Senior tight end Gabe Reid hauled in the game-winning reception on Friday, capping the Cougars' largest come-from-behind victory in school history. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
LOGAN -- After trailing by 27 points at the half, BYU mounted a 28-point second half to produce the largest come-from-behind win in school history. Fueled by true freshman Curtis Brown's 217 yards rushing and Bret Engemann's 294 yards passing, BYU escaped from a sold-out Romney Stadium on Friday with a nail-biting, 35-34, win over Utah State.
"This was a great win for us," BYU head coach Gary Crowton said. "However, I was very disappointed about how we played in the first half. I told the guys at halftime that we still believed in them, and they needed to get back out there and play one series at a time. I felt if we could do that, we could get back in the game. We showed a lot of composure and we started to come together as a team."
In his first career start, Brown reeled off 217 yards on 33 carries, averaging 6.6 yards per carry. Brown tallied a career high three touchdown runs, including a 32-yard touchdown run with 5:55 remaining in the third quarter to pull the Cougars to within 13 points. He also added 49 yards on four receptions for good measure, including a career-best 45-yard reception in the second quarter.
"We knew we were bigger and more physical up front," Brown said. "We just felt it was going to be a matter of time before things started opening up. Coach Crowton believed in me and we have some great blockers."
To end the first half, things went from bad to worse for the Cougars. Trailing 24-7, and with just four seconds remaining in the half, Engemann looked down field for a desperation attempt at the endzone. As the ball slipped from his grip, USU's Jerome Dennis came up with the interception and returned it 75 yards for the touchdown.
"We were pretty fired up going into halftime with that big play," linebacker Mike Rosencrans said. "We gave our all, just like everybody does, every game. We just didn't do what we needed to do and BYU came back on us."
Every thing changed for the Cougars in the second half as the offense found its rhythm, and the defense shut down the Aggie offense, marking the second, second-half shutout for the Cougars this season.
"We just played more composed in the second half," Crowton said. "We played together and we mixed it up well. We got the run and the pass going, and Engemann played a lot better in the second half. Brown started to get on a roll, our tight ends made a solid contribution, Reno Mahe got it going, and our defense stepped it up in the second half."
Mahe came to life for BYU, recording his fourth career 100-yard receiving game and his first since last season's loss at Hawaii. Mahe pulled in 5 receptions for 102 yards and rushed four times for 30 yards on the night.
In the early going of the game the Cougar defense came out fired up and ended the Aggies first two drives with interceptions by linebacker Paul Walkenhorst, and Levi Madarieta, respectively.
However, the Cougar offense was unable to capitalize on the turnovers and handed the ball back to the Aggies without scoring. On their next possession Utah State kicker Dane Kidman put the first points on the board with a 21-yard field goal.
Utah State put up 17 un-answered points before Brown scored his first touchdown of the night for the Cougars.
At halftime BYU was down 34-7, marking the team's largest halftime deficit since the 1990 Holiday Bowl against Texas A&M, 37-7.
BYU took the opening drive of the second half 70 yards, scoring on Brown's one-yard run. Four minutes later, Brown scored again on a 32-yard run, cutting the USU lead to 34-21. After a Utah State drive that consumed over five minutes off the clock, the Cougars got the ball back and marched 70 yards for their third straight touchdown.
On the play, Engemann handed off to Mahe, who pitched the ball to wide receiver Toby Christensen on a reverse. Christensen looked off Engemann in the left corner of the endzone and found Kukahiko in the right side of the endzone to bring the Cougars within six.
The biggest catch of the night came with 6:46 left in the game when Engemann found tight end Gabe Reid in the end zone on a 18-yard pass, capping the 7 play, 82-yard game-winning drive.
The Cougars will open up conference play next week at Air Force. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. (MST) on ESPN2.
Box Score (Final)
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
----------------- -- -- -- -- -----
Brigham Young....... 0 7 14 14 - 35 Record: (3-2)
Utah State.......... 3 31 0 0 - 34 Record: (1-5)
1st 08:13 USU - Kidman, Dane 21 yd field goal,
8-75 2:36, BYU 0 - USU 3
2nd 14:56 USU - Watson, Richard 1 yd run (Kidman, Dane kick),
4-81 0:59, BYU 0 - USU 10
11:11 USU - Samuel, James 73 yd run (Kidman, Dane kick),
2-76 0:47, BYU 0 - USU 17
07:47 BYU - BROWN, Curtis 2 yd run (PAYNE, Matt kick),
12-80 3:24, BYU 7 - USU 17
04:38 USU - Curtis, Kevin 14 yd run (Kidman, Dane kick),
6-56 1:04, BYU 7 - USU 24
00:26 USU - Kidman, Dane 39 yd field goal,
9-48 0:51, BYU 7 - USU 27
00:00 USU - Dennis, Jerome 75 yd interception return (Kidman, Dane kick),
BYU 7 - USU 34
3rd 09:58 BYU - BROWN, Curtis 1 yd run (PAYNE, Matt kick),
12-70 5:02, BYU 14 - USU 34
05:55 BYU - BROWN, Curtis 32 yd run (PAYNE, Matt kick),
7-53 2:39, BYU 21 - USU 34
4th 09:55 BYU - KUKAHIKO, Jason 17 yd pass from CHRISTENSEN, T
(PAYNE, Matt kick), 14-70 5:40, BYU 28 - USU 34
06:46 BYU - REID, Gabriel 18 yd pass from ENGEMANN, Bret
(PAYNE, Matt kick), 7-82 2:21, BYU 35 - USU 34
FIRST DOWNS................... 31 21
RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............ 55-269 18-129
PASSING YDS (NET)............. 312 331
Passes Att-Comp-Int........... 45-28-1 57-24-3
TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS..... 100-581 75-460
Fumble Returns-Yards.......... 0-0 0-0
Punt Returns-Yards............ 3-38 2-28
Kickoff Returns-Yards......... 3-65 6-101
Interception Returns-Yards.... 3-9 1-75
Punts (Number-Avg)............ 3-45.3 4-47.0
Fumbles-Lost.................. 1-1 0-0
Penalties-Yards............... 10-71 5-42
Possession Time............... 36:09 23:51
Sacks By: Number-Yards........ 0-0 3-25
RUSHING: Brigham Young-BROWN, Curtis 33-217; MAHE, Reno 4-32; PENDLETON,
Lanc 2-9; CHRISTENSEN, To 1-6; DEANS, Logan 1-3; LATER, Steve 2-3; ENGEMANN,
Bret 11-0; TM 1-minus 1. Utah State-Samuel, James 4-88; Watson, Richard
11-31; Curtis, Kevin 1-14; Fuentes, Jose 1-0; Coleman, Gary 1-minus 4.
PASSING: Brigham Young-ENGEMANN, Bret 26-43-1-294; CHRISTENSEN, To 1-1-0-17;
DUNHAM, Tyson 1-1-0-1. Utah State-Fuentes, Jose 24-53-2-331; Crosbie, Jeff
0-3-1-0; Team 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING: Brigham Young-NEAD, Spencer 6-47; MAHE, Reno 5-102; BROWN, Curtis
4-49; CHRISTENSEN, To 4-44; REID, Gabriel 2-25; KUKAHIKO, Jason 2-24;
CHRISTENSEN, Da 2-13; WILKERSON, Rod 1-9; PAYNE, Matt 1-1; ANDERSON, Justi
1-minus 2. Utah State-Watson, Richard 5-29; Coleman, Gary 4-68; Curtis,
Kevin 4-68; Candler, Donta' 4-56; Jeffery, Derek 3-34; Cooley, Chris 2-46;
Stallworth, C. 1-22; Poppinga, Casey 1-8.
INTERCEPTIONS: Brigham Young-MADARIETA, Levi 1-9; HEANEY, Brandon 1-0;
WALKENHORST, Pa 1-0. Utah State-Dennis, Jerome 1-75.
FUMBLES: Brigham Young-CHRISTENSEN, Da 1-1. Utah State-None.
SACKS (UA-A): Brigham Young-None. Utah State-Jackson, Bryan 1-0; Wilson,
Rodney 1-0; Busta, Jesse 0-1; Chick, John 0-1.
TACKLES (UA-A): Brigham Young-WALKENHORST, Pa 7-0; MADSEN, Michael 6-1;
FRANCISCO, Aaro 4-2; BARNEY, Chad 4-1; BOCKWOLDT, Colb 2-2; POPPINGA, Brady
1-3; ATKINSON, Bryan 2-0; MEIBOS, Jared 2-0; CARLSON, Brent 2-0; NIELSEN,
Kip 1-1; MADARIETA, Levi 1-0; MARQUARDT, Dani 1-0; HEANEY, Brandon 1-0;
DENNEY, John 1-0; WRIGHT, Bill 1-0; BURBIDGE, Jon 1-0; FARRIS, Alex 0-1;
STEVENS, Chris 0-1. Utah State-Busta, Jesse 6-8; Watts, Robert 8-3; Jimoh,
Ade 7-4; Rosencrans, M. 8-0; Shank, Derrek 4-4; Jackson, Bryan 4-2; Wilson,
Rodney 3-3; Luna, Ross 2-4; Chick, John 3-1; Estelle, Mark 2-2; Guenter,
Jeremy 2-1; Tupea, Ronald 2-1; Tapia, Jorge 1-2; Wiser, Matt 2-0; Jackson,
Justin 0-2; King, Nick 1-0; Crockett, Ricky 1-0; Eason, Jerome 1-0;
Anderson, Kevin 1-0; Candler, Donta' 1-0; Johnstun, Jared 0-1; Fackrell, Jim
0-1; DeQuillettes, R 0-1.
Stadium: Romney Stadium Attendance: 30341
Kickoff time: 7:05 pm End of Game: 10:45 pm Total elapsed time: 3:40
Officials: Referee: Ken Rivera; Umpire: Scott Teifer; Linesman: Mike McCabe;
Line judge: Randy Campbell; Back judge: Craig Battaglia; Field judge: Scott
Novak; Side judge: Gregory Wilson
Temperature: 52 Wind: Calm Weather: Partly cloudy