Win Streak at 11 Straight with 41-17 Win

Junior tight end Dennis Pitta had a career-high 213 yards receiving, helping the Cougars to a 41-17 season-opening victory over Northern Iowa. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)


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COUGARTOWN -- No. 16 BYU extended it’s nation’s longest win streak to 11 straight games on Saturday, downing Northern Iowa, 41-17, in front of a sell-out crowd at Edwards Stadium.

“We have a very good football team,” BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “We made enough plays to win and I think we showed signs of being the team that we are capable of being.”

The Cougars were led by junior tight end Dennis Pitta who racked up 213 yards receiving on the afternoon with 11 catches. Pitta’s performance equaled the 10th highest performance in BYU history, tying Eric Drage’s mark set against Air Force back in 1993. Pitta, a 6-foot-5, 250-pound native of Moorpark, Calif., is 2008 Mackey Award and All-America candidate.

Another of BYU’s All-America candidates, quarterback Max Hall, threw for 486 yards and two touchdowns against the Panthers, marking the most yards since posting a career-high 537 yards against Tulsa last season. Junior linebacker Matt Bauman led the defense with 11 tackles on the night.

BYU scored its first touchdown in the first quarter on a 27-yard pass from Hall to senior wide receiver Michael Reed. Three minutes later the Panthers earned their first points on the afternoon, kicking a 33-yard field goal by sophomore Billy Hallgren.

Coming off a fumble by UNI, the Cougars chalked up another touchdown in just three plays when Hall completed a 19-yard pass to sophomore Harvey Unga. Mitch Payne’s point-after widened the gap to 14-3.

Ten minutes into the second quarter, Pitta made a 25-yard reception on the two-yard line, setting up Harvey Unga for another Cougar touchdown. The point-after was blocked by Panther Everette Pedescleaux, bringing the lead to 20-3.

BYU quickly got possession of the ball, and with a little over two minutes to go in the half, the Cougars scored on a six-play drive that covered 78 yards with just 17 seconds remaining before the half.

Although the Cougars went into the locker room leading 27-3 at the half, the Panthers fought back in the second half, scoring two touchdowns off of BYU errors, closing the gap to 27-17 in the third quarter.

After a 31-yard return by freshman O’Neill Chambers, and 52 total yards from junior Austin Collie to get the ball down the field, junior Wayne Latu fumbled the ball on the UNI 24-yard line, causing the Panther’s first touchdown one play later by freshman Josh Collins (27-10).

“I give Northern Iowa credit,” said Mendenhall. “I think they are a very good team and coach [Mark] Farley does a great job with them. They are physical and their quarterback had an outstanding game in terms of heart.”

Six minutes later BYU had possession on the one-yard line when Hall took a blind-side hit and fumbled the ball in the endzone. UNI’s Mark Huygens recovered the ball, cutting the BYU lead to 27-17.

“Ball security was one of the things we can improve on, and with that being different, most likely the game would have been much more convincing,” commented Mendenhall. “We saw enough mistakes and things that we can certainly improve on over the next week.”

The Cougars turned on the heat in the fourth quarter, posting back-to-back touchdowns in the sixth and eighth minutes. Hall completed a 28-yard pass to Pitta to start the first touchdown drive, with Hall running the ball in for the one-yard touchdown (34-17).

The last touchdown came from freshman Bryan Kariya who rushed for 14 yards, sealing the win at 41-17.

The Cougars extend their home-opening record to 31-11-1, bringing their overall home winning streak to 13 games.

The Cougars will be in action at 12:00 p.m. (PT) on Saturday Sept. 6 at Washington. The game will be televised live on FSN.

Box Score (Final)

Northern Iowa vs No. 16 BYU (Aug 30, 2008 at Provo, Utah)

Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score

----------------- -- -- -- -- -----

Northern Iowa....... 3 0 14 0 - 17 Record: (0-1)

No. 16 BYU.......... 14 13 0 14 - 41 Record: (1-0)

Scoring Summary:

1st 08:56 BY - REED, Michael 27 yd pass from HALL, Max (PAYNE, Mitch kick), 8-73 2:50, UNI 0 - BY 7

05:13 UNI - Hallgren, Billy 33 yd field goal, 7-74 3:43, UNI 3 - BY 7

01:25 BY - UNGA, Harvey 19 yd pass from HALL, Max (PAYNE, Mitch kick), 3-24 1:27, UNI 3 - BY 14

2nd 04:50 BY - UNGA, Harvey 2 yd run (PAYNE, Mitch kick blockd), 6-54 2:03, UNI 3 - BY 20

00:17 BY - UNGA, Harvey 1 yd run (PAYNE, Mitch kick), 6-78 2:04, UNI 3 - BY 27

3rd 12:12 UNI - Collins, Josh 76 yd pass from Williams,Victor (Hallgren, Billy kick), 1-76 0:12, UNI 10 - BY 27

05:59 UNI - Huygens, Mark 0 yd fumble recovery (Hallgren, Billy kick), , UNI 17 - BY 27

4th 09:02 BY - HALL, Max 1 yd run (PAYNE, Mitch kick), 4-60 1:05, UNI 17 - BY 34

07:30 BY - KARIYA, Bryan 14 yd run (PAYNE, Mitch kick), 2-15 0:38, UNI 17 - BY 41

UNI BY

FIRST DOWNS................... 14 28

RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............ 40-149 28-77

PASSING YDS (NET)............. 213 486

Passes Att-Comp-Int........... 25-17-0 41-34-0

TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS..... 65-362 69-563

Fumble Returns-Yards.......... 0-0 0-0

Punt Returns-Yards............ 1--1 3-13

Kickoff Returns-Yards......... 2-42 3-101

Interception Returns-Yards.... 0-0 0-0

Punts (Number-Avg)............ 7-43.1 3-42.7

Fumbles-Lost.................. 5-2 5-4

Penalties-Yards............... 4-40 8-65

Possession Time............... 33:41 26:19

Third-Down Conversions........ 6 of 17 7 of 10

Fourth-Down Conversions....... 1 of 2 0 of 0

Red-Zone Scores-Chances....... 1-1 5-6

Sacks By: Number-Yards........ 0-0 1-8

RUSHING: Northern Iowa-Grace, Pat 11-72; Lewis, Corey 17-37; Law, Derrick

8-28; Collins, Josh 2-11; Eyman, D.P. 1-1; Davis, Zach 1-0. No. 16 BYU-UNGA,

Harvey 18-64; KARIYA, Bryan 1-14; DILUIGI, JJ 1-2; HALL, Max 4-minus 1; LATU,

Wayne 3-minus 1; TM 1-minus 1.

PASSING: Northern Iowa-Grace, Pat 11-18-0-112; Davis, Zach 5-6-0-25;

Williams,Victor 1-1-0-76. No. 16 BYU-HALL, Max 34-41-0-486.

RECEIVING: Northern Iowa-Williams,Victor 5-53; Lewis, Corey 4-16;

Collins, Josh 3-114; Turner, Maurice 2-17; Oordt, Schuylar 1-12; Eyman, D.P.

1-6; Herring, Jarred 1-minus 5. No. 16 BYU-PITTA, Dennis 11-213; COLLIE, Austin

7-80; UNGA, Harvey 6-47; REED, Michael 4-71; GEORGE, Andrew 3-36; WHITE, Reed

1-30; HAFOKA, Spencer 1-5; LATU, Wayne 1-4.

INTERCEPTIONS: Northern Iowa-None. No. 16 BYU-None.

FUMBLES: Northern Iowa-Grace, Pat 2-1; Lewis, Corey 1-0; Gray, Johnny

1-0; Law, Derrick 1-1. No. 16 BYU-HALL, Max 2-2; REED, Michael 1-0; LATU, Wayne

1-1; DILUIGI, JJ 1-1.

SACKS (UA-A): Northern Iowa-None. No. 16 BYU-JOREGENSEN, Jan 1-0.

TACKLES (UA-A): Northern Iowa-Lloyd, Darrell 4-7; Harris, De'Veon 6-4;

Thompson, Jamar 3-7; Mahoney, Josh 3-7; Meier, Curtis 4-4; McMoore,Terrell 4-1;

Kinney, Chuck 3-2; Huygens, Mark 3-1; Ruffin, James 2-1; Canady, T. 1-2; Smith,

Jordan 1-2; Kirk, Justin 0-3; Roberts, Adam 1-1; Robertson, J. 0-2; Pedescleaux,

E. 0-2; Flander, Trent 0-2; Hallgren, Billy 0-1; Mahaffey, Ryan 0-1. No. 16

BYU-BAUMAN, Matt 5-6; JOHNSON, Scott 2-6; NIXON, David 3-3; DOMAN, Shawn 3-3;

CLAWSON, Coleby 3-3; AH YOU, Matt 2-4; FOWLER, Kellen 4-1; SO'OTO, Vic 3-2;

JOREGENSEN, Jan 1-4; DULAN, Ian 2-2; DENNEY, Brett 3-0; FOKETI, Mosese 0-3;

HOWARD, Brandon 2-0; SORENSEN, Danie 2-0; TIALAVEA, Russe 1-1; PUTNAM, Matt 0-2;

TAFUNA, David 0-1; RICH, Andrew 0-1.

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