BYU receiver Todd Watkins, who recorded a season-high 211 yards on nine receptions against No. 21 Boise State, leads the MWC with an average 21.2 yards per reception. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- Following a tough loss on the road to No. 21 Boise State, BYU looks to rebound on Oct. 2 in Fort Collins, Colo., when the Cougars take on Colorado State.
The Rams enter the game 1-3 following a 39-14 victory over Montana State on Saturday. Colorado State, like BYU, has faced a very difficult schedule, losing games against returning National Champion USC and No. 19 Minnesota.
Last season the Rams defeated BYU 58-13 in Provo. Senior quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt led the Rams attack throwing for three touchdowns in the Colorado State victory. The Cougars lead the series 32-27-3. The two teams first faced off in 1922, a 33-0 victory. BYU hasn't defeated the Rams in Fort Collins since a 28-21 victory in 1995.
RECORD IN MWC OPENERS
Since 1999, BYU has posted a 3-2 record in Mountain West Conference openers. Last season, BYU recorded a 10-7 win over New Mexico in Albuquerque in a game that the Cougars lost starting quarterback Matt Berry for four games after he injured his hand in the first half. BYU has also posted a 3-2 record in conference road openers. Including Saturday's game against Colorado State, BYU has opened its Mountain West schedule on the road in five out of six seasons.
SETTING THE GAME
Kickoff: 8 p.m. (MST)
Site: Hughes Stadium (30,000)
Television (Regional): Fox Sports Rocky Mountain; Tim Nevritt, David Diaz-Infante, Keith Bleyer
Television (Local): SportsWest; Tom Kirkland and Blaine Fowler
Last 10 Games: BYU leads 6-4
Last 5 Games: CSU leads 3-2
Radio (Local): SL-Radio; 1160 AM (Greg Wrubell, Marc Lyons, Bill Riley)
The Series: BYU leads 32-27-3
In Fort Collins: CSU leads 13-16-3
Last Meeting: Oct. 9, 2003 (Colorado State, 58-3)
Last Meeting in Fort Collins: Oct. 24, 2002 (Colorado State, 37-10)
ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH COLORADO
The Cougars have two players from Colorado on their roster, John Denney (Thornton) and Nick Alletto (Parker). BYU has played Colorado State 52 times since 1922 when the precursor to Colorado State--Colorado A&M--defeated BYU 33-0. One of BYU's most memorable games came against the Rams in 1974 that helped propel the Cougars, who were 0-3 going into the game, to a 7-4-1 season and their first-ever bowl game. The Rams scored a touchdown to tie the game with no time on the clock, but missed the extra point. BYU coach Gary Crowton also has ties to Colorado State, having played quarterback in Fort Collins in the late seventies.
BYU'S RECORD IN THE MWC
The Cougars have posted a 21-14 record in the MWC since it was formed in 1999. BYU has won one outright MWC title in football when the Cougars posted a 7-0 conference record in 2001, the only perfect conference record in the brief history of the MWC, and has tied for one championship (1999). In all sports, BYU has won an overwhelming number of MWC championships, winning 53 out of a possible 95 championship titles.
COMPLETE BROADCAST PLANS
TELEVISION: Saturday's game will be broadcast to locally on Fox Sports Rocky Mountain. The game will be broadcast beginning at 8 p.m. MST. The Fox Sports team that will call the game consists of Tim Nevritt, David Diaz-Infante, Keith Bleye.The game will also be broadcast locally on SportsWest with Tom Kirkland and Blaine Fowler calling the game.
RADIO: Fans can tune into KSL Radio--the 50,000-watt home of the Cougars--and follow the action with the broadcast team of Greg Wrubell, Marc Lyons and Bill Riley. The game can also be heard on Dish Network channel 980.
TALE OF THE TAPE
BYU's projected starting offensive line averages an enormous 6-foot-4 and 312 pounds. They will face a CSU defensive line that averages 6-foot-4 and 268 pounds. When the Rams have the ball, Cougar defensive linemen that average 6-foot-4 and 293 pounds will face a CSU front five that are listed at 6-foot-4 and 300 pounds.
Following his breakout game against Boise State in which he caught nine passes for 211 yards and one touchdown, wide receiver Todd Watkins is currently fourth in the nation and first in the MWC in receiving yards per game with an average of 127 yards per game. Watkins has recorded touchdown receptions of 69 and 79 yards on the season. He ranks just ahead of Colorado State wide receiver David Anderson, who is ninth nationally and second in the conference with 108.25 yards per game.
THE HOUSE OF PAYNE IS IN EFFECT Y'ALL
BYU punter Matt Payne currently ranks third in the nation and first in the MWC in punting with an average of 46.25 yards per game. Behind Payne's potent leg, the Cougars lead the MWC and are fifth in the nation in net punting, posting a 45.14 yard net average per punt. The 6-4, 234 pound kicker from North Ogden, Utah has also been a terror on punt coverage, recording two highlight-reel hits on Boise State kick returner Chris Carr.
LAST WEEK: BYU at Boise State
The Cougars suffered their third straight setback last week, losing 28-27 at Boise State. BYU lost when a Matt Payne field goal attempt that would have given the Cougars a two-point victory sailed wide left. BYU had its highest offensive output of the season against the Broncos. Quarterback John Back racked up a career-high 390 yards passing and two touchdowns--one to Todd Watkins and one to Austin Collie. The touchdown pass to Watkins was a 79-yarder. Watkins finished the game with 211 yards receiving and the one score.
BYU is currently last place in the MWC and 95th nationally in total offense with an average of 309 yards per game. Despite the low ranking in total offense, the Cougars are second in the conference in passing offense and 14th nationally. Following John Beck's career-high 390 yards against Boise State, the Cougars are now averaging nearly 284 yards passing per game. BYU continues to struggle in the running game, ranking last in the conference and next to last in the nation in rushing. The Cougars average just 25.25 yards rushing per game. BYU will face a defense that ranks seventh in the MWC in total defense, giving up just over 434 yards a contest. The Rams are 112th in the nation against the rush, yielding 262.25 yards per game, but are first in the conference and 33rd in the nation against the pass. Colorado State gives up just 172 yards a game through the air.
The Cougars rank fifth in the MWC and 79th nationally in total defense, giving up 389.5 yards per game. BYU ranks seventh in the MWC against the pass, giving up 277 yards passing a game, and third in the conference against the rush giving up 112.5 yards per game. BYU will face off against a Ram offense that boasts the nation's ninth best passing attack. CSU quarterback Justin Holland is fourth in the conference in pass efficiency, and Ram receiver David Anderson ranks ninth nationally with 108.25 yards per game. Colorado State ranks just ahead of BYU in rushing offense in the MWC, compiling just 82.75 yards per game.