After suffering its worst home loss since a 22-point defeat against Washington on Sept. 6, 1997, BYU (3-4, 0-2) will look to end a two-game losing streak on Thursday, Oct. 24 at league-leading Colorado State (6-2, 2-0). The game will mark the Cougars fifth road trip in the past six weeks. BYU enters this week's contest following a 24-3 loss against UNLV, while the Rams enter Thursday's game riding a two-game win streak, including a 28-20 win over Utah on Saturday. Colorado State is currently tied with Air Force with a 2-0 MWC record.
Following practice on Wednesday, Oct. 23, the Cougars will depart Provo at 7 p.m. via Frontier Air charter service. The team is expected to land in Fort Collins at 8:15 p.m. (MT). While in Fort Collins, the team will stay at the Holiday Inn. BYU will return to Provo immediately following the game.
Thursday's game will be broadcast live to a national television audience on ESPN2. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. (MT). For the third time this season, Jeff Hullinger will call the action, with former Cougars standout and NFL Pro Bowler, Todd Christensen, lending expert analysis. Stacy Paetz will report from the sidelines. Fans can also tune to KSL 1160-AM with Greg Wrubell calling the action and Marc Lyons lending expert analysis. Bill Riley will report from the sidelines.
CSU won its sixth game of the season, including its second straight, defeating Utah on Saturday, 28-20 ... Quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt scored twice and threw a touchdown pass against the Utes ... Running back Cecil Sapp, who scored on a five-yard touchdown run at Utah, has scored at least one touchdown in 12 straight games, including all eight games this season ... The Rams are 5-1 all time in Thursday night games in Fort Collins, including a 5-0 mark under head coach Sunny Lubick ... The Cougars are 0-1 against CSU in Fort Collins on Thursday nights and 2-1 overall ... The Rams have won their first two MWC games for the fourth time under Lubick.
BYU vs. COLORADO STATE
Thursday's game will mark the 61st meeting between the two schools, dating back to the 1922 season. The Cougars own a slight 32-25-3 advantage over the Rams, including a 4-2 margin over head coach Sunny Lubick. Colorado State has posted a 15-13-3 record against BYU in Fort Collins, including a 45-21 victory in the Cougars' last visit to Hughes Stadium in 2000. BYU has not won a game in Fort Collins since the 1995 season.
A LOOK BACK (BYU 56, CSU 34)
In a battle between two MWC heavy weights, BYU's Luke Staley delivered one too many blows in leading the Cougars to a 56-34 victory over Colorado State in Provo on Nov. 1, 2001. BYU jumped all over Colorado State in the first quarter, sprinting out to a 21-0 lead. But Colorado State refused to roll over. The Rams roared back to score 21 straight points to tie the game. BYU added a touchdown and Colorado State countered with a field goal to give BYU a 28-24 lead at the half. Colorado State continued its momentum and scored first after the half to take the lead, but BYU's defense buckled down when it had to. BYU only allowed a field goal the rest of the game. The defense also came up with big plays, including two interceptions in its own end zone. Jernaro Gilford intercepted a pass on Colorado State's first possession, halting a long drive for the Rams. Colorado State attacked BYU's defense with its own one-two punch all night long. Running back Henri Childs rushed for 237 yards while quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt rushed 174 yards and two touchdowns. The Rams finished the game with 440 yards rushing. But in the end, it was too much Staley and Doman. Staley finished the game with five touchdowns, 196 yards rushing on 22 carries and three catches for 28 yards. Brandon "The Domanator" Doman perfectly complemented Staley's ground attack by rushing for a career-high 164 yards and throwing for another 284 yards. He rushed for two touchdowns and threw for another.
Following its fifth road game in six weeks, BYU will return home for a three game homestand, beginning on Saturday, Nov. 2. The Cougars will play host to San Diego Sate at Edwards Stadium. Game time has yet to be determined.
REBELS END COUGARS' 10-GAME HOME WIN STREAK
UNLV scored 21 unanswered points in the second half to pull away from BYU and record only its second-ever victory over the Cougars, 24-3, on Saturday. The UNLV victory also ended a BYU 10-game home win streak, dating back to Oct. 26, 2000. The UNLV defense held firm all night, holding BYU to just three points on the night. The Cougars' point production marked the lowest point total at home since being shutout against New Mexico back in 1971, over 31 years ago. The Cougars' point total also marked the fewest points scored since being held to just 3 points against Florida State in the 2000 season-opener in Jacksonville, Fla. In his first start as a Cougar, redshirt freshman quarterback Matt Berry completed 14-of-27 attempts for 186 yards, one interception, and no touchdowns. The Cougar offense managed 408 yards of total offense, compared to UNLV's 319 total yards. Senior wide receiver Reno Mahe recorded his fifth 100-yard game of his career, racking up 124 yards on 8 receptions, a 15.5-yard average. It is the second time this season Mahe has had more than 100 yards receiving. Sophomore running back Marcus Whalen ran for over 100 yards, totaling 105 yards on the night on 22 carries. It was the fourth time this season, and in his career, that he has rushed for more than 100 yards. UNLV senior quarterback Jason Thomas led the Rebel attack with 139 yards passing, connecting on 10-of-13 attempts. UNLV scored first on a 27-yard field goal, capping a 7-play, 67-yard drive to start the game. After being held scoreless in the first quarter for the fifth time this season, the Cougars managed to score on Matt Payne's 24-yard field goal, ending a 7-play, 46 yard drive with 8:10 remaining in the second quarter. The drive was set up after defensive tackle Scott Young recovered a UNLV fumble. The Cougars got in field goal position after Berry hooked up with Mahe for a season-high 46-yard reception. With 4:13 remaining in the first half, the Cougars attempted a fourth-down conversion, needing just one yard at the UNLV 9 yard line. BYU was stopped for a 1-yard loss, ending any chance for the Cougars to add any points before halftime. In the second half, UNLV shut out the Cougars and reeled off 21 unanswered points, including 14 points off BYU turnovers. With the game still within reach, Berry was sacked and fumbled at the UNLV 27 yard line. Jamall Brimmer picked up the offering and rumbled 27 yards for the touchdown. With time running out, and the Cougars needing to pick up quick yardage, Crowton inserted Bret Engemann into the lineup. After completing 4-of-6 attempts, Engemann's pass was intercepted by Chameio Sutton and returned 38 yards for clinching touchdown.
BERRY GETS FIRST START
Following Matt Berry's first-ever career start (vs. UNLV), BYU head coach Gary Crowton announced his redshirt freshman will start against Colorado State. Berry recorded 186 of the Cougars' 275 passing yards, connecting on 14-of-27 (.519) attempts. Berry became the first redshirt freshman to start at quarterback since Ty Detmer back in 1988. Berry is also the first starting quarterback to wear jersey no. 8 since Steve Young. Berry saw his first varsity action earlier this season at Air Force, completing 6-of-8 attempts for 95 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown pass to tight end Gabe Reid. Saturday's game marked the first start for Berry since his final high school game in November, 1998. The 6-foot-5, 218-pound, native of Redmond, Wash., replaces junior Bret Engemann as the starting quarterback. Engemann, who led BYU to back-to-back wins against Syracuse and Hawaii to start the season, as well as an impressive come-from-behind win at Utah State, will remain in the mix for playing time. Berry gained valuable experience during the JV season, completing 12-of-23 attempts for 144 yards against top-ranked Dixie State College, including a touchdown pass to Kish Beverley. Against Snow College, Berry led the Cougar offense on an 80-yard drive, finishing with a 28-yard touchdown pass to tight end Andy Hadfield.
HOME WIN STREAK ENDS
Saturday's 24-3 loss against UNLV ended the Cougars' 10-game home winning streak. That streak dated back to Oct. 26, 2000 (vs. Wyoming). Since Cougar Stadium was renamed LaVell Edwards Stadium on Nov. 18, 2001, the Cougars had never lost a game in Provo, posting a 9-0 record before Saturday's loss. The streak marked the longest home win streak for the Cougars since winning 17 straight from Oct. 7, 1989 to Nov. 23, 1991. With a perfect 6-0 record in Provo last season, the Cougars have recorded 12 undefeated home seasons since the 1967 campaign. In fact, since the stadium was expanded to 65,000, the Cougars have posted eight different seasons without losing a game in Provo. The 2001 perfect home season marked the first since 1998. In 2002, BYU is 2-1 at Edwards Stadium.
Saturday's game marked the 78th Homecoming game at BYU since 1922. The Cougars have posted a record of 37-19 (.661) since the 1974 Homecoming contest -- a 27-12 win over Utah State. During the LaVell Edwards era, the Cougars posted a 27-13 (.675) record in Homecoming games. Last season, under first-year head coach Gary Crowton, the Cougars recorded a 63-33 win over Air Force, marking the second time BYU has recorded 63 points in a Homecoming Game. The Cougars chalked up a 63-28 win over UNLV in the 1996 Homecoming contest. Saturday's game (vs. UNLV) marked the first homecoming loss for the Coguars since falling to San Diego State, 15-16, in 2000.
With Saturday's loss against UNLV, the Cougars dropped below .500 on the year, marking the first time since the 2000 season BYU has posted a sub-.500 record over the first seven games. Ironically, BYU started the 2000 season off with an identical 3-4 record. However, the Cougars finished the season by winning 3 of their last 5 games to finish 6-6 on the season. BYU's sub-.500 record marks only the second time since the 1975 season the Cougars have not posted a winning mark through the first seven games.
THE STREAK IS STILL ALIVE ... 345 GAMES AND COUNTING
With Matt Payne's 24-yard field goal in the second quarter (vs. UNLV), BYU extended its NCAA record streak to 345 games without being shutout. BYU was last shutout during the 1975 season (Sept. 27, 1975 vs. Arizona State.) The Cougars don't have a single person on their 2002 roster that was alive the last time BYU was shut out.
SLOW LEAGUE START
With a 24-3 loss against UNLV on Saturday, the Cougars are off to an 0-2 start in league play. The 0-2 start in league play marks the first time since 1975 the Cougars have lost their first two league games. In 1975, BYU lost at Colorado State, 21-17, and at Arizona State, 20-0, to start WAC play. The Cougars went on to post a 4-3 league record, finishing tied for fourth.
WHO WANTS TO PLAY ON SATURDAY ANYWAY
After losing to UNLV, 24-3, on Saturday, Oct. 19, the Cougars have yet to win a Saturday game. BYU has lost at Nevada, Georgia Tech, Air Force and against UNLV -- all on Saturday. The Cougars are 1-0 on Thursdays, and 2-0 on Fridays. This week's game at Colorado State will be on Thursday. The Cougars are 0-1 in games played in Fort Collins on Thursday, however, BYU has posted a 2-1 record against the Rams in Thursday night games. BYU and CSU have played on Thursday night in front of a national television audience every year since 1999 -- the first year of the MWC.
PENALTIES STILL A PROBLEM
In the first three games of the season, the Cougars were flagged a league-leading 37 times for 325 yards, including a season-high 13 times for 140 yards at Nevada. The Cougars averaged 12.3 penalties for 108.3 yards per game. Against Georgia Tech, BYU was flagged seven times for only 31 yards. Against Utah State, the Cougars were penalized 10 times for 71 yards, marking the fourth game this season BYU has had 10 or more penalties. Against Air Force, the Cougars were flagged just three times for a total of five yards, marking the fewest penalties in a game since being flagged twice for 10 yards at New Mexico on Oct. 3, 2001. Last week (vs. UNLV), the Cougars were flagged 10 times, compared to just two penalties for the Rebels. Consequently, BYU was penalized 84 yards, compared to just 13 yards for UNLV marking the largest penalty yardage differential on the season. On the season, the Cougars are averaging 9.6 penalties for an average 73.7 yards per game. BYU opponents are being flagged just 5.6 times for only 50.4 yards per contest.
FOURTH AND GO FOR IT
Including four fourth-down attempts against UNLV, BYU is 14-of-33 (.424) on fourth-down attempts this season. Against the Rebels, the Cougars converted just 2-of-7 attempts. BYU recorded a season-high 4 fourth-down conversions at Utah State. Against Nevada, the Cougars were a perfect 3-for-3 on fourth-down attempts. On the season, BYU is averaged 2 fourth-down conversions on 4.7 attempts per game. Last season, the Cougars were 16-of-21 (.762) on fourth-down attempts, averaging 1.2 conversions on 1.6 attempts per game.
NOT SO FAST
Against UNLV, BYU failed to score in the first quarter, marking the fifth time in seven games the Cougars did not score in the first quarter of play. Matt Payne's 35-yard field goal with 11:40 remaining in the first quarter at Air Force marked the first first-quarter points scored by the Cougars since posting seven first-quarter points in the season-opener against Syracuse. Through seven games, BYU has scored just 10 points in the first quarter of play. In fact, the Cougars have been outscored 47-10 during first-quarter action. Prior to Payne's field goal, the Cougars had not scored in the first quarter since recording a 6-yard touchdown pass from Bret Engemann to Andrew Ord with 8:14 remaining in the first quarter against Syracuse. Prior to the Air Force contest, the Cougars had 16 different first-quarter possessions, and had crossed midfield only six different times. Over that four-game span, BYU's average first-quarter field possession was its own 46 yard line. Over the past six games, including Saturday's game vs. UNLV, the Cougars have entered the Red Zone only once during the first quarter.
POINT PRODUCTION DOWN
Entering last Saturday's game with a 28.0 points-per-game average, the Cougars scored just three points against UNLV, marking the lowest single-game point total since recording just 3 points against Florida State in the 2000 season-opener. Scoring just 3 points against UNLV marked the lowest point total in a game in Provo since being shutout in 1971 (vs. New Mexico). Over the last two games, the Cougars are averaging just 6.0 points per game. In fact, over the last five games, BYU has been outscored 169-94 (33.8 - 8.8). Since losing to Air Force, the Cougars have been outscored 76-6 (38.0 - 6.0.) After opening the season with a 42-point effort, the Cougars' point production has continued to fall. Since the season-opener, BYU has scored 35 points twice (vs. Hawaii, vs. Utah State), 28 (at Nevada), 19 (at Georgia Tech), 9 points at Air Force and a season-low 3 points against UNLV. At home the Cougars are averaging 26.7 points per game, while on the road, BYU has averaged 22.8 points per contest.
After losing four straight road games, dating back to the Cougars' loss at Hawaii last season, BYU defeated Utah State in Logan on Friday, Oct. 4 to record its first road win since upending Mississippi State in Starkville, Miss., on Dec. 1, 2001. The Oct. 12 loss at Air Force marked the Cougars' third road loss of the season. The Cougars are 8-5 overall on the road during the Gary Crowton era, and 4-1 against MWC opponents on the road. Thursday's game at Colorado state will mark the fifth road game over a six week span.
INTERCEPTION STREAK COMES TO AN END
The BYU defense failed to record an interception against Air Force, marking the first time in 20 games the Cougars did not pick off an opposing quarterback. The streak of 20 straight games dated back to the Cougars' 34-27 win over Utah on Nov. 24, 2000. During that stretch, BYU recorded 36 interceptions, averaging 1.8 interceptions per game. The Cougars posted six games of three or more interceptions, including a streak-high four interceptions against Hawaii earlier this season. During the 2002 season, BYU has produced two or more interceptions in four of seven games. On the season, nine different players have recorded at least one interception, including cornerback Brandon Heaney who has a team high three interceptions. Linebacker Levi Madarieta and cornerback Kip Nielsen each have two picks.
28 STRAIGHT WINNING SEASONS AND COUNTING
Following a 63-33 win over Air Force on Oct. 20, 2001, the Cougars claimed their 28th straight non-losing season. BYU has not had a losing campaign since posting a 5-6 mark in 1973--former head coach LaVell Edward's second season as head coach. The Cougars' streak of 28 straight seasons ranks 11th all-time at the NCAA Division I-A level and is currently the third longest non-losing streak in the nation. (Nebraska ranks No. 1 with 40 straight seasons without a losing campaign.)
Dating back to 1980, the Cougars have appeared on national television an average three times per season, including a single-season record six national television appearances during the 2000 season. Since its first national television appearance in 1974, BYU has posted a 49-33-2 (.595) while playing on national television, including a 23-16 (.590) mark on ABC and a 29-18-2 (.612) mark on ESPN. Current assistant coach Robbie Bosco led the Cougars to a 20-14 win over Pittsburgh in the first live ESPN College Football broadcast in 1984. BYU was 5-2 last season when playing on national television, and are already off to a 2-1 start this season. The Cougars have a total of four national television appearances scheduled this season (all on ESPN or ESPN2).
BYU's opponents for the 2002 season had a combined 70-70 record in 2001. Four of those teams, including Syracuse, Georgia Tech, Colorado State and Utah, recorded bowl game victories last season. The Cougars open the season against two teams that posted a combined 19-6 record. In fact, three of BYU's first four opponents had eight or more wins during the 2001 campaign. Following the first six weeks of competition, BYU opponents have posted a combined record of 37-40 (.481) on the season.
2002 Opponent Results
TEAM W L Pct. 2001 Bowl
Syracuse 1 6 .143 Insight.com (def. Kansas St., 26-3)
Hawai'i 5 2 .714
Nevada 3 4 .429
Georgia Tech 4 3 .571 Seattle Bowl (def. Stanford, 24-14)
Utah State 2 5 .286
Air Force 6 1 .857
UNLV 3 4 .429
Colorado State 6 2 .750 New Orleans Bowl (def. North Texas, 45-20)
San Diego State 2 5 .286
Wyoming 1 6 .143
New Mexico 2 6 .250
Utah 2 5 .286 Las Vegas Bowl (def. USC, 10-6)