POSTGAME NOTES: No. 18 BYU at San Diego State

Quarterback Max Hall ran for a career-high 47 yards against the Aztecs and one touchdown. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

PROGRAM’S 500th WIN

Today’s 38-28 victory over San Diego State marks the 500th all-time win for the BYU football program. Dating back to 1922 the Cougars have a 500-373-26 all-time record with a .571 winning percentage.

EARNING BOWL ELIGIBILITY

Now with a 6-1 record, the Cougars have earned bowl eligibility status for the fifth consecutive season, making head coach Bronco Mendenhall the only coach in program history to qualify his team for bowl games each of his first five seasons.

COMPETING AS A RANKED TEAM

With today’s win the Cougars are 154-45 when nationally ranked in the Top 25. A ranked BYU team has won 23 of its last 27 games dating back to 2006.

UNGA ON THE RUN

After Harvey Unga’s 1-yard touchdown with 7:46 to play in the first quarter, the junior has now recorded a rushing score in each of the past five games. His touchdowns have accounted for BYU’s first in four of those five games. Unga now has nine rushing touchdowns on the season.

UNDEFEATED ON THE ROAD

With the win at Qualcomm Stadium on Saturday, BYU improved its 2009 away record to 4-0 for the first time since 2001. That year the Cougars posted wins at California, UNLV, New Mexico and San Diego State.

COUGAR PICKS

Senior defensive back Scott Johnson intercepted his third pass in two games with 6:04 remaining in the second quarter. The interception set up a scoring drive capped by a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Max Hall to give the Cougars a 21-14 lead heading into the halftime break. Johnson picked off two passes in BYU’s win over UNLV last week.

The Cougar defense has now snagged eight interceptions through their first seven games.

THIRD-DOWN CONVERSIONS

The Cougars lead the nation in third-down conversion percentage coming into tonight’s game, converting a total of 44-of-71 attempts. Today BYU continued that success, moving the chains on 15-of-21 third-down attempts.

FLAG BEARER

BYU has a tradition of selecting a player before each game to run the team flag onto the field, as well as a former Cougar to carry out the alumni flag. Each member of the team has signed the team flag, while former BYU players have signed the alumni flag. 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.

As part of the 25-year anniversary celebration of BYU’s national championship, each alumni chosen to carry out the flag this year will be a member of the 1984 team. Carrying the team flag today was senior linebacker Jeff Bell, with former BYU linebacker Leon White carrying the alumni flag. White played for the Cougars from 1982-85 and went on to spend eight seasons playing in the NFL.

COIN TOSS

Today BYU won the coin toss and elected to defer—for the fifth time this season. BYU is now 4-1 when winning the toss.

CONSECUTIVE CATCHES

All-American tight end Dennis Pitta caught his first pass of the game with 13:31 remaining in the second quarter for a 12-yard gain. The senior has caught a pass in 37 consecutive games dating back to Oct. 23, 2004 (at Air Force), prior to his mission.

SURPASSING HUDSON

With his 9-yard reception with 4:00 remaining in the second quarter, Dennis Pitta became BYU’s all-time leading tight end, surpassing Gordan Hudson’s 2,484 career receiving yards during the 1981-83 seasons. As a Cougar, Pitta has racked up 2,543 receiving yards.

He also passed Hudson as BYU’s career receptions leader among tight ends earlier this season during the CSU game and now has 193 career catches. Those receptions move him into third place in the BYU record books for receivers overall, behind Austin Collie (215) and Matt Bellini (204).

His 18 career touchdowns also place him second behind Hudson (22) in touchdown receptions by a tight end.

HE WHO SCORES FIRST...

BYU was the first to score tonight on a 1-yard touchdown run by Harvey Unga with 7:46 remaining in the first quarter. BYU has been the first to score in four games this season, the other being Tulane, Colorado State and UNLV. The Cougars are 4-0 in those three games.

CONSECUTIVE STARTS

Today marked senior defensive lineman Jan Jorgensen’s 46th straight career start. During that streak, Jorgensen has started every game of his collegiate career and set a new MWC all-time career sack record at 23.5. His first career start came against Arizona on Sept. 2, 2006.

6-1 START TO THE SEASON

Today’s win improved the Cougars’ season record to 6-1. Before its 6-1 record to open the 2008 season, the last time BYU had a 6-1 start or better was in 2001, when the program posted 12 consecutive wins.

DON’T LOOK BACK

In the Bronco Mendenhall era, BYU is 38-4 when leading at halftime and 36-1 when taking a lead into the fourth quarter.

HALL CREEPS UP ON DETMER’S WIN RECORD

With the Cougars’ 38-28 win over SDSU, senior quarterback Max Hall now has 27 career wins as the starting play-caller for BYU. As far as where that puts him on BYU’s all-time list, Hall trails only Ty Detmer, who racked up 29 wins during his career from 1988-91.

DOUBLE THREAT

With his 10-yard reception with 6:35 remaining in the third quarter, junior running back Harvey Unga became one of only nine Cougars to record over 1,000 career yards through the air and on the ground. Unga currently has 1,006 yards receiving and 2,466 yards rushing.

Other Cougars who accomplished this feat are Curtis Brown, Jamal Willis, Lakei Heimuli, Luke Staley, Hema Heimuli, Todd Christensen, Scott Phillips and Fred Whittingham.

SCORING HALL PASSES

Quarterback Max Hall recorded three touchdown passes against SDSU today. The senior has thrown at least two scoring passes in every game this season, giving him 16 on the year. Those 16 touchdown passes have been to eight different members of the BYU receiving corp. Hall has now thrown a touchdown pass in 30-of-33 career games.

PAPER OR PLASTIC?

Defensive lineman Jan Jorgensen picked up his second sack of the season with less than two minutes remaining in the game. With that he extends his MWC career sack record to 24.5. The previous record of 20.5 was held by New Mexico’s Michael Tuohy, TCU’s Chase Ortiz and former Cougar Brady Poppinga. Jorgensen recorded four sacks his freshman season in 2006, 13.5 his sophomore season and five in 2008.

Collectively the Cougars have recorded 13 sacks in their first seven games this season.