Cougars Win Season Opener

Running back Harvey Unga produced 194 yards of total offense and two touchdowns in the Cougars' 20-7 win over Arizona. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

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COUGAR TOWN, Utah (Sept. 1, 2007) The BYU defense held Arizona scoreless through 59 minutes in a 20-7 victory over the Wildcats to extend the nation's second longest active win streak to 11 straight games.

BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall collected his first season-opening victory on Saturday,

"I am proud of our team," BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "I think they showed the poise and preparation that they came into camp with."

One reason for the question marks with the Cougars were players who have not seen any collegiate action. At the quarterback was one of those players in sophomore Max Hall. He was up to the challenge in his first action at the collegiate level as he went 26-39 for 288 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

The Cougars also saw a big performance from another first-time collegiate player in red-shirt freshman running back Harvey Unga. He led BYU in rushing with 68 yards on 15 carries and receiving with 127 yards on nine receptions. Unga also had two touchdowns? one through the air and one on the ground.

"I think Max Hall managed the game well; Harvey Unga did a very nice job, and it was great to have Austin Collie back," Mendenhall said. "I credit Coach Anae, coach Doman and coach Reynolds for the preparation models they put in place to get those young players ready and to give us a chance to win."

Hall completed his first three pass attempts and BYU had two first downs in their first drive, but the Cougars first possession was put to a halt just before they crossed midfield. BYU faced a third-and-seven when Hall stepped back in the pocket and was sacked by Arizona senior cornerback Antoine Cason who forced a fumble on the play. The Wildcats recovered the ball on BYU?s 47 yard line.

Arizona came out early running the ball on the shoulders of senior running back Chris Jennings, who had six rushing attempts for a total of 16 yards in the first quarter. After converting one first down in their first drive the Wildcats faced a fourth-and-five at the BYU 30. They decided to go for it with a hand off to Jennings up the middle, but he was stopped three yards short of the first down and BYU took over on downs.

The Cougars took over at their own 28 yard line. Seven plays later BYU scored on a 27-yard pass to running back Unga. The drive consisted of three plays of 16 yards or more. BYU took a 7-0 lead on that 72-yard drive.

That touchdown marked the 13th straight game that BYU has scored first. The last time that they did not score first was against these same Arizona Wildcats in Tuscon last season.

On Arizona's next possession the Cougars showed some team defense as they forced a three-and-out and had many swarming tackles. The Cougar defense held Arizona to only one first down and 24 yards of total offense in the first quarter.

After a quick three-and-out for the Cougars? offense on their next possession, BYU?s defense stepped up again as defensive lineman Jan Jorgensen came up with a big 11-yard sack and forced the Wildcat offense off the field quickly again.

"They play well together; they're not fancy, and they just play hard," Arizona head coach Mike Stoops said. "I thought they tackled well today."

Later in the second quarter BYU took advantage of great field position from Arizona's 36-yard line by putting together a seven-play drive for another Cougar score. This time it was a two-yard pass from Hall to tight end Dennis Pitta.

BYU kicker Mitch Payne missed the PAT, but the Cougars took their 13-0 lead into the locker room for halftime.

Facing a third-and-five with just under five minutes remaining in the third quarter, Unga caught the ball coming out of the backfield across the middle and was hit by a few Wildcats. It appeared as though he was down but no whistle was blown and Unga kept pumping his feet and eventually broke it outside for a 45 yard gain.

"Harvey Unga is exceptional," Mendenhall said. "He is very poised for a young player, and he is very skilled out of the backfield. He runs with both speed and power."

Despite Unga's amazing play, BYU came up empty on the drive.

The Cougars and Wildcats traded possessions on each of their next touches as neither side was able to put much together. Then after Arizona?s next possession, BYU took over on the Wildcat 43. After an 18-yard pass play to tight end Vic So?oto, Hall helped the Cougars gain two first downs as they were marching toward the end zone. Then Unga stepped up again and notched another six points on the scoreboard with an 11-yard carry to help put the Cougars on top 20-0 with 2:34 left to play in the game.

"BYU is a good team," Stoops said following the game. "We weren't quite in sync, and against a quality team like BYU you can't make those kinds of mistakes."

Arizona was finally able to put together a sustained offensive drive after the BYU score as they drove 80 yards in 10 plays for the game?s final score of 20-7. The drive was capped off by a seven yard touchdown pass to running back Earl Mitchell.

BYU will be in action again next Sat., Sept. 8, as they travel to UCLA. Kick off is set for 3:30 p.m. PST and can be seen on VERSUS.

Box Score (Final)

Arizona Wildcats vs BYU Cougars (Sep 01, 2007 at Cougar Town, Utah)

Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score

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

Arizona Wildcats.... 0 0 0 7 - 7 Record: (0-1)

BYU Cougars......... 7 6 0 7 - 20 Record: (1-0)

Scoring Summary:

1st 06:02 BY - UNGA 27 yd pass from HALL (PAYNE kick), 7-72 3:08, ARIZ 0 - BY 7

2nd 00:38 BY - PITTA 2 yd pass from HALL (PAYNE kick failed), 7-36 3:15, ARIZ 0 - BY 13

4th 03:24 BY - UNGA 11 yd run (PAYNE kick), 5-43 2:34, ARIZ 0 - BY 20

00:53 ARIZ - Mitchell, E. 7 yd pass from Tuitama (Bondzio kick), 10-80 2:25, ARIZ 7 - BY 20

ARIZ BY

FIRST DOWNS................... 11 22

RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............ 19-32 32-104

PASSING YDS (NET)............. 223 288

Passes Att-Comp-Int........... 38-28-0 39-26-0

TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS..... 57-255 71-392

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

Punt Returns-Yards............ 1-22 1-9

Kickoff Returns-Yards......... 4-91 1-0

Interception Returns-Yards.... 0-0 0-0

Punts (Number-Avg)............ 8-46.1 5-38.6

Fumbles-Lost.................. 0-0 1-1

Penalties-Yards............... 7-56 5-27

Possession Time............... 26:22 33:38

Third-Down Conversions........ 4 of 14 7 of 15

Fourth-Down Conversions....... 0 of 2 0 of 1

Red-Zone Scores-Chances....... 1-2 2-4

Sacks By: Number-Yards........ 1-0 2-19

RUSHING: Arizona Wildcats-Jennings, C. 14-41; Smith, X. 3-10; Tuitama, Willie

2-minus 19. BYU Cougars-UNGA 15-67; VAKAPUNA 12-36; HALL 4-4; TEAM 1-minus 3.

PASSING: Arizona Wildcats-Tuitama, Willie 26-36-0-216; Heavner, K. 2-2-0-7. BYU

Cougars-HALL 26-39-0-288.

RECEIVING: Arizona Wildcats-Jennings, C. 9-27; Thomas, Mike 7-48; Dean, D. 4-88;

Turner, T. 4-14; Reese, T. 2-22; Gronkowski, R. 1-17; Mitchell, E. 1-7. BYU

Cougars-UNGA 9-127; REED 4-41; COLLIE 4-41; PITTA 4-33; SO'OTO 2-33; SEMANOFF

1-8; VAKAPUNA 1-4; ALLEN 1-1.

INTERCEPTIONS: Arizona Wildcats-None. BYU Cougars-None.

FUMBLES: Arizona Wildcats-None. BYU Cougars-HALL 1-1.

Stadium: Edwards Stadium Attendance: 64525

Kickoff time: 3:36 pm End of Game: 6:47 Total elapsed time: 3:11

Officials: Referee: Gerald Wright; Umpire: Tom Quick; Linesman: George Gusman;

Line judge: Tim Podraza; Back judge: Len Williams; Field judge: Scott Koch;

Side judge: Robert Cameron; Scorer: BYU;

Temperature: 92 Wind: N 4 mph Weather: Clear

Arizona Wildcats vs BYU Cougars (Sep 01, 2007 at Cougar Town, Utah)

SACKS (UA-A): Arizona Wildcats-Cason,Antoine 1-0. BYU Cougars-J. JORGENSEN 1-0;

DULAN 1-0.

TACKLES (UA-A): Arizona Wildcats-Larsen, Spencer 4-10; Cason,Antoine 6-3;

Nelson, C. 4-4; Palmer,Ronnie 4-3; Patrick,D. 5-1; Krogstad,Dane 3-3;

Parker,Jason 2-2; Fontenot,W. 3-0; Dotson,Lionel 3-0; Barnett,Yaniv 1-2;

Mikaele, L. 1-1; Holmes, L. 0-2; Turner, J. 0-2; Horton, D. 0-2; McCovy, A. 0-1;

Ross, D. 0-1; Egger, T. 0-1; Hall, C. 0-1; Klyce, M. 0-1. BYU Cougars-KEHL 6-6;

STAFFIERI 5-2; NIXON 3-3; GOOCH 3-3; SH. DOMAN 2-4; J. JORGENSEN 2-3; POPPINGA

2-2; HODGKISS 1-3; PITTMAN 3-0; Manumaleuna 1-2; CRIDDLE 1-2; BUCHANAN 2-0;

PAYNE 1-0; TEAM 1-0; DULAN 1-0; DENNEY 1-0; VAN SWEDEN 0-1; BAUMAN 0-1.

Tags: Results