Falcon Stadium Air Force Academy CO 80840
Air Force Academy edges BYU in Conference Opener
The Air Force Academy edged BYU, 31-23, in the conference opener for both teams, beating the Cougars for only the second time in Falcon Stadium.
The Cougars and the Falcons battled closely for three quarters without a turnover by either team, but in the end, turnovers proved to be BYU's downfall. Two fumbles late in the game led to an Air Force field goal, putting Air Force up 31-23, with just over a minute left. On BYU's final drive, the Falcons intercepted BYU quarterback Bret Engemann, giving Air Force the ball and a chance to run out the clock.
"Those three turnovers in the fourth quarter just killed us," said coach LaVell Edwards. "Offensively, we couldn't get anything going in the second half. The guys tried hard, we just weren't playing very effectively at times."
After slow starts in the first two games of the season, BYU got off to a quick start against the Air Force Falcons, scoring on four of their first five possessions. Luke Staley's 14-yard touchdown with 5:25 left in the first quarter was the first touchdown for BYU in the first quarter since October 23, 1999 against UNLV.
In the second quarter, Brian McDonald broke a 37-yard run and Margin Hooks caught a 22-yard pass, which led to a Mike Rigell touchdown catch from the 19-yard line, putting the Cougars up 17-14.
In unusual fashion, Air Force scored three passing touchdowns in the first half to counter BYU's offensive attack and put the Falcons up 21-20 at halftime. Air Force quarterback Mike Thiessen passed for four touchdowns in all, the first option quarterback at Air Force to do so and the first time since 1982 that a Falcon quarterback has passed for four touchdowns in a game, an Air Force record.
"I thought our quarterback did an exceptional job," said Air Force head coach Fisher DeBerry. "It's been a long time since we've scored four passing touchdowns."
In contrast to last week's game, the Cougar offense struggled to move the ball in the second half against the Falcon defense.
"They had a pretty good defense," said McDonald. "We didn't capitalize when we had good field position."
Margin Hooks extended his record of consecutive games with a catch to 27, the fifth best in the nation. Hooks finished the game with three catches for 42 yards. Once again, Owen Pochman was perfect on the afternoon hitting field goals of 27, 40 and 43 yards, his third fourth and fifth straight of the season, along with two PATs.
BYU will have a short week this week as they take on Mississippi State Thursday night in Cougar Stadium. The game will kick off at 6 p.m.
Box Score (Final)
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
----------------- -- -- -- -- -----
Brigham Young....... 10 10 0 3 - 23 Record: (1-2,0-1)
Air Force........... 7 14 7 3 - 31 Record: (2-0,1-0)
1st 10:07 BYU - POCHMAN, Owen 27 yd field goal, 7 plays, 36 yards,
TOP 3:02, BYU 3 - AFA 0
07:36 AFA - BROWN, Q. 13 yd pass from THIESSEN, Mike (ADAMS, Dave kick),
6 plays, 80 yards, TOP 2:31, BYU 3 - AFA 7
05:25 BYU - STALEY, Luke 13 yd run (POCHMAN, Owen kick), 5 plays, 94 yards,
TOP 2:11, BYU 10 - AFA 7
2nd 14:41 AFA - FLEMING, Ryan 53 yd pass from THIESSEN, Mike (ADAMS, Dave kick),
1 play, 53 yards, TOP 0:09, BYU 10 - AFA 14
09:54 BYU - RIGELL, Mike 19 yd pass from ENGEMANN, Bret (POCHMAN, Owen kick),
8 plays, 82 yards, TOP 4:47, BYU 17 - AFA 14
04:17 BYU - POCHMAN, Owen 40 yd field goal, 9 plays, 37 yards,
TOP 2:17, BYU 20 - AFA 14
00:55 AFA - FLEMING, Ryan 20 yd pass from THIESSEN, Mike (ADAMS, Dave kick),
11 plays, 80 yards, TOP 3:22, BYU 20 - AFA 21
3rd 06:15 AFA - BROWN, Q. 25 yd pass from THIESSEN, Mike (ADAMS, Dave kick),
7 plays, 55 yards, TOP 2:46, BYU 20 - AFA 28
4th 08:31 BYU - POCHMAN, Owen 43 yd field goal, 12 plays, 56 yards,
TOP 5:09, BYU 23 - AFA 28
02:32 AFA - ADAMS, Dave 35 yd field goal, 4 plays, -8 yards,
TOP 2:37, BYU 23 - AFA 31
FIRST DOWNS................... 21 18
RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............ 26-125 53-186
PASSING YDS (NET)............. 235 203
Passes Att-Comp-Int........... 40-18-1 16-11-0
TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS..... 66-360 69-389
Fumble Returns-Yards.......... 0-0 0-0
Punt Returns-Yards............ 4-40 2-31
Kickoff Returns-Yards......... 3-28 1-20
Interception Returns-Yards.... 0-0 1-0
Punts (Number-Avg)............ 6-46.8 7-46.4
Fumbles-Lost.................. 2-2 0-0
Penalties-Yards............... 5-32 7-45
Possession Time............... 26:24 33:36
Sacks By: Number-Yards........ 2-15 5-26
RUSHING: Brigham Young-MCDONALD, Brian 10-88; STALEY, Luke 9-50; SNOWDEN,
Will 1-6; ENGEMANN, Bret 6-minus 19. Air Force-BEARD, Nate 10-59; BROWN, Q.
10-55; BECKER, Scott 6-25; THIESSEN, Mike 16-20; MCKAY, Scotty 7-19; PALMER,
Leotis 1-8; Air Force Team 3-0.
PASSING: Brigham Young-ENGEMANN, Bret 18-40-1-235. Air Force-THIESSEN, Mike
RECEIVING: Brigham Young-RIGELL, Mike 4-34; HOOKS, Margin 3-42; PITTMAN,
Jonath 3-35; JOLLEY, Doug 2-66; STALEY, Luke 2-28; SITAKE, Kalani 2-17;
SNOWDEN, Will 1-8; OFAHENGAUE, Tev 1-5. Air Force-FLEMING, Ryan 5-145;
BROWN, Q. 3-38; JESSOP, C. 1-11; PALMER, Leotis 1-6; BECKER, Scott 1-3.
INTERCEPTIONS: Brigham Young-None. Air Force-DUFFY, Kurt 1-0.
Stadium: Falcon Attendance: 45277
Kickoff time: 11:07 End of Game: 2:11 Total elapsed time: 3:04
Officials: Referee: Clair Gausman; Umpire: Steve Storie; Linesman: Brian Matthew;
Line judge: Jack Wood; Back judge: David Lambros; Field judge: Charles Sisk;
Side judge: Ken Lucido; Scorer: Laura Fawcett;
Temperature: 75 Wind: SW 15-25 Weather: Sunny, few clouds
SACKS (UA-A): Brigham Young-GALI, Setema 2-0. Air Force-MEINROD, Sam 2-0;
NELSON, Corey 2-0; ZANOTTI, C.J. 1-0.
TACKLES (UA-A): Brigham Young-ENA, Justin 4-7; LEE, Jared 5-4; KELLEY, Isaac
4-5; DENNEY, Ryan 3-5; SMITH, Tyson 4-3; STALEY, Dustin 6-0; LOWE, Josh 2-3;
GALI, Setema 3-1; WILSON, Derrus 1-2; HOKE, Chris 1-2; OLSEN, Hans 0-2;
NIELSON, Mike 1-0; LAFITTE, Michae 1-0; PHILLIPS, Danny 1-0; CARLSON, Brent
1-0; KEISEL, Brett 0-1; FALES, Andrew 0-1; REID, Gabriel 0-1; EDWARDS, Elan
0-1. Air Force-GLISSON, Wes 4-8; ZANOTTI, C.J. 2-7; POMMER, Matt 3-3;
NELSON, Corey 4-1; MEINROD, Sam 2-3; JOHNSON, Zach 2-1; BUELOW, Joel 2-1;
DUFFY, Kurt 1-2; HANES, Adam 2-0; METTERS, Tony 1-1; PENDRY, Justin 1-1;
ALLEN, Kyle 1-1; CRAWLEY, Wes 0-2; PROBERT, Dan 1-0; CAGE, Tre 1-0;
THOMPSON, D. 1-0; RUNYON, Kevin 0-1; ARTHUR, Jamie 0-1; BEARD, Nate 0-1;
FINNAN, Ryan 0-1; LOGSDON, Travis 0-1.
The Cougars (1-1) will take to the road for the third straight weekend, marking only the third time in BYU football history the Cougars have opened with three straight road games. BYU will travel to Colorado Springs, Colo., to take on Mountain West Conference foe Air Force (1-0) on Saturday. The game will mark the league opener for both teams. Air Force enters Saturday's game after a 55-6 win over I-AA Cal State Northridge, while the Cougars are coming of a thrilling 38-35, come-from-behind win at Virginia. Saturday's game will mark the 21st meeting between the two teams, dating back to Nov. 24, 1956. BYU started the series off with four straight wins, before the Falcons recorded their first win in 1982 -- a 39-38 win in the first-ever game at the newly expanded Cougar Stadium. The Cougars would go on to win 12 straight games in the series, spanning from 1983 - 1994. Air Force won two straight.
The Cougars will depart Provo Friday, Sept. 8, at 2 p.m. (MDT) via charter and is scheduled to arrive in Colorado Springs around 4 p.m. (MDT). The team is scheduled to hold a walk-through at Falcon Stadium Friday evening. The team will be staying at the Wyndham Hotel in Colorado Springs and is scheduled to return to Provo immediately following the game on Saturday, Sept. 9.
Saturday's game will be broadcast locally on KSL, Ch. 5 by SportsWest, beginning at 11:07 a.m. (MDT). Las Vegas sportscaster Dave McCann will call the action with former Cougar Blaine Fowler lending expert analysis. Kathy Aiken will be reporting from the sidelines.
Scouting the Falcons
Air Force enters Saturday's game following a dominating 55-6 win over Cal State Northridge in Colorado Springs. The Falcons scored on their first three possessions to take a 17-0 lead and never let up. Quarterback Mike Thiessen led the Falcons' offense with 101 yards rushing and a touchdown. Thiessen also connected on 7-of-12 attempts for 75 yards. Air Force rolled up 698 total yards, which ranks fourth most in school history and the most yardage since a 646-yard performance against New Mexico in 1987. The Falcon defense allowed just 227 yards and 11 first downs. Scott Becker ranks second on the AFA roster with 97 yards on 13 carries. All totaled seven different Air Force ball carriers scored against the Matadors. Zach Johnson led the AFA defense with six tackles, including three unassisted takedowns. Johnson has three tackles for a combined loss of 14 yards, including a sack for minus 12 yards. After week one, Air Force leads the nation in rushing (583.0 yds. p/g) and total offense (698.0 yds. p/g) and ranks fifth in scoring (55.0 pts. p/g).
Coaching Legends Meet for Final Time
With the announced retirement of BYU head coach LaVell Edwards, Saturday's game will be the final meeting between two of the nation's longest tenured coaches. Edwards ranks second in tenure at one school, coaching in his 29th season at BYU, while Fisher DeBerry ranks sixth nationally with 17years under his belt at the Air Force Academy. Edwards has also won 171 conference games, while DeBerry is second on that list with 76 league wins among active MWC coaches.
Coach Edwards - (252-96-3, .722)
BYU head coach LaVell Edwards enters his 29th and final season at the helm of the Cougar program. On Aug. 17, 2000 Edwards made the historic announcement he would step down as head coach following the 2000 season. Edwards, who will be 70 in October, has a 252-96-3 record in 28 seasons with the Cougars. His teams have won 20 conference titles, including a share of the 1999 Mountain West Conference title and have appeared in 22 bowl games. In 1984, he was named National Coach of the Year after BYU finished the season 13-0 and won the National Championship. He needs just five victories to pass Tom Osborne as the sixth-winningest college football coach in history. He enters the 2000 season with the third-most wins (251) and the third best winning percentage (.723) among active coaches. Edwards has produced all but one winning season since taking over the program in 1972. Edwards' teams have passed for over 56 miles during his 28-year career. He has coached two Outland Trophy winners, four Davey O'Brien Trophy winners, 35 All-Americans, 11 conference Player-of-the Year recipients, 31 Academic All-Americans and has led the Cougars to seven NCAA single-season passing titles. Since 1972, Edwards has guided BYU to 22 postseason bowl appearances, including a string of 17 straight from 1978-1994. Only Michigan, Alabama and Nebraska have laced together a string of more consecutive appearances. The Cougars' last home game in Provo marked the 160th home game for Edwards. In 28 seasons, Edwards is 129-31 (.810) in Cougar Stadium. Enter the 2000 season, the former Utah State lineman ranks third among active coaches with 200-or-more wins. Edwards trails only Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden. The Cougars game against Florida State will mark Edwards' 350th career game. Edwards joined Hal Mitchell's BYU football staff as an assistant coach in 1962. He was named BYU's head coach in 1972 and has enjoyed winning seasons every year but 1973, when the Cougars finished 5-6. Labeled a "national coaching treasure" by USA Today, Edwards has coached his teams to four top-10 rankings and 13 top-25 finishes. Edwards' teams are known for their wide-open offenses. His quarterbacks have thrown over 11,000 passes for more than 100,000 yards and 635 touchdowns in 28 seasons. All American quarterbacks to play for Edwards include Gary Sheide, Gifford Nielsen, Marc Wilson, Jim McMahon, Steve Young, Robbie Bosco, Ty Detmer and Steve Sarkisian. Awards won by his players include a Heisman Trophy, a Maxwell Award, two Outland Trophies, four Davey O'Brien Awards and 31 All-America citations. Edwards inherited a mediocre BYU foot ball program that had a .431 winning percentage in 47 seasons. His teams have since made appearances in the Fiesta, Cotton, Holiday, Tangerine, Citrus, Copper, Aloha, Liberty, Freedom, All-America and Motor City bowls. Edwards has not shied away from playing tough non-conference schedules. His teams own victories over the likes of Notre Dame, Michigan, Penn State, Texas A&M, Texas, Oklahoma, Miami, UCLA, Washington, Pittsburgh and Colorado. Edwards' impact on the coaching world will continue long after he has left the coaching limelight. His former assistant coaches and players are now making their mark on the game. Seattle Seahawks head coach and general manager Mike Holmgren got his first big break as quarterbacks coach at BYU under Edwards. Current NFL head coaches Brian Billick (Baltimore Ravens) and Andy Reid (Philadelphia Eagles) played for the Cougars during the Edwards era. In the college ranks, Cal head coach Tom Holmoe played for Edwards and worked for a season at BYU as a graduate assistant coach. Alabama offensive coordinator Charlie Stubbs was also a graduate assistant with Edwards. Ted Tollner, San Diego State's head coach, served as Edwards' assistant. Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Gary Crowton grew up in Edwards' hometown of Orem, Utah, and patterned his coaching philosophy after Edwards', as did new Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach. One of 14 children, Edwards graduated from Lincoln High School in Orem, Utah. He attended Utah State University, where he earned all-conference honors before serving a two-year commitment in the Army. He began his full-time coaching career at Granite High School in Salt Lake City, where he coached for eight years before accepting a job at BYU.
Did Somebody Say McDonald?
Junior college transfer Brian McDonald played a major roll in the Cougars' second-half, come-from-behind victory over Virginia on Saturday. The 6-foot-0, 200-pound running back from Buena Park, Calif., totaled a season-high 86 yards on 20 carries, marking the most rushing yards gained by a BYU back since Fahu Tahi recorded 89 yards against UNLV last season. Perhaps most impressive was McDonald's three rushing touchdown, marking the first time a BYU ball carrier has scored three rushing touchdowns in a single game since Ronney Jenkins recorded three TDs against Utah in 1996. McDonald's two touchdowns in the third quarter against Virginia marked the first time since Nov. 6, 1999 (vs. San Diego State) the Cougars have scored more than once during the same quarter. McDonald's first, third-quarter TD marked the first rushing touchdown for the Cougars since the 4:47 mark in the fourth quarter against Wyoming on Nov. 13, 1999 (Kevin Feterik one-yard run).
McDonald's 2000 Season Stats
G No. Gain Loss Net TD Long Avg.
2 20 86 0 86 3 23 4.3
Including the Cougars' Aug. 26th matchup against Florida State in the Pigskin Classic, BYU will appear on national television a total of six times during the 2000 regular-season, marking the most single-season national television appearances in BYU football history. The Cougars opened the season on ABC against Florida State, and will play on three ESPN Thursday Night games during the 2000 campaign. In addition, BYU will play at Syracuse on an ESPN2 national broadcast. Dating back to 1980, the Cougars have appeared on national television an average of three times per season. Prior to this season, the Cougars have played five games on national T.V. four different times, including the 1998, 1996, 1988 and 1985 seasons. Since 1980, BYU has played in at least one nationally-televised game. In 1999, the Cougars were 2-1 in national TV games. Since its first national television appearance in 1974, BYU has posted a 40-25-2 record while playing in front of a national audience, including a 22-15 mark on ABC and a 24-14-2 mark on ESPN. BYU has been a regular on ESPN's Thursday Night Game of the Week in recent history, compiling a 9-2 overall record and a current five-game winning streak. Current assistant coach Robbie Bosco led the Cougars to a 20-14 win over Pitt in the first live ESPN College Football broadcast in 1984. Over 11 years ago, the Cougars recorded their largest margin of victory while playing on national television, defeating Texas, 72-6, on Sept. 8, 1988.
Team Statistics BYU BYU Opp AFA AFA Opp
Total First Downs 43 44 38 11
First Downs-Rushing 11 15 30 3
First Downs-Passing 26 26 8 7
First Downs-Penalty 6 3 0 1
Rushing Att-Yds 58-91 78-327 74-563 32-125
Pass Comp-Att-Int 52-88-5 45-74-1 11-20-1 15-19-1
Passing Yards 674 535 115 102
Total Offense Plays-Yards 146-765 152-862 94-698 61-227
Punting No.-Avg. 10-38.4 12-41.2 4-41.5 9-48.0
Fumbles-Lost 5-2 0-0 1-0 4-2
Penalties-Yards 16-135 13-108 6-41 2-10
Sacks by-Yds Lost 5-31 10-75 1-12 2-10
3rd Down Conversions 12/28 16/33 3/12 4/16
3rd Down Conversion Pct. .429 .485 .250 .250
4th Down Conversions 1-1 1-2 2/2 0/1
4th Down Conversion Pct. 1.000 .500 1.000 .000
Avg. Time of Possession 30:31 29:29 35:17 24:43
Scoring by Quarter 1 2 3 4 OT Total Avg.
Brigham Young 0 0 17 21 3 41 20.5
Brigham Young (Opp) 22 21 7 14 0 64 32.0
Air Force 17 10 14 14 - 55 55.0
Air Force (Opp) 0 0 0 6 0 6 6.0
Keeping the Faith
With Bret Engemann listed as the starter against Florida State and Virginia, the 2000 season will mark the first time since the 1991 season BYU has had a Mormon (preferably, Latter-day Saint) as its "regular" starting quarterback. With all three quarterbacks on the 2000 roster listed as returned missionaries, it will also mark the first season since 1988 the Cougars have been led by a returned missionary. Engemann served a two-year LDS Church mission in Boston, Mass., Backup Charlie Peterson served in Suva, Fiji and Brandon Doman served in Bahia Blanca, Argentina. The last "regular" starting quarterback at BYU to serve an LDS Church mission was Sean Covey, who started the 1988 season after serving a mission in South Africa. As a note, Paul Shoemaker, an LDS returned missionary played in five games during the 1997 season, starting in just one game (vs. Washington.)
In The Beginning
Sophomore quarterback Bret Engemann got his first collegiate start at quarterback on Aug. 26, taking on defending national champion Florida State. It was the first start Engemann has had since his senior year in high school back in 1996. Engemann was 12-of-28 in his collegiate debut, totaling 139 yards. Engemann split time with junior Charlie Peterson and was forced to sit out the fourth quarter due to a sprained knee. In his second career start, the sophomore quarterback followed a promising debut at Florida State with a stellar 447-yard, two-touchdown performance at Virginia on Saturday. Engemann completed nearly 83-percent of his passes, connecting on 34-of-41 for 447 yards and two touchdowns. After throwing an interception late in the third quarter, the 6-foot-4, 230-pound slinger connected on 12 straight completions, including a stretch of 11 straight during the fourth quarter to help overcome a 21-point halftime deficit. Engemann was named the Chevrolet Player of the Game and Mountain West Co-Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts in leading the Cougars to a 38-35, come-from-behind win over the Cavaliers. Following is a breakdown of how other BYU quarterbacks have fared in their first-ever collegiate start:
Name Date Age Class Opp. Result Stats
Gifford Nielsen 10-11-75 20 So. Air Force W, 28-14 14-19-170: 1 INT, 1 TD
Marc Wilson 10-15-77 20 So. at Colorado St. W, 63-17 15-25-332; 1 INT, 7 TD
Jim McMahon 10-21-78 19 So. UTEP W, 44-0 10-19-143; 1 INT, 1 TD
Steve Young 10- 2-81 19 So. Utah State W, 33-26 21-40-307; 1 INT, 1 TD
Robbie Bosco 9- 1-84 21 Jr. at Pittsburgh W, 20-14 25-43-325; 2 INT, 1 TD
Sean Covey 10-31-87 23 So. Air Force W, 24-13 18-29-294; 0 INT, 1 TD
Ty Detmer 9-30-88 20 Fr. Utah State W, 38-3 24-35-333; 0 INT, 5 TD
John Walsh 9- 5-92 19 So. at UTEP W, 38-28 17-28-302; 2 INT, 3 TD
Steve Sarkisian 9- 2-95 21 Jr. at Air Force L, 12-38 25-42-346; 2 INT, 2 TD
Paul Shoemaker 9- 6-97 23 Jr. Washington L, 42-20 7-13-90; 0 INT, 0 TD
Kevin Feterik 9-20-97 20 So. at Arizona St. W, 13-10 17-30-328; 0 INT, 0 TD
Bret Engemann 8-26-00 22 So. vs. Florida St. L, 3-29 12-28-139; 2 INT, 0 TD
(Stats compiled by Jeff Call, Deseret News)
During the 2000 season, the Cougars will compete against six teams which participated in bowl games during the 1999 season, posting a 4-2 mark. All 12 of this year's opponents posted a combined 82 wins during the 1999 season, totaling a .594 winning percentage. Nine of the Cougars 12 opponents recorded winning records in 1999, including Mississippi State (10-2) and Florida State (12-0). The Cougars have posted winning records against seven of this year's opponents.
While sitting in the team room this summer, senior offensive captain Kalani Sitake took notice of a number of former BYU All-America and All-Conference photos on the wall. Many of the players, including those from the 1984 National Championship team, were wearing mustaches. In an attempt to rally the troops, and perhaps an effort to tap in to the secret success of the 1984 team, Sitake encouraged several of his teammates to grow mustaches as well. Some member of the "Mustache Crew" now wearing mustaches (or trying to) include, Sitake, his brother T.J. Sitake, Setema Gali, Ben Horton, Brett Keisel, Jared Lee, Chris Hoke, Hans Olsen, Justin Ena, Isaac Kelley, Josh Lowe, team trainer George Curtis and associate athletics director Duff Tittle. Gali and the Sitake brothers have even written a song (and performed it for an ABC television audience last week) about their mustaches.
The Streak Continues
Despite a first-half shutout at Virginia last weekend, the Cougars rallied to score 38 points in the second half and extended its NCAA record streak to 314 games without being shutout. BYU was last shutout during the 1975 season (Sept. 27, 1975 vs. Arizona State). To put the streak in perspective, the Cougars have not been shutout since Gerald Ford was the President; a soft-spoken speedster out of Jackson State, named Walter Payton, was the Chicago Bears' first-round draft choice and Kam Valgardson, one of the oldest players on the BYU roster, was born three days after the shutout (Sept. 24, 1975).
With three-regular season, non-conference games on the East Coast, including matchups against Florida State, Virginia and Syracuse, as well as league games at Air Force, Colorado State and Utah, the Cougars will log some 10, 470 miles this season. With the exception of Hawai'i, which will make four trips to the Mainland, including three trips to the state of Texas, BYU will travel more miles than any other NCAA Division-I team in the country. The 2000 season will also mark the first time the Cougars have traveled east of the Mississippi River three different times during the regular season. The Cougars will be making first-ever appearances in Jacksonville, Fla., Charlottesville, Va., and Syracuse, N.Y. Following is a look at the round-trip miles the Cougars will travel:
Flordia State - 3,160
Syracuse - 3,190
Virginia - 3,090
Colorado State - 300
Air Force - 660
Utah - 70
Believe It or Not ...
Senior defensive tackle, Hans Olsen , the nephew of NFL Hall-of-Famer Merlin Olsen, has developed a unique talent. The 6-4, 295-pound farmboy from Weiser, Idaho, has balanced tables, chairs, bicycles atop a garden rake, small children in high-chairs and even railroad ties all on his chin. Olsen said he was inspired one day while fighting boredom on the family farm. A popular visitor among local elementary schools, Olsen will often balance large lunch tables on his chin if children promise to spend more time reading. Olsen's ultimate balancing act was accomplished by balancing two railroad ties on his chin at the same time. With one lying across the top of the other, Olsen's balancing act totaled over 250 pounds. Olsen's talent was recently featured in ESPN Magazine.
Pound For Pound
The BYU offensive line totals an beefy 1,145 pounds, averaging 289 pounds per man. They will be going up against the Air Force defensive line, which weighs in at an average 273.3 pounds. The BYU front five is made up of one sophomore, two juniors and two seniors, while the Falcons' defensive front three contain two juniors and one senior. Defensively, the Cougars' front four, which weighs in at an average 276 pounds, will be going up against an AFA front five that weighs in at a total 1,400 pounds. That's an average of 280.0 pounds per man. The BYU defensive front, which contains three seniors and a junior, will be grinding it out with three seniors and two juniors.
Natural Born Winners
Despite dropping the final three games of the 1999 season, the Cougars posted an 8-4 record, marking the 26th straight winning season. BYU has not had a losing season since posting a 5-6 mark in 1973 -- head coach LaVell Edward's second season as head coach. The Cougar's streak of 26 straight winning season ranks 11th all-time at the NCAA Division -1A level and is currently the second longest streak in the nation. (Nebraska leads with an impressive 38 straight winning seasons.)
BYU's Winning Margin
All-America and Biletnikoff Award candidate Margin Hooks currently ranks fifth in the nation with a streak of 26 straight games with at least one reception. The 6-0, 190-pound speedster led the Cougars in 1999 with 1,067 yards, averaging 97 yards per game. The senior receiver produced a team-leading seven touchdowns receptions and ranked third on the roster in scoring with 42 points on the season. Hooks has produced 2,189 career receiving yards and needs just 877 yards to become the Cougars' all-time receiving yardage leader. Hooks is currently ranked seventh on that list. Hooks produced four receptions for 66 yards against Florida State in the Cougars' season-opener and followed that performance with seven receptions for 76 yards against Virginia. Hooks was also credited with his first touchdown reception of the season -- a six-yard reception that pulled the Cougars to within one point with just 50 seconds remaining in the ball game. (Owen Pochman nailed the extra point as the Cougars went on to win a 38-35 overtime thriller in Charlottesville.
BYU Career Receiving Yardage Leaders
Receiver Career Yards
1. Eric Drage, 1990-93 3,066
2. Matt Bellini, 1987-90 2,635
3. Phil Odle, 1965-67 2,548
4. Gordon Hudson, 1980-83 2,484
5. Mark Bellini, 1983-86 2,429
6. Chris Smith, 1988-90 2,367
7. Margin Hooks, 1997-present 2,265
8. Glen Kozlowski, 1981-85 2,223
9. Mike Chronister, 1976-78 2,205
10. Dan Plater, 1978-81 1,979
A Look Back (BYU 38, Virginia 35)
The BYU football team had a return to offensive glory in the second half of its 38-35 overtime time victory over Virginia on Sept. 2. After falling behind to the Cavaliers 21-0 at halftime, sophomore quarterback Bret Engemann passed for 318 second-half yards and led BYU to an impressive come-from-behind overtime win that was capped off with a 26 yard field goal by senior Owen Pochman. Engemann, who earned Chevrolet Player of the Game honors by throwing for 447 yards and two touchdowns, opened the second half by orchestrating an eight-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a Brian McDonald six yard touchdown run to bring the score to 21-7. The BYU defense responded by forcing a punt from Virginia in its opening series of the half. Engemann then proceeded to march the Cougars 80 yards down the field on 5-of-6 passing for 71 yards to set up another touchdown run by McDonald, a junior college transfer running back playing in just his second game for BYU. Just before the end of the third quarter, Virginia wide receiver Kevin Coffey scored on a 28-yard touchdown pass from Dan Ellis to bring increase the Cavalier lead to 28-14. However, the Cougars answered with a 78-yard drive highlighted by a 70-yard reception by senior wide receiver Jonathan Pittman. Pittman's catch set up McDonald's third touchdown of the game - a six-yard run to bring the Cougars within one touchdown. After another touchdown by Virginia, BYU took control of the game. With 9:34 left in the game, BYU faced a fourth-and-one that was converted on a run up the middle by McDonald. The run set up a six-yard touchdown pass from Engemann to junior tight end Doug Jolley with 8:11 remaining in the game. The touc down was the first of Engemann's career and made the score 35-28. Virginia drove the ball to its own 49-yard line, but facing its own fourth-and-one situation Virginia coach George Welsh elected to go for the first down. The Cougar defense stopped the play for no gain. The defensive stop put the Cougars in good position and Engemann capitalized. BYU drove to the Virginia six-yard line and with 50 seconds remaining in the game, Engemann found Hooks in the end zone to tie the score at 35-35. Virginia responded to the Hooks' touchdown by driving the ball down the field and setting up a 48-yard field goal attempt with 10 seconds remaining which was missed by Virginia place-kicker David Greene. BYU's Tyson Smith opened the overtime by intercepting an Ellis pass, stopping the Cavaliers and opened the door for Pochman's heroics. Engemann ended the afternoon 34-of-41 for 447 yards passing. It marked the first time a Virginia team has given up 400 yards passing in a game since its 1995 meeting with Florida State.
The Cougars became only the fourth non-ACC team to win in Charlottesville since 1987. The Cougars joins ranks with Auburn (1997), Penn State (1988) and Virginia Tech (1993, '95 and '99) as the only non-ACC teams to beat the Cavaliers in Charlottesville. UVa had won 23 of its last 28 non-conference games at home. Welsh's teams were 30-5 at home against non-conference opponents until Saturday.
The BYU win also marked the first home loss for the Cavaliers by an un-ranked opponent since a 1986 setback to William & Mary. In addition, the Cougars are the first team from west of the Mississippi River to beat Virginia in Charlottesville.
The Cougars' touchdown with 12:26 in the third quarter, marked the first time BYU has entered the endzone since the fourth quarter of the Utah game on Nov. 20, 1999 in Provo. The touchdownless streak spanned a stretch of 10 quarters, including the first two quarters of today's game.
Player Injury Game Status
Jimmy Betham, DT Knee (ACL) Out
Jeff Holtry, LB Knee (ACL) Out
Ben Horton, WR Hand (Broken) Out (1-3 weeks)
Luke Staley, RB Concussion Will Play
Jason Scukanec (C) Hand (Bruised) Probable
Mike Lafitte (CB) Finger (Dislocated) Probable
Kalani Sitake (FB) Groin Probable
What's The "O" For
BYU players will be wearing the letter "O" on the back of their helmets this season in remembrance of long-time trainer Ollie Julkunen, who passed away earlier this year. Julkunen, a native of Kuopio, Finland, will be remembered for his brilliant sense of humor and antics, in addition to his genuine love and concern for each student-athlete.
In the Cougars' first two games of the season, BYU has yet to produce a single point in the first half. BYU scored just three points in the second half against Florida State and did not break in to the endzone until the third quarter of the Virginia game. After scoring just six points in the last 10 quarters, including the first two quarters of Saturday's game, BYU exploded for 38 points in the second half to upset Virginia, 38-35.
The Red Zone
After cracking the Red Zone just once against Flordia State, the Cougars penetrated the Red Zone seven different times against Virginia, including the overtime period. The Cougars scored in an impressive six of seven trips to the Red Zone against the Cavaliers. Following is an overall look of the Cougars trips to the Red Zone.
Total Red Zone Series - 8
Times Scored After Entering the Red Zone - 6
Red Zone Scoring Efficiency (FG + TDs) - (.750)
Average Red Zone Appearances per Game - 4.0
Total plays in the Red Zone - 22
Touchdowns in the Red Zone - 5
Field Goals in the Red Zone - 1
Rushing Plays in the Red Zone - 10
Rushing TDs in the Red Zone - 3
Red Zone Rushing - 10 carries for 28 yards
Average Rush per Carry in the Red Zone - 2.8 y/pc
Passing Plays in the Red Zone - 10
Passing TDs in the Red Zone - 2
Red Zone Passing Efficiency - 8-of-10 (.800)
Field Goal Attempts in the Red Zone - 1
Field Goals Made in the Red Zone - 1
Red Zone Turnovers - 1
Missed Field Goals - 0
Blocked Field Goals - 0
Fumble - 2
Interception - 0
End of Game - 0
For only the third time in its history, BYU opens this year's campaign with three straight road games. Like the 1924 and 1991 season, the Cougars will take to the road three straight times to open the 2000 season. Already this year, the Cougars have traveled to Jacksonville, Fla. (vs. Florida State) and Charlottesville, Va. BYU will travel to Colorado Springs on Saturday to take on Air Force in their third straight road game before returning to Provo for a pair of home games (vs. Mississippi State and UNLV). The trip to Colorado Springs will mark the shortest road trip for this Cougars since traveling to Wyoming last November. Since the Cougars last home game on Nov. 20, 1999, BYU has crossed the Mississippi River three different times, traveling to Detroit, Mich. (Motor City Bowl vs. Marshall), Jacksonville, Fla. (Pigskin Classic vs. Flordia State) and Charlottesville, Va. (vs. Virginia). In 1991, BYU went 0-3 on the road, dropping games against Florida State, UCLA and Penn State, but did not lose another game the rest of the season. The Cougars posted an 8-3-2 mark in 1991. In 1924, the only other year the Cougars started the season with three road trips, BYU posted a mark of 1-2 in the first three games and went on to record a 2-3-1 record . So far this season, the Cougars are 1-1 on the road.
Cougars Dominate Overtime
Including BYU's overtime win against Virginia on Sept. 2, the Cougars have posted a perfect 4-0 record in overtime games. In fact, BYU has never lost an overtime coin flip. Each of the four games have been won by a field goal, including two game-winners by current BYU kicker Owen Pochman. All four games have been played on the road, including a neutral game in 1996 against Wyoming at the WAC Championship game in Las Vegas. The Cougars have never played an overtime game in Cougar Stadium. Following is a look at each of the Cougars' four overtime games.
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
On This Day (September 9)
Saturday's game will mark the fourth game in BYU history played on Sept. 9th. The Cougars are 2-1 on this date, including last year's season-opening win over Washington (1999; 35-28) and Oregon State (1978; 10-6). Of the three previous games on Sept. 9, this weekend's game in Colorado Springs will mark only the second road game played on this date.
Of all the Division-IA schools in the west, including teams from the PAC-10, Big 12, WAC, Big West and Mountain West conferences, the Cougars ranked sixth in average home attendance during the 1999 season. Average home attendance for BYU in 1999 exceeded Cougar Stadium capacity (65,000), averaging 65,185 fans per game -- an improvement of over 2,480 fans from the 1998 season. Excluding teams from the Big 12, BYU ranked second behind only Washington (71,790) in average fan attendance. On the road, the Cougars have played in front of 54,260 fans at the Pigskin Classic in Jacksonville, Fla., and were part of the largest crowd to witness a football game in the State of Virginia, with 60,435 fans in attendance in Charlottesville. Nearly 4,000 BYU fans were also in attendance in Charlottesville. Of each of the Cougars' opponents this season, BYU has been a part of at least four record-setting crowds on the road, including stadium records at Qualcomm Stadium (56,737 - SDSU), Romney Stadium (33,119 - USU), Rice-Eccles Stadium (45,634 - UU) and Scott Stadium (60,435 - UVa).
BYU has put together seven scoring drives on the season, including six against Virginia on Sept. 2. The Cougars have constructed 51 plays covering 445 yards and totaling 41 points. The Cougars are averaging 7.3 plays per scoring drive and covering an average 63.6 yards per drive. Following is a look at BYU's game-by-game scoring drives:
Qtr Plays Yds TOP Result
3 13 73 4:05 FG
Qtr Plays Yds TOP Result
3 7 80 2:34 TD
3 8 80 2:55 TD
3 3 78 1:16 TD
4 9 69 4:02 TD
4 8 49 3:58 TD
OT 3 16 0:00 FG