Junior Jordan Pendleton led the team in tackles for loss and tied for the team-high in tackles against Washington. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
Game 2: BYU Cougars vs. Air Force Falcons
BYU begins MWC play on the road at Air Force on Saturday, Sept. 11, at 2 p.m. MT. The game will be broadcast live from Falcon Stadium on VERSUS and KSL Radio 1160 AM and 102.7 FM.
BYU (1-0) at Air Force (1-0)
September 11, 2010
2 p.m. MT
BYU vs. Air Force Series
BYU has a six-game win streak over Air Force heading into Saturday’s contest, including a 5-0 record with Bronco Mendenhall as head coach. During the win streak, BYU has won by no fewer than two touchdowns. All but one of Air Force’s six wins over BYU came between 1995 and 2003, the last year Air Force came out on top. However, Air Force defeated BYU in the only MWC opener between both schools in a 32-12 victory in 2000. Last season was an especially memorable matchup with the Falcons, as senior quarterback Max Hall passed Ty Detmer for most wins as a starting quarterback with 30 while also setting new MWC career total offensive yards and career passing yards records. Junior running back Harvey Unga also became BYU’s all-time leading rusher in the first quarter of the contest.
What to Watch For
- This week’s game is the conference opener for both schools and marks the last time the two will play as conference foes.
- The Cougars will look to win their seventh straight game in the series and fourth straight in Falcon Stadium
- Air Force is 10-1 all-time in Mountain West Conference openers including a current 10-game win streak.
- BYU will look to give Coach Mendenhall six wins against Air Force - the most versus any team under the head coach’s tenure.
- Air Force comes into the game as the top rushing team in the nation after gaining 437 yards on the ground last week against Northwestern State. The Falcons’ 616 yards of total offense is second-most in the nation while their 65 points and 238.6 passing efficiency are both good for third in the country. Air
Force has not finished lower than 10th in national rushing average since 1986.
BYU has been among the nation’s top-25 teams during 33 of the last 35 weeks from November 2007 to Week 1 of
2010, coming in at No. 24 in the USA Today Poll. BYU started the season just outside both major polls, coming in 28th
in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll and 34th in the Associated Press Top 25. Last year, the Cougars finished 12th in the
final USA Today and Associated Press polls and 14th in the final BCS rankings.
In the Game
A total of 16 Cougars saw the first action of their BYU careers against Washington, highlighted by freshman Joshua Quezada’s nine-yard touchdown catch, freshman quarterback Jake Heaps throwing 13-of-23 for 131 yards and freshman tight end Richard Wilson’s three catches for 45 yards.
Better Than Mario
In his first career start, junior running back JJ Di Luigi totaled 152 yards receiving and rushing to help lead BYU to a 23-17 victory over Washington. His all-purpose total set a new personal best for the third-year back. Di Luigi caught the game-winning touchdown on a 48-yard reception from junior quarterback Riley Nelson to turn a one-point deficit into the six-point margin of victory. The 5-9, 190-pound back earned the starting position after the departure to the NFL of BYU’s all-time leading rusher Harvey Unga this season. Di Luigi led BYU with 69 yards on the ground on 13 carries to average a strong 5.3 yards per carry. He added a team-best 83 yards as a receiver on four catches to average 20.8 yards per reception.
Playing Like It’s 2009
Junior defensive back Brian Logan continued where he left off last year, defending three Washington passes in BYU’s 23-17 win. Logan’s three passes defended are first in the Mountain West Conference and tie him for fourth nationally in that category. In 2009, Logan averaged 1.31 pass defended per game, ranking first in the MWC and tied for second in the nation.
Payne Closing in on Records
With one PAT against Washington, Payne is currently 17 PAT attempts from passing Kurt Gunther’s (1980-82) mark of 179 in the BYU record books and six PAT conversions from jumping Gunther’s BYU record in that category. He is also 80 points away from scoring the most points of any Cougar player in BYU history, a record currently held by kicker Owen Pochman (1997-00) with 333 points.
Quarterback Riley Nelson’s 48-yard touchdown pass to running back JJ Di Luigi was the longest scoring play for BYU since November 7, 2009, when Max Hall threw 78-yard and 44-yard touchdown passes to McKay Jacobson and Di Luigi, respectively.
The first win of 2010 gave BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall his 50th career win as a head coach in just his sixth season, all at BYU. He is only the second coach in Cougar history to reach the 50-win mark, with LaVell Edwards earning his 50th win in the middle of his seventh season against San Diego State, 21-3, in 1978. Mendenhall’s 49 wins in his first five seasons as a head coach is tied for 10th all-time among FBS coaches.
See the attached PDF for the complete Air Force game notes.