Game Notes: Aztecs in Town for Final Home Game

Harvey Unga scored a career-high four touchdowns against the Aztecs in 2007. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

GAME ON...

Coming off a narrow 45-42 victory over CSU last week, No. 15 BYU (8-1, 4-1) returns home to host San Diego State on Saturday--its last home game of the 2008 season.

SDSU (1-8, 0-5) enters Saturday’s game coming off a 35-10 loss at Wyoming last weekend. The Aztecs’ have yet to win a Mountain West Conference game this season, with their lone win of the season coming against Idaho.

Game time is scheduled for 12 p.m. (MT) and will be broadcast nationally on The Mtn.

THE BYU-SDSU SERIES

Saturday’s contest will be the 33rd all-time between BYU and San Diego State. The Cougars have won six of the last seven games against SDSU, including a 48-27 victory last season in San Diego. During in those six games, the Cougars averaged 47 points. In the series that dates back to 1947, BYU enjoyed its longest winning streak against San Diego State from 1976-85 when it defeated the Aztecs nine straight times. Since the 1985 season the Cougars have not won more than five consecutive games against SDSU, while the Aztecs have never beaten BYU twice in a row. The two teams played to a 52-all tie in 1991, the only draw in the history of the series.

ON THE TUBE

Saturday’s game will be broadcast live to a national television audience on The Mtn. The game will mark the first of 12 televised games during the 2008 season. Rich Cellini will call the action and Jon Berger will lend analysis. Sammy Linebaugh will report from the sideline. Cellini’s broadcasting work includes college football play-by-play, coverage for CSTV, ABC Sports and Fox Sports Net. He has also called play-by-play for NFL Europe on Fox and covered the NFL on Fox as a sideline reporter. Berger entered broadcasting in 2003 as a co-host and analyst for the Big-12 Conference for Fox Sports’ Nissan Football Saturday, Hardcore Football, The Big-12 Post Game Report, and the Southwest Sports Report. Berger is a 1992 graduate of the Ohio State University, where he was a special teams letterman. Linebaugh is an Emmy-winning TV reporter who currently freelances for several media outlets including the Mtn. Sports Network, NBC NewsChannel and ESPN radio.

A LOOK BACK: BYU 45-CSU 42

It was another close game on Saturday as No. 17 BYU defeated Colorado State 45-42. The first 30 minutes of play saw the Rams take the lead three times only to have the Cougars respond to tie the score. Just as he had the week before against UNLV, quarterback Max Hall led BYU on a come-from-behind drive for the winning score. The drive covered 76 yards in six plays and took just 1:14 on the clock. It was capped by a 17-yard strike to Dennis Pitta with just 22 seconds on the clock. BYU rolled up 551 yards of total offense to CSU’s 401. Davey O’Brien Award candidate Hall completed 28-of-37 passes for 389 yards and five touchdowns. Austin Collie, who was leading the nation in receiving coming into the game, had nine receptions for 156 yards and a career-high three touchdowns. Pitta a Mackey Award candidate, had a career-high 12 catches for 175 yards and two touchdowns, while Unga had 24 carries for 143 yards rushing.

COMPETING AS A RANKED TEAM

After Saturday’s win over CSU, the Cougars are 146-42 when nationally ranked in the Top 25. With the win, a ranked BYU team has won 15 of its last 16 games, dating back to 2006.

SCORING HALL PASSES

Quarterback Max Hall recorded five touchdown passes against CSU today. The junior has thrown a scoring pass in every game this season except for the Cougars’ loss to TCU earlier in October. Hall has now thrown a touchdown pass in 20-of-22 career games. On the season, Hall has thrown 29 touchdown passes to seven different members of the BYU team.

COLLIE HITS CENTURY MARK-EXTENDS MWC RECORD

Junior Austin Collie broke the 100-yard receiving mark for the seventh straight game with 156 yards on nine catches against the Rams. Collie’s seven-consecutive games extend a MWC record he broke last week. The record was previously held by SDSU’s J.R. Tolver (2002) with five.

CLIMBING UP THE BYU RECORD CHARTS

With his 156 yards receiving against CSU, Austin Collie now has 2,775 career-receiving yards, surpassing Matt Bellini as No. 3 on BYU’s all-time receiving list. The junior needs only 67 more yards to pass Margin Hooks (2,841 yards) and claim the No. 2 spot.

Collie reached the 100-yard receiving mark on his 15-yard touchdown reception with 8:20 remaining in the second quarter. The junior now has 13 career 100-yard receiving games, which sets a new BYU record, surpassing the current lead of Eric Drage with 12. He is also tied for first on the MWC record list, with the 13 games of SDSU’s J.R. Tolver.

Counting his three touchdowns tonight, Collie now has 26 career touchdowns, tying Pete Van Valkenberg and Eric Lane as No. 10 on BYU’s career touchdown list. Collie’s 26 touchdowns put him only three behind the MWC leader, Jovon Bouknight of Wyoming (29). The junior’s three touchdowns also marked a new career high. He had two touchdown receptions in five previous games.

UNGA SURPASSES 2,000 CAREER YARDS

With his 133 yards rushing on the day, sophomore running back Harvey Unga surpassed the 2,000-yard career mark. Unga racked up 1,227 yards on the ground in his freshman season last year.

TALE OF THE TAPE

BYU’s starting five offensive linemen weigh in at an average 326.4 pounds and average 6-feet-6. The front five will be going up against a SDSU defensive front that measures an average 6-feet-3, 253 pounds. Defensively, the Cougars’ front three average 6-feet-3, 278 pounds, while the SDSU offensive line tips the scales at an average 6-feet-2, 305 pounds per man.

PAPER OR PLASTIC

Junior defensive lineman Jan Jorgensen’s sack against CSU’s Billy Farris in the fourth quarter gave him 21.5 career sacks, breaking the previous MWC record of 20.5 he shared with New Mexico’s Michael Tuohy, TCU’s Chase Ortiz and former Cougar Brady Poppinga. Jorgensen added a second sack and forced a fumble with just 22 seconds remaining to help secure the win and bring his career sack total to 22.5. He recorded four sacks his freshman season in 2006, 13.5 his sophomore season and five to date in 2008. Through nine games this season the Cougar defense has recorded 20 sacks.

TURNOVERS TRANSLATING TO POINTS

In the first nine games this season BYU has forced 21 turnovers, converting 13 of those into points. Of those 13 turnovers, 11 have resulted in touchdowns (77 points) for the Cougars.

CONSECUTIVE STARTS

The UNLV game marked senior offensive lineman Dallas Reynolds’ 47th straight career start. During that streak, Reynolds has started at every position on the offensive line, including tackle, guard and center. Reynolds’ younger brother Matt started at left tackle in the 2008 season opener. His father, Lance, is the associate head coach for the Cougars. Reynolds is currently tied at second for the most consecutive starts by an active Football Bowl Subdivision (Division I-A) player. Reynolds has started in every game of his BYU career, beginning with the Cougars’ 20-3 loss to Boston College on Sep. 3, 2005.

HE WHO SCORES FIRST...

CSU’s 20-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown with 12:58 remaining in the first quarter marked the third time this season BYU has failed to score first. The Cougars previously gave up touchdowns to New Mexico and TCU. BYU is 2-1 when failing to score first.

SCORING EARLY

CSU’s touchdown with 12:58 remaining in the first quarter was the earliest score by a BYU opponent this season. The last time an opponent scored earlier than that was on Nov. 12, 2005 when Wyoming scored the first touchdown of the game with 13:32 remaining in the first quarter.

COIN TOSS

For the fourth time this season, BYU lost the opening coin toss, with CSU electing to receive. BYU is now 3-1 when losing the opening coin toss.

IT’S BEEN A WHILE

BYU has been unable to return a kickoff for a touchdown for 127 consecutive games. Mike Rigell was the last Cougar to accomplish the feat, turning in a 96-yard touchdown in a 31-9 victory at Hawaii on October 17, 1998.

DON’T LOOK BACK

In the Bronco Mendenhall era, BYU is 32-4 when leading at halftime and 31-1 when taking a lead into the fourth quarter.

SCORING IN NO TIME...

Forced and recovered turnovers have resulted in fast scoring drives for the Cougars, who have put together nine scoring drives of a minute or less so far this season, including two against Utah State. In eight games, this number beats the total of seven recorded in 2007. BYU’s second quarter scoring drive of six seconds agaisnt UCLA, marked the shortest Cougar scoring drive since a three-yard touchdown run by Harvey Unga against TCU on Nov. 8, 2007 knocked four seconds off the clock.

EVEN AT THE HALF

Last Saturday’s 21-21 halftime score marked the second consecutive game and third time this season the Cougars ended the first half tied with their opponent. A week prior BYU was also tied 21-21 with UNLV. The Cougars were tied at Washington on Sept. 6, 2008, with a score of 14-14.

PRECISION PAYS OFF

Quarterback Max Hall and the BYU offense were nearly perfect on their final two drives of the CSU game, with Hall completing 8-of-9 passes for 116 yards and one touchdown. The first of the two drives consisted of four plays for 80 yards, lasting 1:31. The drive was capped by a 40-yard touchdown run by sophomore Harvey Unga. BYU’s game-winning drive was six plays for 76 yards, taking 1:14 off the clock.

PULLING OUT THE CLOSE ONES

With Saturda’ys 45-42 victory over the Rams, the Cougars have won eight consecutive games decided by seven points or fewer, including back-to-back nail-biters against UNLV and CSU.

DOUBLE TIME

Wide receiver Austin Collie and tight end Dennis Pitta finished the CSU game with 156 and 175 yards receiving, respectively. The last time BYU finished a game with two 100-yard receivers was on Nov. 3, 2007 against the Rams in Provo. In that game Collie recorded 111 yards, while Harvey Unga followed with 110 yards.

EDWARDS’ STADIUM STREAK NOW SPANS THREE SEASONS-TIES SCHOOL RECORD

With BYU’s 42-35 win over UNLV, the Cougars have not lost in Edwards Stadium since November 19, 2005. BYU has won 17 straight home games, dating back to September 9, 2006—tying a BYU record. The last time the Cougars won 17 consecutive home games was 16 seasons ago from Oct. 7, 1989 to Nov. 23, 1991. Over that span, the Cougars have beaten their opponents by an average of 27.5 points per game and have allowed just 11.2 points per game. The Cougars have allowed seven points or less in nine of the last 17 home games.

“FAN”TASTIC FANS

The 64,081 fans in attendance for the Cougars’ 42-35 win over UNLV marked the 11th consecutive sell-out at Edwards Stadium. The current streak marks the longest streak of consecutive sellouts since the 1991-92 seasons. Over 320,000 (320,506) fans have attended the first five home games at Edwards Stadium this season, averaging 64,101 fans per game. The last time the stadium was not sold out was against New Mexico on Nov. 18, 2006 when 63,814 fans were in attendance—231 short of a sellout.

BLOCK PARTY

Freshman running back Bryan Kariya blocked a UNLV punt midway through the second quarter, which was caught by Brandon Bradley. The Cougars were able to quickly translate good field position into points as Harvey Unga ran for a two-yard touchdown two plays later.

As a team, BYU has blocked four kicks this season, already surpassing the three blocks recorded during the 2007 season. Along with Kariya’s, Jan Jorgensen blocked a potentially game-tying PAT attempt at Washington, Russell Tialavea blocked a UCLA field goal attempt and Michael Alisa blocked a kick against New Mexico. The last time BYU recorded four blocked kicks in a season was back in 2000.

GOING FOR TWO

Against UNLV the Cougars were successful on their first 2-point conversion attempt of the season. Harvey Unga caught a pass from Max Hall in the endzone following a Dennis Pitta touchdown, putting BYU up 42-35 with 1:46 remaining in the game. The last time the Cougars attempted and were successful on a two-point converstion was during the 17-10 victory over Utah in 2007.

FIRST HALF DOMINANCE

The Cougars last held a lead at halftime against New Mexico, marking the 16th time in the past 19 games BYU has held the lead at intermission. The Cougars have held their opponent to seven or fewer points in the opening half 12 times in 18 games. BYU is undefeated in those 12 games.

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