Cougars Survive MWC Opener at UNLV; Remain Undefeated
LAS -- It wasn't a blowout and it wasn't the Cougars' best performance of the season, but No. 20 BYU (4-0) remained undefeated on the season by defeating UNLV (0-4) in a come-from-behind victory, 35-31, on Saturday.
Down 31-28 with just over two minutes remaining, "The Domanator" Brandon Doman led the Cougars 91 yards for a touchdown with 1:12 remaining in the game. Facing fourth down and four on the BYU 38-yard line, Doman completed a pass across the middle to Mike Rigell, who advanced the ball all the way to the UNLV 22-yard line -- a crucical 42-yard gain. On the next play Doman rolled left then darted back to the right and took it all the way into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown.
UNLV advanced the ball all the way to BYU's 30-yard line on the ensuing possession before Jason Thomas threw an errant pass on fourth down sealing the Cougar victory and causing UNLV head coach John Robinson to suffer his first-ever 0-4 start. The loss also marked the sixth straight conference-opening defeat for the Rebels.
"I'm impressed with the quarterback (Doman)," said UNLV head coach John Robinson. "He made four or five plays that kept them in the game because of his scrambles. BYU is a good team. They are a hard team to stop."
Doman finished the game 23-of-37 for 281 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed for 48 yards and one touchdown. Doman is now 6-0 as a starter, becoming the first BYU quarterback to win his first six starts since Robbie Bosco in 1984.
The Cougars didn't take long to show some rust from a 20-day layoff. Luke Staley fumbled the opening kickoff and UNLV's Derek Olsen returned the fumble 22 yards for a touchdown.
BYU answered on its next possession, driving down the field and scoring on a 15-yard Staley reception. But UNLV owned the first quarter, taking a 21-10 lead into the first break.
Justin Ena celebrates after his first interception of the season. The BYU defense held UNLV in several key situations, late in the game, to preserve the victory. (photo by Mark Philbrick)
The Cougars took all the momentum into the half, outscoring the Rebels 18-0 in the second quarter and taking a 28-21 lead into the locker room. But the UNLV defense held BYU scoreless in the second half until Doman's late-game heroics. The Cougars failed to produce a single point in the third quarter, marking only the third time this season BYU has not scored during a single quarter of play.
"It's still early but we are where we want to be," said BYU head coach Gary Crowton. "I'm really pleased with the team for hanging in there and I'm glad we got the win. It was a good character-builder. We are fortunate to win and I was happy the team hung in there. Their 'don't-give-up' attitude was a good lsson for the team."
Turnovers plagued the Cougars throughout the game. Doman threw his first interception of the season and first in 112 attempts in the first half. Soren Halladay and Reno Mahe also fumbled for the Cougars, giving BYU four turnovers in the game, marking the most turnovers since giving up six turnovers against Colorado State last season.
Going into the game, BYU only had one turnover -- a Doman fumble against Tulane in the season opener. UNLV capitalized on the Cougars' mistakes and scored 21 points off the four turnovers.
"I was worried about us missing tackles and fumbling and those are the two things we did," Crowton said.
Matt Payne connected on two of three field goal attempts. He made field goals from 50 and 42 yards, and missed just wide left on an attempt from 41 yards.
The Cougar defense allowed 10 points in the second half, but made the plays when it had to, including a crucial stop late in the fourth quarter.
"Our defense bends but doesn't break," Crowton said. "They don't get overaggressive and give up the big play." On the night, the BYU defense held UNLV standout Jason Thomas to just 132 yards passing and minus-five yards rushing.
The Cougars will have a short week to prepare for in-state foe Utah State on Friday. BYU will take on Utah State at LaVell Edwards Stadium, beginning at 7 p.m. (MDT).
BYU POST-GAME NOTES
ÃƒÂ² BYU's victory at UNLV on Saturday is the Cougars' fourth straight win of the season, marking the first 4-0 start since the 1993 season. With tonight's win, the 20th-ranked Cougars improve to 1-0 in MWC play, marking the first league-opening victory since the 1999 season (vs. Colorado State). The win improves BYU's all-time record over UNLV to 8-1, including six straight wins over the Rebels.
ÃƒÂ² With Luke Staley's 15-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter , BYU extended its NCAA record streak to 328 games without being shutout. BYU was last shutout during the 1975 season (Sept. 27, 1975 vs. Arizona State.)
ÃƒÂ² UNLV's first-quarter touchdown, after a fumble on the opening kickoff, marked the quickest score against BYU to start a game since Utah's Andre Dyson returned an interception 24 yards for a touchdown with only :52 off the clock. The Rebels scored just :13 into the game.
ÃƒÂ² Luke Staley's fumble on the opening kickoff marked only the Cougars second turnover of the season.
ÃƒÂ² UNLV's sack with 9:35 left in the first quarter marked only the second sack BYU has allowed on the season.
ÃƒÂ² Matt Payne's 50-yard field goal with 8:57 in the first quarter marked the longest of his career and his first from longer than 30 yards this season. The field goal also marked the first 50-yard field goal against UNLV since Oct. 14, 1995. Payne connected on a 42-yarder with 12:12 remaining in the second quarter to mark his second longest career field goal.
ÃƒÂ² UNLV's Sam Brandon's interception in the first quarter marked BYU quarterback Brandon Doman's first interception of the season and his first in 112 attempts.
ÃƒÂ² Luke Staley's six-yard run on fourth-and-one, with 14:04 left in the second quarter was the Cougars' first of two fourth-down conversions. BYU also converted a crucial fourth-and-four late in the fourth quarter to set up an eventual game-winning touchdown. The Cougars are 5-for-6 on fourth-down conversions this season.
ÃƒÂ² Justin Ena's interception with 13:02 left in the second quarter marked his first interception of the season. Jernaro Gilford also recorded his first interception of the season after picking Jason Thomas with :29 remaining in the first half. The Cougars held Thomas to just four completions on nine attempts with two interceptions in the first half.
ÃƒÂ² Brandon Doman's 54-yard touchdown reception to Rodney Wilkerson with :54 remaining in the first half gave BYU a 28-21 lead heading in to the half. The Cougars have never trailed at the half this season. The play also marked Doman's longest pass completion of the season. The 54-yard touchdown marked the third scoring play of over 50 yards.
ÃƒÂ² Brandon Doman's two-point conversion with :54 remaining in the first half marked the Cougars' first two-point conversion of the season.
ÃƒÂ² BYU committed two turnovers in the first half marking more turnovers in one half than the Cougars have committed all season. On the night, BYU committed a total four turnovers, marking the first time since giving up six turnovers against Colorado State last season.
ÃƒÂ² UNLV held BYU scoreless in the third quarter, marking only the third scoreless quarter for the Cougars this season.
ÃƒÂ² BYU's four-point victory marks the closet winning margin since Sept. 23, 2000 when the Cougars tallied only a three-point win against UNLV in Provo.
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
----------------- -- -- -- -- -----
#20 Brigham Young....10 18 0 7 - 35 Record: (3-0)
UNLV................ 21 0 7 3 - 31 Record: (0-3)
1st 14:47 UNLV - OLSEN, Derek 22 yd fumble recovery (PIEFFER, Dillon kick)
12:19 BYU - STALEY, Luke 14 yd pass from DOMAN, Brandon (PAYNE, Matt kick)
08:57 BYU - PAYNE, Matt 50 yd field goal, 7-1 2:26
04:56 UNLV - HARO, Joe 3 yd run (PIEFFER, Dillon kick)
02:50 UNLV - DORSEY, Dominiq 8 yd run (PIEFFER, Dillon kick)
2nd 13:19 BYU - ANDERSON, Justi 1 yd run (PAYNE, Matt kick)
12:12 BYU - PAYNE, Matt 42 yd field goal
00:54 BYU - WILKERSON, Rod 54 yd pass from DOMAN, Brandon (DOMAN, Brandon rush)
3rd 09:22 UNLV - DORSEY, Dominiq 12 yd run (PIEFFER, Dillon kick)
4th 06:32 UNLV - PIEFFER, Dillon 22 yd field goal
01:12 BYU - DOMAN, Brandon 21 yd run (PAYNE, Matt kick)
FIRST DOWNS................... 26 18
RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............ 35-167 49-189
PASSING YDS (NET)............. 281 132
Passes Att-Comp-Int........... 38-23-1 18-11-2
TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS..... 73-448 67-321
Fumble Returns-Yards.......... 0-0 1-22
Punt Returns-Yards............ 3-24 0-0
Kickoff Returns-Yards......... 5-121 5-160
Interception Returns-Yards.... 2-7 1-20
Punts (Number-Avg)............ 3-39.3 6-39.8
Fumbles-Lost.................. 6-3 3-1
Penalties-Yards............... 6-44 3-34
Possession Time............... 27:15 32:45
Sacks By: Number-Yards........ 2-7 2-11
RUSHING: Brigham Young-STALEY, Luke 15-77; DOMAN, Brandon 14-48; McDONALD,
Brian 5-26; WILKERSON, Rod 1-15; ANDERSON, Justi 0-1. UNLV-HARO, Joe 21-80;
DORSEY, Dominiq 14-77; COSTA, Steven 5-40; MASON, Troy 1-minus 3; THOMAS,
Jason 8-minus 5.
PASSING: Brigham Young-DOMAN, Brandon 23-37-1-281; RIGELL, Mike 0-1-0-0.
UNLV-THOMAS, Jason 11-18-2-132.
RECEIVING: Brigham Young-MAHE, Reno 7-65; STALEY, Luke 4-40; ORD, Andrew
4-33; HALLADAY, Soren 3-21; WILKERSON, Rod 2-65; RIGELL, Mike 2-50;
ANDERSON, Justi 1-7. UNLV-MASON, Troy 3-31; NERO, Bobby 2-23; MANDLEY,
DeJhow 2-19; JOHNSON, Michae 2-18; JOHNSON, Earvin 1-21; COSTA, Steven 1-20.
INTERCEPTIONS: Brigham Young-ENA, Justin 1-6; GILFORD, Jernar 1-1.
UNLV-BRANDON, Sam 1-20.
FUMBLES: Brigham Young-STALEY, Luke 2-1; DOMAN, Brandon 2-0; MAHE, Reno 1-1;
HALLADAY, Soren 1-1. UNLV-HARO, Joe 2-1; DORSEY, Dominiq 1-0.
Stadium: Sam Boyd Stadium Attendance: 32601
Kickoff time: 4:07 pm End of Game: 07:19 pm Total elapsed time: 3:12
Officials: Referee: Gerald Wright; Umpire: Darrell Jenkins;
Linesman: David Hettema; Line judge: Jack Lynch; Back judge: Terry Leyden;
Field judge: Land Clark; Side judge: Karl Richins; Scorer: Jim Shaffer;
Temperature: 100 Wind: S 1 MPH Weather: Partly Cloudy
SACKS (UA-A): Brigham Young-DENNEY, Ryan 0-1; KEISEL, Brett 0-1; COWART,
Jeff 1-0. UNLV-PALEPOI, Anton 1-0; MILLER, Ahmad 1-0.
TACKLES (UA-A): Brigham Young-MADARIETA, Levi 7-5; DENNEY, Ryan 5-4; KELLEY,
Isaac 4-4; KEISEL, Brett 4-3; ENA, Justin 2-5; WALKENHORST, Pa 2-3; Team
4-0; PILI, Ifo 2-2; STALEY, Dustin 2-2; GILFORD, Jernar 2-1; COWART, Jeff
2-1; WRIGHT, Bill 1-1; EDMONDS, Aaron 1-0; HEANEY, Brandon 1-0; MAHE, Reno
1-0; BOCKWOLDT, Colb 1-0; JOLLEY, Doug 1-0; LAFITTE, Michae 1-0; ELLIOTT,
Kurt 0-1; PEAUA, Moa 0-1; ARCHIBALD, Ben 0-1. UNLV-BRANDON, Sam 6-2; WYNN,
Jamal 5-3; THOMAS, Kevin 5-2; CLARIDGE, Ryan 5-1; BURRUS, Tosh 4-1; WILSON,
Shanga 2-3; MILLER, Ahmad 2-2; PALEPOI, Anton 2-1; SMELTZER, Toby 2-1;
BRIMMER, Jamaal 1-2; WATSON, Adrian 1-2; JOHNSON, Michae 2-0; BRIGGS, Ahmad
2-0; PARKHURST, Scot 1-1; DALTON, Ross 0-2; OWENS, LaMar 0-2; OLSEN, Derek
1-0; BELL, Zach 1-0; SUTTON, Chameio 1-0; BARNES, Deon 1-0; HARO, Joe 1-0;
COSTA, Steven 0-1; SEWARD, Adam 0-1; MANDLEY, DeJhow 0-1.
Cougars Return To Grid Iron After 20-Day Layoff
BYU (3-0) will travel to Las Vegas to take on MWC foe UNLV (0-3) on Saturday, Sept. 29, ending a 20-day layoff for the Cougars. No. 20 BYU last played on Sept. 8, defeating Cal, 44-16, in Berkeley, Calif. The Cougars' game at Mississippi State, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 15 in Starkville, Miss., was postponed after the terrorist attacks on the United States, marking the first time since World War II (1943-1945) BYU has not been able to play due to national concern. The game will mark the league-opener for both teams. (UNLV's MWC-opener against Colorado State was also postponed).
The BYU-UNLV Series
Saturday's game will mark the ninth contest between the Cougars and Rebels, dating back to Dec. 2, 1978. BYU owns a 7-1 advantage in the rivalry, including a streak of five straight wins. The Cougars have never lost in Las Vegas, posting a 3-0 mark in UNLV's Sam Boyd Stadium. BYU and UNLV last met during the 2000 season (Sept. 23 in Provo) with the Cougars clinging to a 10-7 victory. The last time the two teams met in Las Vegas, BYU recorded a 29-0 victory. The Cougars have defeated UNLV by an average 19.75 points per game, including a 40-point victory in 1980. BYU has allowed an average 7.0 points per game over the past three meetings. The game will mark the first-ever meeting between UNLV's John Robinson and BYU's Gary Crowton.
Saturday's game will be broadcast live along the West Coast only on ABC, (KTVX, Ch. 4, in Salt Lake City). The ABC-Regional broadcast will air at 5 p.m. (MDT). Rich Cellini will call the action, while Reggie Rivers will lend expert analysis. Kickoff is slated for 5:05 p.m. (MDT).
The Cougars will depart Provo on Friday, Sept. 28 at 6 p.m. (MDT) and arrive in Las Vegas at approximately 6:30 p.m. (PDT) via Frontier Airlines charter service. The team will stay at the Alexis Park Hotel in Las Vegas. The Cougars are not scheduled to hold a walk-through on Friday. BYU will depart for Provo immediately following the game.
Scouting the Rebels
Favored as one of the top teams in the Mountain West Conference, UNLV has yet to post a single victory this season. The Rebels dropped a 14-10 decision at Arkansas to open the season and were unable to pick up a home victory against No. 16 Northwestern.On Saturday, UNLV lost at Arizona, 38-21. The Rebels will look to highly-touted quarterback Jason Thomas to get things back on track. Thomas, a preseason Heisman candidate, leads the Rebel offense with 467 yards passing, averaging 115.7 yards per game. Thomas also ranks second on the UNLV roster with 112 yards rushing, averaging 37.3 yards per game. Running back Joe Haro leads UNLV with an average 102 rushing yards per contest. Haro has produced two of the team's three rushing touchdowns. Troy Mason and Michael Johnson lead all UNLV receivers, accounting for 367 of the Rebels' 367 receiving yards. Johnson leads all receivers with an average 64.3 yards per game. The UNLV defense has allowed an average 321.7 yards per game, while Sam Brandon leads the team with 23 tackles, including 17 solo takedowns.
A Look Back . . . BYU 10, UNLV 7
BYU scored all 10 of its points in the first quarter in a defensive battle that included 15 punts and 10 sacks. 10 points proved to be enough as the Cougar defense stifled UNLV's offense for three and a half quarters before allowing a fourth-quarter touchdown. BYU hung on for a 10-7 win to mark the closest game in BYU-UNLV history. Luke Staley chalked up 186 all-purpose yards, including a career-high 167 rushing. Led by Jared Lee's six tackles and Ryan Denney's three tackles for a loss , the Cougar defense forced four fumbles and one interception.
Remember When? Cougars Crush Cal
BYU senior quarterback Brandon Doman passed for three touchdowns and ran for three more as BYU rolled past California on Saturday, 44-16. The Cougars struggled early on, but went on to score 34 straight points to overcome their sluggish start. Doman was responsible for all six TDs, falling two short of the school record set by Marc Wilson in 1977 and Jim McMahon again in 1980. Doman was 16-of-24 for 272 yards as the Cougars recorded 488 yards of total offense. Luke Staley opened BYU's scoring with a 27-yard TD reception in the second quarter, followed by Doman's first rushing TD-a four-yard run set up by a 41-yard pass to senior receiver Mike Rigell. After recovering a Cal turnover, Doman found Brian McDonald for a 53-yard touchdown as time ran out in the first half. The Cougars picked up where they left off in the first half with a pair of four-yard Doman touchdown runs in the third quarter. Cal ended BYU's streak with a Mark Jensen 30-yard field goal. Reno Mahe completed BYU's touchdown barrage with a 16-yard shake-n-bake touchdown reception in the final minute of the third quarter. Matt Payne added a 23-yard field goal for good measure in the fourth quarter before Cal's Ryan Stanger hauled in a 19-yard touchdown reception with 2:19 remaining in the game.
Cougars Continue to Climb National Polls
Despite having not played since Sept. 8, the Cougars climbed to No. 20 in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll on Sept. 23. After routing California on Sept. 8 in Berkeley, Calif., 44-16, BYU cracked both top-25 polls. The Cougars tallied 114 votes on the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll to rank 25th, while picking up 148 points to earn a No. 24 ranking in the AP poll. The Sept. 9 polls mark the first time BYU has been ranked nationally since the final game of the 1999 season-a 21-3 loss to Marshall in the Motor City Bowl. BYU entered the Motor City Bowl ranked 25th in the coaches poll, while it had dropped from the AP poll on Nov. 21. Nov. 14, 1999 marked the last time BYU was ranked in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls. BYU was ranked 19th in each poll that week, but dropped out of the AP poll and fell to 25th in the coaches poll on Nov. 21. BYU has now been ranked in the Top-20 or Top-25 polls in 22 of the last 26 years. The only years in which BYU has never been ranked during the season since 1976 were 1978,1987 and 2000.
Cougars Aim For Single-Season Scoring Record
Through the first three games of the season, BYU has produced 126 points, averaging a nation's best 55.3 points per game. However, during the 1980 season, BYU posted a record 187 points over a three-game stretch, tallying a combined 187 points against Utah State (70), Hawai'i (34) and UTEP (83). With 10 games remaining, BYU is on pace to break the current single-season scoring record set in 1980. BYU chalked up 606 points, averaging 46.6 points per contest.
Off To A Great Start
BYU's Gary Crowton became the first head coach in BYU football history to win the first three games of his career. With the Cougars' victory over Cal, the former Louisiana Tech head coach has posted a 24-13 career coaching record. With BYU's 52-7 win over Nevada, Crowton became the first BYU coach to win the first two games of his career at BYU since G. Ott Romney won his first two games in 1928. Romney went on to post a 3-3-1 record in his first season. After winning the first game of his career, defeating Kansas, 32-9, former head coach LaVell Edwards lost to Utah State in his second game, 42-19. With a 35-point victory over Tulane to kickoff the Gary Crowton era, the Cougars are 6-7 in the opening game of a coach's tenure at BYU. BYU's current 3-0 record marks the best start since the 1993 season.
Doman, Denney Earn MWC Player-of-the-Week Honors
BYU seniors Brandon Doman and Ryan Denney were selected as the Mountain West Conference players of the week on Sept. 10. Doman was named the MWC Offensive Player of the Week after totaling 318 all-purpose yards, including 272 yards passing on 16-of-24 attempts, 29 yards rushing and 17 yards receiving. Doman produced three rushing touchdowns against the Golden Bears and threw for three more. Doman became the first BYU player responsible for six touchdowns since Steve Sarkisian threw for six TDs during the 1996 season. Denney led the BYU defense with two of the team's five sacks against the Bears. On the day, Denney tallied seven tackles, including six solo takedowns, forced one fumble that led to a BYU touchdown and was credited with one pass deflection. On the day the BYU defense forced three turnovers, which were all converted to touchdowns for the Cougars. Denney is part of a first-team unit that has allowed just one touchdown over the last nine quarters of play.
Fast Times at BYU
The Cougars scored a total of 10 touchdowns vs. Tulane, marking the first time since the 1989 season BYU has put 70 points on the board. Six of the Cougars' 10 scoring drives were completed in less than 2:00. BYU closed out the second quarter with four straight scoring drives of :55, :47, :46 and :33. A week later, the Cougars posted seven touchdowns, with five being scored on drives of 1:58 or less. With a touchdown at the 11:59 mark of the first quarter against Nevada, BYU scored 13 seconds faster than the Tulane game. Against Cal, the Cougars posted five scoring drives of 1:50 or less, including two scoring drives under 1:00. BYU's last-second touchdown in the second quarter marked the quickest scoring drive of the season, lasting just :14. BYU has produced six scoring drives on the season under 1:00. On the Cougars' six scoring drives against Cal, two totaled three plays or less. On the season, BYU has six scoring drives of three or less plays. The Cougars scored two of their touchdowns in the final :52 of the second quarter against the Golden Bears.
"Turnover" A New Leaf
With no turnovers in the last two games, BYU has played back-to-back games without a turnover for the first time since 1994. BYU only has one turnover in three games this season. On the other side of the ball the BYU defense has forced five turnovers, including three interceptions and two fumbles. The Cougars rank 20th nationally in turnover margin, averaging a 1.3 turnovers per game. Sophomore linebacker Paul Walkenhorst ranks 14th nationally with two interceptions on the season, averaging .67 per game. The Cougars forced three turnovers against Cal, converting all three turnovers into 21 points. Last season the Cougars had a -9 turnover margin, allowing 29 turnovers, while forcing just 20. BYU is 23-1 in games since 1981 in which it did not allow a turnovers. (The only loss was to Washington in 1996.) BYU has never gone three straight games without a turnover.
THE STREAK IS STILL ALIVE ... 327 Games And Counting
With Luke Staley's 27-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter at Cal, BYU extended its NCAA record streak to 327 games without being shutout. BYU was last shutout during the 1975 season (Sept. 27, 1975 vs. Arizona State). The Cougars have only one player on its 2001 roster who was alive the last time BYU was shutout. Offensive lineman Aaron McCubbins was just two days old.
Natural Born Winners
After a magical fourth-quarter, come-from behind victory over Utah, 34-27, to end the 2000 season, BYU posted a 6-6 record, marking the 27th straight season without a losing record for the Cougars. BYU has not had a losing season since posting a 5-6 mark in 1973-former head coach LaVell Edward's second season as head coach. The Cougars' streak of 27 straight seasons ranks 11th all-time at the NCAA Division I-A level and is currently the third longest non-losing streak in the nation. (Nebraska leads with an impressive 39 straight seasons without a losing record.)
Compare The Stats
STATS BYU UNLV
Scoring 166 59
Points Per Game 55.3 19.7
First Downs 82 46
Rushing yardage 839 531
Average Per Game 279.7 177
Rushing TDs 15 3
Passing Yardage 981 500
Att-Comp-Int 101-71-0 75-29-4
Average Per Game 327.0 166.7
Passing TDs 8 4
Total Offense 1,820 1,031
Total Plays 224 207
Average Per Game 606.7 343.7
Kick Returns: #-yards 8-162 9-313
Punt Returns: #-yards 15-212 11-102
INT Returns: #-yards 3-17 1-40
Kick Return Average 20.3 34.8
Punt Return Average 14.1 9.3
INT Return Average 5.7 40.0
Fumbles-lost 6-1 9-4
Penalties-yards 22-196 28-254
Punts-yards 9-405 20-486
Time of possession/game 29:14 31:04
3rd-down Conversions 17/37 11/45
4th-down Conversions 3/4 0/7
Sacks by-yards 11-79 17-50
Touchdowns 23 8
Field Goals-Attempts 2-5 1-4
PAT-Attempts 22-23 6-6
Attendance 138,337 125,965
Average Attendance 46,112 41,988
Pick A Receiver; Any Receiver
Throughout the 2001 season, the Cougars have used 17 different receivers, including a season-high 12 different receivers against Nevada. The BYU receiving corps has accounted for 981 of the Cougars' 1,820 total yards on the season, including a season high 389 yards against Nevada. Reno Mahe ranks 24th nationally and leads all BYU receivers with 24 receptions for 263 yards and two touchdowns. The Cougars rank sixth in the nation in passing offense, averaging 327.0 yards per game.
What a Payne
In his first collegiate start, BYU kicker Matt Payne produced 10 PATs to tie the BYU record for most PATs in a single game. (Jason Chaffetz kicked 10 PATs against Utah in 1989.) Payne also tallied four touchbacks and was the benefactor of his own squib quick with just :37 remaining in the first half. His kick ricocheted off a Tulane defender back to the charging Cougar line. Payne was the first to jump on the "live" ball. Against Nevada, Payne had seven PATS to improve his streak to 17 straight PATs. After connecting on 21-straight PATs to start the season, Payne missed his 22nd attempt, a 35-yard PAT (after BYU had been flagged for un-sportsmanlike conduct penalty.) Payne is 22-of-23 on the season and ranks second in the MWC in scoring, averaging 9.3 points per game.
In The Trenches
The experienced BYU offensive line, which includes three seniors and two juniors-all of which started last season, weighs in at a beefy 1,479 pounds, averaging 295.8 pounds per man. The O-line will be squaring off against a UNLV defensive line (one senior, one juniors and one sophomore) that tips the scales at an average 280.0 pounds per man. On defense, the Cougars' line (two seniors, a junior and a sophomore) weighs in at 279.5 pounds per man, while the UNLV offensive line (four seniors and one junior) average 293.0 pounds per man. Four of the Cougars' five starting offensive lineman received All-Conference honors last season, including Aaron McCubbins, Dustin Rykert, Jason Scukanec and Ben Archibald. The BYU offensive line has allowed just one sack on the season, while MSU has given up three sacks. The BYU defense has produced six sacks, while the UNLV defense has tallied 17 sacks over three games.
After Saturday's game at UNLV, the Cougars will return to the friendly confines of LaVell Edwards Stadium to take on in-state rival Utah State (0-3). The game is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 5, beginning at 7 p.m. (MDT). The game will be broadcast locally on KSL, Ch. 5 by SportsWest. The Aggies (0-3) dropped a heart-breaker at home on Saturday against Wyoming, falling to the Cowboys 43-42. Utah State will take on No. 6 Oregon on Saturday, Sept. 29.
The Crowton File
Gary Crowton, a native of Orem, Utah, takes over a BYU program that has been under the direction of college football's sixth all-time winningest coach, LaVell Edwards. Edwards took over the program in 1972, coaching the Cougars to a 257-101-3 (.716) record. Crowton, 44, comes to BYU with a long and proven list of coaching accomplishments. Prior to serving the past two seasons as the offensive coordinator with the NFL's Chicago Bears, where his offense ranked third in the NFL in passing yardage during the 1999 season, Crowton was head coach at Louisiana Tech from 1996-1998. There he guided the Bulldogs to a 21-13 (.618) record over three seasons, including a 9-2 mark in 1997. Competing as an independent for three straight years, Louisiana Tech recorded wins over the likes of Mississippi State, Cal and Alabama. Using its Crowton-designed, high-powered offense, the program also recorded impressive wins by scoring 50-or-more points against eight different opponents, including games of 60-or-more points in five different games. Crowton's offense ranked third in the nation, both in passing and total offense, while the Bulldogs racked up 12,746 yards passing in three years, an average of 4,249 yards per season. The prolific Tech offense also produced 115 touchdown receptions, averaging 38.3 TDs per season. Under Crowton, Louisiana Tech engineered 22 different 300-yard passing games, including a school-record 10, 300-yard outings during the 1998 season. In 1998, Crowton's final season at Louisiana Tech, the Bulldogs combined for a school-record 4,943 yards passing. Crowton's coaching career actually began in 1982 as a student assistant under Edwards at BYU. While at BYU he worked with current Seattle Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren and future NFL Hall of Famer, Steve Young. From BYU, Crowton moved on to Snow College in Ephraim, Utah, where he coached from 1983-86. While at Snow College, Crowton moved from defensive backs coach to offensive coordinator. Under his offensive leadership, the Badgers won the National Junior College Athletic Association National Championship in 1985. From Snow College, Crowton moved to Western Illinois for one season, before taking over as the offensive coordinator at New Hampshire. In 1991, Crowton was hired as the quarterbacks coach at Boston College under head coach Tom Coughlin. There he helped develop quarterback Glenn Foley as a candidate for the Heisman Trophy. After three successful seasons with the Eagles, Crowton was hired as the co-offensive coordinator at Georgia Tech, where his offense led the Yellow Jackets to a No. 21 national ranking in his first and only season in Atlanta. In 1995, Crowton was hired as the offensive coordinator at Louisiana Tech, where he would become the head coach the following season. Crowton, who is the first-ever head football coach at BYU to serve an LDS Church mission, is married to the former Maren Peterson of Bountiful, Utah. The couple was married on August 3, 1985. The Crowtons have six children.
Brandon "Doman"ation - The "Doman"ator
BYU launched a national award campaign for quarterback Brandon Doman this week as it readies to play at UNLV on Saturday. (Designed by Dave Broberg / photos by Mark Philbrick)
In only his fifth career start, senior quarterback Brandon Doman became the first BYU signal caller since Robbie Bosco in 1984 to win his first five games as a starter. Doman led BYU to back-to-back wins to close out the 2000 season and has guided the Cougars to three straight wins to open the 2001 season - the Cougars best start since the 1993 season. In this year's season-opener, Doman dominated Tulane with 115 yards rushing and 286 yards passing on 25-of-31 attempts, becoming the first BYU quarterback to tally such numbers since Young threw for 351 yards and rushed for 113 yards against Baylor in 1983. All totaled, Doman racked up 401 yards of total offense, marking the second time in his first three starts he has had 400 or more yards in a game. (Against New Mexico last season, Doman had 349 yards passing and 51 yards rushing.) The last quarterback to post 400 yards of total offense was during the 1999 season when Kevn Feterik posted 421 yards against Washington. The Doman-led offense produced 734 yards of total offense against the Green Wave, marking the first time since 1994 (vs. Air Force) the Cougars totaled more than 600 total yards in a game. Doman connected with Spencer Nead (twice) and Gabriel Reid for three touchdown passes, marking the first three-TD performance of his career. Against the Green Wave, Doman completed 25 passes in 31 attempts (.810), including a stretch of eight straight completions to start the game. For his efforts, Doman was named the BCA Classic MVP. Against Nevada, Doman played in only six of the Cougars' eight first-half drives, racking up 222 yards on 11-of-21 attempts, including a 51-yard strike to receiver Mike Rigell. Doman picked up his fourth touchdown completion of the season with 3:55 left in the second quarter, connecting with Reno Mahe for a 20-yard TD. In only three quarters of play at Cal, Doman continued to dominate, racking up 318 all-purpose yards, including 272 yards passing on 16-of-24 attempts, 29 yards rushing and 17 yards receiving. Doman produced three rushing touchdowns against the Golden Bears and threw for three more. Doman became the first BYU player responsible for six touchdowns since Steve Sarkisian threw for six TDs during the 1996 season. Doman's efficiency rating of 203 vs. Cal was the highest in a single game since Sarkesian had a rating of 245 vs. Rice in 1996. Dating back to last season, Doman has tallied 104 passing attempts without a single interception. He needs just 60 more to tie Charlie Peterson for the BYU record.
LaVell Edwards Stadium
On November 18, 2001, Cougar Stadium was forever changed, honoring the man who built BYU's football tradition from the ground up. LDS Church President, Gordon B. Hinckley announced the historic name change prior to Edwards' final home game (vs. New Mexico). Now known as LaVell Edwards Stadium; Home of the BYU Cougars, the stadium has been home to more than 110 games since it was expanded to 65,000 seats in 1982. BYU has produced a 92-22 record in the Stadium since the 1982 season, including a 37-13 victory over New Mexico in Edwards' final game in the stadium. Fittingly, Edwards retired with a perfect record (1-0) in LaVell Edwards Stadium. Since 1972, BYU has posted an impressive 134-22 (.859) record in Provo. The Cougars have won four straight in Provo, dating back to 2000.
Ramage Set To Retire After 30th Season
Entering his 30th season at BYU, defensive line coach Tom Ramage announced he will retire following the 2001 season. Ramage came to BYU after a successful playing career at Utah State, where he also served as a graduate assistant coach from 1958-60 and the d-line coach from 1962-65. He left USU to serve as the defensive coordinator at Weber State for seven seasons and was named the head coach at Dixie College in 1971. He coached at Dixie for two seasons before coming to BYU under second-year head coach LaVell Edwards. Ramage has coached over 34 players who have gone on to the NFL. The long-time defensive coach celebrated his 66th birthday (Aug. 25) with a 70-35 win over Tulane in the BCA Classic.
Cool Hand Luke
Junior running back Luke Staley recorded his third career 100-yard game against Nevada on Sept. 1, posting 124 yards on 10 carries, averaging 12.4 yards per carry. In the Cougars' season-opener against Tulane, Staley racked up 142 yards on just 10 carries to set a BYU single-game record with an average 14.2 yards per carry. The horticulture management major also picked up three TDs, including a career long 65 yard scamper in the first quarter to go along with scoring trots of 29 and two yards. Staley also showed his receiving abilities, recording four receptions for 52 yards. The 6-foot-2, 218-pound speedster also returned the opening kickoff for 18 yards. On the day, Staley tallied 212 all-purpose yards to lead the Cougars to a 70-35 win over Tulane. On the season, Staley is tied with senior running back Brian McDonald-Ashford with six touchdowns. Staley has produced at least one touchdown in 15 of the 22 games he has played over his career, including multiple-scoring games in eight different outings. After posting 47 yards against a stingy Cal defense, Staley is now averaging 104.3 yards per game and ranks second in the nation with a 10.8 yards-per-carry average. Staley's 27-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter against the Golden Bears ended the Cougars' first-quarter scoring drought and marked his 26th career touchdown, including his team-leading sixth touchdown of the season. Staley has five rushing touchdowns and one reception for a TD on the season.
Produced a career-high 167 yards rushing on 28 carries against UNLV in 2000.
Racked up 142 yards and three TDs against Tulane in the 2001 season-opener.
Totaled a team-leading 479 yards rushing as a sophomore.
Totaled 75 yards and three touchdowns against Utah State last season.
Has produced 26 career touchdowns, including 22 rushing TDs.
Needs just 14 TDs to tie BYU's career touchdown record (Jamal Willis; 40).
Earned Freshman All-American honors in 1999, scoring 13 TDs on the season.
Accounted for 806 all-purpose yards as a sophomore.
Set BYU single-game record for most yards per carry, averaging 14.2 (vs. Tulane).
Tallied 124 yards on 10 carries and two TDs against Nevada.
Staley's 26 career TDs ranks eighth all-time, behind Matt Bellini's 28.
Staley's 22 rushing TDs ranks seventh all-time, behind Brian McKenzie's 23.
Staley's 1,224 rushing yards ranks 14th all-time, behind Virgil Carter's 1,225 yards.
Another Streak of Note
Dating back to last season, BYU has won a total of five straight games, marking the fifth longest winning streak in the country. Oklahoma leads the nation with 16 straight wins, followed by Miami with 12. Washington and Toledo are tied for third with nine straight wins.
Paper Or Plastic
After three games, BYU has allowed only one sack on the season-it's lowest sack total allowed over a three game stretch. Nevada got to Brandon Doman in the first quarter for the first sack allowed on the season. In the first three games last season, BYU had already given up 15 sacks, including five against Air Force. During the 2000 season, BYU allowed 36 sacks, averaging 3.0 per game. Last season the BYU offensive line did not allow a sack in back-to-back games, including the Colorado State and New Mexico games and allowed just one sack against Wyoming. On the defensive side of the ball, BYU has already sacked its opponent 11 times, including a season-high five sacks against Cal. In the 2000 season, the Cougars had just seven sacks after two games. Senior defensive end Ryan Denney led the Cougars with two sacks against Cal, increasing his MWC-leading total to four sacks on the season.
Early And Often
BYU has scored 166 points on the season, including 23 touchdowns and just two field goal. The Cougars' 55.3 per-game average leads the nation in scoring offense. BYU scored a season-high 10 touchdowns in its season-opener against Tulane and followed that performance with a seven touchdowns against Nevada. The Cougars are averaging nearly one point per minute (0.92 points per minute). The Cougars' 55.3 per-game scoring average is the highest scoring output over the first three games of any season in BYU football history and ranks second of any three-game series. BYU has outscored its opponents by an average 37.0 points per game. While the first quarter has been close over the first three games, with BYU owning a slight 31-28 margin, the Cougars have simply dominated the second quarter of play, outscoring their opponents 77-7. The third quarter tapers off to a mere 48-10 BYU advantage while, with the first- and most of the second-team players on the bench by the fourth quarter, the opponents have outscored BYU 13-10 in the final quarter of play.
With a perfect mark of 17-for-17 inside the Red Zone, the Cougars lead the Mountain West in Red Zone scoring efficiency. The Cougars have produced 15 TDs and two field goals, while their opponents have scored just seven of 13 times.
No Time Like The Present
Saturday's game at UNLV will mark the first time BYU has played in 20 days, marking the longest regular-season layoff since the 1965 season. In 1965, the Cougars defeated San Jose State on Friday, Oct. 8 and did not play again until Oct. 23 in Laramie, Wyo. - a 34-6 loss against the Cowboys. Since 1965, there have been several 13-day layoffs.
Reno Mahe - The Biggest Little Receiver in the MWC
BYU's Reno Mahe wasted little time making an impression in his return to Division-I football. Mahe, after breaking two bones in his foot in the first week of Fall Camp, led the BYU aerial attack, racking up 96 yards on 12 receptions against Tulane. Mahe's 12 receptions marked the first time a BYU receiver has had 10 (or more) receptions in a single game since the 1997 season. In the first quarter against Tulane, Mahe also racked up a 55-yard run on a reverse to the left sideline. The run marked Mahe's second-longest run as a Cougar. As a freshman (in 1998) Mahe posted a 57-yard run. Mahe's last game as a Cougar was on Dec. 31, 1998 against Tulane in the Liberty Bowl. Against Nevada, Mahe cracked the 100-yard barrier, registering 103 yards on six completions, including a 12-yard touchdown reception from Brandon Doman for his first touchdown as a Cougar since the 1998 season. Against Cal, Mahe led BYU for the third straight week, recording 64 yards on six receptions and one touchdown reception. Mahe ranks ninth in the nation with an average 11.0 receptions per game.
Dating back to 1980, the Cougars have appeared on national television an average three times per season, including last year's single-season record six national television appearances. Since its first national television appearance in 1974, BYU has posted a 43-28-2 (.603) while playing on national television, including a 22-15 mark on ABC and a 27-16-2 mark on ESPN. Current assistant coach Robbie Bosco led the Cougars to a 20-14 win over Pittsburgh in the first live ESPN College Football broadcast in 1984.
Including BYU's overtime win against Virginia on Sept. 2, 2000, the Cougars have posted a perfect 4-0 record in overtime games. In fact, BYU has never lost an overtime coin toss. Each of the four games have been won by a field goal, including two game-winners by BYU's all-time leading scorer Owen Pochman (New England Patriots). All four games have been played on the road, including a neutral-site game in 1996 against Wyoming at the WAC Championship game in Las Vegas. Following is a look at each of the Cougars' four overtime games:
Date Overtime Results
Dec. 7, 1996 def. Wyoming, 28-25
Sept. 27, 1997 def. SMU, 19-16
Oct. 1, 1999 def. Utah State, 34-31
Sept. 2, 2000 def. Virginia, 38-35
BYU senior running back Brian McDonald-Ashford's 53-yard touchdown reception (to end the second quarter against Cal) marked his longest career touchdown at BYU. The catch was also his first career touchdown reception. The 53-yard play tied BYU's season-long touchdown reception and Doman's longest of the season.
The Cougars' last-second touchdown in the second quarter at California marked the quickest scoring drive of the season, lasting just :14. BYU has produced six scoring drives on the season under 1:00, including two against Cal. On the Cougars' six scoring drives against the Bears, two were three plays or less. On the season, BYU has six scoring drives of three or less plays. The Cougars scored two of their touchdowns in the final :52 of the second quarter.
BYU's 35-point win over Tulane marked the largest margin of victory for the Cougars since defeating Utah State, 52-0, to open the 1986 season.
BYU's grand total of 437 yards rushing against Tulane was just 28 yards short of the Cougars' all-time team rushing record of 465 yards (vs. Montana; 1958).
BYU's 49 points in the first half (against Tulane) tied a LaVell Edwards Stadium record for the most points scored in a half.
The Cougars' victory over Tulane marked only the fifth time in BYU football history the Cougars have scored 70 or more points in a single game. The all-time single-game scoring record stands at 83 points, tallied against UTEP during the 1980 season.
Against Tulane, the Cougars did not face a fourth down situation until the 10:05 mark in the third quarter. The offense ended up with just four fourth-down situations for the entire game, resulting in one field goal attempt, two punts and a fourth down conversion.
With 734 yards of total offense against Tulane, it marked the first time BYU had more than 600 yards of total offense since 1994's game against Air Force. The Cougars came up short of their total offense record set in 1983 against New Mexico, where the Cougars piled up 777 yards of total offense. The Cougars also fell just short of the single-game rushing record with 437 yards. The record stands at 465 (vs. Montana) in 1958.
The Cougars had five players with over 100 all-purpose yards against Tulane, including Brandon Doman, Luke Staley, Reno Mahe, Brian McDonald and Mike Rigell.