POSTGAME NOTES & QUOTES: BYU at Colorado State

Freshman quarterback Jake Heaps threw a career-high four touchdowns to lead the Cougars over Colorado State, 49-10. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

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Game notes from BYU's 49-10 win at Colorado State on Saturday, Nov. 13, at Hughes Stadium in Fort Collins, Colo.

Ashworth Sets BYU Touchdown Record

BYU wide receiver Luke Ashworth caught the Cougars’ first four offensive touchdowns of 62, 7, 36 and 8 yards, respectively, all in the first half. The four first-half touchdowns set a record for most touchdowns scored in the first half in BYU history and tied the BYU record for most touchdowns scored in any half (Dick Felt, 4 rushing scores, second half in 1952) and most TD receptions in a game (reviously accomplished by Kirk Pendleton in 1983 vs. New Mexico and John VanDerWouden in 1976 vs. Colorado State). The mark also tied an MWC record for most touchdowns in a game and set a Hughes Stadium record, breaking the old record set in 1974.

The four touchdown catches were Ashworth’s first four catches of the game and all came in the first half. It was the first multi-touchdown game of the senior’s career. Coming into the game, Ashworth had six career TDs; he now has at least one touchdown in BYU’s last three games. Ashworth finished the game with a career-high 113 yards on four catches.

Far Flying Flea Flicker

BYU converted its longest play and longest touchdown play of the year on a 62-yard flea flicker from freshman quarterback Jake Heaps to senior wide receiver Luke Ashworth. The play was also a career-long pass for Heaps and a career-long reception for Ashworth. The 4-play, 89-yard drive was a season-long drive for BYU.

Defense Scores

BYU freshman linebacker Kyle Van Noy returned a fumble 44 yards for a touchdown after junior defensive back Corby Eason forced the ball loose from a Ram receiver. It was the first points by the Cougar defense this season and the first fumble recovery for a touchdown for BYU since Matt Bauman’s 34-yard return last season in the Las Vegas Bowl.

Heaps More Records

With 239 yards of total offense, BYU quarterback Jake Heaps moved into eighth place on the list of MWC total offensive yards by a freshman. Heaps went 15-for-20 for 242 yards and a career-high four touchdowns. His 182 yards passing is a career-best first half mark for the freshman. Heaps also set a BYU record for most games started as a freshman, now with seven on the year.

Early Rush Defense

After holding its last four opponents to first quarter rushing totals of minus-10 (SDSU), 20 (TCU), minus-31(Wyoming) and zero (UNLV) yards, respectively, the BYU defense held Colorado State to eight yards rushing in the first quarter.

Odds Are Good

BYU is 47-4 when leading at halftime and 47-1 when taking a lead into the fourth quarter under head coach Bronco Mendenhall. The Cougars have also won 30-straight games when leading by at least 14 points at the half dating back to 1987.

First Carry, First TD

After completing an 11-yard catch down to the 1-yard line to give him a career-high 11 yards receiving, sophomore fullback Zed Mendenhall finished off BYU’s drive on the next play by scoring his first-career touchdown on his first-career carry for the Cougars in the third quarter.

Keep the Drive Alive

The Cougars finished the game 12-of-13 (.923) on third-down conversions, the first time BYU has had a third-down conversion of over 80-percent since going 12-of-14 (.857) at Washington in 2008. On the one failed third-down attempt, BYU still converted the ensuing fourth-down. As part of the third-down proficiency, BYU did not punt the entire game, accomplishing the feat for the first time since playing at Tulane in 2009.

Ending It Early

After leading UNLV 38-0 at halftime, the Cougars took a 35-0 lead into the half at Colorado State. It was the first time BYU has scored at least five touchdowns in the first half in back-to-back games since the Cougars scored seven touchdowns against Tulane and five touchdowns against Nevada in the first two games of the 2001 season.

Turnovers Into Touchdowns

The Cougar defense caused a season-high four turnovers, including two fumble recoveries and two interceptions. All four turnovers resulted in touchdowns for BYU, including Kyle Van Noy’s 44-yard fumble return. Senior safety Andrew Rich caused his third fumble of the season and had his first interception of the year.

Flag Bearers

Today, former BYU wide receiver Kaipo McGuire (1993-96) carried out the alumni flag. McGuire, an All-WAC Second Team selection in 1996, caught 82 passes for 1,230 yards and nine touchdowns in his career, including two TDs in the Cougars’ season opening win against Texas A&M on the way to a 14-1 record in 1996. Carrying the team flag was senior kicker Mitch Payne. Payne is the BYU career leader in PAT conversions and attempts and the MWC all-time leader in PAT conversions.

POSTGAME QUOTES

BYU Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall:

General:

“Our team continues to improve and take steps forward and they’ve prepared diligently during the week and I think were well prepared. We executed at a very high level and it’s a gratifying win.”

On Jake Heaps:

“I think Jake is just continuing to improve every week. He’s showing more poise and he’s making better decisions every week. He’s continuing to learn how to lead our football team and I think that shows in his performance and how our team is continuing to move in the right direction.”

On Luke Ashworth:

“Luke is doing a fantastic job. You can see some real chemistry starting to develop in maybe the last two weeks especially, maybe the last three. It’s good because it’s starting to give us the balance again to be able to run and throw the football. The flea-flicker is something that especially early in the game we were trying to make sure we could capture the momentum and then hold it, and it’s gratifying. I think you have to prepare and execute on a higher level on the road, and I think we did that, so that’s another item on the checklist that we can now learn from as the team continues to mature.”

On the defense:

“I think they played very well, very opportunistic. They did a nice job with turnovers. And again, we had a great chance to play a lot of players at the end of the game. I think they’re gaining a lot of confidence. I think they’re very excited to play. I’m not sure how many turnovers we created today, but it helped us win the game.”

On overall play of team:

“We took another step forward in our execution as a football team. We have two more opportunities in regular season, and I don’t think we’ve reached our potential yet, and there’s an urgency that I feel and I think our team feels to reach that potential.”

On depth:

“We’re starting to establish some depth and certainly some ability as we rotate different personnel groups in and different players based on injury, so it’s always nice not to have a significant drop-off when you put a new player in.”

On bouncing back after Hoffman’s early fumble:

“It didn’t seem to faze the team much. I think the resiliency is growing as they continue through the season. It’s hard to remember the beginning of this season. There’s been so much work that’s been put in to reach where we are now.”

On what he expected before the game:

“I thought Colorado State, when we watched their film against San Diego State, we were preparing for a game like we played against San Diego State. I wasn’t sure how much improvement we made vs. UNLV, where our team was, but this gives me a better idea that maybe we took a little bigger jump than I thought we might have.”

On how the success of the quarterback affects the team:

“The quarterback is the most visible position, and so how he plays is almost how people judge how the team is playing. So when they see the quarterback play well, I think it just helps them carry themselves as well with a little bit more confidence. His play is helping our whole team.”

On the role turnovers played in the game:

“It’s hard to score when you don’t have the ball. When you turn the ball over in the opponent’s territory, the chances for you to win are not very good.”

On his respect for Steve Fairchild and kneeling at the end of the game:

“He’s a great coach and I respect him and I think they have a good program. I have been on the other side before. I think it’s a class way to finish the game; I wouldn’t consider doing it any other way.”

CSU Head Coach Steve Fairchild:

General:

“You all saw it like I did; there are no excuses. We got out-played, we got out-coached we got out-classed. I did not see this coming. I thought we had a great week of practice and preparation. Give credit to BYU and Bronco Mendenhall and his staff because they certainly played a terrific game and we did not. Obviously our intent now is to go back to work and hopefully finish up the season strong in Laramie.”

On today’s performance affecting next week’s game:

“I’m disappointed in what we did out there today but I think we are a much better football team than we showed out there. We’re going to coach it the same way we always do and hopefully we’ll show up and play like we’re capable of.”

On an explanation of today’s performance:

“I thought we were coming along as a football team and I knew they were. They were playing some pretty good football. Any time you lay the ball on the ground like we did and give up a big pass play and let them get rolling, you’re going to get what you get. We couldn’t get them off the field on third down; we couldn’t make enough plays offensively. Again, we’ll look at us, but I want to give BYU and Bronco Mendenhall the credit they deserve.

On the Rams’ effort:

"The effort was there. I just think anytime you turn the ball over like we did and give up third-down conversion after third-down conversion, you’re going to be in for a long afternoon."

On the defensive play:

“I thought we were coming on defensively and if you can’t get them off the field, they’re going to score points and that’s what happened.”

On feelings after the game:

“I’m disappointed, obviously, but we’re in this for the long haul and obviously this isn’t what we’re looking for. But I think we’ve got some good kids in that locker room and I think we’ve got some kids that will keep getting better and better and will keep playing hard.”

On a carryover effect into the Wyoming game:

“We’ve got too much pride in that locker room, and I think this Wyoming game is important. I don’t anticipate any negative in that regard.”

On the running game:

“It’s the way they were playing us a little bit. They were playing more geared to stop the run and I could have made better play calls and I could have coached better, the whole 9 yards, but give them their credit.”

On having a big game like Wyoming to follow this performance:

“I’m glad we have another game. Our kids certainly love to play. I would hate to think this would be the final showing of our football team. We’re very fortunate to have one more shot to go out and prove that we’re a better football team than we showed today.”

On his senior class:

“I love those guys. I do want to say it’s a great senior class and I really do appreciate the senior leadership they provide. It is disappointing we could not send them out on a better note. I truly believe this is one of the most fun years I have had in my entire time in coaching. We had such great leadership and such great want-to out on the practice field, it’s just disappointing we could not send them out with a little better effort.”

On changes in the coaching staff next season:

“I hope not. I think staff continuity is key, and I know we’re doing the right thing. I know we’re coaching the right way and I know we’re recruiting the right way, so I will do anything I can do to retain our staff. It’s part of college football. Guys do what they have to do professionally but we’ve got a solid staff. I knew that when I got hired, that was going to be key as anything and we’ve got a fine plan and a clear plan and we’ll just keep working it.”

On BYU’s improvement:

“There is no question they executed better. They played better. We turned the ball over and the flood gates opened. We certainly don’t want to take away from anything BYU did today. They played a good game. Give Bronco and his staff all the credit in the world.

On three straight turnovers in the first quarter-plus:

“We just gave it away in the first quarter.”

On the similarities to last year’s BYU game:

“Exactly what we did last year. But (in 2009) we rallied and played the last three quarters and hung in there with them. We just weren’t up to it today.”