Defense Dominates; BYU Clinches Winning Season
FORT COLLINS -- Defense propelled BYU, as the Cougars ensured themselves a winning season for the first time since 2001 by beating Colorado State, 24-3 on Saturday.
"I was very pleased with how our team performed tonight," BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "We knew this game would be a challenge, and I'm pleased with the leadership and poise that our team showed tonight. I was pleased with our defense. They've done exactly what we've asked them to do."
The Cougars, now 7-2 (5-0 MWC), held the Rams (4-5, 1-4) to just 151 total yards while sacking the Colorado State quarterback five times in the victory. Meanwhile, BYU had 402 yards of total offense. John Beck had another efficient day passing, completing 73 percent of his passes (22-of-30) for 290 yards.
With the win, BYU will be playing for at least a share of the MWC title next week at home against Wyoming.
"They are the best team in the leauge," Colorado State head coach Sonny Lubick said. "This team (BYU) is nice and strong. They harassed our quarterback. They came with some blitzes; that gets you out of rhythm."
BYU got on the scoreboard first for the eighth consecutive game when Manase Tonga plunged into the end zone from three yards out. The Cougars' seven-play, 50-yard scoring drive was the eighth consecutive game in which BYU scored first. Colorado State held the Cougars to a punt on BYU's first drive which marked the first time the Cougars were held out of the end zone on their initial drive since TCU held BYU to a three-and-out earlier this season.
The Cougars' defense got a quick start, holding the Rams without a first down on CSU's first two possessions. BYU's Cameron Jensen got his first sack of the season on a third-and-short to force a Colorado State punt.
"We knew they were a team capable of throwing deep passes," Jensen said. "But, we continued to pressure them throughout the game and they weren't able to make any big plays through the air."
On BYU's third possession the Cougars marched down the field before Beck's pass was intercepted by Darryl Williams. Williams read the play to make the leaping pick in the end zone.
Colorado State got on the board in the second quarter. After a short BYU punt, the Rams drove the ball 33 yards on seven plays and scored on a Jason Smith 28-yard field goal to cut the Cougars lead to 7-3. Caleb Hanie hit Damon Morton for a long pass play to set up the field goal.
BYU struck at the end of the half, marching 76 yards on 14 plays and scored when Fui Vakapuna fought his way into the end zone to put the Cougars ahead, 14-3. Vakapuna was initially ruled down on the play. After an instant replay review, the play was ruled a touchdown.
Defense ruled the early part of the second half as neither team was able to move the ball effectively early on.
On the Cougars third possession of the second half, the running game emerged. Curtis Brown, Tonga and Vakapuna led the BYU rushing attack down the field with Vakapuna finishing the drive with a three-yard touchdown run.
The BYU's defense kept the pressure on Hanie throughout the second half while the offense came up with long drives. After the Cougars forced a punt, the offense drove the ball down the field to set up a 25-yard field goal by Jared McLaughlin to put BYU ahead, 24-3. The big play on the Cougars' drive was a 52-yard pass from Beck to McKay Jacobson.
BYU faces a short week as the Cougars return home to play Wyoming on Thursday evening. Kickoff is at 6 p.m. (MST). The game will be broadcast nationally on CSTV.
Box Score (Final)
Brigham Young vs Colorado State (Nov 04, 2006 at Fort Collins, Colo.)
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
----------------- -- -- -- -- -----
Brigham Young....... 7 7 7 3 - 24 Record: (7-2,5-0)
Colorado State...... 0 3 0 0 - 3 Record: (4-5,1-4)
1st 06:43 BYU - TONGA 3 yd run (MCLAUGHLIN kick), 7-50 3:46
2nd 08:18 CS - SMITH 28 yd field goal, 6-33 2:22
00:55 BYU - VAKAPUNA 5 yd run (MCLAUGHLIN, kick), 14-76, 7:11
3rd 00:22 BYU - VAKAPUNA 3 yd run (MCLAUGHLIN kick), 9-57 4:32
4th 07:35 BYU - MCLAUGHLIN 25 yd field goal, 9-79 4:51
FIRST DOWNS................... 21 7
RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............ 37-112 23-26
PASSING YDS (NET)............. 290 125
Passes Att-Comp-Int........... 30-22-1 23-13-0
TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS..... 67-402 46-151
Fumble Returns-Yards.......... 0-0 0-0
Punt Returns-Yards............ 2-15 0-0
Kickoff Returns-Yards......... 2-39 3-64
Interception Returns-Yards.... 0-0 1-0
Punts (Number-Avg)............ 4-35.8 8-43.2
Fumbles-Lost.................. 2-0 2-0
Penalties-Yards............... 6-40 5-33
Possession Time............... 34:17 24:13
Third-Down Conversions........ 8 of 13 2 of 12
Fourth-Down Conversions....... 0 of 0 0 of 1
Red-Zone Scores-Chances....... 4-5 1-1
Sacks By: Number-Yards........ 5-38 2-8
RUSHING: Brigham Young-BROWN, Curtis 16-81; VAKAPUNA, Fui 11-38; TONGA, Manase
3-14; TEAM 2-minus 4; BECK, John 5-minus 17. Colorado State-OHAERI, Nnamdi
13-53; JOHNSON, Gartr. 1-2; HANIE, Caleb 9-minus 29.
PASSING: Brigham Young-BECK, John 22-30-1-290. Colorado State-HANIE, Caleb
RECEIVING: Brigham Young-HARLINE, Jonny 6-59; BROWN, Curtis 5-30; JACOBSON,
McKay 3-105; ALLEN, Matt 3-30; COLLIE, Zac 2-36; VAKAPUNA, Fui 1-13; TONGA,
Manase 1-10; COATS, Daniel 1-7. Colorado State-MORTON, Damon 4-51; WALKER,
Johnny 2-22; ROBERTS, Luke 2-19; OHAERI, Nnamdi 2-11; McPEEK, Kevin 1-11; HILL,
George 1-7; OSBORN, Dustin 1-4.
INTERCEPTIONS: Brigham Young-None. Colorado State-WILLIAMS, Darr. 1-0.
FUMBLES: Brigham Young-BECK, John 2-0. Colorado State-HANIE, Caleb 2-0.
Stadium: Hughes Stadium Attendance: 21117
Kickoff time: 4:36 pm End of Game: 7:14 Total elapsed time: 2:38
Officials: Referee: Terry Leyden; Umpire: Gary Crum; Linesman: Bob Bahne;
Line judge: Gary McNanna; Back judge: Judson Howard; Field judge: Kim Nelson;
Side judge: Craig Battaglia;
Temperature: 50 Wind: SW 5 Weather: Partly Cloudy
Brigham Young vs Colorado State (Nov 04, 2006 at Fort Collins, Colo.)
SACKS (UA-A): Brigham Young-JENSEN, Cameron 2-0; TONGA, Matangi 1-0; ANDERTON,
Judd 1-0; PAONGO, Hala 1-0. Colorado State-RUPP, Matt 1-0; RADFORD, Jon 1-0.
TACKLES (UA-A): Brigham Young-JENSEN, Cameron 7-2; GOOCH, Quinn 4-1; WAGNER,
Aaron 2-1; ROBINSON, Justi 2-1; GABRIEL, Dustin 2-1; KEHL, Bryan 1-2; NIXON,
David 1-2; TONGA, Matangi 2-0; PAONGO, Hala 2-0; TIALAVEA, Russe 1-1; COLLIE,
Zac 1-0; CRIDDLE, Ben 1-0; JORGENSEN, Jan 1-0; ANDERTON, Judd 1-0; VAN SWEDEN,
Dan 1-0; POPPINGA, Kelly 1-0; BOLDEN, Chris 0-1. Colorado State-GALUSHA, Jake
6-5; KUBIAK, Klint 4-6; WILLIAMS, Darr. 5-2; HORINEK, Jeff 1-6; POTTORFF, Jake
2-3; ADKINS, Luke 1-4; RUCKS, Joey 4-0; RUPP, Matt 2-1; BRYSON, Zac 2-1;
RADFORD, Jon 2-1; MOREHEAD, James 1-2; LANDERS, Wade 1-2; NADING, Jesse 2-0;
JUEDES, Steve 1-1; SMITH, Blake 1-0; WEBER, Chase 1-0; VOMHOF, Bob 0-1; SANDIE,
GAME NOTES: Final Out-of-State Road Trip
PROVO -- After rolling past Air Force to maintain a perfect Mountain West Conference record, BYU heads back to Colorado to take on Colorado State in Fort Collins. The Cougars are enjoying a five-game winning streak and a current two-game advantage in the MWC. The Colorado State game is the last time on the regular-season schedule that BYU will travel out of state as the Cougars play two of their final three games at home before playing the regular season finale at Utah.
LAST WEEK RECAP
A balanced offensive attack and stingy defense led BYU to a 33-14 victory over Air Force (3-4, 3-2) on Saturday. With the victory, the Cougars improve to 6-2 overall and maintain the conference lead with a 4-0 record against Mountain West opponents.
"We just need to stay the course and continue to improve," BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "There is room for improvement and we'll point that out to our players. They'll embrace that because they want to win. We'll tell them exactly what they need to do, very bluntly, very candidly and they'll respond to that."
The win was the fifth consecutive victory for the Cougars who become bowl eligible for the second consecutive year with their sixth win on the season. It is the first time BYU is bowl eligible for two straight years since the 1998 and 1999 seasons.
BYU and Colorado State will meet for the 64th time. The Cougars and Rams first met in 1922, which was BYU's first official year of football. Colorado State beat BYU, 33-0, in 1922. In recent history, the Cougars have won two straight. The last Colorado State victory was in 2003 when the rams handed the Cougars a 58- 13 beating at home which is the worst BYU home loss in program history. Since 1999--the first year of the Mountain West Conference--BYU holds a 4-3 record over the Rams. Previous to the game in 1999, which was the first in-conference MWC contest, BYU and Colorado State last played in 1995 with the Cougars taking home a 28-21 victory.
WEEKLY COACHES' SHOW
The Bronco Mendenhall Show broadcasts every Sunday evening at 11:00 p.m. on KSL-TV. Hosted by KSL's Tom Kirkland, coach Mendenhall reviews the past week's and previews the week to come in addition to featuring several football players.
TALE OF THE TAPE
BYU's offensive line checks in at an average 6-foot-4, 316.8 pounds. The Cougars' front line will be going up against a Colorado State defensive front that averages just over 6-foot-4, 251.5 pounds. (Advantage: BYU +65.3 pounds per man.) BYU's defensive line weighs in at 6-foot-3, 280 pounds, Colorado State's offensive line averages 6-foot-4, 299.2 pounds. (Advantage: Colorado State +19.2 pounds per man.)
Beck completed 23-of-31 attempts for 258 yards and three touchdowns to improve the Cougars to 6-2 overall and 4-0 in league play. Beck posted a completion percentage of 74 percent en route to his fifth three-touchdown performance of the season, including his fourth straight game with three or more touchdown completions. The Beck-led offense engineered points in six of the seven drives he played on the day, including a 14-play, 81-yard drive to mark the fourth straight game BYU has scored on its opening drive.
The senior from Mesa, Ariz., leads the Mountain West and ranks fourth nationally in passing yards per game, averaging 295.4 yards per game. He also leads the conference and ranks sixth nationally in passing efficiency (172.5) and total yards per game (293.1). Beck also ranks second nationally in completion percentage. On the season, he has completed 70.87 percent of his attempts.
Beck also took home some national hardware when he was named the Cingular All-
American Player of the Week for his performance against UNLV
"He's (Beck) the best I've ever played against--and that goes against Cal's old quarterback (Aaron Rogers) and (former Utah quarterback) Alex Smith. He looks you off, he knows defenses and he's just an excellent quarterback." -- Bobby Giannini, Air Force Safety
BYU QUARTER-BECK SNAPSHOT
-Ranks sixth nationally and leads the Mountain West Conference with an efficiency rating of 172.5.
-Ranks sixth nationally and leads the Mountain West Conference with an average 293.1 yards of total offense per game.
- Has been named the Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Week five times this season.
-Has 20 touchdown completions on the season, including 14 in the past three games.
GOOD GRIEF, CURTIS BROWN
Against Air Force, Curtis Brown played a limited role due to a stomach virus. Still, Brown managed 42 yards on just 10 carries and caught three passes for 22 yards. Brown, who now has 2,759 career rushing yards, narrowed the gap between him and career rushing leader Jamal Willis (2,970) to 211 yards.
In the first eight games of the 2006 season, BYU has allowed just 125 points. With an average of 15.6 points per game, the Cougars currently ranked 19th in the country in scoring defense. BYU's current average is nearly half (30 points per game) of what it averaged last season through eight games. BYU's current average is the lowest scoring defense mark over the first eight games of a season since allowing just 13.5 points per game back in 1988.
QUARTER-BY-QUARTER SCORING ADVANTAGE
BYU has outscored its opponents in 23 of 32 quarters this season, including 13 shutout quarters. The Cougars have not trailed since the Boston College game, marking 20 consecutive quarters without trailing an opponent. Overall, BYU has outscored its opponents 286-123. The Cougars are averaging 35.8 points per game in comparison to their opponents 15.6.
BYU has dominated its opponents in the first, second and fourth quarters while holding a five-point advantage in the third quarter. The Cougars have outscored their opponents 82-12 in the first quarter, 82-29 in the second quarter, 55-50 in the third quarter and 67-27 in the fourth quarter.
BYU has started a new tradition by putting on a fireside the day prior to each game (home and away) of season. All that wish to attend are welcome to do so. The remaining firesides for home games (and the Utah game) will be held at the following LDS church buildings:
Nov. 3 at 7:00 p.m.
Fort Collins Stake Center
600 E. Swallow Rd. Fort Collins, CO
Nov. 8 7:00 p.m.
Provo, Utah Edgemont South Stake Center
350 E 2950 N, Provo
Nov. 17 7:00 p.m.
Orem Utah Windsor Stake Center
60 E 1600 N, Orem
Nov. 24 7:00 p.m. (Prior to the Utah game)
Ensign Stake Center
135 A Street, Salt Lake City
BYU is currently leading the nation in turnover margin. The Cougars are coming off a game against Air Force where they won the turnover battle 2-0. BYU forced and recovered one fumble and intercepted a pass. In addition to holding on to the ball, the Cougars have found a way to force 20 turnovers. The Cougars have a +1.50 turnover margin heading into this week's action.
The 2005 BYU team has used full team efforts to lead the Cougars to first place in the Mountain West Conference. Below are various team statistical categories where the Cougars are ranked in the top-25:
Scoring Defense: 19th (15.6 points per game)
Passing Effieciency Defense: 17th (103.46)
Turnovers Gained: 17th (20)
Interceptions: 12th (12)
Scoring Offense: 12th (35.75 points per game)
Total Offense: 6th (445.46 yards per game)
Passing Offense: 4th (298.6 yards per game)
CONSECUTIVE ROAD TRIPS
With BYU's game this week at Colorado State and last week's game at Air Force, it marks the only back-to-back road games on the Cougars schedule this season. BYU has played back-to-back home games once this year and will do it again when the Cougars take on Wyoming and New Mexico in consecutive weeks.