Dennis Pitta had a career-high 12 catches for 175 yards and two touchdowns versus CSU, including the game winner with just 22 seconds left on the clock. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
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 reflect 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 was senior wide receiver Bryce Mahuika, with former Cougar Craig Denney carrying the alumni flag. Denney is the father of current BYU defensive lineman Brett, and former Cougars Ryan and John, who both currently play in the NFL. John, a long snapper for the Miami Dolphins (who are in town to play the Denver Broncos tomorrow), was also in attendance today, along with teammate and former BYU quarterback and MWC Offensive Player of the Year, John Beck.
For the fourth time this season, BYU lost the opening coin toss, with UNLV electing to receive. BYU is now 3-1 when losing the opening coin toss.
COMPETING AS A RANKED TEAM
After today’s win over CSU, the Cougars are 146-42 when nationally ranked in the Top 25. With the win, a ranked BYU team has won 15 of its last 16 games, dating back to 2006.
PRECISION PAYS OFF
Quarterback Max Hall and the BYU offense were nearly perfect on their final two drives of the game, with Hall completing 8-of-9 passes for 116 yards and one touchdown. The first of the two drives consisted of four plays for 80 yards, lasting 1:31. The drive was capped by a 40-yard touchdown run by sophomore Harvey Unga. BYU’s game-winning drive was six plays for 76 yards, taking 1:14 off the clock.
PULLING OUT THE CLOSE ONES
With tonight’s 45-42 victory, the Cougars have won eight consecutive games decided by seven points or fewer, including back-to-back nail-biters against UNLV and CSU.
Wide receiver Austin Collie and tight end Dennis Pitta finished tonight’s game with 156 and 175 yards receiving, respectively. The last time BYU finished a game with two 100-yard receivers was on Nov. 3, 2007 against the Rams in Provo. In that game Collie recorded 111 yards, while Harvey Unga followed with 110 yards.
SCORING HALL PASSES
Quarterback Max Hall recorded five touchdown passes against CSU today. 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 20-of-22 career games. On the season, Hall has thrown 29 touchdown passes to seven different members of the BYU team.
COLLIE HITS CENTURY MARK-EXENDS MWC RECORD
Junior Austin Collie broke the 100-yard receiving mark for the seventh straight game with 156 yards on nine catches against the Rams. Collie’s seven-consecutive games extend a MWC record he broke last week. The record was previously held by SDSU’s J.R. Tolver (2002) with five.
CLIMBING UP THE BYU RECORD CHARTS
With his 156 yards receiving against CSU, Austin Collie now has 2,775 career-receiving yards, surpassing Matt Bellini as No. 3 on BYU’s all-time receiving list. The junior needs only 67 more yards to pass Margin Hooks (2,841 yards) and claim the No. 2 spot.
Collie reached the 100-yard receiving mark on his 15-yard touchdown reception with 8:20 remaining in the second quarter. The junior now has 13 career 100-yard receiving games, which sets a new BYU record, surpassing the current lead of Eric Drage with 12. He is also tied for first on the MWC record list, with the 13 games of SDSU’s J.R. Tolver.
Counting his three touchdowns tonight, Collie now has 26 career touchdowns, tying Pete Van Valkenberg and Eric Lane as No. 10 on BYU’s career touchdown list. Collie’s 26 touchdowns put him only three behind the MWC leader, Jovon Bouknight of Wyoming (29). The junior’s three touchdowns also marked a new career high. He had two touchdown receptions in five previous games.
UNGA REACHES CENTURY MARK
With 5:49 left in the fourth quarter, sophomore Harvey Unga turned in a 40-yard touchdown run to move him past the 100-yard mark for the game, the second time this season. He finished the game with 24 carries for a game-high 133 yards rushing. Unga had a BYU record seven, 100-yard games as a freshman last season.
UNGA SURPASSES 2,000 CAREER YARDS
With his 133 yards rushing on the day, sophomore running back Harvey Unga surpassed the 2,000-yard career mark. Unga racked up 1,227 yards on the ground in his freshman season last year.
EVEN AT THE HALF
Tonight’s 21-21 halftime score marked the second consecutive game and third time this season the Cougars ended the first half tied with their opponent. Last week BYU was also tied 21-21 with UNLV. The Cougars were tied at Washington on Sept. 6, 2008, with a score of 14-14.
PAPER OR PLASTIC
Junior defensive lineman Jan Jorgensen’s sack against Billy Farris in the fourth quarter gave him 21.5 career sacks, breaking the previous MWC record of 20.5 he shared with New Mexico’s Michael Tuohy, TCU’s Chase Ortiz and former Cougar Brady Poppinga. Jorgensen added a second sack and forced a fumble with just 22 seconds remaining to help secure the win and bring his career sack total to 22.5. He recorded four sacks his freshman season in 2006, 13.5 his sophomore season and five to date in 2008. Through nine games this season the Cougar defense has recorded 20 sacks.
TURNOVERS TRANSLATING TO POINTS
In the first nine games this season BYU has forced 21 turnovers, converting 13 of those into points. Of those 13 turnovers, 11 have resulted in touchdowns (77 points) for the Cougars.
The UNLV game marked senior offensive lineman Dallas Reynolds’ 47th 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 second 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...
CSU’s 20-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown with 12:58 remaining in the first quarter marked the third time this season BYU has failed to score first. The Cougars previously gave up touchdowns to New Mexico and TCU. BYU is 2-1 when failing to score first.
CSU’s touchdown with 12:58 remaining in the first quarter was the earliest score by a BYU opponent this season. The last time an opponent scored earlier than that was on Nov. 12, 2005 when Wyoming scored the first touchdown of the game with 13:32 remaining in the first quarter.
Junior linebacker Shawn Doman recovered a fumbled snap halfway through the second quarter, putting the Cougar offense back on the field where it went on to score on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Max Hall to Austin Collie. After recovering 12 fumbles in the first six games of the 2008 season, BYU had gone through a recent drought of two games. The Cougars’ last fumble recovery was Jan Jorgensen’s in a 21-3 win against New Mexico on Oct. 11.
Today marked sophomore defensive back Andrew Rich’s first career start. Rich started in place of senior David Tafuna who did not make the trip due to a shoulder injury.
Dennis Pitta’s 23-yard touchdown reception with 13:15 remaining in the fourth quarter gave the Cougars their first lead of the game.