Game 9: BYU vs. UNLV

After earning 4.0 tackles-for-loss against Wyoming, Vic So'oto and the Cougar defense will face UNLV on Saturday. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

Game 9: BYU Cougars vs. UNLV Rebels

BYU will play UNLV on Saturday, Nov. 6, at 12 p.m. MT. The game will be broadcast live from LaVell Edwards Stadium on The Mtn. and KSL Radio 1160 AM and 102.7 FM.

BYU (3-5, 2-2 MWC) vs. UNLV (1-7, 1-3)

Nov. 6, 2010

12 p.m. MT

LaVell Edwards Stadium

Provo, Utah

THE BYU-UNLV SERIES

BYU has won the last five meetings against UNLV, a streak covering the entirety of Bronco Mendenhall’s tenure as head coach of the Cougars. In four of those five games, BYU has scored 42 or more points. In the series’ closest game recently in 2008, Andrew Rich, now a senior captain for the Cougars, intercepted a Rebel pass on the final play of the game to conserve a seven-point win for BYU. Since the two teams began the series in 1978 at Yokohama, Japan, BYU has come out on top in 14 of the 17 meetings.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

- BYU quarterback Jake Heaps will look to win his third game in just his sixth-career start as a true freshman for the Cougars. Heaps would be the fastest BYU quarterback to earn three wins and would be the most of any freshman ever at BYU.

- BYU and UNLV have faced some of the hardest schedules in the country, currently ranked 14th and 12th, respectively, by Sagarin. In games with mutual opponents, both teams have lost to No. 4 TCU and No. 25 Nevada.

- BYU junior running back JJ Di Luigi had one of the best games of his career up to that point last season at UNLV, rushing six times for 67 yards and a touchdown while also catching a 15-yard TD pass. This year, Di Luigi will look for an encore; he leads the Cougars in rushing, receiving and all-purpose yards this year.

- Nineteen freshmen, including nine true freshmen, have played for BYU this season. Six freshmen, including four true freshmen, have started at least one game this year.

- UNLV averages 16.9 points per game this year, 111th in the country while BYU averages 16.0 ppg, 113th in the country. Both teams have scored 20 or more points in three out of eight games.

QUICK IMPROVEMENT

Since BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall took over the defensive coordinator duties one month ago, the Cougar defense has seen marked improvements in both its opponents’ per-game averages and its national statistical rankings in three games against San Diego State (6-2), No. 4 TCU (8-0) and Wyoming (2-7), respectively. Highlights include:

vs. SDSU: Held #44 rushing offense 113 yards below its average, a season-low 53 yards...held #20 total offense 178.5 yards below average to a season-low 273 yards...held #22 scoring offense 13.9 points below its average to a season-low 21 points...held #19 passing offense 63 yards below its average to 220 yards, second-lowest on the season.

at TCU: Held #9 rushing offense 162.9 yards below its average, a season-low 108 yards...held #11 total offense 104.7 yards below its average to 381 yards, second-lowest on the season...held #9 scoring offense to 9.8 points below its

average to 31.

vs. Wyoming: Held the Cowboys to 63 yards rushing, 110 yards passing and 173 total yards while earning 12.0 tackles-for-loss, 3.0 sacks, seven pass breakups, six quarterback hurries, a fumble forced, a fumble recovered and a safety. All but the rushing and passing marks tied or set new season highs for the Cougar defense.

CLUTCH COUGARS

With a late defensive stop by the Cougar defense to preserved a 25-20 win versus Wyoming, BYU has won 14-straight games decided by seven points or less. All three of BYU’s wins this season, including a 23-17 victory over Washington

and a 24-21 win against San Diego State, have contributed to the streak. The last time BYU lost a game decided by seven points or less was on Sept. 16, 2006, in a seven-point, double-overtime loss at Boston College.

THE GREAT WALL

BYU stuffed Wyoming for minus-31 yards on six rushes in the first quarter, minus-4 yards rushing on four rushes in the second quarter, one yard on nine rushes in the third quarter and 19 yards on seven rushes (plus one Wyoming rush for 47 yards) in the fourth quarter, giving Wyoming 63 net yards rushing for the game. In all, Wyoming was held to negative or no yardage on 34-of-56 (.607) plays by BYU. Earlier this season, BYU has held San Diego State to minus-2 yards in the first half and held TCU to just 37 yards rushing on 21 carries in their first half.

CATCHING PASSES, CATCHING KICKS

Filling in an opening as a kickoff returner, redshirt freshman Cody Hoffman returned the first four kickoffs of his career against Wyoming, racking up a total of 104 yards while also fulfilling his duties at wide receiver. Hoffman is the first Cougar to pass the 100-yard kickoff return mark since Austin Collie totaled 134 yards against Utah in 2008. For his efforts, Hoffman was named the MWC Special Teams Player of the Week, the first conference award of his career.

For the complete BYU vs. UNLV game notes, see the attached PDF file.

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BYU-vs.-UNLV-Game-Notes.pdf3.98 MB