BYU linebacker Brandon Ogletree intercepted an SDSU pass in the first half of BYU's 24-21 win over the Aztecs. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
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Game notes and quotes from BYU's 24-21 win versus San Diego State on Saturday, Oct. 9, at LaVell Stadium in Provo, Utah.
New BYU Kicking Record
BYU senior kicker Mitch Payne set a new BYU record for most PAT conversions in a career, kicking the 163rd of his career with 4:57 left in the first quarter following JJ Di Luigi’s touchdown. Payne passed Kurt Gunther’s previous record of 162, finishing the game with 165 conversions.
Bull Rush Defense
The Cougars held SDSU to minus-2 yards rushing in the first half, holding Ronnie Hillman to seven yards on five rushes and sacking Ryan Lindley once for minus-9 yards. San Diego State’s first four drives of the game were as follows: 3 plays for 5 yards, 1 play for 0 yards, 6 plays for 13 yards and 3 plays for 1 yard.
In the first quarter, the BYU defense held San Diego State to just under four minutes of possession, one first down, eight yards of total offense and minus-10 rushing yards in the first quarter, helping the Cougars to a 14-0 lead.
The BYU offense compiled 62 rushing attempts for 271 yards, both new season highs. The Cougars’ 62 rushing attempts are the most for the program since Nov. 23, 1996, when BYU rushed 63 times in a 37-17 win at Utah. The last time BYU rushed for at least 270 yards as a team was last year against UNLV when the Cougars rushed for 291 yards.
In addition, the last time BYU scored three rushing touchdowns in a game was at Wyoming in the Cougars’ 52-0 win at Laramie last season.
Running Around II
Junior JJ Di Luigi led the Cougars with 134 yards on 22 carries, both career high marks, to go with his fifth touchdown of the year. Junior Bryan Kariya and freshman Joshua Quezada also totaled career highs, with Kariya going for 85 yards on 22 rushes and two touchdowns and Quezada rushing 11 times for 50 yards.
Third Down Improvement
The Cougars finished the game 12-of-19 (.632) on third-down conversions, the best percentage and most third-down conversions of the season. The Cougar defense also forced the worst third-down conversion numbers of any BYU opponent this season, forcing the Aztecs to 3-of-10 (.300).
BYU junior Matt Marshall became the third Cougar to complete a pass in a game this season, converting a 16-yard pass to Mike Muehlmann on a fake field goal. The pitch-and-catch kept the drive alive and ultimately resulted in BYU’s first touchdown of the game. Marshall also filled in for usual quarterback Jake Heaps for a few snaps. Marshall was an option quarterback during his high schools days at Skyline High in Salt Lake City.
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 team captains Ken Serck and Chris Farasopoulos carried out the alumni flag. Captains of the 1970 football team celebrating the team’s 40-year reunion, Serck was an offensive lineman while Farasopoulos played defensive back and was a star return specialist for the Cougars. Both athletes were named first-team All-Conference that year. Farasopolous still owns the BYU records for most career combined (punt and kickoff) return yards with 2,454 and best career average per kickoff return at 27.2. He was drafted by the New York Jets in the 3rd round of the 1971 NFL Draft, playing four years in the league.
BYU Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall
“I was proud of out team today. They are resilient. They played as a team and showed more grit and determination. The team battled from beginning to end and I am proud of this game.”
“There are a lot of valuable lessons with perseverance and determination. It was gratifying to see lots of people watch; they helped us win. Our team was battling hard as they could. It has not been easy and it doesn’t mean we have arrived. On this day and this week they performed to the end and played BYU football from beginning to end. They made critical plays when needed, played hard, and that’s progress.”
“I think the run game contributed, then with the fake field goal and the first touchdown. Then we had quick turnover, and the defense had only played five downs. A couple of scores on the board was a great way to start.”
“I’m not certain, I don’t want to crown the soul as discovered but we saw the team respond. That’s great as a coach. I think the team demonstrated it today. It’s not yet arrived, not exact as I want it, but I see a difference.”
“He [speaking of himself as defensive coordinator] is hard to gauge. He certainly enjoyed coaching this week more than he has.”
“It was methodical when we play our style of offense. Sometimes it’s passing, today it was the running game. It wasn’t flashy. We were getting five or six yards at a time to the end. We needed one more yard, then we would get one more than we needed to. That’s BYU football when we are playing well.”
“Lots of backs contributed. The offensive line contributed and did a nice job. We wanted to eliminate minus yards when we throw it.”
“Earlier in the week we had been working on fakes. We had agreed in certain positions we would do it. It wasn’t easy, Matt was chased in pursuit and Matt was indicative of heart today. He did everything, special teams and back at quarterback. Players like that are a good example of what our team is trying to be like.”
“The run defense has been a point of emphasis and I love that part of the game. The second half I got caught off balance when they ran a few times instead of throwing. When we did know it was run we played it well.”
“The last three plays SDSU had the ball were signature moments for this defense. I don’t think it was me, it was them. They did exactly what they were supposed to do and it was fun to see.”
“The team should celebrate it all weekend and come back Monday. This one was hard. This was a meaningful victory to me and my team.”
“It is hard for me to separate between Kariya, Quezada and JJ. They all ran very effectively. It was fun to watch and they ran very hard. Yards after contact, number of players to the ball, how much they celebrate, how involved players are, those things all demonstrate heart.”
San Diego State Head Coach Brady Hoke
"We didn't execute, we didn't stop the run and we didn't tackle. I think in the first 18 minutes of the game we pushed too hard to make something happen and we didn't wait for the game to come to us. When you do that you get beat."
"Bronco did a good job melting the game clock when they were on offense, which is a good coaching strategy, but we had some opportunities we just didn't capitalize on."