Edwards said. "We knew it would be a tough game, but I never thought that so many things could go wrong."
One right thing for the Cougars was the play of senior safety Tyson Smith. Smith tied a BYU record by finishing the night with three interceptions in one game. Smith recorded two interceptions in the second quarter off Stoner and added a third from Wyoming back-up quarterback Brandon Neill, who entered the game after Stoner sprained his ankle.
"He's a very tough kid, a good tackler," Edwards said of Smith. "He plays the run well. He doesn't have the speed he'd like, but I think he's intercepted more passes than the rest of the team combined."
Smith now has four interceptions on the season with his first coming in the overtime period in the Cougars' win over Virginia. The rest of the team combined has three including Madsen's Thursday night interception.
The second half saw the BYU offense get rolling as Peterson capped off a 14-play, 60-yard touchdown drive by diving into the endzone after a five-yard gain around the outside. BYU missed the extra point, but pulled to within one point at 7-6.
After holding Wyoming to four plays on its next drive, the Cougars took over and drove the ball 24 yards, finishing with an Owen Pochman 48-yard field goal that hit the crossbar and bounced over to give the Cougars a 9-7 lead that they would never give up.
The scoring continued for the Cougars when freshman running back Marcus Whalen scored on a 4-yard run to give the Cougars a 16-7 lead in their opening drive of the fourth quarter. Staley was instrumental in the drive, finishing with 19 yards receiving and 15 yards rushing in the six-play drive. He finished with 88 yards rushing and 78 yards receiving on the night.
"Towards the end we got to be a little tired," Wyoming head coach Vic Koenning said. "But most of the game we were able to hang in there with a much smaller defensive team than they had."
Pochman added a 42-yard field goal with 4:15 left to play to finish the scoring at 19-7.
Peterson ended the night 22 of 34 with 225 yards in the air. He also rushed for one touchdown.
The Cougars will next play Thursday at Colorado State in their third and final appearance on ESPN's Thursday night game. That game will start at 6 p.m.
Box Score (Final)
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
----------------- -- -- -- -- -----
Wyoming............. 0 7 0 0 - 7 Record: (1-8,0-5)
Brigham Young....... 0 0 9 10 - 19 Record: (4-5,2-2)
2nd 00:49 WYO - FLOYD, Malcom 12 yd pass from STONER, Jay (ELLING, Aaron kick),
5 plays, 47 yards, TOP 0:40, WY 7 - BYU 0
3rd 06:49 BYU - PETERSON, Charl 5 yd run (POCHMAN, Owen rush failed),
14 plays, 60 yards, TOP 5:55, WY 7 - BYU 6
01:49 BYU - POCHMAN, Owen 48 yd field goal,
8 plays, 24 yards, TOP 2:25, WY 7 - BYU 9
4th 11:21 BYU - WHALEN, Marcus 4 yd run (POCHMAN, Owen kick),
6 plays, 44 yards, TOP 2:50, WY 7 - BYU 16
04:15 BYU - POCHMAN, Owen 42 yd field goal,
8 plays, 39 yards, TOP 4:14, WY 7 - BYU 19
FIRST DOWNS................... 18 18
RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............ 36-68 40-128
PASSING YDS (NET)............. 169 225
Passes Att-Comp-Int........... 30-19-4 34-22-1
TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS..... 66-237 74-353
Fumble Returns-Yards.......... 0-0 0-0
Punt Returns-Yards............ 2-6 5-58
Kickoff Returns-Yards......... 1-28 1-13
Interception Returns-Yards.... 1-11 4-54
Punts (Number-Avg)............ 7-41.3 3-43.0
Fumbles-Lost.................. 1-1 3-3
Penalties-Yards............... 5-21 5-50
Possession Time............... 30:14 29:46
Sacks By: Number-Yards........ 1-8 4-30
RUSHING: Wyoming-SCOTT, Nate 9-32; ARMAH, Derek 10-23; RALPH, Brett 2-10;
RALPH, Brock 2-8; TESINSKY, Darth 1-6; SWANSON, Matt 1-5; NEILL, Brandon
5-minus 7; STONER, Jay 6-minus 9. Brigham Young-STALEY, Luke 23-88; WHALEN,
Marcus 7-42; SITAKE, Kalani 1-7; MCDONALD, Brian 2-6; PETERSON, Charl
6-minus 6; HOOKS, Margin 1-minus 9.
PASSING: Wyoming-STONER, Jay 14-22-3-100; NEILL, Brandon 5-8-1-69. Brigham
Young-PETERSON, Charl 22-34-1-225.
RECEIVING: Wyoming-MCGUFFEY, Ryan 5-52; RALPH, Brock 4-47; TESINSKY, Darth
4-29; FLOYD, Malcom 3-26; RALPH, Brett 1-8; SCOTT, Nate 1-5; ARMAH, Derek
1-2. Brigham Young-OFAHENGAUE, Tev 4-41; STALEY, Luke 3-78; HORTON, Ben
3-21; HOOKS, Margin 3-13; JOLLEY, Doug 2-21; PITTMAN, Jonath 2-19; SITAKE,
Kalani 2-11; SNOWDEN, Will 2-8; RIGELL, Mike 1-13.
INTERCEPTIONS: Wyoming-FINN, Jacque 1-11. Brigham Young-SMITH, Tyson 2-30;
MADSEN, Michael 1-0; HARPER, Jared 1-14; LEE, Jared 0-10.
Stadium: Cougar Stadium Attendance: 56422
Kickoff time: 6:01 pm End of Game: 9:17 Total elapsed time: 3:16
Officials: Referee: Ken Rivera; Umpire: Richard Hall; Linesman: Mark Ratner;
Line judge: Jeff Hansen; Back judge: C. Battaglia; Field judge: Scott Nosvak;
Side judge: Greg Wilson; Scorer: Media Relations;
SACKS (UA-A): Wyoming-CASAVAN, B. 1-0. Brigham Young-GALI, Setema 1-1; ENA,
Justin 0-1; KEISEL, Brett 1-0; HOKE, Chris 1-0.
TACKLES (UA-A): Wyoming-PEPRAH, Kwabena 7-3; GLYNN, Tim 7-2; FINN, Jacque
3-4; JONES, Jason 4-2; JAMES, Lamar 3-3; CHUKWURAH, P. 4-1; GOTTSCHALK, T.
2-3; ABRAM, DaShawn 4-0; HILL, Adrian 2-2; WILSON, John 2-2; CASAVAN, B.
2-1; AIMONE, Jon 2-0; KLOTZ, Matt 0-2; MAXWELL, M. 1-0; DRUBE, Kolby 1-0;
TESINSKY, Darth 0-1; JACKSON, R. 0-1; BEUHLER, Chad 0-1. Brigham Young-ENA,
Justin 5-4; OLSEN, Hans 5-2; WALKENHORST, Pa 5-2; LEE, Jared 4-2; HOKE,
Chris 3-3; KELLEY, Isaac 5-0; GALI, Setema 3-1; PHILLIPS, Danny 3-1; JOINER,
Isiah 2-1; SMITH, Tyson 2-1; REID, Gabriel 1-1; STEARNS, Ned 1-0; PITTMAN,
Jonath 1-0; KEISEL, Brett 1-0; STALEY, Luke 1-0; NIELSON, Mike 1-0; DENNEY,