BYU leads the nation in turnover margin with a +1.50 margin heading into this week's action. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- After rolling past Air Force to maintain a perfect Mountain West Conference record, BYU heads back to Colorado to take on Colorado State in Fort Collins. The Cougars are enjoying a five-game winning streak and a current two-game advantage in the MWC. The Colorado State game is the last time on the regular-season schedule that BYU will travel out of state as the Cougars play two of their final three games at home before playing the regular season finale at Utah.
LAST WEEK RECAP
A balanced offensive attack and stingy defense led BYU to a 33-14 victory over Air Force (3-4, 3-2) on Saturday. With the victory, the Cougars improve to 6-2 overall and maintain the conference lead with a 4-0 record against Mountain West opponents.
"We just need to stay the course and continue to improve," BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "There is room for improvement and we'll point that out to our players. They'll embrace that because they want to win. We'll tell them exactly what they need to do, very bluntly, very candidly and they'll respond to that."
The win was the fifth consecutive victory for the Cougars who become bowl eligible for the second consecutive year with their sixth win on the season. It is the first time BYU is bowl eligible for two straight years since the 1998 and 1999 seasons.
BYU and Colorado State will meet for the 64th time. The Cougars and Rams first met in 1922, which was BYU's first official year of football. Colorado State beat BYU, 33-0, in 1922. In recent history, the Cougars have won two straight. The last Colorado State victory was in 2003 when the rams handed the Cougars a 58- 13 beating at home which is the worst BYU home loss in program history. Since 1999--the first year of the Mountain West Conference--BYU holds a 4-3 record over the Rams. Previous to the game in 1999, which was the first in-conference MWC contest, BYU and Colorado State last played in 1995 with the Cougars taking home a 28-21 victory.
WEEKLY COACHES' SHOW
The Bronco Mendenhall Show broadcasts every Sunday evening at 11:00 p.m. on KSL-TV. Hosted by KSL's Tom Kirkland, coach Mendenhall reviews the past week's and previews the week to come in addition to featuring several football players.
TALE OF THE TAPE
BYU's offensive line checks in at an average 6-foot-4, 316.8 pounds. The Cougars' front line will be going up against a Colorado State defensive front that averages just over 6-foot-4, 251.5 pounds. (Advantage: BYU +65.3 pounds per man.) BYU's defensive line weighs in at 6-foot-3, 280 pounds, Colorado State's offensive line averages 6-foot-4, 299.2 pounds. (Advantage: Colorado State +19.2 pounds per man.)
Beck completed 23-of-31 attempts for 258 yards and three touchdowns to improve the Cougars to 6-2 overall and 4-0 in league play. Beck posted a completion percentage of 74 percent en route to his fifth three-touchdown performance of the season, including his fourth straight game with three or more touchdown completions. The Beck-led offense engineered points in six of the seven drives he played on the day, including a 14-play, 81-yard drive to mark the fourth straight game BYU has scored on its opening drive.
The senior from Mesa, Ariz., leads the Mountain West and ranks fourth nationally in passing yards per game, averaging 295.4 yards per game. He also leads the conference and ranks sixth nationally in passing efficiency (172.5) and total yards per game (293.1). Beck also ranks second nationally in completion percentage. On the season, he has completed 70.87 percent of his attempts.
Beck also took home some national hardware when he was named the Cingular All-
American Player of the Week for his performance against UNLV
"He's (Beck) the best I've ever played against--and that goes against Cal's old quarterback (Aaron Rogers) and (former Utah quarterback) Alex Smith. He looks you off, he knows defenses and he's just an excellent quarterback." -- Bobby Giannini, Air Force Safety
BYU QUARTER-BECK SNAPSHOT
-Ranks sixth nationally and leads the Mountain West Conference with an efficiency rating of 172.5.
-Ranks sixth nationally and leads the Mountain West Conference with an average 293.1 yards of total offense per game.
- Has been named the Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Week five times this season.
-Has 20 touchdown completions on the season, including 14 in the past three games.
GOOD GRIEF, CURTIS BROWN
Against Air Force, Curtis Brown played a limited role due to a stomach virus. Still, Brown managed 42 yards on just 10 carries and caught three passes for 22 yards. Brown, who now has 2,759 career rushing yards, narrowed the gap between him and career rushing leader Jamal Willis (2,970) to 211 yards.
In the first eight games of the 2006 season, BYU has allowed just 125 points. With an average of 15.6 points per game, the Cougars currently ranked 19th in the country in scoring defense. BYU's current average is nearly half (30 points per game) of what it averaged last season through eight games. BYU's current average is the lowest scoring defense mark over the first eight games of a season since allowing just 13.5 points per game back in 1988.
QUARTER-BY-QUARTER SCORING ADVANTAGE
BYU has outscored its opponents in 23 of 32 quarters this season, including 13 shutout quarters. The Cougars have not trailed since the Boston College game, marking 20 consecutive quarters without trailing an opponent. Overall, BYU has outscored its opponents 286-123. The Cougars are averaging 35.8 points per game in comparison to their opponents 15.6.
BYU has dominated its opponents in the first, second and fourth quarters while holding a five-point advantage in the third quarter. The Cougars have outscored their opponents 82-12 in the first quarter, 82-29 in the second quarter, 55-50 in the third quarter and 67-27 in the fourth quarter.
BYU has started a new tradition by putting on a fireside the day prior to each game (home and away) of season. All that wish to attend are welcome to do so. The remaining firesides for home games (and the Utah game) will be held at the following LDS church buildings:
Nov. 3 at 7:00 p.m.
Fort Collins Stake Center
600 E. Swallow Rd. Fort Collins, CO
Nov. 8 7:00 p.m.
Provo, Utah Edgemont South Stake Center
350 E 2950 N, Provo
Nov. 17 7:00 p.m.
Orem Utah Windsor Stake Center
60 E 1600 N, Orem
Nov. 24 7:00 p.m. (Prior to the Utah game)
Ensign Stake Center
135 A Street, Salt Lake City
BYU is currently leading the nation in turnover margin. The Cougars are coming off a game against Air Force where they won the turnover battle 2-0. BYU forced and recovered one fumble and intercepted a pass. In addition to holding on to the ball, the Cougars have found a way to force 20 turnovers. The Cougars have a +1.50 turnover margin heading into this week's action.
The 2005 BYU team has used full team efforts to lead the Cougars to first place in the Mountain West Conference. Below are various team statistical categories where the Cougars are ranked in the top-25:
Scoring Defense: 19th (15.6 points per game)
Passing Effieciency Defense: 17th (103.46)
Turnovers Gained: 17th (20)
Interceptions: 12th (12)
Scoring Offense: 12th (35.75 points per game)
Total Offense: 6th (445.46 yards per game)
Passing Offense: 4th (298.6 yards per game)
CONSECUTIVE ROAD TRIPS
With BYU's game this week at Colorado State and last week's game at Air Force, it marks the only back-to-back road games on the Cougars schedule this season. BYU has played back-to-back home games once this year and will do it again when the Cougars take on Wyoming and New Mexico in consecutive weeks.