Defense, Special Teams Lead Cougars to Eighth Straight Win

SAN DIEGO -- With the high-powered BYU offense needing a jump start early on, the Cougars' special teams and defensive units gave the offense the jumper cables needed to propel the team to its eighth straight victory of the season, downing San Diego State, 59-21 on Saturday. With the win, No. 10 BYU (8-0, 4-0) moved into sole possession of first place in the Mountain West Conference.

After the two teams traded punts to start the game, the BYU defense held again on the Aztec's second drive, forcing a 23-yard field goal attempt. Justin Ena powered through the line to block Tommy Kirovski's kick, while defensive end Ryan Denney scooped up the ball and sprinted 82 yards for the Cougars' first score of the night.

After the Aztecs rattled off 14 straight points, Matt Payne kicked a 34-yard field goal to make the score 14-10, San Diego State with 9:27 remaining in the first half.

The Cougars reclaimed the lead when Luke Staley ran the ball 63 yards for one of his three touchdowns on the night to give BYU a 17-14 lead. Staley has tallied multiple touchdowns in five games this season to set the BYU single-season touchdown record with 17 TDs.

Isaac Kelley gave the Cougars the lead for good when he intercepted a Lon Sheriff pass and returned the ball 60 yards for BYU's first defensive touchdown of the season.

"I was just in the right place and I got a lucky bone," Kelly said. "Justin (Ena) was the one who tipped it and had the great coverage on the tight end."

The Cougars went to the locker room up 24-14 at the half despite two first half turnovers and only one offensive touchdown.

The second half was a different story for BYU, which scored on two of their first three possessions to open up a 38-21 lead by the end of the third quarter.

The Cougar defense came up big again at the start of the fourth quarter when Ryan Denney sacked Lon Sheriff, forcing a fumble which Jeff Cowart gathered in at the San Diego State four-yard line.

Gabriel Reid hauled in a Brandon Doman pass on the next play for the score to go up 45-21 with 13:36 to go in the game. Doman finished the night 15-19 for 154 yards and two touchdowns.

Staley picked up his record-setting 17th touchdown of the season with an eight-yard run with 7:38 to go in the game, giving the Cougars a 52-21 lead.

"I didn't even know about the record until people started congratulating me afterwards," Staley said. "When you look at what I've done this season, you've got to give the credit to the offensive line and the receivers and the job that they are doing blocking for me."

Staley ran for 167 yards on the night, the fifth time this season he has run for more than 100 yards in a game. His three touchdowns on the night marked the fifth time this season and 11th time in his career he has had multiple touchdown games.

BYU's final score of the night came late when Charlie Peterson connected with Toby Christensen on a 68-yard pass with 4:38 left in the game.

Toby Christensen's touchdown finished BYU's second half scoring barrage which saw the Cougars rattle off 28 consecutive points to put the game out of reach.

With all the praise for the Cougar defense, San Diego State did have one bright spot. SDSU running back Larry Ned ran for 239 yards on 35 carries and had two of the Aztecs three touchdowns in the game.

"We are running the ball well because of Larry Ned and because of the great job our line is doing," San Diego State head coach Ted Tollner said. "To run the ball as well as we have we should be more productive and successful."

The 59 points on the night was the second consecutive game the Cougars have scored more than 50 and the fifth time BYU has eclipsed the half-century mark this season.

Justin Ena's blocked FG lead to an 82-yard touchdown return for Ryan Denney. The BYU defense produced 5 turnovers against the Aztecs. (BYU Photo / Mark Philbrick)

The Streak Continues

With Ryan Denney's 82-yard touchdown in the first quarter at San Diego State, following a blocked field goal, BYU extended its NCAA record streak to 332 games without being shutout. BYU was last shutout during the 1975 season (Sept. 27, 1975 vs. Arizona State.)

A Winning Tradition

Saturday's victory over San Diego State marked the Cougars' eighth straight win of the season -- their best start since the 1984 season. BYU's eight wins marks the most wins in a single season since posting eight victories in the 1999 season. Counting this season, the Cougars have registered 22 eight-win seasons since 1976, including eight eight-win seasons since 1990.

Undefeated / Win Streak

With tonight's win, the Cougars remain only one of three undefeated teams in the nation's top-25. The Cougars currently own the nation's third longest active win streak, dating back to the 2000 season. Miami (Fla.) leads the nation with 17 straight wins, Nebraska ranks second with 11 wins and BYU ranks third with 10 straight victories.

800 Down

Saturday's game (vs. San Diego State), marked the 800th game for the Cougars, dating back to Oct. 7, 1922. With tonight's win, BYU has posted an all-time record 438-336-26 (.564).

Double Digits

Tonight's 38-point victory over the Aztecs marks the sixth double-digit victory of the season for the Cougars.


After posting 59 points against SDSU, BYU has recorded 40 or more points six different times this season, including the second straight game scoring more than 50 points. Entering tonight's game, BYU was averaging 48.9 points per game. The Cougars continue to lead the nation, averaging 50.1 points per game following their 59-21 win at San Diego State.

Luke Staley

After recording his third touchdown on the night, BYU junior running back Luke Staley recorded his 17th touchdown of the season, becoming the Cougars' all-time, single-season touchdown leader. (The previous record of 16 was set by Waymon Hamilton in 1981.) With three touchdowns on the night, Staley has scored multiple TDs in five games this season, as well as the 11th time throughout his career.

Career Firsts

• Ryan Denney scored his first career touchdown after scooping up a blocked field goal 82 yards for a touchdown.

• Isaac Kelley recorded his first career touchdown after picking off Lon Sheriff for a 60-yard interception return.

• Toby Christensen tallied his first career touchdown in the fourth quarter with a 68-yard TD reception from Charlie Peterson.

• Soren Halladay produced his first career TD on a 32-yard strike from Brandon Doman.

• Mike Sumko recorded his first career interception during the fourth quarter.

• Justin Ena was credited with his first blocked field goal (during the first quarter).

Denney on Defense

Ryan Denney's TD in the first quarter marked the first time a BYU player has returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown since Oct. 3, 1998 against Fresno State. Denney's TD is the longest touchdown play since Margin Hooks to a reception 83 yards for a TD against UNLV during the 1999 season.

Kelley on Defense

Isaac Kelley's touchdown marks the first time the BYU defense has scored a touchdown since Nov. 6, 1999 (against SDSU).

Interception Information

The Cougars recorded three interceptions on the night, marking their 14th of the season. The Cougars have produced at least one interception in each of the eight games they have played this season.

Point Power Presentation

The Cougars' 59 points against San Diego State marks the most points allowed by the Aztecs since giving up 63 points against Fresno State on Nov. 11, 1993.

Box Score (Final)

Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score

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

No. 10 Brigham Young.. 7 17 14 21 - 59 Record: (8-0,4-0)

San Diego State..... 7 7 7 0 - 21 Record: (2-6,1-3)

Scoring Summary:

1st 09:49 BYU - DENNEY, Ryan 82 yd missed FG return (PAYNE kick)

BYU 7 - SD 0

00:06 SD - NED, Larry 1 yd run (KIROVSKI kick),

11-72 5:35, BYU 7 - SD 7

2nd 14:49 SD - NED, Larry 23 yd run (KIROVSKI kick),

2-23 0:11, BYU 7 - SD 14

09:27 BYU - PAYNE, Matt 34 yd field goal,

12-60 5:22, BYU 10 - SD 14

05:21 BYU - STALEY, Luke 63 yd run (PAYNE kick),

4-87 1:55, BYU 17 - SD 14

01:46 BYU - KELLEY, Isaac 60 yd interception return (PAYNE kick),

BYU 24 - SD 14

3rd 10:22 BYU - HALLADAY 32 yd pass from DOMAN (PAYNE kick),

4-66 1:16, BYU 31 - SD 14

08:18 SD - MCNEILL 26 yd pass from SHERIFF (KIROVSKI kick),

6-65 2:04, BYU 31 - SD 21

03:18 BYU - STALEY, Luke 3 yd run (PAYNE kick),

10-70 5:00, BYU 38 - SD 21

4th 13:36 BYU - REID 4 yd pass from DOMAN (PAYNE kick),

1-4 0:04, BYU 45 - SD 21

07:38 BYU - STALEY, Luke 8 yd run (PAYNE kick),

8-71 3:10, BYU 52 - SD 21

04:38 BYU - CHRISTENSEN 68 yd pass from PETERSON (PAYNE kick),

3-79 1:17, BYU 59 - SD 21


FIRST DOWNS................... 20 19

RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............ 37-184 41-285

PASSING YDS (NET)............. 266 130

Passes Att-Comp-Int........... 24-19-0 33-14-3

TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS..... 61-450 74-415

Fumble Returns-Yards.......... 1-0 0-0

Punt Returns-Yards............ 3-8 3-25

Kickoff Returns-Yards......... 3-23 9-145

Interception Returns-Yards.... 3-99 0-0

Punts (Number-Avg)............ 3-40.7 5-45.8

Fumbles-Lost.................. 3-2 2-2

Penalties-Yards............... 4-36 8-88

Possession Time............... 26:56 33:04

Sacks By: Number-Yards........ 1-7 2-13

RUSHING: Brigham Young-STALEY, Luke 17-165; PETERSON, Charl 3-12; STEVENS,

Chris 4-9; MAHE, Reno 1-2; DOMAN, Brandon 10-minus 1; MORTENSEN, Todd

2-minus 3. San Diego State-NED, Larry 35-239; LEWIS, Derrick 1-40; SIMMONS,

Garric 3-25; TOLVER, J.R. 1-minus 2; SHERIFF, Lon 1-minus 17.

PASSING: Brigham Young-DOMAN, Brandon 15-19-0-154; PETERSON, Charl

4-5-0-112. San Diego State-SHERIFF, Lon 14-32-2-130; HALL, Adam 0-1-1-0.

RECEIVING: Brigham Young-MAHE, Reno 6-73; HALLADAY, Soren 2-45; ANDERSON,

Justi 2-19; ORD, Andrew 2-18; STALEY, Luke 2-13; CHRISTENSEN, To 1-68; NEAD,

Spencer 1-20; STEARNS, Ned 1-8; REID, Gabriel 1-4; RIGELL, Mike 1-minus 2.

San Diego State-MCNEILL, Gray 5-63; NED, Larry 2-16; TOLVER, J.R. 2-12;

LEWIS, Derrick 2-11; GELT, Brian 1-18; WEBB, Jeffrey 1-7; SIMMONS, Garric


INTERCEPTIONS: Brigham Young-MADARIETA, Levi 1-9; SUMKO, Mike 1-30; KELLEY,

Isaac 1-60. San Diego State-None.

FUMBLES: Brigham Young-DOMAN, Brandon 2-1; RIGELL, Mike 1-1. San Diego

State-SHERIFF, Lon 1-1; UNDERWOOD, Marv 1-1.

SACKS (UA-A): Brigham Young-DENNEY, Ryan 1-0. San Diego State-BRIGHAM,

Andrew 1-0; ROBLES, Dylan 1-0.

TACKLES (UA-A): Brigham Young-WALKENHORST, Pa 7-0; ENA, Justin 5-2; KELLEY,

Isaac 6-0; MADARIETA, Levi 5-0; HEANEY, Brandon 4-1; STALEY, Dustin 4-0;

GILFORD, Jernar 2-2; DENNEY, Ryan 3-0; ELLIOTT, Kurt 3-0; COWART, Jeff 2-1;

GUNDERSON, Ryan 2-0; PILI, Ifo 2-0; BURBIDGE, Jon 2-0; JOLLEY, Doug 1-0;

POPPINGA, Brady 1-0; MAUGA, Ammon 1-0; FARRIS, Alex 1-0; MEIBOS, Jared 1-0;

PHILLIPS, Danny 1-0; STEARNS, Ned 1-0; BOCKWOLDT, Colb 1-0; SUMKO, Mike 1-0;

WILSON, Derrus 0-1; PAYNE, Matt 0-1. San Diego State-ROBLES, Dylan 6-0;

PAVELKO, Garret 6-0; MORRISON, Kirk 5-0; LARSEN, Stephen 4-1; BUTLER, Jomar

4-0; DEMPS, Will 4-0; SHOATE, Jeff 3-0; BRIGHAM, Andrew 3-0; UNDERWOOD, Marv

2-0; KOS, Jay 2-0; HOWARD, Thomas 2-0; IATA, Ryan 1-1; MAYHEW, David 1-0;

INGRAM, Johnath 1-0; RITTER, Jared 1-0; GBAJA-BIAMILA,A 1-0; PERRY, Jason

1-0; DEAN, Josh 1-0.

Stadium: Qualcomm Stadium Attendance: 30064

Kickoff time: 6:07 pm End of Game: 9:18 pm Total elapsed time: 3:11

Officials: Referee: Clair Gausman; Umpire: Gary Crum; Linesman: Brian Matthew;

Line judge: Randy Campbell; Back judge: Terrence Miles; Field judge: Charles Sisk;

Side judge: Ken Lucido; Scorer: Dave Kuhn;

Temperature: 67 Wind: 5w Weather: Partly cloudy, cool