Playing on two hours of sleep after witnessing the birth of his first child Friday night in Provo, tight end Andrew George scored a touchdown in Saturday's win at New Mexico. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
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ALBUQUERQUE -- Max Hall tied Ty Detmer for the most career wins by a BYU quarterback as the No. 22 Cougars improved to 8-2 for the fourth straight season with a 24-19 road victory at New Mexico on Saturday.
Hall passed for more than 300 yards for the seventh time in 10 outings this year, totaling 314 yards and two touchdowns while guiding BYU to its 29th win with Hall behind center. Having previously passed the other great quarterbacks in BYU’s storied history in total wins, Hall now has the chance to make the mark his own when BYU faces Air Force next Saturday in LaVell Edwards Stadium.
Hall’s achievement was not the only all-time standard set on the day. With the win, the Cougars have achieved an 8-2 or better record four straight years for the first time in program history. Three other times the Cougars put together a string of three consecutive 8-2 starts, the most recent being in the Detmer era from 1988-90. BYU teams also accomplished the feat from 1979-81 and from 1983-85.
Saturday’s game in Albuquerque proved to be a hard-fought contest down to the wire with a few unique twists along the way. The first of the twists started Friday night when Cougar tight end Andrew George returned to Provo to witness the birth of his first child and then caught an early flight back in time to not only play in the game but also make a touchdown reception.
On the Lobo side of the ball, New Mexico kicker James Aho had the unique distinction of hitting the goal post upright with three consecutive attempts—none of which fell on the Lobo side of the cross bar.
The first quarter came to a close with the score tied at 7-7. UNM opened the game with an 80-yard touchdown drive, but BYU later went 72 yards in seven plays to even the tally with Manase Tonga leaping over the line for the one-yard score. A big play during the drive came when Harvey Unga broke off a 25-yard run to set up a first-and-goal at the 10-yard line.
BYU took the lead for good in the second quarter when Mitch Payne converted a 42-yard field goal for a 10-7 advantage. The legs of McKay Jacobson helped the Cougars get into scoring territory on the drive. The sophomore wide receiver turned a reception over the middle into a 50-yard gain as he cut across the field and found open space before being brought down.
Jacobson has proven his big-play capabilities with two plays of 50 or more yards in the last two games since returning from a four-game injury-induced hiatus. Last week at Wyoming he got behind the defense for an 80-yard touchdown reception.
George helped BYU start to widen its advantage with 1:56 to go in the half when he took a swing pass from Hall 27 yards down the left sideline for a 17-7 Cougar lead.
Key defensive and special teams plays on the next possession kept BYU on top by 10 points heading into the locker room. With the Lobos in field-goal range, Jordan Pendleton caught UNM’s Donovan Porterie in the backfield, forcing the Lobo quarterback to try a last-ditch effort to get rid of the ball before going down. The sack and resulting intentional grounding penalty forced New Mexico to try a 46-yard field goal on the last play of the half. That attempt, however, was unsuccessful as BYU safety Andrew Rich broke though to block the kick for the Cougars.
BYU totaled 259 yards in the first half with Hall throwing for 213, while Unga did the damage on the ground with 45 yards on eight carries. The Cougar defense held New Mexico to 161 total yards in the half.
The Lobos again started strong in the second half at University Stadium. After forcing a BYU punt, New Mexico put together a 78-yard drive over 10 plays with receiver Daryl Jones taking a well-executed screen 28 yards to pay dirt. The BYU lead was 17-13 after Aho pinballed the point-after attempt off both uprights for a rarely seen result. Later, the Lobo kicker again found the upright with two failed field goal tries from 35 and 42 yards.
Luke Ashworth closed out the third quarter with a 13-yard touchdown catch to give BYU a 24-13 lead. The Cougar offense impressed on the drive, taking just 1:42 to cover 80 yards to once again widen the advantage. Hall completed 6-of-7 passes, three to All-America tight end Dennis Pitta, as BYU converted first downs on five of the seven plays while marching into the end zone entirely through the air.
New Mexico again fought back with a touchdown to make the score 24-19 with 4:07 remaining. The Lobos went for two but failed and then were not able to recover an on-side kick. However, BYU fumbled the ball to give UNM one last shot at an upset. Fortunately for the Cougars, their defense stepped up with defensive end Jan Jorgensen getting two sacks, the second one assisted by linebacker Coleby Clawson. BYU just needed to run out the clock after Rich brought down a scrambling Porterie on fourth down.
The BYU defense recorded a season-high five sacks against the Lobos with Pendleton making the first two sacks of his career. Rich led the team with 12 tackles.
BYU totaled 355 yards and New Mexico 360 yards overall in the hard-fought contest. Unga finished with 50 yards on the ground after being held out to nurse an ankle in the second half. Pitta led BYU with 74 receiving yards while Jacobson added 56 and O’Neill Chambers contributed 52. Nine different players caught passes with George adding 30 receiving yards along with his touchdown.
The Cougars improved to 5-1 in Mountain West Conference play with the win while New Mexico dropped to 0-10 overall and 0-6 in league games.
BYU returns to Provo for its final two games, hosting Air Force in a 1:30 p.m. MT kick on Saturday. The game will be televised nationally on CBS College Sports.
Box Score (Final)
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
----------------- -- -- -- -- -----
BYU................. 7 10 7 0 - 24 Record: (8-2,5-1)
New Mexico.......... 7 0 6 6 - 19 Record: (0-10,0-6)
1st 08:43 UNM - PORTERIE, Donov 3 yd run (AHO, James kick), 15-80 6:17, BY 0 - UNM 7
00:51 BY - TONGA, Manase 1 yd run (PAYNE, Mitch kick), 7-72 2:32, BY 7 - UNM 7
2nd 05:49 BY - PAYNE, Mitch 42 yd field goal, 6-54 1:52, BY 10 - UNM 7
01:56 BY - GEORGE, Andrew 27 yd pass from HALL, Max (PAYNE, Mitch kick), 5-53 1:42, BY 17 - UNM 7
3rd 06:28 UNM - JONES, Daryl 26 yd pass from PORTERIE, Donov (AHO, James kick failed), 10-78 5:42, BY 17 - UNM 13
00:00 BY - ASHWORTH, Luke 13 yd pass from HALL, Max (PAYNE, Mitch kick), 7-80 1:42, BY 24 - UNM 13
4th 04:07 UNM - JAMES, Victor 20 yd pass from PORTERIE, Donov (PORTERIE, Donov pass failed), 7-37 2:32, BY 24 - UNM 19
FIRST DOWNS................... 17 22
RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............ 23-41 36-88
PASSING YDS (NET)............. 314 272
Passes Att-Comp-Int........... 33-21-1 45-28-0
TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS..... 56-355 81-360
Fumble Returns-Yards.......... 0-0 0-0
Punt Returns-Yards............ 2--1 3-16
Kickoff Returns-Yards......... 2-43 3-68
Interception Returns-Yards.... 0-0 1-0
Punts (Number-Avg)............ 4-37.0 4-39.2
Fumbles-Lost.................. 1-1 1-0
Penalties-Yards............... 6-66 4-29
Possession Time............... 24:11 35:49
Third-Down Conversions........ 5 of 11 10 of 20
Fourth-Down Conversions....... 0 of 0 3 of 4
Red-Zone Scores-Chances....... 2-3 1-3
Sacks By: Number-Yards........ 5-35 2-8
RUSHING: BYU-UNGA, Harvey 11-50; DI LUIGI, JJ 3-13; TONGA, Manase 1-1;
KARIYA, Bryan 2-minus 4; HALL, Max 3-minus 9; TEAM 3-minus 10. New
Mexico-WRIGHT, James 7-37; CARRIER, Kasey 10-25; DENNIS, Demond 5-24; HOLBROOK,
B.R. 2-8; JONES, Daryl 1-8; PORTERIE, Donov 11-minus 14.
PASSING: BYU-HALL, Max 21-33-1-314. New Mexico-PORTERIE, Donov
28-44-0-272; HOLBROOK, B.R. 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING: BYU-PITTA, Dennis 5-74; CHAMBERS, O'Nei 3-52; ASHWORTH, Luke 3-46; UNGA, Harvey 3-34; JACOBSON, McKay 2-56; GEORGE, Andrew 2-30; TONGA,
Manase 1-9; HAFOKA, Spencer 1-7; KARIYA, Bryan 1-6. New Mexico-JONES, Daryl
8-94; CARRIER, Kasey 8-47; KIRK, Ty 5-48; REED, Lucas 2-28; JAMES, Victor 2-24;
FUSSELL, Josh 1-13; DENNIS, Demond 1-12; WILLIAMS, Bryan 1-6.
INTERCEPTIONS: BYU-None. New Mexico-LATCHISON, Jaym 1-0.
FUMBLES: BYU-KARIYA, Bryan 1-1. New Mexico-PORTERIE, Donov 1-0.
SACKS (UA-A): BYU-JORGENSEN, Jan 1-1; PENDLETON, Jord 2-0; RICH, Andrew
1-0; CLAWSON, Coleby 0-1. New Mexico-BRISCOE, Kendal 1-0; LATCHISON, Jaym 1-0.
TACKLES (UA-A): BYU-RICH, Andrew 9-3; PENDLETON, Jord 7-1; DOMAN, Shawn
5-3; BRADLEY, Brando 6-1; CLAWSON, Coleby 6-1; BAUMAN, Matt 4-1; JORGENSEN, Jan
1-4; LOGAN, Brian 4-0; FUGA, Romney 0-4; BILLS, Craig 1-1; NELSON, Grant 0-2;
JOHNSON, Scott 0-2; ATKINSON, Jorda 1-0; TIALAVEA, Russe 1-0; OGLETREE, Brand
1-0; PAYNE, Mitch 1-0; HUNTER, Shane 1-0; MARSHALL, Matt 1-0; PUTNAM, Matt 0-1;
DENNEY, Brett 0-1; BELL, Jeff 0-1. New Mexico-HARDAWAY, Tray 6-2; MESSINA,
Carmen 1-6; SOLOMON, Franki 3-2; McPEEK, Clint 3-2; BRISCOE, Kendal 3-0;
McPHEARSON, Emm 3-0; HOOKS, Anthony 3-0; FORREST, Bubba 2-0; GARDNER, Peter 1-1;
BACA, Frankie 1-1; JAMES, Victor 1-1; LATCHISON, Jaym 1-1; DAVIS, DeAndre 0-2;
STONER, Joe 0-2; ENRIQUEZ, Natha 0-2; RAINEY, Johnath 1-0; BOGER, Edrick 1-0.