Turnovers Lead to UNLV Win
PROVO -- On a night when the Cougars out-gained the Rebels 449 yards to 259, turnovers came back to haunt BYU in a 24-20 loss to UNLV Saturday.
"I felt that the team fought hard," BYU coach Gary Crowton said. "I was pleased with how they fought to the end. The key to the game was the turnovers. We had a hard time holding on to the football."
John Beck set BYU and Mountain West Conference records with 67 pass attempts. He completed 34 for 358 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Todd Watkins scored BYU's only offensive touchdown and finished with nine receptions for 117 yards. Curtis Brown rushed eight times for 102 yards, the highest output of any BYU runner in 2004.
"Curtis had some good holes in there," Crowton said. "I was pleased with his performance and he made some good plays."
Cameron Jensen turned in an impressive performance on defense finishing with 12 total tackles, one interception that he returned for a touchdown, and a fumble recovery. Matt Payne finished the game connecting on two field goals of 47 and 50 yards and 316 yards on seven punts, good for an average of 45.1 per attempt.
Dominique Dorsey led the Rebel attack by amassing 106 yards and one touchdown on 26 carries. Kurt Nantkes also contributed a touchdown pass and finished 9 of 27 for 130 yards and one interception. The story for UNLV was the ability of the defense to knock the ball away from BYU and come up with the big plays.
UNLV coach John Robinson was very pleased with his team's defensive performance.
"It was one of the finest defensive performances I've ever seen," he said. "I think we knocked the ball away from their receivers hands quite a bit."
The Cougars appeared to move the ball at will during parts of the game but five turnovers, four fumbles and an intrerception, cost them many scoring opportunities.
With the score at 21-20 in favor of UNLV at the start of the fourth, both teams remained cold throughout the quarter, punting the ball back and forth until UNLV was able to gain good field position on the BYU 39. After an eight play, 22-yard drive, Sergio Aguayo connected on a 35-yard field goal to give the Rebels the 24-20 advantage with 3:49 remaining.
BYU made a move on its next drive, converting on a fourth and two when Beck hit Brown on a swing pass for 11 yards. Beck was sacked on the next play, but a facemask penalty put the ball on the UNLV 41. On the next play, Beck hit Watkins cutting across the middle, taking the ball to the 15 before fumbling it to the Rebels. It was the sixth Cougar fumble of the night and the fourth lost.
"Most of the fumbles came from behind as our guys were running down the field and they came up and knocked it out," Crowton said.
After using all three timeouts and stopping the UNLV running game, BYU regained possession with 1:10 remaining. Beck found Antwaun Harris twice for 37 yards and Austin Collie twice for 11 yards to get the Cougars to the UNLV 10-yard line. The Rebel defense then tightened up and kept BYU out of the end zone, preserving the 24-20 victory.
Crowton said the team made the necessary plays but could not get the ball into the end zone.
"On the last play, Beck thought he had a man open and went to throw but his arm got hit," Crowton said. "It made the ball go high. I felt like if he'd got the ball in there we would've had the touchdown."
BYU started out slow, with the first four possessions ending in two lost fumbles, a punt, and a missed 29-yard field goal. Despite finishing the first quarter with 124 total yards, the Cougars finished with nothing to show for it. The defense was strong, limiting the Rebels to 25 yards in the quarter.
The Cougars got on the board with 8:12 left in the second on an eight play, 37-yard drive capped by a 47-yard Matt Payne field goal. It was his eleventh straight field goal from 40-49 yards, pulling him within one of the NCAA record for consecutive field goals from that distance, set by John Carney of Notre Dame from 1984-1985.
UNLV answered on its next possession, coming up with two big plays to score and go up 7-3. A 47-yard pass from Nantkes to Alvin Marshall set up a 27-yard pass to Earvin Johnson for the touchdown. The four-play, 80-yard drive took just 57 seconds.
BYU made sure to go into the locker room with the lead, putting the one-minute drill into effect. Starting from their own 39 with 1:14 remaining, the Cougars moved the ball to the UNLV seven-yard line. Watkins then made an acrobatic catch over a Rebel defender off a Beck pass to give BYU the 10-7 lead.
The second half started with BYU coming out looking to extend its lead. UNLV's Jamaal Brimmer had different ideas, intercepting a Beck pass and returning it 24 yards to the Cougar 13. Two plays later and Dorsey was in the end zone after a 12-yard run, giving the Rebel's the 14-10 advantage.
With 5:59 left in the third quarter, Payne's 50-yard field pulled the Cougars within one at 14-13. The field goal came at the end of an 11 play, 37-yard drive.
The defense got into the scoring act on the first Rebel play of the ensuing drive when Jensen intercepted a Nantke pass and returned it 26-yards for the score. It was the first defensive touchdown since Coby Bockwoldt returned a fumble 13-yards for a score in 2003. John Burbidge had the last interception return for a touchdown with an 80-yard return against New Mexico in 2002.
The UNLV offense regrouped on its next possession, answering with an 11 play, 76-yard drive that ended on a 12-yard run by Dyante Perkins, putting the Rebels up 21-20. The run came on a third and inches play when everyone was expecting a run up the middle. Perkins hit the outside and found his way into the end zone.
The momentum continued to flow in the direction of the Rebel's when Brimmer knocked the ball away from Jason Kukahiko and Beau Bell recovered. The momentum swing was short lived as Dorsey fumbled and BYU's Jenson recovered. The Cougars were unable to capitalize.
Crowton said the Cougars now will look to improve and prepare for next week.
"We saw the chance to win the conference but it becomes more difficult when you lose one," he said. "We need to focus on Wyoming."
The Cougars (2-4, 1-1 MWC) will look to get back to their winning ways next Saturday against Wyoming at LaVell Edwards Stadium at 8 p.m.
Box Score (Final)
UNLV vs Brigham Young (Oct 08, 2004 at Provo, Utah)
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
----------------- -- -- -- -- -----
UNLV................ 0 7 14 3 - 24 Record: (2-4,1-1)
Brigham Young....... 0 10 10 0 - 20 Record: (2-4,1-1)
2nd 08:12 BYU - PAYNE, Matt 47 yd field goal, 8-37 3:55
07:15 LV - JOHNSON, Earvin 27 yd pass from NANTKES, Kurt (AGUAYO, Sergio kick)
00:14 BYU - WATKINS, Todd 7 yd pass from BECK, John (PAYNE, Matt kick), 7-61 1:00
3rd 13:15 LV - DORSEY, D. 12 yd run (AGUAYO, Sergio kick), 2-13 0:43
05:59 BYU - PAYNE, Matt 50 yd field goal, 11-37 3:17
05:51 BYU - JENSEN, Cameron 26 yd interception return (PAYNE, Matt kick)
01:58 LV - PERKINS, Dyante 12 yd run (AGUAYO, Sergio kick), 11-76 3:47
4th 03:49 LV - AGUAYO, Sergio 35 yd field goal, 8-22 3:17
FIRST DOWNS................... 15 26
RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............ 46-129 28-91
PASSING YDS (NET)............. 130 358
Passes Att-Comp-Int........... 27-9-1 68-34-1
TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS..... 73-259 96-449
Fumble Returns-Yards.......... 1-10 0-0
Punt Returns-Yards............ 2-13 2-30
Kickoff Returns-Yards......... 1-24 5-132
Interception Returns-Yards.... 1-24 1-26
Punts (Number-Avg)............ 12-43.8 7-45.1
Fumbles-Lost.................. 1-1 6-4
Penalties-Yards............... 10-85 6-59
Possession Time............... 27:48 32:12
Third-Down Conversions........ 6 of 19 7 of 21
Fourth-Down Conversions....... 0 of 0 1 of 2
Red-Zone Scores-Chances....... 3-3 1-3
Sacks By: Number-Yards........ 4-27 4-18
RUSHING: UNLV-DORSEY, D. 26-94; PERKINS, Dyante 13-44; MARSHALL, Alvin 1-8;
JACKSON, Erick 1-2; TEAM 1-minus 1; NANTKES, Kurt 4-minus 18. Brigham
Young-BROWN, Curtis 8-102; TAHI, Naufahu 12-11; BECK, John 8-minus 22.
PASSING: UNLV-NANTKES, Kurt 9-27-1-130. Brigham Young-BECK, John
34-67-1-358; PAYNE, Matt 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING: UNLV-JOHNSON, Earvin 4-56; MARSHALL, Alvin 3-66; PERKINS, Dyante
1-6; HANLEY, Chad 1-2. Brigham Young-COLLIE, Austin 10-70; WATKINS, Todd
9-117; COATS, Dan 4-46; KUKAHIKO, Jason 3-36; PITTA, Dennis 3-35; BROWN,
Curtis 3-17; HARRIS, Antwaun 2-37.
INTERCEPTIONS: UNLV-BRIMMER, Jamaal 1-24. Brigham Young-JENSEN, Cameron
FUMBLES: UNLV-DORSEY, D. 1-1. Brigham Young-KUKAHIKO, Jason 2-1; COLLIE,
Austin 1-1; WATKINS, Todd 1-1; TAHI, Naufahu 1-1; ALLEN, Matt 1-0.
SACKS (UA-A): UNLV-CLARIDGE, Ryan 1-0; NICHOLSON, B. 1-0; FUIMAONO, Howie
1-0; MOORE, Leon 1-0. Brigham Young-POPPINGA, Brady 2-0; BROWN, Manaia 1
-0; WHITE, Spencer 1-0.
TACKLES (UA-A): UNLV-CLARIDGE, Ryan 7-4; DODD-MASTERS, R 10-0; SEWARD,
Adam 4-6; BRIMMER, Jamaal 6-3; MIKLOS, Joe 5-2; BELL, Beau 3-2; BUTLER,
Reggie 2-3; MOORE, Leon 2-2; ANDREWS, John 2-2; FUIMAONO, Howie 2-2; EALY,
Charles 2-1; HEISE, Ryan 1-1; YOUNG, Terrence 1-1; MERHI, Kareem 1-0; FAGA,
Faauo 1-0; GORDON, Ernest 1-0; NICHOLSON, B. 1-0; HILL, Mario 0-1. Brigham
Young-JENSEN, Cameron 2-10; ALBA, MICHA 4-5; POPPINGA, Brady 5-3; WHITE,
Spencer 1-7; LUETTGERODT, Ju 2-4; FRANCISCO, Aaro 2-3; FEULA, Vince 1-3;
HEANEY, Brandon 3-0; NUA, Shaun 1-2; PAONGO, Hala 0-3; DENNEY, John 2-0;
ALLEN, Matt 1-1; BROWN, Manaia 1-1; BAUMAN, Matt 0-2; GOOCH, Quinn 0-2;
GABRIEL, Dustin 1-0; CARLSON-MADDUX 1-0; PITTA, Dennis 1-0; KUKAHIKO, Jason
1-0; BATES, Dan 0-1; COOPER, Brett 0-1; SOELBERG, Natha 0-1; TAFUNA, David
Cougars to Battle Rebels
PROVO -- Following a victory over Colorado State in its first conference game, BYU (2-3, 1-0) looks to stay unbeaten in Mountain West Conference play when UNLV travels to LaVell Edwards Stadium on Friday. UNLV is coming off of a 48-13 victory over in-state rival Nevada for its first win of the season. Last season the two teams played an overtime thriller. UNLV and BYU dueled to a 20-20 tie at the end of regulation. The Cougars scored a touchdown on their first possession of overtime and intercepted a desperation Kurt Nantkes pass on fourth down to preserve the narrow victory. BYU coach Gary Crowton holds a 2-1 record against the Rebels.
The series between BYU and UNLV dates back to Dec. 2, 1978, when the two teams traveled to Yokohama, Japan for the Yokohama Bowl. The Cougars won the inaugural game 28-24. The Rebels and Cougars faced off four times between 1978 and 1982, with the Cougars winning three of the four games, but didn't meet again until UNLV joined the expanded WAC in 1996. From 1996 to 2001, the Cougars went 5-0 against the Rebels. BYU has won every game it has played against the Rebels in Las Vegas but holds only a 3-2 advantage against UNLV in Provo. The Rebels won the last meeting in Provo, 24-3, on Oct. 19, 2002.
SETTING THE GAME
KICKOFF: 8 p.m. (MST)
SITE: LaVell Edwards Stadium (64,-45)
TELEVISION (National): ESPN2; Dave Pasch, Rodney Gilmore, Trevor Matich and Rob Stone
LAST 10 GAMES: BYU leads 8-2
LAST FIVE: BYU leads 4-1
RADIO (Local): KSL-Radio; 1160 AM (Greg Wrubell, Marc Lyons, Bill Riley)
INTERNET WEBCAST: http://www.byucougars.com/football
THE SERIES: BYU leads 9-2
IN PROVO: BYU leads 3-2
LAST MEETING: Oct. 25, 2003 (BYU, 27-20 OT)
LAST MEETING IN PROVO: Oct. 19, 2002 (UNLV, 24-3)
VIVA LAS VEGAS
Despite Utah's proximity to Nevada, there is only one member of the Cougars' roster that hails from the state of Nevada. Fullback Moa Peaua calls Reno home and prepped at McQueen High School, where as a senior he helped lead his team to an 11-0 record and a state championship. Following the season he was named the Gatorade MVP for the state of Nevada. Two members of BYU's team served LDS church missions in the city of sin. Linebacker Richard Nehiring served in Las Vegas from 2001-2003. Washington State transfer Aaron Wagner also served there from 2001-2003. Two Cougar coaches have ties to the Rebels. Tight ends coach Mike Empey also coached tight ends for the Rebels from 1997-98, and linebackers coach Barry Lamb served in that same capacity at UNLV from 1981-1986.
TALE OF THE TAPE
BYU's projected starting offensive line averages an enormous 6-foot-4 and 312 pounds. They will face a UNLV defensive line that averages 6-foot-3 and 297 pounds. When the Rebels have the ball, Cougar defensive linemen that average 6-foot-4 and 293 pounds will face a UNLV front five that are listed at 6-foot-4 and 307 pounds.
After five games, Todd Watkins is currently second in the MWC and ninth nationally in receiving yards per game, averaging 107.6 yards per contest. Through five games, Watkins has amassed 538 yards. Last year's leader, Toby Christensen, had only 547 yards in 12 games. Watkins has touchdown receptions of 69 and 79 yards and was referred to as possibly the nation's best "deep threat" by Sports Illustrated. Although he caught only four passes for 24 yards against Colorado State, his presence made it possible for Cougar running backs to rack up a season high 207 yards and three scores.
THE HOUSE OF PAYNE
Five games into the 2004 season Ray Guy award candidate Matt Payne has punted 33 times for 1,533 yards, including a 79-yarder against USC. He leads the MWC in punting and is third in the nation with a 46.45 yards-per-punt average. Payne also wreaks havoc on punt and kick coverage, recording two-highlight reel-quality hits on Boise State punt returner Chris Carr as well as on an unsuspecting kick returner for Colorado State. Payne also hasn't been a slouch when kicking field goals or extra points. The Lou Groza award candidate has scored a team-leading 32 points, including two field goals 52 yards or greater. He is a perfect 6-6 from 40-plus yards. Payne has hit all eleven of his extra points this season and seven of eight on field goals.
GOING DEEP PART II
Freshman wide receiver Austin Collie has caught 24 passes on the season for an average of 12.2 yards per catch and three touchdowns. His three touchdown receptions have all been 40 yards or greater with a long of 57 coming against Boise State.
BYU is currently seventh in the MWC and 80th in the nation in total offense, averaging 336.20 yards per game. Even after punishing the Colorado State defense with 207 yards rushing, the Cougars still rank next to last in the nation in rushing offense, averaging just 61.6 yards per game. BYU is one of the top passing teams in the nation, ranking third in the conference and 17th in the nation, amassing 274.6 yards per game. Against UNLV, the Cougars will face off against the MWC's fifth best defense. The Rebels rank third in the conference in pass defense (201 y.p.g.) and sixth against the run (181.4 y.p.g.).
The Cougars' defense ranks sixth in the conference and 83rd in the nation, yielding 404 yards per game. After facing Boise State and Colorado State, who both rank among the top-10 in the nation in passing offense, BYU is last in the MWC against the pass. The Cougars give up 293.4 yards per game through the air. BYU has faired a little better against the rush, ranking second in the conference and 33rd in the nation, giving up 110.6 yards per game on the ground. The Cougars will face off against a balanced Rebel offense that ranks sixth in the conference in passing offense (169.6), fourth in rushing offense (167.8) and sixth in total offense. They boast the conference's top rusher in Dominique Dorsey, who ranks 15th in the nation in rushing yards per game with an average of 112.4 yards per contest.