Cougars Sneak by New Mexico; Remain Undefeated

Freshman safety Aaron Francisco had a 16-yard interception return in the first quarter to stop New Mexico's first drive. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

ALBUQUERQUE -- Without teammate Luke Staley, "The Domanator" Brandon Doman led the No. 17 Cougars to another Mountain West Conference come-from-behind road victory, defeating the New Mexico, 24-20, to remain undefeated on the season.

Similar to the UNLV game two weeks ago, the Cougars (6-0, 2-0) found themselves down three points late in the game. BYU again faced a fourth down situation, but this time it was fourth-and-eleven. Doman ran the option behind some key blocks on the right side of the line and took the ball for a first down to keep the drive alive.

"I can't take any credit for it," said BYU head coach Gary Crowton. "He went out there and made the play."

On the next play, Doman rolled right and threw off balance into the end zone where Andrew Ord came down with the touchdown catch. Matt Payne connected on the PAT to give the Cougars a four-point lead.

"We didn't execute in the late part of the game and BYU did," said New Mexico head coach Rocky Long. "We had a chance to win the game."

With Brian McDonald-Ashford sidelined with a knee injury, and Luke Staley out while the University investigates his academic eligibility status, Ned Stearns started in place of Staley, finishing the game with 18 rushes for a career high72 yards. Doman tried to make up for Staley's absence through the air, finishing the game 22-of-41 for 258 yards passing, three touchdowns and no interceptions. He also rushed for 37 yards.

New Mexico ran a ball-control offense throughout the game, forcing the Cougars' defense to be on the field extensively.

"New Mexico changed its whole offense," Crowton said. "The quarterback draw really hurt us."

But just like the defense has done all year, the Cougars made the plays when they had to.

After the go-ahead touchdown, Jernaro Gilford intercepted an errant Casey Kelly pass, his second interception of the game. Aaron Francisco also made an interception earlier in the game. Linebackers Justin Ena, Isaac Kelley and Paul Walkenhorst were all over the field as well.

The Cougars return home next week for their Homecoming game. BYU will take on Air Force at LaVell Edwards Stadium next Saturday. Game time is slated for 3:45 p.m. (MT)

Freshman speedster Rod Wilkerson scored BYU's first TD on a 28-yard second-quarter reception from Brandon Doman. (BYU Photo / Mark Philbrick)

ò BYU running back Luke Staley did not play in today's game against New Mexico. Staley was withheld from competition while the University looks into issues that may affect his eligibility.

ò Senior running back Ned Stearns was listed as the starter in place of Staley, marking his first-ever career start.

ò Freshman kicker Matt Payne's 33-yard field goal at the 11:18 mark of the first quarter extended BYU's NCAA-leading streak to 330 games without being shutout. The Cougars were last shutout Sept. 17, 1975 (vs. Arizona State).

ò Freshman Aaron Francisco recorded his first career interception at the 5:53 mark of the first quarter , ending a threatening 12-play 48-yard New Mexico drive. The interception was the Cougars' eighth of the year.

ò BYU cornerback Jernaro Gilford recorded two interceptions on the day, including a key grab with just over two minutes left in the game. Gilford has a team-leading four interceptions on the season, including interceptions in the last three games. The Cougars have had at least one interception in each game they have played this season.

ò Gary Crowton became the first head coach in BYU history to start his career at 6-0. It also marked the first time the Cougars started the season 6-0 since the 1984 National Championship season.

ò BYU remained deadly in the Red Zone, scoring both times they crossed the Lobos' 20-yard line. In the first half, the Cougars converted a field goal and in the second half BYU scored a touchdown inside the Red Zone. BYU is now 28-of-30 (.933) inside the Red Zone this season.

ò Stearns' three-yard run at the 6:14 mark of the second quarter converted a fourth-and-one situation, marking the seventh straight fourth-down conversion for the Cougars and the tenth fourth-down conversion on the season.

ò The Cougars are now 11-13 on fourth-down conversions this season. BYU was perfect for the game until the Cougars failed on a fourth down attempt in the third quarter. Three plays later, Rodney Wilkerson converted a fourth-and-three situation into a 28-yard touchdown reception, marking the eighth straight fourth-down conversion on the season. After missing a fourth-down attempt in the third quarter, Doman came up with the biggest fourth-down conversion of the season, overcoming a fourth-and-11 situation late in the fourth quarter.

ò The Cougars' 10 points at the half marked the lowest first-half point total of the season. BYU's previous season low was 21 points (vs. Utah State and Cal). Today's game also marked only the second time this season BYU did not hold the lead at the half.

Box Score (Final)

Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score

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

#17 Brigham Young... 3 7 0 14 - 24 Record: (6-0,2-0)

New Mexico.......... 0 10 3 7 - 20 Record: (2-4,1-2)

Scoring Summary:

1st 11:18 BYU - PAYNE 33 yd field goal,

9-68 3:42, BYU 3 - NM 0

2nd 08:38 UNM - BAXTER, 1 yd run (BOROMBOZIN kick),

14-80 6:10, BYU 3 - NM 7

04:54 BYU - WILKERSON 28 yd pass from DOMAN, (PAYNE kick),

8-47 3:44, BYU 10 - NM 7

00:23 UNM - BOROMBOZIN 20 yd field goal,

13-76 4:31, BYU 10 - NM 10

3rd 03:07 UNM - BOROMBOZIN 23 yd field goal,

9-49 3:24, BYU 10 - NM 13

4th 11:01 BYU - RIGELL 27 yd pass from DOMAN (PAYNE, Matt kick),

10-80 3:59, BYU 17 - NM 13

06:09 UNM - HANSON 19 yd pass from SHEPHERD (BOROMBOZIN kick),

11-80 4:52, BYU 17 - NM 20

03:33 BYU - ORD 15 yd pass from DOMAN (PAYNE kick),

10-84 2:36, BYU 24 - NM 20

BYU UNM

FIRST DOWNS................... 20 23

RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............ 31-107 48-198

PASSING YDS (NET)............. 258 180

Passes Att-Comp-Int........... 41-22-0 35-18-3

TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS..... 72-365 83-378

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

Punt Returns-Yards............ 4-4 1-4

Kickoff Returns-Yards......... 3-70 0-0

Interception Returns-Yards.... 3-34 0-0

Punts (Number-Avg)............ 6-30.5 4-49.5

Fumbles-Lost.................. 3-0 0-0

Penalties-Yards............... 2-10 4-40

Possession Time............... 26:20 33:40

Sacks By: Number-Yards........ 2-12 1-5

RUSHING: #17 Brigham Young-STEARNS, Ned 18-72; DOMAN, Brandon 12-37; TM

1-minus 2. New Mexico-KELLY, Casey 13-51; BAXTER, Jarrod 15-49; WIGGINS,

Holmon 10-48; COUNTER, Dwight 2-14; MANNING, Joe 2-13; HANSON, Javier 2-12;

THOMAS, Terranc 2-8; SHEPHERD, Derri 2-3.

PASSING: #17 Brigham Young-DOMAN, Brandon 22-41-0-258. New Mexico-KELLY,

Casey 17-33-3-161; SHEPHERD, Derri 1-1-0-19; NM Team Stats 0-1-0-0.

RECEIVING: #17 Brigham Young-HALLADAY, Soren 4-58; MAHE, Reno 4-21;

WILKERSON, Rod 3-81; RIGELL, Mike 3-43; ORD, Andrew 3-25; ANDERSON, Justi

3-17; STEARNS, Ned 1-12; JOLLEY, Doug 1-1. New Mexico-COUNTER, Dwight 7-60;

MANNING, Joe 3-42; WIGGINS, Holmon 3-24; ROBBINS, Kirk 2-8; HANSON, Javier

1-19; THOMAS, Terranc 1-18; SHEPHERD, Derri 1-9.

INTERCEPTIONS: #17 Brigham Young-FRANCISCO, Aaro 1-16; GILFORD, Jernar 1-18;

TANNER, Mike 1-0. New Mexico-None.

FUMBLES: #17 Brigham Young-RIGELL, Mike 1-0; DOMAN, Brandon 1-0; ANDERSON,

Justi 1-0. New Mexico-None.

SACKS (UA-A): #17 Brigham Young-KELLEY, Isaac 1-0; GUNDERSON, Ryan 1-0. New

Mexico-MOSS, Charles 1-0.

TACKLES (UA-A): #17 Brigham Young-ENA, Justin 7-2; STALEY, Dustin 6-3;

MADARIETA, Levi 5-2; GILFORD, Jernar 5-1; KELLEY, Isaac 5-0; FRANCISCO, Aaro

3-2; LAFITTE, Michae 4-0; WALKENHORST, Pa 3-1; PILI, Ifo 3-1; GUNDERSON,

Ryan 3-0; HEANEY, Brandon 2-0; COWART, Jeff 1-1; KEISEL, Brett 1-1; ELLIOTT,

Kurt 1-0; DENNEY, Ryan 1-0; POPPINGA, Brady 1-0. New Mexico-DAVIS, Gary 4-5;

GERHARDT, Scott 6-2; MOSS, Charles 3-4; HALL, David 3-2; PERSLEY, Stephe

3-2; JOSUE, Hebrews 2-3; JOHNSON, Brian 1-2; GOLDEN, Terrell 1-2; MAZOTTI,

Tony 1-2; WALTON, Kevin 2-0; KEGLER, Daniel 2-0; MANNING, Antoni 2-0;

CHILDRESS, Dant 1-1; SPEEGLE, Nick 1-1; KONTE, Mohammed 0-2; HANSON, Javier

1-0; SHEPHERD, Derri 1-0; KINCAID, Shanno 1-0; ROBBINS, Kirk 1-0; CROCKETT,

David 0-1; TERRY, Adrian 0-1.

Stadium: University Stadium Attendance: 29036

Kickoff time: 1:07 PM End of Game: 4:27 PM Total elapsed time: 3:20

Officials: Referee: Jack Wood; Umpire: Richard Hall; Linesman: Tim Podraza;

Line judge: Gary McNanna; Back judge: Craig Clark; Field judge: Steve Lindsay;

Side judge: Kent Payne; Scorer: Marc Russell;

Temperature: 59 F Wind: SW @ 12 Weather: Clear

Tags: Results