Junior linebacker Jordan Pendleton recorded a career-high 12 tackles against Florida State. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
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Game notes from BYU's 34-10 loss at Florida State on Saturday, Sept. 18, at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.
BYU wore all-white jerseys against Florida State. The last time the Cougars went completely white was at New Mexico on Sept 13, 2003, in a 10-7 win.
Still Number One
BYU continued to show why it is the best kickoff return defense in the country, holding Florida State to 18 yards on two returns. Coming into Saturday, the Cougars were first in the country, holding opponents to 8.0 yards per return.
The Mighty Hunter
After catching an interception last week against Air Force for BYU’s first forced turnover of the year, linebacker Shane Hunter recovered a Florida State fumble. It was the first fumble by an opponent BYU has recovered this year.
Freshman to Freshman
Freshman quarterback Jake Heaps found freshman wide receiver Cody Hoffman with 14 seconds left in the second quarter to cut the Seminole lead down to 13-10. The touchdown throw by Heaps and catch by Hoffman were BYU career firsts for both freshmen.
Three Years Coming
BYU defensive lineman Eathyn Manumaleuna sacked Seminole quarterback Christian Ponder for the second sack of his career. Manumaleuna’s first sack came against Air Force in 2007 before he served a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Long and Gone
Florida State’s 83-yard touchdown run in the first quarter was the longest play for a score allowed by BYU since UNLV returned a kickoff 94 yards on Oct. 10, 2009.
BYU linebacker Jordan Pendleton notched a new career-high tackle mark, finishing with 12 total tackles to pass his previous career-high of eight. His nine solo tackles on the day alone passed his previous overall career mark.
With the loss at Florida State, the Cougars have dropped back-to-back games for the first time since the final two games in 2008. BYU has not lost two-consecutive regular-season games since losing at UCLA and at Tulsa in 2007, the same year the Cougars were replacing an established quarterback (Max Hall in 2009, John Beck in 2006), an All-American tight end (Dennis Pitta in 2009, Jonny Harline in 2006) and the school's all-time leading rusher (Harvey Unga in 2009, Curtis Brown in 2006). BYU is now 0-5 all-time playing in the state of Florida and 0-4 in its series against Florida State.
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.
Today, former BYU linebacker Shad Hansen (1989-92) carried out the alumni flag. Hansen is the BYU all-time leader in tackles with 408. He also holds the record for most tackles in a season with 193 and holds the third and fourth spots in BYU history for tackles in a game. Carrying the team flag was senior defensive back Brandon Bradley, a Tallahassee, Fla., native and the second-leading tackler on the team from last year.
BYU Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall
"I think Florida State executed at a higher level for longer than our team did. I thought we had a real strong chance to make a comeback at the end of halftime and coming into the third quarter. They made all the critical plays as the game wore on and that ended up in the outcome we had."
(On running back JJ Di Luigi's performance)
"I think the word playmaker is the right word (for JJ) as you look out there and continue to scan the offense for playmakers and balls to go to in critical situations. JJ right has been consistent."
(On some of the positives of his team)
"I think there were some critical instances where the defense made stop after stop in the first half in pretty short fields. I think we were able to add some degree of efficiency in the passing game -- more than we've had before. I think Riley Stephenson punted the ball well, and I thought our special teams was solid."
(On Christian Ponder's ability)
I think Ponder is a good football player. He has the ability to create and scramble, which is frustrating if your coverage does hold. Then he has the ability to pull the ball down and run with it, and that's always frustrating for the defense."
Florida State Head Coach Jimbo Fisher
"We scored some points early. Good job by BYU. We got some field goals, had some touchdowns, and had some not very smart penalties down there. They get back in it and got the momentum going into halftime."
"(In the second half) we wanted to get the momentum of the ballgame back, go down and take a drive, and get up. That was our whole goal and what we challenged them to do at halftime. (We wanted to) control both lines of scrimmage and I think that is what our defensive line and offensive line was able to do."