Receiver Matt Allen dives for the endzone, scoring the Cougars' game-winning touchdown at New Mexico. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
ALBUQUERQUE -- When you schedule a homecoming opponent, you're supposed to win--in theory. At least that was what the University of New Mexico may have been hoping when BYU was listed as its homecoming opponent this season.
The Cougars proved to be homecoming spoilers on Saturday, and gave BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall his first Division I-A victory, scoring 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to claim a 27-24 come-from-behind victory over New Mexico.
"I asked the players to take it one play at a time," Mendenhall said. "Knowing it wasn't going to be easy, knowing New Mexico is a good football team, knowing that they have a rich tradition that Coach Long has established; we just asked our team to play four quarters as hard as they could, and they did and I'm proud of them."
Leading 24-19 with 2:48 remaining in the game, it appeared New Mexico would claim its first victory at University Stadium over the Cougars since 1997. With under three minutes remaining in the game, junior quarterback John Beck led the Cougars on a five-play, 80-yard drive that ended with the Cougars taking a three-point lead.
After Beck completed a 14-yard pass to running back Curtis Brown for a first down, he hooked up with sophomore receiver Matt Allen for a 23-yard, game-winning touchdown with just 1:40 remaining in the game.
A tough defensive stand forced the Lobos to turn the ball over on downs with 45 seconds remaining, sealing the Cougars' first Mountain West victory of the season. With the win, BYU improves to 2-3 on the season, including a 1-2 league record, while New Mexico falls to 3-3 overall and 1-2 in MWC action.
"I think they had a sense the game was in doubt, but I didn't see any panic until the last drive," UNM head coach Rocky Long said. "I saw a lot of panic on the last (BYU) drive. I told them I knew they were disappointed and I thought we did a lousy job of coaching. When they disintegrate at the end of the game, it's not their fault, it's the coaches' fault."
Beck finished the night with a game-high 371 yards passing, completing 34-of-44 attempts (.773) with three touchdowns on the evening. Beck's performance marks his third 300-yard game of the season--the seventh of his career.
"John Beck has proven himself in many different situations," Mendenhall said. "He was prepared well by the offensive coaching staff. He executed the plan when asked to in critical times and the best quarterbacks, that's what they do."
Brown had a game-high 104 yards rushing, marking the seventh time in his career he has eclipsed the 100-yard mark. Tight end Jonny Harline had a team-high 10 receptions, equaling a season-best 123 yards. Todd Watkins added six receptions for 68 yards, including a critical 29-yard reception during the Cougars' game-winning drive. Brown totaled five catches for 35 yards. All totaled 11 receivers were credited with at least one reception against the Lobos.
The defense, led by linebackers Cameron Jensen and Paul Walkenhorst held the Lobos scoreless in the fourth quarter, limiting UNM to just 66 total yards in the final period. Jensen and Walkenhorst finished the night with a combined 24 tackles, including a team-high 13 and 11 stops, respectively. Both Jensen and Walkenhorst missed last week's game at San Diego State due to injury.
Mendenhall said he was pleased with the team's effort down the stretch, and was impressed by their focus and determination.
"As we talked at halftime, I sensed that they could win this game," he said. "I sensed that they believed. I think they were determined to make it happen and they did. That is to their credit. That shows maybe the true nature of this team is starting to come out.
"I think it's who they are. I'm fortunate to be the coach of this football team. To have young men with this kind of character, we've been through a lot already and they've been resilient. They overcame adversity to the end and continued to believe in themselves and their coaches. I am proud of them and their performance this evening."
Early in the first quarter, the Cougars struck first when Beck found tight end Dan Coats for an 11-yard touchdown reception at the 10:17 mark of the first quarter, capping a 10-play, 80-yard drive to start the game. Jared McLaughlin's extra-point attempt was blocked by UNM's Marcus Parker. Coats' touchdown was his first since scoring against Stanford on Sept. 20, 2003.
The Lobos answered on the next series, taking a 7-6 lead on a 16-yard Travis Brown run. New Mexico covered 80 yards in six plays on the drive.
Following the UNM touchdown, the BYU defense settled down, forcing New Mexico to punt on its next two drives.
The Cougars started the second quarter like they started the first. Beck hooked up with back-up running back Joe Semanoff for a five-yard touchdown completion to give BYU a 13-7 lead with 11:27 remaining in the second quarter. The scoring drive covered 52 yards in seven plays.
The Lobos answered on the following drive, driving 76 yards in 10plays to take a 14-13 lead. McKamey capped the drive with a two-yard run--his third rushing touchdown of the season.
After the Cougars failed to convert on third-and-four from the BYU 47-yard line, BYU punted and pinned New Mexico at their own nine-yard line. BYU looked as if it would hold the Lobos on third-and-one when Daniel Marquardt appeared to have McKamey for a sack; however, the junior quarterback scrambled and connected with Hank Baskett down the right sideline for a 43-yard completion. On the next play, the Cougars were called for pass interference, giving UNM a first-and-goal from the BYU seven-yard line. Two plays later, Dontrell Moore crossed the goal line on a one-yard carry to give the Lobos what would be a 21-13 halftime lead.
After stopping the Lobos on the first drive of the second half, the Cougars drove 70 yards and appeared as if they would score when the Lobos forced the first turnover of the game. Beck's pass to Matt Allen was picked by Tyson Ditmore at the UNM two-yard line.
Following the interception, New Mexico drove 91 yards in 11 plays and scored on a 24-yard Kenny Byrd field goal to take a 24-13 lead with 3:00 left in the third quarter.
With just under 13:00 minutes left in the game, BYU got a much-needed break when Markell Staffieri recovered a McKamey fumble on the Cougars' own seven-yard line. The Cougars marched 93 yards in 13 plays, scoring on a nine-yard run by Brown to pull within five points with 7:15 remaining in the game.
BYU forced New Mexico to punt with 2:48 remaining in the game after cornerback Nate Soelberg stopped Hank Baskett for a two-yard loss on third-and-four from the UNM 47-yard line.
The Cougars return to Provo on Saturday, Oct. 15 to take on Colorado State. Game time is scheduled at 8 p.m. (MT).
Box Score (Final)
Brigham Young vs New Mexico (Oct 08, 2005 at Albuquerque, NM)
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
----------------- -- -- -- -- -----
Brigham Young....... 6 7 0 14 - 27 Record: (2-3,1-2)
New Mexico.......... 7 14 3 0 - 24 Record: (4-2,1-2)
1st 10:17 BYU - COATS, Dan 11 yd pass from BECK, John (MCLAUGHLIN, Jar kick blockd)
08:32 UNM - BROWN, Travis 16 yd run (BYRD, Kenny kick)
2nd 11:27 BYU - SEMANOFF, Joe 5 yd pass from BECK, John (MCLAUGHLIN, Jar kick)
07:17 UNM - McKAMEY, Kole 2 yd run (BYRD, Kenny kick)
00:18 UNM - MOORE, DonTrell 1 yd run (BYRD, Kenny kick)
3rd 03:00 UNM - BYRD, Kenny 24 yd field goal, 11-91 3:18, BYU 13 - UNM 24
4th 07:15 BYU - BROWN, Curtis 9 yd run (BECK, John pass failed)
01:40 BYU - ALLEN, Matt 23 yd pass from BECK, John (BROWN, Curtis rush)
FIRST DOWNS................... 27 28
RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............ 30-93 45-244
PASSING YDS (NET)............. 371 218
Passes Att-Comp-Int........... 44-34-1 28-18-0
TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS..... 74-464 73-462
Fumble Returns-Yards.......... 0-0 0-0
Punt Returns-Yards............ 2-6 0-0
Kickoff Returns-Yards......... 2-40 2-27
Interception Returns-Yards.... 0-0 1-0
Punts (Number-Avg)............ 4-40.5 4-43.8
Fumbles-Lost.................. 0-0 1-1
Penalties-Yards............... 7-84 9-72
Possession Time............... 30:37 29:23
Third-Down Conversions........ 7 of 12 4 of 10
Fourth-Down Conversions....... 0 of 1 0 of 1
Red-Zone Scores-Chances....... 3-4 4-4
Sacks By: Number-Yards........ 0-0 4-18
RUSHING: Brigham Young-BROWN, Curtis 20-104; SEMANOFF, Joe 1-6; TEAM 3-minus
8; BECK, John 6-minus 9. New Mexico-McKAMEY, Kole 17-103; MOORE, DonTrell
22-82; BROWN, Travis 6-59.
PASSING: Brigham Young-BECK, John 34-44-1-371. New Mexico-McKAMEY, Kole
RECEIVING: Brigham Young-HARLINE, Jonny 10-123; WATKINS, Todd 6-68; BROWN,
Curtis 5-35; MEIKLE, Nathan 3-21; ALLEN, Matt 2-40; SEMANOFF, Joe 2-25;
COATS, Dan 2-22; TONGA, Manase 1-20; ASHWORTH, Luke 1-7; GRIFFIN, Joe 1-7;
REED, Michael 1-3. New Mexico-BASKETT, Hank 11-141; HALL, Logan 2-39; MOORE,
DonTrell 2-24; BROWN, Travis 2-8; MULCHRONE, John 1-6.
INTERCEPTIONS: Brigham Young-None. New Mexico-DITMORE, Tyson 1-0.
FUMBLES: Brigham Young-None. New Mexico-McKAMEY, Kole 1-1.
Stadium: University Stadium Attendance: 39233
Kickoff time: 6:09 PM End of Game: 9:34 Total elapsed time: 3:25
Officials: Referee: Scott Novak; Umpire: Al Cory; Linesman: Patrick Turner;
Line judge: Mark Ratner; Back judge: Robert Wucetich; Field judge: Randy Smith;
Side judge: Bill Agopian; Scorer: Paul Opperman;
Temperature: 70* Wind: SW Gusty Weather: Cloudy/Precip - 50%
Brigham Young vs New Mexico (Oct 08, 2005 at Albuquerque, NM)
SACKS (UA-A): Brigham Young-None. New Mexico-THOMPSON, Evroy 1-1; KASE, Cody
1-0; GARDAY, Adam 1-0; WRIGHT, DeAndre 0-1.
TACKLES (UA-A): Brigham Young-JENSEN, Cameron 9-4; WALKENHORST, Pa 5-6;
GABRIEL, Dustin 6-2; ROBINSON, Justi 5-1; LUETTGERODT, Ju 4-0; MADDUX,
Justin 2-2; SOELBERG, Natha 2-2; WAGNER, Aaron 0-3; MARQUARDT, Dani 0-3;
BROWN, Manaia 0-3; HODGKISS, Corby 1-1; BILLS, K.C. 1-1; KEHL, Bryan 0-2;
WHITE, Spencer 1-0; PAONGO, Hala 1-0; STAFFIERI, Mark 1-0; ASHWORTH, Luke
1-0; SITAKE, T.J. 0-1; LUEKENGA, Kyle 0-1. New Mexico-WRIGHT, DeAndre 3-7;
MALONE, Jerrell 8-1; LIGON, Blake 6-2; HARRIS, Aleem 4-4; FULBRIGHT, Gabr
6-1; MOHORIC, Mike 3-4; KASE, Cody 2-4; THOMPSON, Evroy 3-2; BLACK, Quincy
1-3; GARDAY, Adam 2-0; ARNETT, Zach 1-1; WEST, Ken 1-0; SMITH, Marcus 1-0;
HUTCHISON, Step 1-0; BYRD, Adrian 0-1.