Game Notes: Cougars Visit Air Force Academy

Max Hall threw for 293 yards as the Cougars defeated Air Force 31-6 in 2007 (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

GAME ON...

After defeating San Diego State, 41-12, its final home game of the 2008 season last Saturday, No. 14 BYU travels to take on Air Force in one of two final road games.

Air Force (8-2, 5-1) enters Saturday’s game coming off a 38-17 win over Colorado State last weekend. The Falcons’ single loss in Mountain West Conference play came early in September when they hosted now No. 7-ranked Utah.

Game time is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. (MT) and will be broadcast nationally on CBS-College Sports.

THE BYU-AIR FORCE SERIES

The Cougars hold an all-time record of 22-6 against the Falcons, most recently taking a 31-6 victory at LaVell Edwards Stadium in 2007. Beginning with the first time the two teams played in 1956, BYU won 16 out of its first 17 match-ups against Air Force. The Cougars won 12 in a row from 1983-94 but have gone just 6-5 against the Falcons since the 1995 season. BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall is 3-0 all-time against Air Force, winning those games by an average of 21 points per game. The Cougars last lost a game in Falcon Stadium back in 2002.

ON THE TUBE

Saturday’s game will be broadcast live to a national television audience on CBS-College Sports. Tom Hart will call the action and Trev Alberts will lend analysis. Hart graduated from the University of Missouri after playing a season of football at Quincy (Ill) University. His television play-by-play experience includes national coverage of the Conference USA Football Game of the Week, men’s and women’s basketball, and baseball for CBS-CS. Alberts is a former consensus All-American linebacker from the University of Nebraska. A 1993 Dick Butkus Award winner, Alberts was drafted as the fifth overall pick by the Indianapolis Colts in 1994 and went on to play three seasons in the NFL before retiring in 1997. From 2002-05, Alberts was a college football analyst for ESPN’s College GameDay Scoreboard and College GameDay Final.

A LOOK BACK: BYU 41-SDSU 12

The BYU football team capped a remarkable third-straight undefeated home season with its 41-12 win over San Diego State last Saturday afternoon at LaVell Edwards Stadium. The Cougars improved to 9-1, 5-1; while the Aztecs fell to 1-9, 0-6. The game marked many milestones for individuals and the team alike while 22 seniors were honored in their final home game. The team remained undefeated at home dating back to 2005, while the 18-straight home wins marks the most in BYU history. BYU junior quarterback Max Hall led the Cougars, passing for 317 yards, completing 25-of-30. In nine of Hall’s completions he met junior receiver Austin Collie, who entered the game as the nation’s leading receiver in both total yards and yards per game. Collie had another standout game with a total of 127 yards, marking his eighth-straight game over the century mark and 14th overall. With that, Collie became the Mountain West Conference all-time leader for 100-yard games. On the defensive side of the ball, BYU senior linebacker David Nixon had a career-best 14 total tackles and one interception. Nixon served as a catalyst for the entire defense who limited SDSU to 280 offensive yards and only one touchdown.

COMPETING AS A RANKED TEAM

After Saturday’s win over SDSU, the Cougars are 147-42 when nationally ranked in the Top 25. With the win, a ranked BYU team has won 16 of its last 17 games, dating back to 2006.

SCORING HALL PASSES

Quarterback Max Hall recorded three touchdown passes against SDSU. 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 21-of-23 career games. On the season, Hall has thrown 32 touchdown passes to seven different members of the BYU team. He has thrown at least three touchdown passes in six of 10 games to this point in 2008.

COLLIE HITS CENTURY MARK-EXTENDS MWC RECORD

Junior Austin Collie broke the 100-yard receiving mark for the eighth straight game with 127 yards on nine catches against the Aztecs. Collie’s eight-consecutive games extend a MWC record he broke two weeks ago against UNLV. The record was previously held by SDSU’s J.R. Tolver (2002) with five.

CLIMBING UP THE BYU RECORD CHARTS

With his 127 yards receiving against SDSU, Austin Collie now has 2,902 career-receiving yards, surpassing Margin Hooks as No. 2 on BYU’s all-time receiving list. The junior needs only 165 more yards to pass Eric Drage (3,066 yards) and claim the No. 1 spot.

On the season, Collie has 1,185 yards receiving, moving him into third place on BYU’s all-time record list. With 57 more yards over the remainder of the season, Collie will become BYU’s single-season leading receiver.

The junior now has 14 career 100-yard receiving games—a new BYU record—surpassing the current leader Eric Drage with 12. He now holds the MWC record, one game ahead of the old leader, SDSU’s J.R. Tolver.

Counting his two touchdowns last week, Collie now has 28 career touchdowns, tying Matt Bellini as No. 9 on BYU’s career touchdown list. Collie’s 28 touchdowns put him only one behind the MWC leader, Jovon Bouknight of Wyoming (29). He has hauled in at least one touchdown pass in seven games this season.

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 an Air Force defensive front that measures an average 6-feet-5, 265 pounds. Defensively, the Cougars’ front three average 6-feet-3, 278 pounds, while the Air Force offensive line tips the scales at an average 6-feet-3, 273 pounds per man.

TURNOVERS TRANSLATING TO POINTS

In the first 10 games this season BYU has forced 25 turnovers, converting 17 of those into points. Of those 17 turnovers, 14 have resulted in touchdowns (98 points) for the Cougars. The Cougars successfully converted all four of SDSU’s turnovers into points last Saturday (24 points).

CONSECUTIVE STARTS

The UNLV game marked senior offensive lineman Dallas Reynolds’ 48th 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 first 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...

Senior Fui Vakapuna’s seven-yard touchdown run with 9:42 remaining in the first quarter of the SDSU game gave BYU the early 7-0 lead. BYU has scored first in seven games this season, marking the 29th time in the last 35 games. The Cougars are 27-2 in those 29 games.

COIN TOSS

For the fifth time this season, BYU lost the opening coin toss, with SDSU electing to defer to the second half. BYU is now 4-1 when losing the opening toss.

IT’S BEEN A WHILE

BYU has been unable to return a kickoff for a touchdown for 128 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 33-4 when leading at halftime and 32-1 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. BYU’s second quarter scoring drive of six seconds against 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.

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.

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 ten games this season the Cougar defense has recorded 20 sacks.

FIRST HALF DOMINANCE

The Cougars held a lead at halftime against San Diego State, for the first time since the New Mexico game on Oc.t 11. It marks the 17th time in the past 23 games BYU has held the lead at intermission. The Cougars have held their opponent to seven or fewer points in the opening half six times in 10 games this season. BYU is undefeated in those six games.

22 SENIORS RECOGNIZED

Playing their last game in LaVell Edwards Stadium, 22 seniors were recognized at the start of the SDSU game, a group that included members of the 2003 recruiting class, walk-ons and junior college transfers. This group of veterans have played an integral part of BYU’s three undefeated seasons at home.

THANK YOU SENIORS!

BYU’s seniors had a strong showing against SDSU, playing in their last home game in LaVell Edwards Stadium. Linebacker and team captain David Nixon led the defense with a career-high 14 tackles. Running back Fui Vakapuna recorded the first touchdown of the game on a seven-yard run. BYU’s first score of the second half came on a three-yard run by Wayne Latu, and wide receiver Michael Reed finished the game with a season-high 95-yards receiving.

50-YARD CATCHES BOOKEND REED’S CAREER

Playing in the final home game of his BYU career, senior wide receiver Michael Reed caught a career-long 56-yard pass from quarterback Max Hall late in the second quarter of the SDSU game, setting up a six-yard touchdown reception by tight end Andrew George on the following play. Reed’s previous career-long reception was during his freshman season in 2005 when he caught a 50-yard pass from John Beck in the Air Force game. That catch contributed to Reed’s first 100-yard receiving game this season with 103 yards. His other 100-yard game came in 2007 when he racked up a career-high 132 yards in BYU’s 55-47 loss to Tulsa.

QUARTER REPORT

All totaled, the BYU defense has recorded 19 shutout quarters thru the first ten games of the season, including two complete shutout wins over UCLA and Wyoming. The Cougars has outscored or tied their opponents in every quarter except eight in 2008.

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