Jan Jorgensen, who led the MWC with 11.5 sacks, will help lead the Cougars in a rematch against UCLA at the 2007 Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl on December 22. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- After winning its second straight league championship with a perfect 8-0 record, the 17th ranked BYU Cougars have accepted an invitation to play UCLA in the 16th Annual Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 22. The invitation marks the third straight appearance for the Cougars in Las Vegas and the team's 26th overall bowl appearance since the 1974 season. BYU owns the second-longest active win streak in the country with nine consecutive victories. The Cougars and Bruins met earlier this season with UCLA earning a 27-17 win over BYU at the Rose Bowl back on September 8.
WHAT THE GAME MEANS
A win against UCLA would give the Cougars their second straight bowl win, including their ninth bowl victory overall.
A win against UCLA would mark the first time since the 1994 Copper Bowl and the 1996 Cotton Bowl that BYU has had a win in back-to-back bowl appearances. A win would also mark the first time since the 1983 Holiday Bowl and the 1984 Holiday Bowl that BYU had back-to-back bowl victories in consecutive seasons.
BYU enters the game with the nation's second longest active win streak at nine straight games. A win over UCLA would extend that win streak to 10 straight games, marking the second straight season the Cougars have posted 10-game win streaks in a single season.
A victory would also give the Cougars just their second ever win against the Bruins. BYU won the teams' first matchup on October 1, 1983, a 37-35 victory behind Steve Young's 26-35, 270-yard performance. Since that win, the Cougars have lost seven in a row to UCLA, including a 27-17 loss earlier this season in Pasadena.
A win over UCLA would mark the second straight season BYU has finished the season ranked in among the nation's top-25 programs. After a 38-8 win over Oregon in the 2006 Las Vegas Bowl, the Cougars finished the season ranked 15th in the USAToday Coaches Poll and 16th in the Associated Press Top-25. BYU is currently ranked 19th in both the USAToday Coaches Poll and the Associated Press Top-25. The 1991 and 1992 seasons marked the last time BYU finished the ranked in the top-25 in back-to-back seasons.
A victory over UCLA would give the Cougars a 3-2 record over teams from the Pac-10 over the past two seasons. BYU has posted a 2-2 record since 2006 against the likes of Arizona (1-1), Oregon (1-0) and UCLA (0-1). Interestingly, the Cougars have outscored Pac-10 opponents 103-77 in the previous four match-ups.
THE BYU-UCLA SERIES
The 2007 Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl will mark the ninth meeting between BYU and UCLA, dating back to the 1983 season. UCLA owns a 7-1 advantge over BYU, including a 27-17 win at the Rose Bowl on September 8 this season. The game will also mark the first time the two teams have met in a bowl game since facing each other in the 1986 Freedom Bowl in Anaheim, Calif. Behind Gaston Green's 266 yards rushing, the Bruins handed BYU a 31-10 loss in the third-annual Freedom Bowl. Following are brief highlights of each BYU/UCLA game:
Oct. 1, 1983 -- BYU 37, UCLA 35 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
Steve Young threw 25-36 for 270 yards and two touchdowns.
Sep. 7, 1985 -- UCLA 27, BYU 24 at Cougar Stadium in Provo, Utah
BYU failed to hold on to a 3-point halftime lead, allowing 11 fourth quarter points.
Dec. 30, 1986 -- UCLA 31, BYU 10 at Anaheim Stadium in Anaheim, Calif.
The Bruins won their second straight game over the Cougars in the two teams' first Freedom Bowl appearances.
Sep. 7, 1991 -- BYU 23, UCLA 27 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
UCLA TB Kevin Williams rushed for 132 yards on 13 carries, including the game-winning TD.
Sep. 19, 1992 -- UCLA 17, BYU 10 at Cougar Stadium in Provo, Utah
Daron Washington, another Bruin TB, scored two rushing touchdowns in this narrow UCLA win.
Oct. 9, 1993 -- BYU 14, UCLA 68 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
Bruins Derek Ayers (174 yards) and James Milliner (113 yards) rushed for a combined 287 yards, while the UCLA defense had 11 sacks on the day.
Sep. 9, 1995 -- UCLA 23, BYU 9 at Cougar Stadium in Provo, Utah
BYU QB Steve Sarkisian's 305 passing yards were not enough to overcome a 17-point UCLA third quarter outburt that put the game away.
Sep. 8, 2007 -- BYU 17, UCLA 27 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
Despite racking up 435 yards of total offense, including 391 yards passing, BYU saw its 11-game winning streak come to an end, as No. 13 UCLA beat the Cougars 27-17 in front of 72,986 fans.
SETTING THE GAME: NO. 17 BYU vs. UCLA
Date: Saturday, Dec. 22, 2007
Game Time: 5:00 p.m. (PT)
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Stadium: Sam Boyd Stadium (36,800)
Home Team: BYU
Head Coach: Bronco Mendenhall
Career Record: 27-10 (.730)
2006 Record: 11-2 (.846)
Visiting Team: UCLA
Head Coach: Karl Dorrell
Career Record: 35-27 (.565)
2006 Record: 7-6 (.538)
Overall Series: UCLA leads 7-1
Radio: KSL, 102.7 FM, 1160 AM
The Cougars will hold their traditional Friday-night Fireside while in Las Vegas. The event will be held on Friday, December 21, beginning at 7 p.m. (PT). The Fireside will be held at the Red Rock Stake Center, located at 10550 W. Alta. Senior captains Bryan Kehl and Matt Allen, along with Holly and Bronco Mendenhall will be the featured speakers.
BYU BY THE RECORDS
All-time Record: 483-369-26 (.565) - 878 total games
All-time Home Record: 263-126-6 (.673) - 395 total games
All-time Road Record: 201-224-19 (.474) - 444 total games
All-time Neutral Record: 20-19-1 (.512) - 40 total games
All-time MWC Record: 46-20-0 (.697) - 66 total games
All-time MWC Home Record: 22-11 (.667) - 33 total games
All-time MWC Road Record: 24-9 (.727) - 33 total games
Bowl Record: 8-16-1 - 24 total games
TALE OF THE TAPE
BYU's starting five offensive linemen weigh in at an average 318.4 pounds and average 6-feet-5. The front five will be going up against a UCLA defensive front that measures an average 6-feet-3, 272 pounds. Defensively, the Cougars' front three average 6-feet-3, 267 pounds, while the Bruins' offensive line tips the scales at an average 6-feet-4, 284 pounds per man.
BECOMING BOWL ELIGIBLE
With a win against Colorado State on November 3, the Cougars picked up their sixth win of the season and qualified to participate in their third straight bowl game for the first time since the 1994 season. BYU has not played in three straight bowl games since playing in the 1992 Aloha Bowl, the 1993 Holiday Bowl and the 1994 Copper Bowl. From 1978 through 1994, the Cougars participated in a school record 17 straight bowl games. The 2007 season marks the second straight year BYU has qualified for a bowl game with more than four regular-season games remaining.
ANOTHER 10-WIN SEASON
The Cougars' 48-27 victory over San Diego State on December 1 improved the team's record to 10-2 on the season, marking the second-straight 10-win season and the 13th since the 1979 campaign. It is also the first time since the 1990-1991 seasons BYU has had back-to-back 10-win seasons. BYU is one of only 15 teams (out of 119) in the nation to win 10 or more games this season.
COUGARS CONTINUE TO WIN
With a 48-27 victory over San Diego State, the Cougars have won 20 of their last 22 games, dating back to last season. BYU is currently on a nine-game win streak that includes a 25-point win on the road at Wyoming, a win over TCU, a 19-pont victory over CSU, a 35-point victory over Eastern Washington, a 25-point win over Air Force, and road wins over New Mexico and UNLV. BYU holds the nation's second longest active win streak. Over the past 25 games, the Cougars have posted a record of 21-4.
SIX STRAIGHT SELLOUTS
The Cougars' victory over Utah on November 24 marked the sixth consecutive sell-out at La Vell Edwards Stadium, and the first time since the 1991 season the Cougars have had six sellouts during the same season. Like the 2007 season, BYU also posted a perfect record of 6-0 during the 1991 campaign. Since 1999, the Cougars are 12-4 in games with a sell-out crowd at Edwards Stadium.
SEASON TICKET HOLDERS ARE FULLY INVESTED
BYU sold over 53,500 season tickets for the 2007 season -- that's an increase of 7,900 over last year's total of 45,600. Interestingly, nearly 84 percent of the Edwards Stadium capacity was occupied by season-ticket holders during the season.
Over 386,980 fans attended six different home games at Edwards Stadium during the 2007 season, averaging 64,497 fans per game. BYU finished ranked fourth overall in the west behind USC (87,476), UCLA (76,379) and Washington (67,732). For teams that play in conferences that do not have an automatic bid to the BCS, the Cougars again led the nation in total and average attendance. BYU has led the MWC in home attendance in all nine years of the league's existence. In fact, Edwards Stadium has been the site of the league's all-time top-10 crowds. Through six home games this season the Cougars averaged 100.71 percent of the stadium's 64,045 capacity, which ranks 17th overall in the nation and is second only to Oregon (when comparing MWC and Pac-10 schools.)
While BYU has posted an impressive 12-game home win streak, the Cougars have been equally impressive on the road. BYU has won 9 of its last 11 road games, including eight straight road games, dating back to a 23-20, double-overtime loss at Boston College on September 16, 2006. With a 48-27 victory at San Diego State, the Cougars extended its MWC road win streak to 11 straight games, dating back to the 2005 season.
A BYU COACHING FIRST
With a 35-16 win over Colorado State on November 3, the Cougars picked up their sixth win of the season, qualifying for their third straight bowl game. BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall became the first coach in BYU history to qualify for three straight bowl games in his first three years. Mendenhall currently ranks second behind LaVell Edwards with the most post-season appearances in BYU football history.
MENDENHALL FASTEST TO 25
On November 17, 2007, BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall led the Cougars to a 35-10 victory at Wyoming to record his 25th career win. With the victory, Mendenhall became the only coach in BYU football history to win 25 games in his first 35 attempts.
BEST OF THE BUNCH
Following the 2004 season, Bronco Mendenhall was one of 13 men who received their first head football coaching job at the Football Bowl Subdivision (Division I-A) level. Of those 13 coaches, Bronco Mendenhall has compiled the best overall record to date.
RUSHING: KEY TO THE COUGARS' SUCCESS
Including a dominating rushing performance against San Diego State, the Cougars improved to 240-40-1 when rushing for 100 (or more) yards since the 1972 season. The Tulsa game on September 15 marked only the fifth time since 1991 the Cougars have gained over 150 yards rushing in a game and lost. (BYU is 77-5 since 1991 when rushing for 150 or more yards. During the Bronco Mendenhall era, the Cougars are 23-3 when rushing for 100 (or more) yards and 15-2 when rushing for 200 (or more) yards.
THE 200-YARD MARK
After racking up 313 yards rushing against San Diego State on December 1, BYU has won 60 straight games when rushing for 200 or more yards in a game, dating back to the 1985 season. The Cougars' last loss when rushing for 200 or more yards in a game came on October 26, 1985 (vs. UTEP).
The Cougars' victory over Utah on November 24 ran BYU's consecutive home winning streak to 12 games, dating back to last season. Over that span, the Cougars have beaten their opponents by an average of 26.3 points per game. During that stretch, BYU is allowing just 11.2 points per game. The Cougars have allowed seven points or less in six of the last 12 home games. In six home games this season, the Cougars outscored opponents by an average 17.3 points per game and allowed an average of just 11.3 points per game. BYU's current win streak is the longest since posting a 17-game home win streak from Oct. 7, 1989 to Nov. 23, 1991.
An Oct. 20 win against Eastern Washington marked the first second-half shut out the BYU defense has recorded this season. All totaled, BYU has recorded 18 shutout quarters on the season, including three scoreless quarters against Arizona, Air Force and Eastern Washington. BYU has outscored its opponents in every quarter. BYU has outscored their opponents 76-37 in the first quarter, 115-61 in the second, 96-58 in the third and 87-69 in the fourth quarter.
The Cougars held a 20-13 lead at halftime against San Diego State, marking the 11th time in 12 games this season BYU has held the lead at intermission. The Cougars have held their opponent to seven or fewer points in the opening half seven times in 12 games. BYU has led at halftime in 24 of the last 25 games. During those 24 games, the team is 21-3.
HIGH ON A MOUNTAIN TOP
With a win over San Diego State on December 1, the Cougars improved to 8-0 against league opponents, marking the second-straight undefeated conference season. The Cougars are the only team in Mountain West Conference history to win back-to-back outright league titles and to record back-to-back undefeated league records. BYU has won a record four Mountain West Conference championships since the league's inception, including the 1999, 2001, 2006 and 2007 titles. The Cougars have recorded a league-best 46-20 record against MWC opponents since 1999. Utah ranks second with a 42-24 record and New Mexico is third with a 38-28 mark.
BEST IN THE MOUNTAIN WEST
Since the Mountain West Conference was formed in 1999, BYU has posted a record of 46-20 against league opponents, marking the most wins of any other conference opponent. The Cougars have also won a league-best four MWC titles (1999, 2001, 2006 and 2007).
Kayle Buchanan intercepted SDSU' Kevin O'Connell with 7:51 left in the second quarter, marking the 11th straight game for the Cougars with at least one interception and the 15th pick for BYU this season. The play marked Buchanan's third pick of the season. Buchanan is one of three players on the BYU roster with at least three interceptions this year. Hodgkiss picked off Eastern Washington's Matt Nichols on the game's opening drive and ran it back 39 yards for the touchdown. The pick-six marked Hodgkiss' second career interception and his first of the season. The play also marked the second time this season that the BYU defense has returned an interception for a touchdown on the game-opening drive. Senior linebacker Bryan Kehl did it against New Mexico on Sept. 29. Earlier in the season, Kehl was credited with at least one interception in three straight games.
CALLED TO SERVE
There are 28 members of the BYU football program currently serving two-year church missions in 12 different countries, including Argentina, Australia, Bulgaria, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Germany, Japan, Madagascar, Mexico, Sweden and the United States. Members of the BYU football program who are currently serving missions cover six of the globe's seven continents. Members of the BYU football program who are currently serving missions speak a total of seven different foreign languages, including Bulgarian, German, Japanese, Malagasy, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish.
Of the over 100 players on the Bowl roster, over 70 have served a church missions in a total of 19 different countries around the world, including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, England, Germany, Honduras, Hong Kong, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Samoa, Spain, Taiwan, Uruguay and Venezuela. Current members of the team have served missions in 16 different states within the United States, and members of the team who have previously served church missions speak a total of six different foreign languages, including Chinese, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Samoan and Spanish.
WHAT IS A MISSION, YOU ASK?
The Church's missionary program is one of its most recognized characteristics. "Mormon" missionaries can be seen on the streets of hundreds of major cities in the world as well as in thousands of smaller communities. More than 50,000 missionaries are serving missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at any one time. Most are young people under the age of 25, serving in nearly 350 missions throughout the world. Missionaries can be single men between the ages of 19 and 25, single women over the age of 21 or retired couples. Missionaries receive their assignment from Church headquarters and are sent only to countries where governments allow the Church to operate. Missionaries do not request their area of assignment and do not know beforehand whether they will be required to learn a language. Prior to going to their assigned area, missionaries spend a short period of time at one of 17 missionary training centers throughout the world. There they learn how to teach the gospel in an orderly and clear way and, if necessary, they begin to learn the language of the people they will be teaching. The largest training center is in Provo, Utah, with additional centers in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, England, Guatemala, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, the Philippines, Spain and South Korea. A typical missionary day begins by waking at 6:30 a.m. for personal study. The day is spent proselytizing by following up on appointments, visiting homes or meeting people in the street or other public places. Missionaries end their day by 10:30 p.m. In some parts of the world, missionaries are sent only to serve humanitarian or other specialized missions. Those missionaries do not proselytize. Missionary work is voluntary. Missionaries fund their own missions -- except for their transportation to and from their field of labor -- and are not paid for their services. Contacts with family and friends during this time of service are limited to letters and occasional phone calls to family at special times. Missionaries avoid entertainment, parties or other activities common to this age-group as long as they are on their missions, so they can focus entirely on the work of serving and of teaching others the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Seniors Bryan Kehl, Kelly Poppinga, Matt Allen and Sete Aulai have been selected by their teammates to serve as captains for the 2007 football season. Kehl and Poppinga are top linebackers for the Cougars, while Allen is a veteran wide receiver and Aulai is the team's starting center. Collectively, the group has racked up 135 games of experience, including Kehl who has played in 46 career games and Allen who has played in 42.
ROOKIE QB's AND BOWL GAMES
Sophomore quarterback Max Hall made his collegiate debut on September 1 against Arizona. The game marked Hall's first game in over four seasons. Hall is the first BYU quarterback to start the season without any previous Divison-I experience since Steve Sarkisian started in 1995. Leading the Cougars to a 10-2 regular-season record and an invitation to the Las Vegas Bowl, Hall became the first quarterback since Brandon Doman led the Cougars to a bowl game in his first season as the regular starter. Since John Walsh guided BYU to a Holiday Bowl appearance in 1993, Doman and Hall are the only quarterbacks to lead the Cougars to a bowl game in their first season as a regular starter. Brandon Doman currently serves as the quarterbacks coach at BYU.
"MAX" IMUM EFFORT
Sophomore quarterback Max Hall totaled 269 yards passing on 17-of-40 attempts in BYU's 17-10 victory over Utah to clinch the Cougars' second straight outright MWC championship. Hall, playing in his first-career game against Utah, led BYU to a fourth quarter comeback victory. With just 1:34 left in the game and BYU trailing 9-10, Hall took the Cougars up the field in a nine-play, 56 second drive that was capped by a 14-yard touchdown run by Harvey Unga. On a critical fourth-and-18, Hall found Austin Collie running down the right sideline for a 49-yard hookup that kept the game alive. On the season, Hall has completed 60.1 percent of his attempts (277-461) and is averaging a league-leading 301.4 yards per game. Hall has passed for 3,617 yards on the season and ranks among the top-four single-season performances in BYU football history.
Freshshman Harvey Unga's 8-yard touchdown reception gave BYU an early 7-0 lead with 9:55 left in the first quarter. The play marked the 22nd time in the last 24 games BYU has scored first. BYU is 20-2 in those 22 games.
MARGIN OF VICTORY
Max Hall barreled into the end zone for a two-yard touchdown run with 3:14 remaining in the third quarter against Eastern Washington on October 20 to put the Cougars ahead 35-7. The 28-point margin marked the largest lead BYU has had at any point this season, and the largest margin since a 29-yard touchdown pass from Hall to Unga gave the Cougars a 24-0 lead over Air Force. The game's final score of 42-7 against EWU marked BYU's largest margin of victory of the season.
SEEING PITTA FROM THE POCKET
Sophomore tight end Dennis Pitta ranks fifth in the nation among all tight ends. Pitta is averaging nearly 65 yards per game and has produced five touchdowns on the season. Pitta caught five receptions for 114 yards on September 22 against Air Force and racked up 113 receiving yards against Tulsa. The last BYU player to have two consecutive games with 100+ yards receiving was Jonny Harline in 2006. Harline totaled 118 yards against Utah and racked up 181 receiving yards the following game against Oregon in the 2006 Las Vegas Bowl. Pitta was credited with four receptions for 70 yards in the Cougars' 35-16 victory over Colorado State. So far this season, Max Hall and Dennis Pitta have teamed up on 54 balls for 775 yards. Pitta is averaging over 64.5 yards receiving per game.
The Cougars have scored 48 touchdowns on the season. Of the 48 TD's, 24 have been scored via the passing game while 24 have been scored on the ground. Running back Harvey Unga leads the team with 17 touchdowns, including 13 rushing touchdowns while sophomore receiver Austin Collie has a team-leading six touchdown receptions.
In three of the Cougars' 12 games this season, BYU held its opponents scoreless in three of four quarters. The Cougars held Arizona scoreless through 59 minutes. The Wildcats scored with just under a minute remaining in the game. Against Air Force, the BYU defense pitched a shutout through the better part of three quarters. The Falcons scored with 3:31 left in the third quarter, but would not score again. Interestingly, Air Force is the only team in the Mountain West Conference the Cougars have never shut out for an entire game. Shaun Carney's eight-yard touchdown run in the third quarter ended the Cougars' chances of their first-ever shutout agaisnt the Falcons. BYU has had 11 shutouts since the 1984 season. Interestingly, three of those shutouts were against New Mexico. (1984, 1988, 1992). The Cougars have only been shut out twice in the past 402 games.
MWC ROAD WARRIORS
BYU's victory at San Diego State marked the fourth road win of the season and extend the Cougars' conference road win streak to 11 straight MWC road victories. The current streak started with a 27-24 win at New Mexico during the 2005 season.The streak marks the most consecutive road wins in league play since the Cougars won 10 straight from Oct. 17, 1992 to Oct. 22, 1994.
DON'T LOOK BACK
In the Bronco Mendenhall era, BYU is 26-4 when leading at halftime and 25-1 when taking a lead into the fourth quarter. The loss at Tulsa marked the first time since September 16, 2006 the Cougars lost a game after holding a halftime lead. BYU led 34-31 at halftime against the Golden Hurricane; however, TU outscored the Cougars 24-13 in the second half to win the game, 55-47.
BYU finishes the regular season ranked fourth in the nation in time of possession, averaging 33:09 minutes per game. In the Cougars' last game, BYU owned the ball for 34:20 compared to San Diego State's 25:40 total possession time. The game marked the 10th time out of 12 games this season that the Cougars finished the game with a greater time of possession than their opponent. During the game BYU's longest drive took 5:57 off the clock.
COLLIE BREAKS SCHOOL, MWC RECORDS
Against Tulsa, sophomore receiver Austin Collie was credited with 366 all-purpose yards, including 245 combined return yards and 121 receiving yards, to break Pete Van Valkenburg's 35-year-old school record. Van Valkenburg racked up 306 all-purpose yards in a 33-14 win over Wyoming on November 4, 1972. Collie's total also eclipsed Larry Ned's Mountain West Conference single-game record of 319 yards in San Diego State's October 6, 2001 victory over Eastern Illinois. Additionally, Collie's mark set the new MWC sophomore record, clipping Aaron Brown's mark of 285 yards in TCU's victory over Colorado State on November 25, 2006. Collie, a 6-foot-2, 212-pound sophomore from El Dorado Hills, Calif., also set the Mountain West Conference single-game individual and sophomore kick return yardage records with 237 yards on eight returns. Previously, Colorado State's George Hill held both records with 218 yards against Minnesota on September 10, 2005. Collie came up just three yards short of breaking Golden Richards' 36-year-old record of 247 combined return yards. Richards had 219 punt return yards and 28 kick return yards against North Texas during the 1971 season. Collie had 237 kick return yards and 8 yards on punt returns. Collie scored his first touchdown of the season with 8:19 remaining in the third quarter of the Cougars loss at UCLA, cutting the Bruins' lead to 20-10. The touchdown marked Collie's first since the 2004 season. Collie did not play in 2005 or 2006, serving a Church mission in Argentina. Collie scored again with 6:04 left in the third quarter to cut the Bruins' lead to just 20-17. Collie, a freshman All-American in 2004, caught seven balls for a game-high 79 yards and two touchdowns.
BYU Single-Game Record (Individual All-Purpose Yards) -- 336 yards
MWC Single-Game Record (Individual All-Purpose Yards) -- 336 yards
MWC Single-Game Sophomore Record (Individual All-Purpose Yards) -- 336 yards
BYU Single-Game Record (Individual Kick Return Yards) -- 237 yards
MWC Single-Game Record (Individual Kick Return Yards) -- 237 yards
MWC Single-Game Sophomore Record (Individual Kick Return Yards) -- 237 yards
IT'S BEEN A WHILE
The Cougars currently have the 10th longest streak in the nation of consecutive games without returning a kickoff for a touchdown. BYU has been unable to accomplish the feat in 117 straight games. Mike Rigell is the last Cougar to return a kickoff for a touchdown. Rigell turned in a 96-yard touchdown in a 31-9 victory at Hawaii on October 17, 1998.
Throughout the 12 games of the season, the Cougars have been plagued with penalties, ranking 100th with regular-season an average of 7.42 penalties per game. Of the Cougars' 89 penalties on the season, the offense has been flagged for 56 infractions while the defense has been penalized 21 times. Special teams has accounted for 12 of the Cougars' 89 penalties.
WHAT HAS BYU DONE THAT NO OTHER TEAM HAS DONE?
BYU is the only team in the nation that has not allowed a 100-yard rusher. Following is a look at the top rusher for each of the Cougars' 12 opponents:
San Diego State: O'Connell, 61 yards
Utah: Mack, 56 yards
Wyoming: Seldon, 28 yards
TCU: Dalton, 60 yards
Colorado State: Johnson, 72 yards
Eastern Washington: Morris, 33 yards
UNLV: Summers, 50 yards
New Mexico: Ferguson, 87 yards
Air Force: Smith 47 yards (Hall, 19 yards)
The Cougars posted a season-high 48 points on San Diego State, marking the most points scored since putting up 55 points against Wyoming on November 9, 2006. The Cougars broke the 40-point mark three different times during the season, including a 42-7 win over Eastern Washington and a 47-55 loss at Tulsa. That game marked the most points BYU has scored in a losing effort since falling to TCU in overtime, 50-51, on September 24, 2005. It's also the most points scored during regulation in a losing effort since losing to Utah State, 56-58, on October 30, 1993. Interestingly, since that game in 1993, the Cougars are 32-2 in games when the team scores 45 (or more) points.
THE TONGAN TRIO
BYU's Tongan Trio, featuring running backs Manase Tonga, Fui Vakapuna and Harvey Unga, was back in action against Eastern Washington. Vakapuna broke his hand Sept. 15 against Tulsa and missed the next three weeks following surgery. The junior carried the ball 15 times for 37 yards against the Eagles. Tonga, Unga and Vakapuna have combined for 1,743 rushing yards and 881 yards receiving through the first 12 games, averaging 218.7 all-purpose yards per game. The Tongan Threesome has accounted for 48 percent of the Cougars' total offense. Tonga and Unga have been credited with 95 percent of the team's total rushing yards and 24 percent of the team's receiving yardage.
UNGA CLAIMS TOP FRESHMAN HONORS
Freshman running back Harvey Unga rushed 23 times for 161 yards at San Diego State giving him a season total of 1,211 yards rushing on the season. Unga, who is BYU's all-time rushing freshman, also scored a career-high four touchdowns. Unga was credited with 190 total yards against the Aztecs, including three receptions for 29 yards. Unga is the first running back in BYU history to turn in seven 100-yard rushing games during his freshman season. Against Eastern Washington, Unga was credited with 21 carries for 145 yards and one touchdown, averaging 6.9 yards per carry. Unga also totaled a team-high 57 yards receiving on four receptions, including a 22-yard touchdown to give BYU a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Unga totaled a game-high 202 all-purpose yards, marking the second straight game he had produced over 200 all-purpose yards. Unga has a team-leading 1,211 yards rushing on the season, averaging 100.9 yards per game. All totaled, Unga accounts for 49 percent of BYU's total rushing attempts and 66 percent of the team's total rushing yards.
DO NOT ENTER
The BYU defense has kept its opponent from reaching the endzone in 24 out of the 48 quarters it has played this season. The Cougars' opponents have also been held without a first-half touchdown seven times in 2007.
PAPER OR PLASTIC
Sophomore Jan Jorgensen was credited with a sack for a nine-yard loss against San Diego State, giving him a league-leading 11.5 sacks on the season. Jorgensen has recorded a sack in five straight games. Only a sophomore, Jorgensen earned first-team All-Mountain West Conference honors.
Tulsa: Adams, 79 yards
UCLA: Bell, 79 yards
Arizona: Jennings, 27 yards
Freshman running back Harvey Unga rushed 23 times for 141 yards against Utah, becoming the first freshman running back in BYU history to rush for more than a 1,000 yards in a season. Unga has totaled 1,840 total yards (1,211 rushing and 629 receiving) on the season, averaging 100.9 yards rushing and 52.4 yards receiving.
Sophomore quarterback Max Hall threw for 269 yards against Utah, setting a new single-season MWC sophomore record for total offense.