Game Notes: Cougars Finally Play at Home

Tevita Ofahengaue recorded three receptions for a team-high 75 yards in BYU's 2000 loss to Florida State (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

No. 7 BYU opens its 2009 home season on Saturday after spending the past two weeks on the road, playing Oklahoma at Cowboys Stadium and visiting Tulane. The Cougars hope to continue their winning tradition at home in LaVell Edwards Stadium, where they have not lost a game in three seasons. The last game BYU lost in Provo was on Nov. 19, 2005 to Utah.

ON THE TUBE

Saturday’s game will be broadcast live to a national television audience on VERSUS-HD. Joe Beninati will provide play-by-play coverage, with Glenn Parker lending analysis. Lindy Thackston will report from the sidelines. The game will mark the third of 12 BYU games available nationally during the 2009 season. Last week’s game against Tulane was shown on ESPN2.

AGAINST THE ACC

BYU has faced only five current members of the 12-team ACC, coming away with a 4-8 record. The Cougars do not have a winning record against any ACC foe, but have tied 1-1 records against Georgia Tech and Miami.

The last ACC vs. BYU matchup was on Sept. 16, 2006 when the Cougars were defeated, 23-20, at Boston College.

The Cougars’ first game against a current ACC opponent was also against Boston College on Aug. 29, 1985 when they handed the Eagles a 28-14 loss.

WHAT THE GAME MEANS

- With a win on Saturday the Cougars would start the season with a 3-0 record for the second straight year and 13th time in program history. In 2008 BYU opened with wins against Northern Iowa, Washington and UCLA.

- A win at LaVell Edwards Stadium would improve BYU’s home win streak to 19 games, extending a program record.

- A victory on Saturday would give BYU an 8-1 record in home openers dating back to 2001.

THE BYU-FLORIDA STATE SERIES

The Seminoles own a 2-0 advantage in the series record against BYU, with their most recent win coming on Aug. 26, 2000. The first meeting between these two teams was on Aug. 29, 1991 when FSU defeated the Cougars, 44-28, at the Pigskin Classic in Anaheim, Calif.

LAST TIME: FLORIDA STATE 29, BYU 3 (AUG. 26, 2000)

Florida State began their defense of the national title as they defeated Brigham Young University, 29-3, in the annual Pigskin Classic.

The Cougars used two different quarterbacks, but neither of them could find the endzone against the tough Florida State defense. The Cougar offense had a couple of chances deep in Florida State territory, but usually came away with nothing.

Bret Engemann played the first and third quarters, completing 12 passes on 28 attempts for 139 yards and two interceptions while Charlie Peterson played the second and fourth quarters, completing 6 of 18 pass attempts for 88 yards and one interception. BYU’s only score of the game came on the leg of Owen Pochman, who hit a 42-yard field goal late in the third quarter.

FLORIDA STATE’S LAST OUTING

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida State football team escaped with a 19-9 victory over visiting Jacksonville State. Trailing most of the game, FSU (1-1, 0-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) rattled off 12-straight points in the game’s final three minutes thanks to a high-pressure offensive drive and a game-sealing defensive play.

Down 9-7 and starting from his own 42-yard line with just 2:45 remaining on the clock, Seminoles quarterback Christian Ponder hooked up with Richard Goodman on the drive’s seventh play for a 24-yard gain. The long pass-play was then followed a short time later by tailback Ty Jones’ one-yard plunge as the clock ticked to 35 seconds left and the scoreboard moved to 13-9 in favor of the Seminoles.

On JSU’s ensuing drive, freshman Jacobbi McDaniel knocked the ball out of Perilloux’s hands and senior defensive end Kevin McNeil’s scoop and dash into the endzone from 33 yards out extended the FSU lead to 19-9 with 21 seconds left.

COUGAR-SEMINOLE TIES

- There are two Florida natives on the BYU roster--junior defensive back Brandon Bradley (Tallahassee) and sophomore wide receiver O’Neill Chambers (Harmony).

- Bradley attended Lincoln HS, the same high school as FSU’s wide receiver Josh Gehres, fullback Seddrick Holloway and tight end Ja’Baris Little.

- BYU linebacker Austen Jorgensen is currently serving an LDS mission to Tampa, Florida and will return to play for the Cougars in Jan. 2010.

BYU’S LAST OUTING

NEW -- Max Hall passed for more than 300 yards in just over three quarters of action as No. 9 BYU crushed Tulane 54-3 in the Louisiana Superdome Saturday afternoon.

The Cougar defense excelled against Tulane after a superb effort last week in holding high-powered Oklahoma to 13 points. BYU held the Green Wave to not only a single field goal but also 162 yards of total offense. The defense also force turnovers with two interceptions and two recovered fumbles, returning one of the fumbles for a Cougar touchdown.

Offensively, Hall directed an attack that never put the team’s punter on the field and amassed 527 yards with a strong balance of 321 yards through the air and 206 on the ground. The senior signal caller completed 26-of-34 passes for 321 yards and two touchdowns. He connected with 11 different receivers before leaving the game early in the fourth quarter. Overall, BYU quarterbacks found 12 different receivers, the most Cougars to catch a pass in a game since a 52-7 victory over Nevada on Sept. 1, 2001.

COMPETING AS A RANKED TEAM

With the win over Tulane, the Cougars are 150-44 when nationally ranked in the Top 25. A ranked BYU team has won 19 of its last 22 games, dating back to 2006.

The Cougars’ No. 7 national ranking in the AP Top 25 Rankings is their highest since finishing the 1996 season at No. 5. BYU enters the top 10 in the coaches’ poll again after earning a ranking as high as No. 7 last season.

COIN TOSS

BYU won the toss before the start of the Tulane game, elected to defer and eventually went on to win the game. BYU is now 2-0 when winning the toss.

UNDEFEATED TO START THE SEASON

With the win against Tulane the Cougars have a 2-0 record to open the second straight year. In 2008 BYU opened with wins against Northern Iowa and Washington.

BYU also has a 2-0 start on back-to-back road games. The last time the Cougars started the season with two road wins was back in 1994 when they claimed victories at Hawaii and Air Force.

PULLING OUT THE CLOSE ONES

After a close 14-13 victory over the Sooners in their season opener, the Cougars have won nine consecutive games decided by seven points or fewer. Last season BYU pulled out nail-biters against Washington, UNLV and Colorado State.

MENDENHALL TEAMS DEFEATING RANKED FOES

Under Bronco Mendenhall, BYU is now 2-6 vs. ranked foes, with its wins a 31-17 victory over No. 15 TCU on Sept. 28, 2006 and a 14-13 win over No. 3 Oklahoma on Sept. 5, 2009.

DON’T LOOK BACK

In the Bronco Mendenhall era, BYU is 34-4 when leading at halftime and 32-1 when taking a lead into the fourth quarter.

NIGHT GAMES

The Florida State game will mark the second of five night games for the Cougars, with later starts (after 5 p.m.) also against Utah State, UNLV and TCU. BYU is 1-0 in night games so far this season after defeating Oklahoma in its season opener.

HOME WIN STREAK CONTINUES

With BYU’s 41-12 win over SDSU on Nov. 8, 2008, the Cougars have not lost in Edwards Stadium since a 41-34 overtime thriller to Utah on Nov. 19, 2005. BYU has won 18 straight home games, dating back to Sept. 9, 2006—setting a new BYU record. Over that span, the Cougars have beaten their opponents by an average of 27.8 points per game and have allowed just 11.3 points per game. The Cougars won 17 consecutive home games 16 seasons ago from Oct. 7, 1989 to Nov. 23, 1991. Since the stadium was built in 1964, BYU has gone undefeated at home 15 times.

“FAN”TASTIC FANS

The 64,107 fans in attendance for the Cougars’ 41-12 win over SDSU on Nov. 8, 2008 marked the 12th consecutive sell-out at Edwards Stadium. The current streak marks the longest streak of consecutive sellouts since the 1990-92 seasons. Over 380,000 (384,613) fans have attended the Cougars’ six home games at Edwards Stadium this season, averaging 64,102 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.

DOUBLE THREAT

Junior running back Harvey Unga needs only 32 more receiving yards to become one of only nine Cougars to record over 1,000 career yards through the air and on the ground. Unga currently has 969 yards receiving and 2,385 yards rushing.

Other Cougars who accomplished this feat are Curtis Brown, Jamal Willis, Lakei Heimuli, Luke Staley, Hema Heimuli, Todd Christensen, Scott Phillips and Fred Whittingham.

TALE OF THE TAPE

BYU’s starting five offensive linemen weigh in at an average 317.4 pounds and average 6-feet-4. The front five will be going up against a Florida State defensive front that measures an average 6-feet-3, 270 pounds. Defensively, the Cougars’ front three average 6-feet-3, 262 pounds, while the FSU offensive line tips the scales at an average 6-feet-5, 286 pounds per man.

CONSECUTIVE CATCHES

All-American tight end Dennis Pitta caught his first pass of the Tulane game with just over 10 minutes remaining in the first quarter for a five-yard gain. The senior has caught a pass in 32 consecutive games dating back to Oct. 23, 2004 (at Air Force), prior to his mission.

HE WHO SCORES FIRST...

BYU was the first to score last week on a 41-yard field goal by junior Mitch Payne with 6:23 remaining in the first quarter. BYU has been the first team to score in nine of 14 games, marking 32 times in the last 40 games. The Cougars are 30-2 in those 32 games.

SPREADING THE BALL

Quarterbacks Max Hall and Riley Nelson found 12 different receivers throughout the game against Tulane, passing for a total of 321 yards. Hall connected with 11 receivers throughout the first three quarters, while Nelson found freshman Brett Thompson late in the fourth. The last time BYU had 12 receivers in a game catch at least one ball was on Sept. 1, 2001 during BYU’s 52-7 win over Nevada.

CONSECUTIVE STARTS

The Tulane game marked senior defensive lineman Jan Jorgensen’s 41st straight career start. During that streak, Jorgensen has started every game of his collegiate career and set a new MWC all-time career sack record at 22.5. His first career start came against Arizona on Sept. 2, 2006.

FUMBLE RECOVERIES

Sophomore linebacker Jordan Pendleton recovered a fumble and returned it for a 12-yard touchdown with 11:47 remaining in the Tulane game. Senior linebacker Terrance Hooks forced the fumble. Linebacker Jordan Atkinson forced a fumble on the Green Wave’s next possession, which was recovered by Shane Hunter. The Cougars have now recovered four fumbles in their first two games, after picking up two against Oklahoma last week.

PROTECTING THE ENDZONE

Through two games this season, the Cougars have allowed their opponents only one combined touchdown. The Oklahoma Sooners are credited with the touchdown which they scored during the first quarter of the season opener.

PAPER OR PLASTIC?

Junior linebacker Grant Nelson’s sack against Tulane’s Joe Kemp early in the first quarter marked the first of his BYU career. He quickly picked up a second sack two plays later on third-down, forcing the Green Wave to punt. Collectively the Cougars have picked up three sacks in their first two games.

QUARTER REPORT

The BYU defense held Tulane scoreless the last three quarters of the game last week, giving them a total of four scoreless quarters this season. The Cougars also held the Sooners scoreless during the third quarter in their season opener the previous week.

COUGAR PICKS

Junior defensive back Brian Logan recorded BYU’s first interception of the 2009 season late in the second quarter against Tulane. Joe Kemp’s pass was tipped by sophomore linebacker Jordan Pendleton. The interception led to the Cougars’ second touchdown of the game to go up 20-3.

True freshman Craig Bills intercepted a Green Wave pass with 5:33 remaining in the game, for a 16-yard return.

IT’S BEEN A WHILE

BYU has been unable to return a kickoff for a touchdown for 133 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.

The last time BYU returned a punt for a touchdown was back on Nov. 9, 2006 when freshman McKay Jacobson ran one back 77 yards. Thirty-one games have passed since then.

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