Pokes Survive Cougar Comeback Effort
LARAMIE, Wyo. -- Wyoming jumped out to a 13-point lead in the first half and held off a late comeback attempt by the Cougars, eeking out a 13-10 victory over BYU Saturday at War Memorial Stadium.
The Cougars forced Wyoming to punt with just under two minutes left in the game and took over at their own 10-yard line, trailing 13-10. BYU then drove down to the Wyoming 30-yard line after completing passes to Toby Christensen, Philip Niu and Jason Kukahiko. But Matt Berry, who made his first start in four games, had a tipped pass intercepted, ending the Cougars' comeback bid.
Coach Crowton said he was pleased with the adjustments his team made after halftime, and the resolve they showed even though they came up short.
"The guys showed a lot of heart," Crowton said. "They fought hard coming back. They didn't quit on us. And now we just have to go into next week and get a win. We've got to start winning again."
BYU's defense played a good game, holding the Mountain West Conference's leading passer, Casey Bramlet, to just 143 yards passing with two interceptions and no touchdowns. Coming into the game, Bramlet had thrown only two interceptions all season. John Denney led the Cougar defense, recording one sack and an interception.
Wyoming got on the board first, scoring on a 42-yard field goal by Deric Yaussi. BYU drove inside the Wyoming 20-yard line and attempted a field goal that would have tied the game, but Matt Payne missed the field goal attempt.
The Cowboys would add a field goal and a touchdown to take a 13-0 lead in the first half. The touchdown came on a 53-yard interception return of a John Beck pass by Tyler Gottschalk.
BYU would get on the board in the third quarter on a 44-yard field goal by Payne. On the drive, the Cougars drove to the Wyoming 14-yard line, but the drive stalled after Berry fumbled the ball, setting up a third and 18 from the Wyoming 25-yard line, which BYU didn't convert.
The Cougars pulled to within three points on a two-yard plunge by Fahu Tahi. BYU drove 66-yards on the drive, and Matt Berry completed 5 of 7 passes for 55 yards. Berry finished the game 22 for 37 for 220 yards and two interceptions.
GAME NOTES: Cougars Head to Wyoming for MWC Showdown
COUGARS TRAVEL TO WYOMING FOR MWC SHOWDOWN
After a humbling 58-13 Homecoming loss to Colorado State on Thursday, Oct. 9, the Cougars will take to the road for their third of four MWC road games this season. BYU will take on Wyoming on Saturday, Oct. 18 at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie, Wyo., beginning at 4 p.m. (MT). The game will be broadcast locally by SportsWest on KSL-TV, Ch.5. Wyoming (2-4, 0-1) will enter Saturday's contest after a 48-21 drubbing of Utah State in Logan. The Cowboys will be playing in only their second league game, while the Cougars will be playing their fifth.
THE HISTORY: BYU vs. WYOMING -- The 70th Meeting
Saturday's game will mark the 70th meeting between BYU and Wyoming. The Cougars own a 37-29-3 lead in the series, dating back to the 1922 season. However, the Cowboys are 17-13-3 against the Cougars in Laramie. BYU has won nine of the last 10 meetings, including a streak of three straight. Wyoming last beat the Cougars during the 1999 season when nationally-ranked BYU entered the game with an 8-1 record and needed just one win to secure the outright MWC title. Again in 2001, the Cougars entered the game nationally ranked and, owning a 9-0 record, needed a fourth-quarter touchdown along with a tough defensive stand to earn the victory and improve to 10-0. BYU went on to a perfect 7-0 league record in 2001, becoming the only team to win the MWC championship with a perfect record.
COMPLETE BROADCAST PLANS
TELEVISION - Thursday's game will be broadcast locally by SportsWest on KSL-TV, Ch. 5, beginning at 4 p.m. (MT). Tom Kirkland will call the action with Blaine Fowler lending game analysis. In addition, the game will be broadcast live on the Church Satellite System. Fans with access to ward or stake meeting houses with satellite capabilities can view the game, live, on the Church's Satellite System. The Audio-Visual Committee for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has specified that the games may be viewed in any room through the ward or stake building, excluding the chapel. Saturday's game will be rebroadcast on KBYU-TV, beginning at 11 p.m. (MT) on Monday, Oct. 20.
RADIO - Fans can tune to KSL Radio--the 50,000-watt home of the Cougars--and follow the action with the broadcast team of Greg Wrubell, Marc Lyons and Bill Riley.
INTERNET - A live webcast of the game, which includes play-by-play and up-to-the-minute statistics, can be viewed by logging on to:
In addition, a live audio stream is available at http://www.ksl.com.
- Saturday's game could mark the return of BYU quarterback Matt Berry. The 6-foot-6, 230-pound quarterback has missed the Cougars' last four games after suffering a broken hand in the first half at New Mexico. Berry had surgery to insert screws to repair the fracture on Sept. 14 -- the day after the Cougars' 10-7 win over New Mexico. He began taking snaps for the first time last week (Monday, Sept. 6). Berry's official status will be determined later in the week.
- Saturday's game will mark the fifth league game for the Cougars, while Wyoming has played only one league game -- a 29-35 loss at Air Force. BYU is 2-2 in league play, including wins over New Mexico (10-7) and San Diego State (44-36).
- BYU head coach Gary Crowton is 2-1 all-time against the Cowboys, including a 31-19 loss in 1998 as the head coach at Louisiana Tech. Saturday's game will mark the first-ever meeting between Wyoming head coach Joe Glenn and BYU.
- The Cougars have not lost in Laramie since the 1999 season. Since 1973, BYU has won eight of the 12 games in Laramie.
- Wyoming leads the league in passing offense, averaging 286.3 yards per game, while the Cougars rank third in passing defensive, allowing just 185.3 yards passing per game.
- Wyoming quarterback, Casey Bramlet, leads the league in passing, averaging 278.0 yards per contest.
- Wyoming is the only other team in the Mountain West Conference which has allowed more sacks than BYU. The Cowboys rank seventh in the MWC, giving up 22 sacks for 164 yards while the Cougars rank sixth (20 sacks for 147 yards).
- Defensively, the Cougars lead the Mountain West with 19 sacks for a combined loss of 110 yards. The Cowboys rank seventh in the league with just five sacks for 33 yards on the season.
- With a 3-4 record on the season, the Cougars have been outscored by an average of 8.3 points per contest. The Cowboys (2-4) have been outscored by only 2.5 points per contest.
- Saturday's game will mark only the third home game of the season for the Cowboys, while it will be the Cougars fourth road game.
THE STREAK IS STILL ALIVE ... 357 GAMES AND COUNTING
Following Matt Payne's 24-yard field goal in the first quarter against Colorado State, BYU extended its NCAA-record streak to 357 games without being shutout. BYU was last shutout during the 1975 season (Sept. 27, 1975 vs. Arizona State.) Interestingly, the Cougars do not have a single player on their rosters who was alive the last time BYU was shutout.
The Cougars' 44-36 win over San Diego State on Saturday, Oct. 4, 2003 marked BYU's 450th all-time victory, dating back to the 1922 season. Over that 80-plus-year span, the Cougars have posted a mark of 450-348-26 (.562). The win also marked the 20th victory for head coach Gary Crowton since taking over the helm of the BYU program in 2001. In his third season at BYU, Crowton has racked up a record of 20-13 (.606). Over the span of his career, including three years as the head coach at Louisiana Tech Crowton is 41-26 (.612).
LAST WEEK (BYU 44, San Diego State 36)
Colorado State scored the game's first 14-points and didn't look back, defeating BYU 58-13 at the Cougars' Homecoming game Thursday night at LaVell Edwards Stadium. The 45-point loss marked the worst home defeat since a 48-0 drubbing by Wyoming in 1950. The game also marked the most points ever given up at home by the Cougars. Bradlee Van Pelt led the Rams with 192 yards on 8-of-11 passing and 51 yards rushing. Early in the first quarter, Van Pelt was 3-for-3 for 122 yards, averaging 40.7 yards per completion. Van Pelt finished the night with three touchdown completions and no interceptions. After Colorado State scored the game's first 14 points, the Cougars got on the board with a Matt Payne 24-yard field goal. The field goal was set up after John Beck found Rod Wilkerson for a 37-yard completion, giving the Cougars first-and-10 from the 10-yard line. Just over a minute later, Van Pelt hooked up with tight end Matt Bartz for a 59-yard touchdown to give the Rams a 21-3 lead. Early in the second quarter, it looked as if the Cougars would get back in the game when tight end Justin Jory scored on a 9-yard pass from Beck. On the Cougars next drive, looking to cut in to the CSU 11-point lead, Beck fumbled and was returned 16 yards by Patrick Goodpaster for a touchdown. The Rams scored twice more in the half, while the Cougars could manage only one more field goal. Colorado State posted a 41-13 halftime lead. The CSU defense held BYU scoreless in the second half, while its offense racked up 17 more points, including a Marcus Houston two-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Houston finished the night with 85 yards on 18 carries and three touchdowns. Beck finished the game 10-of-23 for 136 yards and one touchdown. Colorado State also held the Cougars to just 269 yards of total offense. Reynaldo Brathwaite led the Cougars with 83 yards on 12 carries, averaging 6.9 yards per rush.The 5-10, 170-pound junior also had three receptions for 24 yards.
- Colorado State posted 21 points in the first quarter, marking the second time this season an opponent has posted 21 points in the opening quarter. (Fourth-ranked USC held a 21-0 lead after one quarter earlier this season.) The Cougars scored only three points in the first quarter, marking the third time BYU has scored three or less points in the opening quarter of play.
- Colorado State's 58 points marked the most points the Cougars have ever given up in Provo. It also marked the most points allowed since giving up 72 at Hawaii in 2001. The 45-point deficit marked the largest loss in Provo since a 48-point beating against Wyoming on Nov. 11, 1950. The Rams' 58 points marked the most points BYU has allowed in Provo since giving up 49 points to Arizona State on Oct. 21, 1972.
- Colorado State racked up 41 points in the first half, marking the most points the Cougars have allowed in the first half since giving up 42 at Syracuse in 2000. The Rams' 28-point advantage marked the Cougars' largest first-half deficit since trailing Utah State by 27 in last year's 35-34 come-from-behind victory. The score marked the most first-half points scored by the Rams since posting 42 against UTEP in 1973.
- Justin Jory's 9-yard touchdown reception with 12:08 remaining in the second quarter marked his first career touchdown.
- Thursday's 58-13 loss to CSU marked the Cougars third straight home lass this season. It is the first time since the 1993 season BYU has lost three straight in Provo.
- CSU's victory over BYU marked the first win in Provo for the Rams since a 8-21 victory on Sept. 17, 1993
RUSHING TOUCHDOWN DROUGHT COMES TO AN END
Prior to the Cougars' game at San Diego State, BYU had not scored a rushing touchdown in 30 straight quarters, dating back to a second-quarter touchdown run from Lance Pendleton against Wyoming on Nov. 9, 2002 in Provo. Over that span, including the second half of the Wyoming game, the Cougars posted a record of 3-5, scoring a total of 11 touchdowns. Quarterback John Beck put an end to the streak, scoring on a four-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
WHAT A PAYNE
Junior punter/kicker Matt Payne leads the Mountain West in punting and ranks 18th nationally with an average 43.9 yards per punt. He also leads the league after connecting on 11-of-13 (.846) field goals, including a long of 53 yards--the second longest field goal in BYU history behind a 56-yarder by Owen Pochman. Payne also leads the Mountain West with a perfect 14-for-14 mark in point-after attempts.14 of Payne's 48 punts have landed inside the 20-yard line. Only 48 percent of all punts have been returned for yardage.
GET TO THE POINT
Prior to the Cougars' 44-point offering against San Diego State, the Cougars had scored just 76 points through the first five games, marking the lowest overall scoring total to start a season since 1970 when BYU scored just 55 points in the first five games. That stretch also included a 17-0 shutout at UTEP, and a 10-7 win over North Texas. The Cougars started 1-4 in 1975 and finished with an overall record of 3-8. The Cougars posted more points against the Aztecs, eclipsing their combined total over the previous three games. In fact, BYU racked up 24 points in the second quarter, marking the highest single-quarter point total of the season. Against Colorado State, the Cougars managed just 13 points, marking the fourth time this season BYU has scored 14 or less points. Through the first seven games of the season, the Cougars have scored 113 points, averaging 19.0 points per game. The scoring average is the lowest through seven games since the 1978 season when BYU averaged an identical 19.0 points through seven games. Ironically, the eighth game of the season (back in 1978) was against Wyoming. BYU prevailed 48-14.Over the final six games of that season, the Cougars averaged 27.7 points per game.
SCORING DRIVE INFORMATION
On the season the Cougars have allowed 27 scoring drives, including 10 drives of 38 yards or less. The longest drive for an opponent this season has been an 83 yarder (at San Diego State), while the shortest was an 11-yard drive posted by USC. BYU opponents average scoring drive covers just over 50 yards. Offensively, BYU has had 24 scoring drives, averaging just over 65 yards per drive. The Cougars' longest drive was a 95-yarder against San Diego State, while the shortest was a 9-yard drive at USC and a 9-yard drive against Colorado State. 10 of the Cougars' 24 scoring drives have been 78 yards or longer.
A BRATH OF FRESH AIR
After running back Marcus Whalen went down with a foot injury in the Cougars' season-opener against Georgia Tech, junior running back Reynaldo Brathwaite burst on to the scene and hasn't looked back. Brathwaite leads the Cougars with 605 yards rushing on the season, ranking third overall in the Mountain West. Against league opponents, Brathwaite leads the MWC with a 116.0 yards-per-game average. Brathwaite, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound junior has 97 carries on the season, averaging 6.2 yards per carry. He has posted a BYU record 95-yard touchdown run (at San Diego State), in addition to an 89-yard run in the Cougars' 10-7 win at New Mexico.
PAPER OR PLASTIC
Against Colorado State, BYU recorded three more sacks, improving its season total to 20. On the season, BYU has registered a league-leading 20 sacks for a total loss of 119 yards, averaging 2.9 sacks per game. In the season's first five games the Cougars had recorded 11 sacks, averaging 2.2 sacks per contest. Colby Bockwoldt leads the team with 3.5 sacks, while David Nixon, James Allen and Brady Poppinga have three each. BYU has seven players with at least two sacks on the season.
IN THE TRENCHES
The BYU offensive line, which includes three seniors and two freshmen, weighs in at a beefy 1,600 pounds, averaging 320 pounds per man. The O-line will be squaring off against a Wyoming defensive line (two juniors, a sophomore and a senior) that tips the scales at an average 273.5 per man. On defense, the Cougars' line (two seniors and a junior) weighs in at 280.3 pounds per man, while the Cowboys' offensive line (two freshmen, two juniors and a sophomore) average 294.6 pounds per man.
The Cougar defense, which ranks 28th nationally and yields 318.4 yards per game, will face a Wyoming offense that is fourth in the conference in total offense with an average of 385.8 yards and boasts the conferences No. 1 passer in Casey Bramlet. Bramlet has accumulated 1,668 yards through the air in six games and has thrown 15 touchdowns against just two interceptions. BYU's defense ranks second in the conference and is tied for 30th nationally with eight interceptions. Jernaro Gilford leads the Cougars in interceptions with two. Seven Cougars have at least one interception. The Cougar defense ranks fifth in the conference in rush defense (132.9 yards) and third in pass defense (185.3 yards).The BYU defense has scored one touchdown on the season. Interestingly, that touchdown came against San Diego State, marking the third straight game at Qualcomm Stadium the Cougars have scored a defensive touchdown ('99, Hans Olson; '01, Isaac Kelley; '03, Colby Bockwoldt.)