KICKOFF:8:07 p.m. (MT)
SITE:Provo, Utah; LaVell Edwards Stadium (64,045)
TELEVISION (National):ESPN2 (Gary Bender, Craig James, Holly Rowe)
RADIO:KSL-Radio, 1160 AM (Greg Wrubell, Marc Lyons, Bill Riley)
WestWood One Radio, National Radio (Bob Papa, Shea Walker)
THE SERIES:BYU leads, 32-26-3
THE SERIES (In Provo):BYU leads 18-10
LAST MEETING:2002: CSU defeated BYU in Ft. Collins, 37-10
COUGARS HOST COLORADO STATE IN THURSDAY NIGHT TILT
Following a 44-36 win over San Diego State on Saturday -- the Cougars' 450 all-time victory -- BYU will return to Edwards Stadium for a nationally televised, Homecoming game against MWC foe Colorado State (3-3, 0-1) on Thursday, Oct. 9. The Rams, tabbed as the league's preseason favorite, are coming off a 34-10 win over Fresno State on Saturday. Game time is slated for 8 p.m. (MT). The game will be broadcast nationally live on ESPN2.
Thursday's game will mark the 79th Homecoming game at BYU since 1922. The Cougars have posted a record of 37-19 (.804) when playing on Homecoming. During the LaVell Edwards era, the Cougars posted a 27-13 record (.675) record in Homecoming games. Last season, the Cougars lost to UNLV 24-3 on Homecoming. Gary Crowton has posted a 1-1 record during his two years at BYU when playing on Homecoming. In Crowton's first season, BYU recorded a 63-33 win over Air Force, marking the second time BYU has recorded 63 points in a Homecoming game. The Cougars chalked up a 63-28 win over UNLV in the 1996 Homecoming game.
THE HISTORY: BYU vs. COLORADO STATE
Thursday's game will mark the 62nd meeting between the two schools, dating back to the first meeting on Nov. 25, 1922--a 33-0 Colorado State victory in Fort Collins. The Cougars own a slight 32-26-3 advantage over the Rams, including nine wins in the last 12 meetings. BYU has registered an 18-10 record when playing in Provo, and has not lost to the Rams at Edwards Stadium since 1994. Interestingly, the Cougars have not won a game in Fort Collins since 1995. Since then the two teams have traded wins, each coming out victorious on their home field. CSU has won both times in Fort Collins since 2000, while BYU has won twice in Provo since the 1999 season. BYU head coach Gary Crowton is 1-1 against Colorado State, while CSU head coach Sunny Lubick is 3-4 against the Cougars. Lubick is just 1-2 against BYU in Provo.
COMPLETE BROADCAST PLANS
TELEVISION - Thursday's game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2, beginning at 8:07 p.m. (MT). Gary Bender will call the action with Craig James lending game analysis. Holly Rowe will be reporting from the sidelines. Thursday's game will be rebroadcast on KBYU-TV, beginning at 10 p.m. (MT) on Friday, Oct. 10. The game will also be rebroadcast on BYU-TV, beginning at 9 p.m. (MT) on Friday, Oct. 10. Fans with access to the Dish Network (Ch. 9403) or Direct TV Plus (Ch. 374) home satellite systems will be able to view BYU-TV's rebroadcast. Some cable services in Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Wyoming and Washington also provide BYU-TV.
RADIO - Fans can tune to KSL Radio--the 50,000-watt home of the Cougars--and follow the action with the broadcast team of Greg Wrubell, Marc Lyons and Bill Riley. The game will also be broadcast to a national radio audience on the WestWood One Radio Network. Bob Papa will call the action with Shea Walker lending color commentary.
INTERNET - A live webcast of the game, which includes play-by-play and up-to-the-minute statistics, can be viewed by logging on to http://www.byucougars.com/football/ In addition, a live audio stream is available at http://www.ksl.com. Fans can also watch BYU-TV's rebroadcast on Friday, Oct. 10 at 9 p.m. (MT) by logging on to: http://www.byutv.org/streaming/.
- Thursday's game will match two of the Mountain West Conference's all-time top two teams. The Rams own an overall 22-7 (.757) record against league opponents, while the Cougars, who have played two more league games than the Rams, own a 21-10 (.667) all-time league record.
- Always the premier game in the Mountain West Conference, Thursday's game will mark the fifth straight season the two teams have met on Thursday night. All five of the previous meetings have been televised nationally by ESPN or ESPN2.
- The Cougars are 1-2 in Provo this season, including back-to-back losses earlier this season.
- BYU has not lost to Colorado State in Provo since 1994.
- The Cougars will look to avenge a 37-10 loss at Colorado State last season.
- CSU, the Mountain West Conference preseason favorite, is off to an 0-1 league record, falling earlier this season (Sept. 27) to Utah, 28-21, in Fort Collins.
- Colorado State has not played on the road since Sept. 6--a 23-21 win at Cal.
- While BYU head coach Gary Crowton graduated from BYU in 1983, he actually played college football at Colorado State before serving an LDS Church mission.
- Thursday's game could mark the return of BYU quarterback Matt Berry after suffering a broken hand four weeks ago in the Cougars' 10-7 win over New Mexico. Berry traveled to San Diego State, but did not play. Berry's return is expected to be a game-time decision.
THE STREAK IS STILL ALIVE ... 356 GAMES AND COUNTING
Following John Beck's four-yard touchdown run in the first quarter against San Diego State, BYU extended its NCAA-record streak to 356 games without being shutout. BYU was last shutout during the 1975 season (Sept. 27, 1975 vs. Arizona State.) Interestingly, the Cougars do not have a single player on their rosters who was alive the last time BYU was shutout.
The Cougars' 44-36 win over San Diego State on Saturday marked BYU's 450th all-time victory, dating back to the 1922 season. Over that 80-plus-year span, the Cougars have posted a mark of 450-347-26 (.563). The win also marked the 20th victory for head coach Gary Crowton since taking over the helm of the BYU program in 2001. In his third season at BYU, Crowton has racked up a record of 20-12 (.625). Over the span of his career, including three years as the head coach at Louisiana Tech Crowton is 41-25 (.621).
LAST WEEK (BYU 44, San Diego State 36)
After three straight low-scoring defensive battles, the BYU (3-3, 2-1) offense exploded for 418 yards and 44 points in an eight-point victory over San Diego State (3-3, 0-1) on Saturday at Qualcomm Stadium. Over the past three games, including one win and two losses, the Cougar offense combined to score a total of just 34 points, averaging just 11.3 points per game. Saturday's 44 points marked the most points scored by BYU since posting 45 points in last season's opener against Syracuse. While things turned out well for the Cougars, the game got off to a rocky start. On the Cougars' first possession of the game, SDSU's Brook Miller scooped up a John Beck fumble and ran for a touchdown to give the Aztecs a 7-0 lead less than one minute into the game. Later in the first quarter, BYU tied the score on a four-yard run by Beck -- the Cougars' first rushing touchdown in 30 quarters, and the first rushing touchdown allowed by the SDSU defense all season. Beck completed two passes on the drive for 34 yards and rushed for 12 yards, including the score. Beck finished the game 17-of-26 for 180 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed 16 times for 48 yards and one score. San Diego State answered on the next series on a 70-yard touchdown pass from Adam Hall to Jeff Webb. Hall and Webb hooked up 10 times for 253 yards and three touchdowns -- the second highest single-game yardage total of the season by a Division-IA player. BYU went on to score 14 straight points to take a 21-14 lead on a 35-yard touchdown pass from Beck to Fahu Tahi and a school-record 95-yard run by Reynaldo Brathwaite. Brathwaite's run was the longest run from scrimmage and also the longest run for a score in Cougar history. Brathwaite finished the game with 19 rushes for 144 yards. The Aztecs tied the game at 21 on another Hall-to-Webb touchdown connection. BYU came back to score 10 straight, putting the Cougars up 31-21 with just over 1:00 left in the first half. BYU's final touchdown of the half came on 13-yard fumble recovery by linebacker Colby Bockwoldt. Bockwoldt also recorded an interception and a sack in the game. San Diego State added a field goal as time expired in the first half to bring the score to 31-24. BYU scored the first 10 points of the second half, including Tahi's second touchdown reception and Matt Payne's second field goal, putting BYU up 41-24. Trailing by 17 points, the Aztecs mounted a comeback, scoring the game's next 12 points. But BYU's defense stiffened, and Payne would add his third field goal to ice the 44-36 victory -- an 18-yarder with 2:18 left in the game.
- Entering Saturday's game, the San Diego State defense ranked fourth nationally, allowing just 248.2 yards per contest. The BYU offense, which ranked 86th nationally, posted a season-high 418 yards against the Aztecs. It was the highest offensive total since racking up posting 359 yards against fourth-ranked USC.
- The BYU defense held the league's second-leading rusher, SDSU's Lynel Hamilton, to just 74 yards on 22 carries. Entering the game, Hamilton was averaging 119.2 yards per contest.
- In Saturday's 44-36 win over San Diego State, the Cougars racked up 238 yards rushing and 180 yards passing, marking the first time since 2001 (vs. Colorado State) BYU has recorded more rushing yards than passing yards in a game. (Against the Rams, BYU had 410 yards rushing and 284 yards passing.)
- Entering Saturday's game, the Cougars ranked 115th nationally, averaging just 75.2 yards per contest. The Aztecs ranked 26th nationally in rushing defense. BYU posted 238 rushing yards on the Aztecs, the most rushing yards against an opponent since recording 269 yards in a 35-34 win over Utah State last season.
- Reynaldo Brathwaite's 95-yard touchdown run in the second quarter marked both the longest run from scrimmage and the longest touchdown run in BYU football history. It also tied the MWC record for the longest run.
- John Beck's four-yard touchdown run in the first quarter extended the Cougars' NCAA-record streak to 356 games without being shutout. The Cougars were last shutout during the 1975 season (vs. Arizona State.)
- John Beck's four-yard touchdown run in the first quarter marked the Cougars first rushing touchdown in 30 quarters, dating back to the second quarter of BYU's 35-31 win over Wyoming on Nov. 9, 2002. The touchdown run also marked the first rushing touchdown allowed by the Aztecs this season. It was also the first first-quarter score by an opponent since the Ohio State game. Prior to Saturday, the Aztecs had posted first-quarter shutouts against UTEP, Samford and UCLA.
- BYU improved to 21-6-1 all-time against the Aztecs, including a stretch of three straight victories. The Cougars have now won four straight against SDSU in San Diego.
- In BYU's 44-36 win over San Diego State, the two teams combined for 80 total points, marking the seventh time the two schools have scored 80 or more points in the 28-game history. The game also marked the third time the two teams have scored exactly 80 points.
- With Brathwaite's touchdown run in the second quarter, the Cougars took a 21-14 lead, marking the first time San Diego State had trailed at home this season.
- The Cougars' 44 points marks the highest scoring total since recording 45 points in a 45-21 victory over Syracuse in the 2002 season opener in Provo. It marked the first time since Dec. 8, 2001 (at Hawaii) the Cougars have scored over 40 points when playing on the road.
- San Diego State's touchdown with only 54 seconds in to the game marked the fastest score by a BYU opponent since Hawaii scored in just 23 seconds during the 2001 season.
- Brett Cooper recorded a 49-yard kickoff return to open the game, marking the longest kick return since Luke Staley went 49 yards against Utah State in 2001. Cooper finished the night with four returns for 154 yards.
- Naufahu Tahi's 35-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter marked his first touchdown in nearly four years. Tahi's last touchdown came on Oct. 16, 1999 at New Mexico. Only a sophomore, Tahi missed the 2000 and 2001 seasons while serving a Church mission. Tahi recorded his second touchdown of the night on an eight-yard reception, marking the second time in his career he has posted two touchdowns in a single game.
- Jeff Webb's 70-yard touchdown reception marked the longest pass play allowed by the Cougars since giving up a 95-yard reception against Nevada last season.
Sophomore quarterback Matt Berry has been listed as questionable for the Colorado State game. Berry suffered a broken bone in his hand four weeks ago. He has not played since the first half of the New Mexico game. His status will be determined at game time. Senior defensive back Brandon Heaney suffered a season-ending shoulder injury against Georgia Tech. The injury is to the opposite shoulder he had surgically repaired after last season. Heaney had surgery in early September on the injured shoulder and will miss the remainder of the season. Reserve linebacker Lawrence Cowan will be out 1-3 weeks after dislocating his elbow against Stanford. Another reserve linebacker, Bryant Atkinson, has missed the Stanford, Air Force and San Diego State games with a knee injury and has been listed as questionable for the CSU game. Cornerback Nate Soelberg did not play against Air Force or San Diego State after suffering a concussion against Stanford. He has been listed as probable for the Colorado State game. Senior linebacker Levi Madarieta has a stress fracture in his foot. He has been listed as a game-time decision for the Colorado State game.
RUSHING TOUCHDOWN DROUGHT COMES TO AN END
Prior to Saturday's game at San Diego State, the Cougars had not scored a rushing touchdown in 30 straight quarters, dating back to a second-quarter touchdown run from Lance Pendleton against Wyoming on Nov. 9, 2002 in Provo. Over that span, including the second half of the Wyoming game, the Cougars posted a record of 3-5, scoring a total of 11 touchdowns. Quarterback John Beck put an end to the streak, scoring on a four-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
Since 1980, BYU has had 66 different opportunities to repay an opponent for a previous loss. When the Cougars face an opponent, having lost in the previous meeting, they have recorded a 43-23 (.652) record. Since Nov. 7, 1998 BYU has lost only two games to an opponent in a payback situation, posting a 17-2 record. BYU knocked off Syracuse on Aug. 29, 2002 and held off Hawaii on Sept. 6, 2002. In 2003, the Cougars have posted a 2-1 record in payback opportunities, defeating Georgia Tech, 24-13 and New Mexico, 10-7, while losing to Air Force 24-10, in the first three of six total payback games this season. Of the six-payback opportunities, the Cougars will face four opponents in Provo.
MWC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Junior running back Reynaldo Brathwaite was named the Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 15 after racking up 169 yards on 19 carries in the Cougars' 10-7 win over New Mexico. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound junior college transfer (Grossmont JC) recorded the Cougars' first 100-yard rushing performance of the season, averaging an impressive 8.9 yards per carry. He was also credited with three receptions for 18 yards, in addition to a game-saving pass completion to Toby Christensen for 26 yards. Brathwaite's rushing average was enhanced following an 89-yard run on the Cougars' second drive of the game, setting up a 20-yard Matt Payne field goal that would prove to be the difference in BYU's three-point MWC victory over the Lobos. On the play, Brathwaite took the handoff to the left side and promptly ran in to a wall of New Mexico defenders. After changing directions, and picking up a key block from tackle Brandon Stephens, Brathwaite sprinted down the sideline 89 yards before being brought down at the UNM 1-yard line. Brathwaite's run marked the longest in BYU history since Weldon Jackson rumbled for a school-record 93 yards way back in 1958--over 45 years ago. Brathwaite's run also tied Colorado State's Cecil Sapp for the second longest run in MWC history. With his performance, Brathwaite became only the seventh player to eclipse the 100-yard mark against the Lobos since the start of the 2000 season--a span of 40 games. It was also the most yards recorded by a single player against New Mexico since Utah's Dameon Hunter reeled off 177 yards in 2001. Perhaps the most crucial series of the game came with 4:47 remaining in the fourth quarter. With the game still very much in doubt, Brathwaite became the go-to-guy for the Cougars. On first-and-10 from the BYU 30-yard line, Brathwaite was credited with a nine-yard carry, setting up a second-and-one from the BYU 39. Another Brathwaite carry gained four yards, followed by another one-yard run. Two plays later, facing second-and-12 from the New Mexico 42-yard line, Brathwaite picked up six more yards. On third-and-six, head coach Gary Crowton went to his bag-o-tricks. Brathwaite took the pitch from quarterback Todd Mortensen, looked off his primary receiver, Jason Kukahiko, and found Toby Christensen for a 26-yard pass that gave BYU the game-clinching first down. All totaled, Brathwaite was credited for 213 of the Cougars' 308 total net yards -- 70 percent of BYU's total offense in a 10-7 victory over New Mexico.
BYU freshman tight end Daniel Coats was named the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 1 after helping the Cougars to a 24-13 season-opening victory over Georgia Tech. In his first collegiate game, Coats not only earned the starting assignment against Georgia Tech, he also led the entire team with six receptions for 93 yards. Coats, a graduate of Northridge HS in Layton, Utah, was also credited with a game-high two touchdown receptions and averaged 15.5 yards per reception. With BYU trailing 3-0 with 5:07 remaining in the first quarter, facing a fourth-and-three from the Georgia Tech 38 yards line, sophomore QB Matt Berry found Coats over the top for a 38-yard, finger-tip touchdown catch--his first, career reception. In the third quarter, trailing the Yellow Jackets 13-7, Berry hooked up with Coats for what would be the game-winning touchdown--a 15-yard pass in the endzone to cap a seven-play, 80-yard drive to start the second half. With his performance, Coats ranked as the nation's top tight end with an average 6.0 receptions and 93.0 yards per game. He was also the nation's second-leading freshman receiver.
GETTIN' IN GEAR
Prior to Saturday's 44-point offering against San Diego State, the Cougars had scored just 76 points through the first five games, marking the lowest overall scoring total to start a season since 1970 when BYU scored just 55 points in the first five games. That stretch also included a 17-0 shutout at UTEP, and a 10-7 win over North Texas. The Cougars started 1-4 in 1975 and finished with an overall record of 3-8. The Cougars posted more points against the Aztecs on Saturday than they had scored in the previous three games. In fact, BYU racked up 24 points in the second quarter, marking the highest single-quarter point total of the season.
SCORING DRIVE INFORMATION
On the season the Cougars have allowed 19 scoring drives, including eight drives of 38 yards or less. The longest drive for an opponent this season has been an 83 yarder (at San Diego State), while the shortest was an 11-yard drive against the Trojans. BYU opponents average scoring drive covers just over 49 yards. Offensively, BYU has had 21 scoring drives, averaging 67.2 yards per drive. The Cougars' longest drive was a 95-yarder against San Diego State, while the shortest was a 9-yard drive at USC. Ten of the Cougars' twenty-one scoring drives have been 78 yards or longer.
WHAT A PAYNE
Junior punter/kicker Matt Payne leads the Mountain West in punting and ranks 18th nationally with an average 44.7 yards per punt. He has also made 9 of 11 field goal attempts with a long of 53 yards--the second longest field goal in BYU football history behind a 56-yarder by Owen Pochman. Payne is also 13-for-13 in point-after attempts. Only 20 of his 41 punts on the season have been returned, allowing just 10.5 yards per return. 14-of-41 punts have landed inside the opponent's 20-yard line.
PAPER OR PLASTIC
On Saturday, BYU recorded six sacks against the Aztecs. In the season's first five games, the Cougars had only recorded 11 sacks. Colby Bockwoldt leads the team in sacks with 3.5, while James Allen and Brady Poppinga are not far behind with 3.0. BYU has six players with at least two sacks on the season.
The Cougar defense, which ranks 17th nationally and yields just 297 yards per game, will face a Colorado State offense that boasts the nations 14th and the MWC's No. 1 offense that averages 458.5 yards a contest and boasts the nations eighth rated passer, Bradlee Van Pelt. Van Pelt has accumulated 1,520 yards through the air in six games and has thrown 11 touchdowns against eight interceptions...BYU's defense ranks second in the conference and is tied for 17th nationally with eight interceptions. Jernaro Gilford leads the Cougars in interceptions with two. Seven Cougars have at least one interception...The Cougar defense ranks third in the conference in rush defense (119.3 yards) and second in pass defense (177.5 yards)
IN THE TRENCHES
The BYU offensive line, which includes three seniors and two freshmen, weighs in at a beefy 1,600 pounds, averaging 320 pounds per man. The O-line will be squaring off against an CSU defensive line (three seniors and one junior) that tips the scales at an average 267.8 per man. On defense, the Cougars' line (two seniors and a junior) weighs in at 280.3 pounds per man, while the Rams offensive line (two seniors, one junior and two sophomores) average 288.6 pounds per man.
ONCE IN A BLUE MOON
A loss against Utah in the 2002 season-finale marked the first losing season at BYU since the Cougars posted a 5-6 record in 1973. Like Crowton in 2002, it was also LaVell Edwards' second season at the helm. Following a 63-33 win over Air Force on Oct. 20, 2001, the Cougars claimed their 28th straight non-losing season. The Cougars' streak of 28 straight non-losing seasons ranked 10th all-time at the NCAA Division I-A level and was the third longest streak in the nation. Nebraska currently ranks first with 41 straight seasons without a losing campaign. After the Cougars posted a losing season in 1973, they went on to win a National Championship in 1984, 21 league titles and made 23 bowl appearances, including 17 straight bowl trips from 1978-1994.
A LITTLE EXPERIENCE
Since the 1990 season, when BYU starts the year with a junior or senior at quarterback, the Cougars have posted a 72.8 winning percentage. In that same time frame, when BYU starts the season with an underclassman, the Cougars win just over 50 percent of their games. Since the 1990 campaign, BYU has only started an under classmen in four different seasons, including 1992, 1993, 2000 and 2002. This season, the Cougars started sophomore Matt Berry through the first three games. He started the season having started six games, marking the most starts by a BYU quarterback entering a season since Kevin Feterik in 1999. Over the past two games, the Cougars have started true freshman John Beck--only the second true freshman in school history to start at quarterback. On the season, Beck has seen action in four of the Cougars' five games. He is 42-of-86 (.488) with three interceptions and two touchdown completions. Beck is averaging 121.0 yards per game. In his two starts, Beck is averaging 236.0 yards per game.
With Matt Berry sidelined the past three weeks with a broken hand, head coach Gary Crowton has turned to John Beck, a true freshman. Against Stanford, Beck became the first true freshman to start at quarterback since Drew Miller earned the starting job for a single game during the 1997 season. As a backup against TCU, on Oct. 25, 1997, Miller completed 16-for-26 attempts for 180 yards and three touchdowns, earning the starting job the following week at UTEP. In his first career start, Miller was 17-of-32 for 226 yards. He failed to complete a single touchdown pass, and was picked off three times in the Cougars' 14-3 loss against the Miners. The following week, the Cougars' went to their third starting quarterback of the season -- Kevin Feterik -- who held on to the starting job for two more seasons. Beck will become only the second true freshman to start for the Cougars at quarterback. In his freshman debut, Beck showed he was capable of starting for the Cougars. He racked up 279 yards on 22-of-45 pass attempts, including a 27-yard touchdown strike to Toby Christensen to start the game. His freshman inexperience did cost him however, throwing two interceptions against the Cardinal. Since thenn--over a span of two games--Beck has not thrown a single interception.
HOME SWEET HOME
With a perfect 6-0 record in Provo during the 2001 season, the Cougars have recorded 12 undefeated home season since the 1967 campaign. In fact, since the stadium was expanded to 65,000, the Cougars have posted eight different seasons without losing a game in Provo. The 2001 perfect home season marked the first since 1998. BYU finished the 2002 season with a 4-2 home record, marking the team's 31st consecutive non-losing home season. In 2003, with a victory over Georgia Tech, BYU got off to a 1-0 start, but dropped an 18-14 decision to Stanford and a 10-24 conference loss to Air Force to fall to 1-2 on the season. The Cougars are 169-54 (.758) in Provo, dating back 40 years (1963), including a 10-5 (.667) home record against MWC opponents since 1999.
AMONG THE BEST IN THE MWC
In the four-year history of the Mountain West Conference, the Cougars have posted a 22-10 record against league opponents. During that span, the Cougars have registered a combined, overall record of 35-20 (.636). Overall, the Cougars have won more league titles, and have been to more bowl games than any other team in the MWC. BYU has won two of the four MWC titles. Of the seven MWC opponents, only Air Force has a winning record over the Cougars posting a 3-2 record against BYU in the five-year history of the Mountain West. Colorado State and Utah each have posted a 2-2 record against BYU. The Cougars own a winning record over four MWC opponents, including New Mexico (4-1), San Diego State (4-1), UNLV (3-1) and Wyoming (4-0).