Game Notes: BYU Resumes MWC Play Hosting Lobos

With a 31-24 victory against the Lobos in 2007, Max Hall and the Cougars recorded their first road win of the season. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

GAME ON...

BYU (5-0, 1-0 MWC) returns to league action against New Mexico (3-3, 1-1) at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday. The Cougars have won 15 straight games, the program’s longest win streak since the 1983-85 seasons. A win on Saturday would give the Cougars a 6-0 start to the season, their best since 2001. A win would also grant BYU bowl eligibility status with six wins on the season. The Lobos are coming off a 24-0 shutout win over conference foe Wyoming, a team the Cougars shut out three weeks ago. Game time on Saturday is scheduled for 4 p.m. (MT) and will be broadcast nationally on The Mtn.

THE BYU-NEW MEXICO SERIES

BYU tries for its 18th straight Mountain West Conference victory against New Mexico on Saturday. The Cougars hold an all-time record of 42-14-1 against the Lobos, including a 21-5 record over New Mexico in Provo. BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall is 3-0 against his former team, and the Cougars have not lost in Provo since the 2004 season. The two teams first played each other in 1951 with New Mexico shutting out BYU, 34-0. The Lobos would win eight of the teams’ first 14 matchups. However, since 1965, the Cougars have won 37 of 43 contests against New Mexico, including 16 in a row from 1981-96. BYU defeated the Lobos in Albuquerque last season by a score of 31-24, claiming its first road victory of the season. New Mexico finished the 2007 season with an overall record of 9-4 and a trip to the New Mexico Bowl.

ON THE TUBE

Saturday’s game will be broadcast live to a nation television audience on The Mtn. Tim Neverett will call the action with former BYU quarterback Blaine Fowler lending expert analysis. Sammy Linebaugh will report from the sidelines. A 22-year veteran sportscaster, Neverett covers the Colorado Rockies, Colorado Crush and University of Denver hockey and lacrosse for FSN Rocky Mountain, various sporting events for CSTV and Versus, and anchors Press Box on KLZ-560 AM. Tim has covered three Olympic Games, and reported on hockey, skiing, baseball, soccer and softball for ESPN2 and ESPN International. As a member of the Cougars’ 1984 National Championship team, Fowler has been around BYU for over 25 years. He has served as a play-by-play analyst for a number of regional networks, including the Blue and White Sports Network. 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 34-UTAH STATE 14

Junior wide receiver Austin Collie recorded his third-straight game with more than 100 receiving yards as No. 7 BYU improved to 5-0 on the season with a 34-14 victory at Utah State (1-4) Friday night. BYU extended the nation’s top winning streak to 15 games. Collie hauled in eight catches for 132 yards and two touchdowns against the Aggies, moving into eighth place all-time in career receiving yards (2,235) at BYU. Heisman Trophy candidate Max Hall threw for 303 yards and connected with seven different receivers while going 23-for-37. Running back Harvey Unga led the Cougar ground attack with 92 yards on 22 carries to help BYU total 406 yards of total offense. The Cougars extended their streak of shutout quarters to 11 before Utah State running back Robert Turbin scored with 13:47 to go in the fourth quarter. Turbin broke a tackle attempt by BYU safety David Tafuna and raced 40 yards to the end zone. The Cougars had not given up a score since the fourth quarter at Washington on Sept. 6. BYU went on to score 137 straight points against UCLA, Wyoming and Utah State before the Aggies finally broke through with a score.

RANKED COUGARS vs. LOBOS

This will be the 15th time BYU has faced New Mexico as a ranked team, including the fifth occasion with a top-10 ranking. BYU has a 14-1 record as a ranked team when facing New Mexico. Under Bronco Mendenhall, BYU is 1-0 as a ranked team against the Lobos with its 42-17 victory on Nov. 18, 2006, when the Cougars were ranked No. 23 in the AP Top-25 and No. 24 in the Coaches’ Poll. The last time BYU played as a top-10 team against UNM was on Oct. 27, 1990, when BYU (No. 7 UPI/No. 9 AP) won 55-31 on Homecoming weekend. BYU is 4-0 against the Lobos as a top-10 team with wins in 1984, 1985, 1986 and 1990. New Mexico gained its lone victory over a ranked Cougar team when the Lobos upset BYU in the 1980 season opener. The Cougars entered the game ranked No. 19 in the preseason UPI poll before falling 25-21 in Albuquerque. BYU went on to win its final 12 games in 1980 to finish with a 12-1 record after a 46-45 Holiday Bowl victory over SMU.

COUGARS CONTINUE TO WIN

With its 34-14 win over Utah State, BYU currently owns the longest active winning streak among FBS (Division I-A) teams, having won 15 consecutive games. The Cougars have put together their longest win streak since winning 15 straight games during the 1983-85 seasons. BYU’s 5-0 record this season marks its best start since the 2001 season.

EDWARDS’ STADIUM STREAK NOW SPANS THREE SEASONS

With BYU’s 44-0 shutout of Wyoming, the Cougars have not lost in Edwards Stadium since November 19, 2005. BYU has won 15 straight home games, dating back to September 9, 2006. The last time the Cougars won 15 consecutive home games was 16 seasons ago when the team won 17 in a row from Oct. 7, 1989 to Nov. 23, 1991. Over that span, the Cougars have beaten their opponents by an average of 29.5 points per game and have allowed just 10.1 points per game. The Cougars have allowed seven points or less in eight of the last 15 home games.

“FAN”TASTIC FANS

The 64,059 fans in attendance for the Cougars’ 44-0 win over Wyoming marked the ninth consecutive sell-out at Edwards Stadium. The current streak marks the longest streak of consecutive sellouts since the 1991-92 seasons. Over 192,000 (192,320) fans have attended the first three home games at Edwards Stadium this season, averaging 64,107 fans per game After averaging 64,497 in 2007, BYU finished ranked fourth overall in the West behind USC (87,476), UCLA (76,379) and Washington (67,732). BYU has annually been the top school in average attendance for teams from conferences that do not receive automatic BCS bowl bids. 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.

COMPETING AS A RANKED TEAM

After Friday’s win against Utah State, the Cougars are 143-41 when nationally ranked in the Top -25. Dating back to 2006, BYU has won 12 consecutive games while being nationally ranked, its longest win streak as a ranked team since winning 12 straight in 1996.

TAKE YOUR PICK

Linebacker David Nixon’s interception for a two-yard return against Utah State marked his second pick in as many games. The Cougars have totaled five interceptions in the first five games of the season.

UNANSWERED POINTS

The Cougars put together a run of 137 unanswered points over the past three games before the Aggies scored a touchdown with 13:47 remaining in the fourth quarter. The stretch consisted of shutout wins over UCLA and Wyoming, 59-0 and 44-0, respectively, as well as a 24-0 lead heading into the fourth quarter against Utah State. Over that time BYU held its opponents scoreless in 11 straight quarters.

HE WHO SCORES FIRST...

Junior Austin Collie’s 76-yard touchdown with 11:51 remaining in the first quarter against Utah State gave BYU the early 7-0 lead. BYU has scored first in every game this season, marking the 27th time in the last 30 games. The Cougars are 25-2 in those 27 games. BYU has also scored an opening drive touchdown in 13 of its last 16 games.

COIN TOSS

BYU lost the opening coin toss for the first time this season as the game against Utah State got underway. The Aggies elected to receive. BYU is now 1-0 when losing the opening coin toss.

FUMBLE RECOVERIES

BYU has recovered 11 fumbles throughout the first five games of the season, combining for 9 against UCLA, Wyoming and Utah State. The Cougars recovered only four fumbles the entire 2007 season.

FUMBLES FOR THE SCORE

In the first quarter against Utah State, sophomore defensive back Brandon Bradley recovered the first fumble of his career, returning it for a 38-yard touchdown. The touchdown marked the second straight game the Cougars have scored off a fumble recovery, as fellow defensive back Scott Johnson returned a loose ball for a touchdown in BYU’s 44-0 victory over Wyoming on Sept. 20.

SCORING HALL PASSES

Quarterback Max Hall’s touchdown pass to junior Austin Collie with 11:51 in the first quarter against Utah State marked the seventh consecutive game Hall has recorded a touchdown pass, dating back to Dec. 1, 2007 at San Diego State. In fact, Hall has thrown a touchdown pass in 17-of-18 career games.

SCORING IN NO TIME...

Forced and recovered turnovers have resulted in fast scoring drives for the Cougars, who have put together eight scoring drives of a minute or less so far this season, including two against Utah State. In only five 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.

COLLIE HITS CENTURY MARK

Junior Austin Collie broke the 100-yard receiving mark for the third straight game with 132 yards on eight catches against the Aggies. The last time Collie accomplished this feat was over a four games in 2007 (Nov. 3-Nov. 24). He has also caught two touchdown passes in each of the last three games (UCLA, Wyoming, Utah State).

CLIMBING UP THE BYU RECORD CHARTS

With his 132 yards receiving against the Aggies, Collie now has 2,235 career receiving yards, surpassing Glen Kozlowski as No. 8 on BYU’s all-time record list. The junior needs only 133 more yards to pass Chris Smith with 2,367 yards and claim the No. 7 spot.

With his two touchdowns against the Aggies, Collie now has 22 career touchdowns, needing only four more to make it into BYU’s top 10. Pete Van Valkenberg and Eric Lane currently hold the No. 10 spot with 26 career touchdowns.

DENNEY BRINGS THE HEAT

Junior defensive lineman had a strong showing against Utah State, recording four tackles for a loss and one sack. Denney had only one tackle for a loss throughout the first four games of the season.

GOING FOR IT

BYU attempted its first fourth-down conversion attempt of the season, on fourth-and-one with 3:30 remaining in the third quarter against the Aggies. The Cougars were successful, with Harvey Unga running for a four-yard gain.

KICKING GAME

After attempting only two field goals in the first four games of the season, the Cougars kicked four FG attempts against the Aggies. Sophomore kicker Mitch Payne helped put the Cougars up 17-0 with 1:46 remaining in the first quarter thanks to a 45-yard field goal, a new career long. He also connected on 21-yarder with 11:21 to play in the third quarter.

CAREER FIRSTS

Freshman wide receiver O’Neill Chambers made his first career start last Friday, after seeing the majority of his playing time on kick returns. Friday also marked kicker Justin Sorensen’s first PAT attempt, which he made with 1:26 remaining in the third quarter.

PAPER OR PLASTIC

Three Cougars recorded sacks against Utah State, including, Brett Denney, Coleby Clawson and Matt Putnam. The last time BYU recorded three or more sacks against an opponent was at Washington when the Cougars claimed four. Junior defensive lineman Jan Jorgensen is currently half a sack behind the MWC career record of 20.5, shared by New Mexico’s Michael Tuohy, TCU’s Chase Ortiz and former Cougar Brady Poppinga.

QUARTER REPORT

All totaled, BYU has recorded 13 shutout quarters thru the first five games of the season, including 11 scoreless quarters in the past three games. BYU has outscored or tied its opponent in every quarter except two.

DON’T LOOK BACK

In the Bronco Mendenhall era, BYU is 31-4 when leading at halftime and 30-1 when taking a lead into the fourth quarter.

FIRST HALF DOMINANCE

The Cougars held a 24-0 lead at halftime against Utah State, marking the 15th time in the past 16 games BYU has held the lead at intermission. The Cougars have held their opponent to seven or fewer points in the opening half 11 times in 16 games. During those 16 games BYU is 15-1.

CONSECUTIVE STARTS

The UCLA game marked senior offensive lineman Dallas Reynolds’ 43rd 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 seond 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.

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 New Mexico defensive front that measures an average 6-feet-2, 276 pounds. Defensively, the Cougars’ front three average 6-feet-3, 278 pounds, while the New Mexico offensive line tips the scales at an average 6-feet-4, 312 pounds per man.

TOP-30 IN THE NATIONAL STATISTICAL CATEGORIES

TEAM RANKINGS

Category National Rank Actual

Passing Offense 7 333.00

Passing Efficiency 9 166.30

Total Offense 13 466.80

Scoring Offense 10 41.20

Tackles for Loss Allowed T-3 3.00

First-Downs Per Game 14 25.00

Total Defense 30 307.20

Tackles for Loss 15 7.80

Scoring Defense 8 11.60

Fumbles Recovered T-2 11.00

Net Punting 14 38.81

Kickoff Returns 4 28.00

Turnover Margin T-6 1.40

Sacks Allowed 5 0.40

3rd-Down Efficiency 2 64.40

Sacks 16 2.60

Red Zone Defense T-4 .56

4th-Down Efficiency T-1 100.00

INDIVIDUAL RANKINGS

Category Player National Rank Actual

Passing Efficiency Max Hall 8 172.05

Total Offense Max Hall 9 320.80

Total Passing Yards Max Hall 11 1587

Passing Yards per Game Max Hall 7 317.40

Points Responsible For per Game Max Hall 8 21.60

Receptions per Game Austin Collie T-7 7.60

Dennis Pitta T-11 7.20

Receiving Yards per Game Austin Collie T-8 103.60

Dennis Pitta 13 102.60

Kickoff Returns O’Neill Chambers 19 28.00

Scoring Harvey Unga T-17 9.60

Forced Fumbles Coleby Clawson T-2 3.00

David Nixon T-11 2.00

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