POSTGAME NOTES: No. 9 BYU vs. Tulane

Sophomore running back Bryan Kariya (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

COMPETING AS A RANKED TEAM

With today’s win, the Cougars are 150-44 when nationally ranked in the Top 25. A ranked BYU team has won 19 of its last 22 games, dating back to 2006.

HOLDING OPPONENTS SCORELESS

The BYU defense held Tulane scoreless the last three quarters of the game, giving them four scoreless quarters this season. The Cougars also held the Sooners scoreless during the third quarter in their season opener last week.

PROTECTING THE ENDZONE

Through two games this season, the Cougars have allowed only one touchdown, in the first quarter of last week’s game against Oklahoma.

NO PUNTS

Freshman Riley Stephenson did not punt the entire game today, marking the first time that has happened to BYU since a 56-34 win over Colorado State on Nov. 1, 2001.

UNDEFEATED TO START THE SEASON

With the win today the Cougars have a 2-0 record for the second straight year. In 2008 BYU opened with wins against Northern Iowa and Washington.

BYU also has a 2-0 start on back-to-back road games. The last time the Cougars started the season with two road wins was back in 1994 when they claimed victories at Hawaii and Air Force.

DON’T LOOK BACK

In the Bronco Mendenhall era, BYU is 34-4 when leading at halftime and 32-1 when taking a lead into the fourth quarter.

COUGAR PICKS

Junior defensive back Brian Logan recorded BYU’s first interception of the 2009 season late in the second quarter. Joe Kemp’s pass was tipped by sophomore linebacker Jordan Pendleton. The interception led to the Cougars’ second touchdown of the game to go up 20-3.

True freshman Craig Bills intercepted a Green Wave pass with 5:33 remaining in the game, for a 16-yard return.

FUMBLE RECOVERIES

Sophomore linebacker Jordan Pendleton recovered a fumble and returned it for a 12-yard touchdown with 11:47 remaining in the game. Senior linebacker Terrance Hooks forced the fumble. Linebacker Jordan Atkinson forced a fumble on the Green Wave’s next possession, which was recovered by Shane Hunter. The Cougars have now recovered four fumbles in their first two games, after picking up two against Oklahoma last week.

NELSON TAKES THE REIGNS

Sophomore quarterback Riley Nelson took his first snap as a Cougar with 11:47 remaining in the game. Nelson had not played since his freshman season at Utah State in 2006. Following that year he left to serve a two-year LDS mission to Spain.

Nelson went on to score the first rushing touchdown of his BYU career in that same drive with 8:15 to play.

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 sophomore offensive lineman Terence Brown, with former BYU defensive back Kyle Morrell carrying the alumni flag. Morrell played for the Cougars from 1981-84 and is most remembered for his 1984 goal line leap vs. Hawaii to force a field goal and preserve BYU’s run for the national title.

COIN TOSS

Today BYU won the coin toss and elected to defer—for the second consecutive week. BYU is now 2-0 when winning the toss.

CONSECUTIVE CATCHES

All-American tight end Dennis Pitta caught his first pass of the game with just over 10 minutes remaining in the first quarter for a five-yard gain. The senior has caught a pass in 32 consecutive games dating back to Oct. 23, 2004 (at Air Force), prior to his mission.

HE WHO SCORES FIRST...

BYU was the first to score today on a 41-yard field goal by junior Mitch Payne with 6:23 remaining in the first quarter. BYU has been the first team to score in nine of 14 games, marking 32 times in the last 40 games. The Cougars are 30-2 in those 32 games.

SPREADING THE BALL

Quarterbacks Max Hall and Riley Nelson found 12 different receivers throughout the game today, passing for a total of 321 yards. Hall connected with 11 receivers throughout the first three quarters, while Nelson found freshman Brett Thompson late in the fourth.

The last time BYU had 12 receivers in a game catch at least one ball was on Sept. 1, 2001 during BYU's 52-7 win over Nevada.

CONSECUTIVE STARTS

Today’s game against Oklahoma marked senior defensive lineman Jan Jorgensen’s 41st 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 22.5. His first career start came against Arizona on Sept. 2, 2006.

PAPER OR PLASTIC?

Junior linebacker Grant Nelson’s sack against Tulane’s Joe Kemp early in the first quarter marked the first of his BYU career. He quickly picked up a second sack two plays later on third-down, forcing the Green Wave to punt.

AGAINST CONFERENCE USA

The Cougars now have a 39-13-1 overall record against current Conference USA opponents. BYU has faced seven of the 12 teams in the conference, including Marshall, Southern Mississippi, Rice, SMU, Tulane, Tulsa and UTEP. The Cougars have a winning record against Tulsa (6-1) and UTEP (28-7-1).

KARIYA SCORES

Sophomore running back Bryan Kariya scored his second and third career touchdowns this afternoon, first through the air and then on the ground. He is the first Cougar to score both a receiving and rushing touchdown in a single game since Harvey Unga did in BYU’s 44-0 win over Wyoming on Sept. 20, 2008.

OTHER CAREER FIRSTS

Saturday marked the first career start for junior linebacker Grant Nelson, who picked up the first two sacks of his career on Tulane’s first drive of the day.

Sophomore running back JJ Di Luigi scampered into the endzone for a three-yard touchdown with 6:24 remaining in the third quarter, marking his first career score.

True freshman Anthony Heimuli’s five-yard reception with just over 13 minutes to play in the game marked the first of his career. The play was followed by a one-yard touchdown run by Di Luigi.

Jordan Pendleton’s fumble recovery and subsequent touchdown in the fourth quarter are both career firsts.

Freshman Brett Thompson caught his first career pass for six yards with 4:40 remaining in the game.