GAME NOTES: Rivalry Revisted Against Utah State

As a freshman, Curtis Brown carried the ball for 217 yards and three touchdowns, leading BYU to a 35-34 victory over Utah State in 2002. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

RIVALRY RENEWED

The Cougars will complete their non-conference schedule in Provo on Sept. 23, taking on in-state rival Utah State for the first time since the 2002 season. One of the state's oldest rivalries, the Cougars and Aggies have met 76 times with BYU owning a 40-33-3 record in the 84-year-old rivalry.

LAST WEEK RECAP

Missed opportunities plagued BYU (1-2) as the Cougars dropped a 30-23 decision in double overtime against No. 23 Boston College (3-0). BYU amassed 547 total yards to Boston College's 471. John Beck was 38-for-59 for 436 yards and a touchdown. Curtis Brown had 54 yards rushing and 94 yards receiving. In the second overtime, the Eagles wasted no time getting the ball in the end zone. A scrambling Ryan hooked up with Gonzalez for a 25-yard TD connection to put the Eagles ahead 30-23. The Cougars marched the ball to the 15-yard line before a tipped Beck pass fell into the arms of Jamie Silva to end the game. Originally ruled an incomplete pass, a replay ruled there was visible evidence to overrule the ruling on the field.

SERIES INFORMATION

"The BYU-Utah State game is a tradition in Utah, and we're excited to have the

Aggies on our schedule," BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "It will be nice to renew this rivalry and have the opportunity to play for the Beehive Boot."

The two teams had met every year from 1946 through 1994 and then played every year except 1995 and 1998 before the series stopped after 2002. BYU has won seven straight since the Aggies posted a thrilling 58-56 victory in 1993. Three of the last five games in the series were decided by one score as BYU held on for a 42-35 home win in 1997, won 34-31 in overtime in 1999 and then rallied for a 35-34 win in the last meeting in 2002.

FAN "WHITE OUT"

BYU Athletics is hoping to WHITE OUT LaVell Edwards Stadium on Saturday against Utah State and is encouraging all Cougar fans to wear white to the game.

The BYU Bookstore will be selling $5 "All Out White Out" T-shirts and $1 White

Rally Towels at the Cougarden and all stadium Bookstore locations.

BYU BY THE RECORDS

vs. WAC (current members): 73-60-5 (.547)

vs. Utah State: 40-33-3 (.546)

All-time Record: 464-367-26 (.556)

All-time Home Record: 252 -126-6 (.664)

All-time Road Record: 193-222-19 (.466)

All-time Neutral Record: 19-19-1 (.500)

All-time MWC Record: 30-20-0 (.600)

All-time MWC Home Record: 14-11 (.560)

All-time MWC Road Record: 16-9 (.640)

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 Utah State defensive front that averages just over 6-foot-1, 270.5 pounds. (Advantage: BYU +46.3 pounds per man.) BYU's defensive line weighs in at 6-foot-2, 271.3 pounds Utah State's offensive line averages 6-foot-4, 304.2 pounds. (Advantage: USU +32.9 pounds per man.)

RACE FOR THE BEEHIVE BOOT

First instituted in 1971, the Beehive Boot is the symbol of gridiron supremacy in the state of Utah. Awarded to the team with the best record against in-state opponents, the Beehive Boot began its first four years at Utah State. BYU then began a dominant run as it ascended into the realms of football's elite, claiming the Boot 19 times in the past 30 years. Utah has won the boot nine times. After a two-year stint in Provo, the Boot currently resides in Salt Lake City. Utah defeated USU, 48-0, last Saturday.

PACKED HOUSES

The Cougars played in front of their third-consecutive sold out crowd against Arizona. BYU also played in front of sold-out crowds against Utah (home) and California (Las Vegas Bowl). The ninth-largest crowd in Arizona Stadium history (58,450) was on hand for the BYU game. The game was the first sellout for Arizona since the 2000 season. It is estimated there were between 10,000 and 15,000 BYU fans at Saturday's game.

BYU's streak of games playing in front of sold-out crowds ended against Tulsa when 56,627 fans attended the Cougars 49-24 victory over the Golden Hurricane.

DEFENSIVE EFFORT

BYU's new look (3-4) defense held Arizona to just 253 total yards including 186 passing and 67 rushing yards. The defensive output was the best since the Cougars held Division IAA Eastern Illinois to 126 passing yards and 196 total yards last season. It was also the most stingy a BYU pass defense has been against a Divison IA team since allowing just 143 yards to New Mexico Nov. 13, 2004. Nov. 22, 2003 was the last time a BYU defense gave up less than 253 total yards to a Division IA opponent when the Cougars held Utah to 220 yards in blizzard-like conditions.

In week two, the Cougars held Tulsa to just 303 total yards. The 303 yards is 99 fewer than Tulsa averaged in 2005 and the fewest yards Tulsa picked up since Nov. 27, 2004 when Tulsa had 284 total yards. BYU only surrendered 182 passing yards to seasoned starter Paul Smith.

Last week the Cougars had a solid defensive effort. With the exception of a 79-yard pass play, the defense yielded only 16 yards in the first quarter. The BYU "D" also had several takeaways, including one in the final minute of the game to give the Cougars the last shot to win the game in regulation.

QUARTER-BECK NOTES

John Beck threw for a season-high 436 yards, completing 38-of-59 attempts, in the Cougars' double-overtime loss at No. 23 Boston College on Saturday. Beck also threw one touchdown completion and added a rushing touchdown in the first quarter to give BYU an early 7-0 lead. Beck's passing yardage total was the most since posting a Mountain West record 517 yards against TCU last season, and was the second-highest passing yardage total of his career. With his performance, Beck moved into fifth place on BYU's all-time passing list with 8,101 career yards, passing the likes of Steve Young (7,733) and Kevin Feterik (8,065). Having racked up 8,113 total yards over his career, Beck moved into fourth place on the Cougars' all-time total offense list, passing Kevin Feterik (7,731), John Walsh (7,736), and Robbie Bosco (8,073). With 52 touchdown completions, Beck now ranks 10th on BYU's all-time touchdown completions list. Saturday's performance marked his first 300-yard passing performance of the season and the 12th of his career.

GOOD GRIEF, CURTIS BROWN

With his 49-yard rushing performance against Boston College, running back Curtis Brown passed John Ogden (2,363) for sixth place on BYU's all-time rushing list. Brown has 2,408 career yards and needs just 563 yards to pass Jamal Willis as BYU's all-time top rusher.

WHERE THEY RANK NATIONALLY

Several BYU players rank nationally in various statistical categories:

John Beck

Passing Efficiency: 25th (150.1)

Total Offense: 3rd (310.3 yards per game)

Completions: 5th (27.33 per game)

Total Passing Yards: 2nd (965)

Passing Yards per Game: 3rd (321.67)

Completion Percentage: 3rd (70.09)

Curtis Brown

Rushing: 67th (65.67 yards per game)

Receptions: 14th (6.67 receptions per game) -- 1st amongst running backs nationally in this category.

Receiving Yards per Game: 47th (71.67)

Nathan Meikle

Punt Returns: 19th (12.67 yards per return)

Hala Paongo

Sacks: 16th (tied) (1.00 per game)

UTAH STATE CONNECTION

Kelly Poppinga will likely see action against his old team when BYU takes on Utah State this week. Poppinga played for the Aggies in 2004 before transferring to BYU to play for the Cougars.

PLAYER AWARDS

John Beck - MWC Offensive Player of the Week (Sept. 16 vs. Boston College)

Beck completed 38-of-59 passes for a season-high 436 yards in BYU's double overtime 30-23 loss at Boston College. He also threw one touchdown pass and added a rushing touchdown in the game. Beck's passing yardage is his highest output since posting a Mountain West record 517 yards against TCU last season.

THE BATTLE FOR THE OLD WAGON WHEEL

The 84-year old BYU/Utah State rivalry is for the Old Wagon Wheel. Since 1948 the winner of the in-state game takes home a wagon wheel that records the winner of the each game. The wagon wheel is currently on display at the Marriott Center and has been in BYU's possession since 1993.

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