Game Notes: Cougars to Battle Nationally-Ranked Eastern Washington

The BYU defense will have its hands full against Eastern Washington. The Eagles enter Saturday's game averaging 34.3 points and nearly 490 yards per game. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

PROVO -- It has been nearly a month since BYU (4-2, 3-0 MWC) last played on its home field--a 31-6 win over Air Force on Sept. 22. The Cougars return to Edwards Stadium to face Division I-AA Eastern Washington (4-2, 2-2 Big Sky). Game time is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. (MT) and will be broadcast regionally on The mtn.

The Cougars' last home victory sparked what has become the their longest winning streak of the year at three games. With two straight road victories, including wins at New Mexico and at UNLV, BYU is now 3-0 in Mountain West Conference play and has won 11 consecutive conference games overall.

THE BYU-EASTERN WASHINGTON SERIES

Saturday's matchup will be the first ever between BYU and Eastern Washington. The game will mark only the third time BYU has played an opponent from Division I-AA or the NCAA Championship Subdivision. The Cougars have never lost to a Championship Subdivision opponent, including wins against Murray State in 1998 and against Eastern Illinois in 2005. In those two games, the Cougars defeated their opponents by an average 44-9.5.

ON THE TUBE

Saturday's game will be broadcast live to a regional television audience on The mtn. The game will mark the third of six nationally televised games during the 2007 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 a former news reporter for KSL-TV in Salt Lake City and has worked as a freelance reporter before joining The mtn.

A LOOK BACK: BYU 24-UNLV 14

Despite four turnovers, including a career-high three interceptions from sophomore Max Hall, BYU (4-2, 3-0) remained undefeated in the Mountain West Conference with a 24-14 victory over UNLV (2-5, 1-2) on Saturday. Hall was 21-for-33 for 214 yards and one touchdown pass to go along with his three misfires. Meanwhile, freshman running back Harvey Unga had a career night of his own. Unga carried the ball 25 times for 177 yards--both career-highs. In the second half alone, Unga rushed 18 times for 118 yards. BYU finished with 441 total yards to the Rebels' 217. The Cougars rushed for 227 yards, while holding UNLV to just 96 yards rushing. With the win, the Cougars improved to 4-2 on the season, including a 3-0 mark in conference competition. The game marked BYU's third straight victory over the Rebels.

RUSHING DOMINANCE

Entering Saturday's game against Eastern Washington, the Cougars own a record of 94-18 when rushing for 100 (or more) yards since the 1991 season. The Tulsa game marked only the fifth time since 1991 that the Cougars had gained over 150 yards rushing in a game and lost. (BYU is 74-5 since 1991 when rushing for 150 or more yards.) During the Bronco Mendenhall era, the Cougars are 18-3 when rushing for 100 or more yards.

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 an EWU defensive front that measures an average 6-feet-1, 248 pounds. Defensively, the Cougars' front three average 6-feet-2, 270 pounds, while the Eagles' offensive line tips the scales at an average 6-feet-4, 286 pounds per man.

HOMELAND SECURITY

Last month's victory over Air Force runs BYU's consecutive home winning streak to eight games, dating back to last season. Over that span, the Cougars have beaten their opponents by an average of 31.2 points per game. During that stretch, BYU is allowing just 10.6 points per game. The Cougars have allowed seven points or less in five of the last eight home games. In the first two games this season, the Cougars have outscored opponents by an average 19 points per game and have allowed just 6.5 points per game. BYU's current win streak is the longest since posting a 10-game home win streak from Oct. 26, 2000 to Sept. 6, 2002.

FIRST-HALF DOMINANCE

The Cougars held a 7-6 lead at halftime marking the fifth time in six games this season BYU has held a lead at intermission. The one-point lead marked the smallest halftime lead of the season. The Cougars have led at halftime in 18 of the last 19 games. During those 18 games, the Cougars are 15-3.

WASHINGTONIANS AT BYU

The Cougars' roster consists of only three players from Washington. Junior wide receiver Bryce Mahuika is from Vancouver, Wash. Senior defensive lineman Judd Anderton is from Tacoma, and freshman quarterback Jason Munns hails from Kennewick. Eastern Washington's roster, on the other hand, lists no players from Utah.

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