POSTGAME NOTES: No. 14 BYU at Air Force

Andrew George totaled 62 yards on five catches as one of six Cougars to catch a pass against Air Force. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

FLAG BEARER

BYU has a tradition of selecting a player before each game to run the team flag onto the field. In 2008, the team implemented a new tradition—an alumni flag. The team selects a former Cougar to carry out the alumni flag, along with the chosen current player who runs out with the current team flag. Both flags are white with a blue “Y” logo. The team flag is signed by current players, while the alumni flag is signed by former BYU players. Their signatures refle their commitment to uphold the tradition, spirit and honor of the BYU football program and to be a flag bearer of the University. Carrying the team flag today was senior punter CJ Santiago, with former Cougar fullback Mark Atuaia carrying the alumni flag. Atuaia played for BYU from 1994-96.

COIN TOSS

For the sixth time this season, BYU won the opening coin toss, with the Cougars electing to receive. BYU is now 5-1 when losing the opening toss.

COMPETING AS A RANKED TEAM

After today’s win over Air Force, the Cougars are 148-42 when nationally ranked in the Top 25. With the win, a ranked BYU team has won 17 of its last 18 games, dating back to 2006.

HALL SETS MWC SINGLE-SEASON TD RECORD

Quarterback Max Hall recorded two touchdown passes against Air Forcegiving him 34 on the season. His 34 touchdown passes breaks a single-season MWC record previously held by former Cougar, and current BYU quarterbacks coach, Brandon Doman (2001). 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 22-of-24 career games.

COLLIE HITS CENTURY MARK-EXTENDS MWC RECORD

Junior Austin Collie broke the 100-yard receiving mark for the ninth straight game with 130 yards on seven catches against the Falcons. Collie’s nine-consecutive games extend a MWC record he broke three weeks ago against UNLV. The record was previously held by SDSU’s J.R. Tolver (2002) with five.

With his nine 100-yard games on the season, Collie now stands alone in the MWC record book. SDSU’ Kassim Osgood and J.R. Tolver held the previous record of eight 100-yard games in a single season.

CLIMBING THE RECORD CHARTS

With his 130 yards receiving against Air Force, Austin Collie now has 3,032 career-receiving yards, needing only 35 more yards to pass Eric Drage (3,066 yards) and claim the No. 1 spot on BYU’s all-time receiving list.

On the season, Collie has 1,315 yards receiving and is now BYU’s all-time single-season leading receiver.

The junior now has 15 career 100-yard receiving games—a BYU record. He also holds the MWC record, two game ahead of the old leader, SDSU’s J.R. Tolver.

Counting his two touchdowns today, Collie now has 30 career touchdowns, coming in as No. 6 on BYU’s career touchdown list. Collie’s 30 touchdowns also surpass the previous MWC leader, Jovon Bouknight of Wyoming (29). He also now holds the MWC record for most touchdowns caught in a single season, with 15. The previous record was 13 held by SDSU’s J.R. Tolver in 2002. Collie has hauled in at least one touchdown pass in eight games this season.

With one MWC game remaining, Collie has caught 10 touchdowns, tying former BYU tight end Jonny Harline’s 10 scoring receptions in conference play.

UNGA WITH MULTIPLE TOUCHDOWNS

Sophomore Harvey Unga ran for two touchdowns in today’s game, the first time he has scored more than one rushing touchdown since BYU’s season-opener against Northern Iowa.

FUMBLE RECOVERIES

Freshman defensive back Blake Morgan forced a fumble early in the third quarter, which was recovered by freshman linebacker Spencer Hadley, his second recovery this season. BYU capitalized on the turnover, with Harvey Unga scampering into the endzone for a one-yard touchdown run, giving BYU a 24-14 lead. Morgan made the trip to Air Force in place of junior linebacker Shawn Doman.

TURNOVERS TRANSLATING TO POINTS

The Cougars forced two turnovers today, including Spencer Hadley’s fumble recovery and Brandon Howard’s interception. In 11 games this season BYU has forced 27 turnovers, converting 18 of those into points. Of those 18 turnovers, 15 have resulted in touchdowns (105 points) for the Cougars.

CONSECUTIVE STARTS

The Air Force game marked senior offensive lineman Dallas Reynolds’ 49th 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 11-yard touchdown run with 7:41 remaining in the first quarter gave BYU the early 7-0 lead. BYU has scored first in eight games this season, marking the 30th time in the last 36 games. The Cougars are 28-2 in those 30 games. Vakapuna has scored first for BYU in two consecutive games, including his seven-yard run in the first quarter against San Diego State last Saturday.

DOUBLE TIME

For the second time this season, both wide receiver Austin Collie and tight end Dennis Pitta finished the game surpassing 100-yards receiving, with 130 and 113 yards, respectively. The last time the duo accomplished this feat was on Nov. 1 at CSU. In that game Pitta recorded 175 yards, while Collie followed with 156 yards.

TRAILING AT THE HALF

For only the second time this season, the Cougars found themselves down at the halfway mark, entering the locker room behind Air Force, 14-10. The last time the Cougars trailed at the half was at TCU—a game they lost 32-7. BYU is now 1-1 when down at halftime.

QUARTER REPORT

The Cougar defense held Air Force scoreless in the first quarter, the fifth time it has done so this season. All totaled, the BYU has recorded 20 shutout quarters thru 11 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 nine in 2008.

BLOCK PARTY

Senior linebacker David Nixon kept the Falcons off the scoreboard late in the first quarter after blocking a 54-yard field goal attempt by Lou Groza Award candidate Ryan Harrison.

As a team, BYU has blocked five kicks this season, surpassing the three blocks recorded in 2007. Along with Nixon, Bryan Kariya blocked a punt against UNLV, Jan Jorgensen blocked a potentially game-tying PAT at Washington, Russell Tialavea blocked a UCLA field goal attempt and Michael Alisa blocked a kick against New Mexico. The last time BYU recorded five or more blocked kicks in a season was back in 1998 (6).

IMPROVING ON THIRD-DOWNS

After converting on only 1-of-5 third-down conversion attempts in the first half, the Cougars greatly improved on that number in the second half. BYU was successful on 5-of-6 tries in the final 30 minutes on play.

FIRST CAREER STARTS

Bryan Kariya, Brandon Bradley and Matt Ah You all recorded their first career starts this afternoon, with Kariya starting in place of Harvey Unga at running back, Bradley starting at corner and Ah You starting at inside linebacker.

THREE IN A ROW

With its win at Air Force Saturday, BYU has achieved 10 wins in each of the last three seasons. This is the third time in school history the Cougars have accomplished the feat, having done so previously from 1979-81 and 1983-85.