Big Plays Key in Victory Over UNLV
PROVO -- No. 17 BYU started and ended Saturday afternoon’s game against UNLV with big plays and endured a hard-fought battle in between to secure a 42-35 victory in front of a sellout crowd at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
“It was a very hard-fought victory and a sweet victory,” said BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall, whose team improved to 7-1 overall and 3-1 in the Mountain West Conference. “I was pleased with our team. When it comes down to winning football games there has to be grit, determination, execution and we have to make enough plays to win. That is what we did today and I’m proud of our team.”
BYU junior wide receiver Austin Collie made a play to open the game when he returned the opening kickoff 75 yards to set up BYU’s earliest scoring strike of the season when Andrew George hauled in an 8-yard touchdown pass from Max Hall with just 2:35 gone off the clock. The game ended with sophomore defensive back Andrew Rich intercepted UNLV’s Omar Clayton in the end zone as time expired to end the Rebels’ last-chance attempt to force overtime.
The Cougars and Rebels stayed within one scoring possession of each other during the entire game and UNLV stood at the 25-yard line when Rich intercepted the Rebels’ last hope of matching BYU.
Junior quarterback Max Hall led the offensively dominated game going 24-of-31 for 245 yards and four touchdowns, while Collie led the team with seven receptions for 113 yards. Collie set a new MWC record with his sixth straight 100-yard receiving game.
After BYU opened with the early score, UNLV answered back by marching 62 yards down field over 13 plays to even the score at 7-7.
With Hall at the helm of the BYU offense, the quarterback led the Cougars to a 14-7 lead with five complete passes in the 10-play scoring drive. Collie continued to pose a threat to UNLV, making two receptions and one rush for a total of 34 yards on the drive. True freshman wide receiver O’Neil Chambers culminated the drive by recording his first touchdown of the season as he and Hall connected on a 20-yard pass.
UNLV was unrelenting as they tried to match the Cougars. Clayton connected with Casey Flair for a 29-yard pass, and a BYU penalty put UNLV within 10 yards, before a Mike Clausen sneak tied the game 14-14.
A 39-yard punt from C.J. Santiago landed UNLV on the 1-yard line before going three and out. Freshman Bryan Kariya blocked the Rebel’s punt and Brandon Bradley recovered it in the air to give BYU the ball at the UNLV 15. After a Rebel penalty gave BYU possession at the 5-yard line, Unga carried the ball for two yards before a three-yard rush gave the running back his first touchdown of the game. BYU took the lead for the third time during the game.
Continuing its fierce efforts to remain in contention with BYU, UNLV tied the game at 21-21. Clayton combined for 62 yards on two passes before running back Frank Summers made the 1-yard dive into the end zone.
The Cougar offense continued to pull ahead, putting BYU up 28-21 after its first possession in the second half. Senior running back Fui Vakapuna rushed for 49 yards over three carries, bringing back memories of 2006 when he rushed for 481 yards with eight touchdowns.
BYU’s lead did not last long as UNLV drove down field to answer back. The Rebels converted in all three third-down attempts during the drive before a quarterback sneak brought Clausen into the end zone.
Tied 28-28 to start the fourth quarter, BYU drove down field and settled for a 26-yard field goal from sophomore kicker Mitch Payne. BYU took a 31-28 lead, putting pressure on the defense to hold UNLV.
The defense responded to the pressure. On fourth-and-three the Rebels went for a first down on a fake punt but Clayton’s pass was broken up, which gave BYU possession at the UNLV 35-yard line.
Payne knocked in a 39-yard field goal to extend BYU’s lead to 34-28.
UNLV took possession of the football at the 40-yard line and scored on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Clayton to Ryan Wolfe to give the Rebels their only lead of the game at 35-34 with just 6:49 remaining.
With an urgency to score, Hall completed all five pass attempts to drive BYU 74 yards to paydirt. Hall found junior tight end Dennis Pitta on a 6-yard touchdown pass with 1:46 to play. The Cougars went for two on the conversion and Hall completed a pass to Harvey Unga to give BYU a touchdown advantage at 42-35.
Clayton led the Rebels all the way to the BYU 14-yard line with less than 20 seconds remaining but the Cougars would make the final two big plays of the game. With 17 ticks on the clock, Clayton was chased down and sacked by freshman lineman Matt Putnam to put force the Rebels back to the 25. The Rebels had one more play at third-and-22 and seven seconds left but Rich intercepted Clayton’s pass in the end zone to finish the game with BYU’s 42-35 lead intact.
BYU totaled 454 yards of total offense with a season-high 209 yards rushing and 245 yards in the air, while the Rebels totaled 463 with 112 on the ground and 351 via the pass. With the loss, UNLV falls to 3-5 overall and 0-4 in league play.
The Cougars return to action Saturday at 4 p.m. in Fort Collins, Colo. when they take on conference-foe Colorado State.
Box Score (Final)
UNLV vs BYU (Oct 25, 2008 at Provo,Utah)
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
----------------- -- -- -- -- -----
UNLV................ 7 14 7 7 - 35 Record: (3-5,0-4)
BYU................. 14 7 7 14 - 42 Record: (7-1,3-1)
1st 12:25 BY - GEORGE, Andrew 8 yd pass from HALL, Max (PAYNE, Mitch kick), , LV 0 - BY 7
06:33 LV - SUMMERS, Frank 6 yd run (WATSON, Kyle kick), , LV 7 - BY 7
01:34 BY - CHAMBERS, O'Nei 20 yd pass from HALL, Max (PAYNE, Mitch kick), , LV 7 - BY 14
2nd 13:18 LV - CLAUSEN, Mike 1 yd run (WATSON, Kyle kick), , LV 14 - BY 14
07:18 BY - UNGA, Harvey 2 yd run (PAYNE, Mitch kick), , LV 14 - BY 21
04:51 LV - SUMMERS, Frank 1 yd run (WATSON, Kyle kick), , LV 21 - BY 21
3rd 07:52 BY - VAKAPUNA, Fui 1 yd pass from HALL, Max (PAYNE, Mitch kick), , LV 21 - BY 28
02:46 LV - CLAUSEN, Mike 2 yd run (WATSON, Kyle kick), , LV 28 - BY 28
4th 14:11 BY - PAYNE, Mitch 26 yd field goal, , LV 28 - BY 31
08:36 BY - PAYNE, Mitch 39 yd field goal, , LV 28 - BY 34
06:49 LV - WOLFE, Ryan 15 yd pass from CLAYTON, Omar (WATSON, Kyle kick), , LV 35 - BY 34
01:46 BY - PITTA, Dennis 6 yd pass from HALL, Max (UNGA, Harvey pass from HALL, Max), , LV 35 - BY 42
FIRST DOWNS................... 25 22
RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............ 31-112 34-209
PASSING YDS (NET)............. 351 245
Passes Att-Comp-Int........... 44-28-1 32-24-0
TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS..... 75-463 66-454
Fumble Returns-Yards.......... 0-0 0-0
Punt Returns-Yards............ 0-0 0-0
Kickoff Returns-Yards......... 4-85 5-158
Interception Returns-Yards.... 0-0 1-0
Punts (Number-Avg)............ 2-19.0 2-34.0
Fumbles-Lost.................. 0-0 0-0
Penalties-Yards............... 5-31 7-39
Possession Time............... 29:47 30:13
Third-Down Conversions........ 11 of 15 7 of 11
Fourth-Down Conversions....... 0 of 2 0 of 0
Red-Zone Scores-Chances....... 5-6 6-6
Sacks By: Number-Yards........ 1-8 1-11
RUSHING: UNLV-JOHNSON, M. 5-41; SUMMERS, Frank 12-31; COX, C.J. 6-20;
WOLFE, Ryan 3-19; CLAUSEN, Mike 3-6; CLAYTON, Omar 2-minus 5. BYU-UNGA, Harvey
19-84; VAKAPUNA, Fui 9-71; HALL, Max 3-29; COLLIE, Austin 1-15; MAHUIKA, Bryce
1-6; BRADLEY, Brando 1-4.
PASSING: UNLV-CLAYTON, Omar 26-40-1-321; CLAUSEN, Mike 2-3-0-30; ISHII,
Dack 0-1-0-0. BYU-HALL, Max 24-31-0-245; COLLIE, Austin 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING: UNLV-WOLFE, Ryan 10-136; FLAIR, Casey 8-92; PAYNE, Phillip
3-46; ANTHONY, R. 2-33; SUMMERS, Frank 2-26; ROBINSON, J. 2-16; JOHNSON, M. 1-2.
BYU-COLLIE, Austin 7-113; REED, Michael 5-34; UNGA, Harvey 3-24; PITTA, Dennis
2-19; GEORGE, Andrew 2-17; VAKAPUNA, Fui 2-13; CHAMBERS, O'Nei 1-20; WHITE, Reed
1-7; DILUIGI, JJ 1-minus 2.
INTERCEPTIONS: UNLV-None. BYU-RICH, Andrew 1-0.
FUMBLES: UNLV-None. BYU-None.
SACKS (UA-A): UNLV-MAFI, H. 1-0. BYU-PUTNAM, Matt 1-0.
TACKLES (UA-A): UNLV-BEAUCHAMP, J. 4-8; HOWARD, G. 6-3; WORTHEN, Rusty
2-7; BURSEY JR., L. 5-2; ROUZARD, W. 1-4; FA'AVAE, G. 2-2; AAITUI, Isaako 1-3;
FORTE, Daryl 0-4; LEE, Terrance 2-1; MAFI, H. 2-1; JONES, Chris 1-2; HALES,
Jacob 0-3; POINTER, Q. 2-0; CARTER, Nate 0-2; TAUMUA, Malo 0-2; BROGDON, Chris
1-0; TEVASEU, Martin 0-1; PILI, Thor 0-1. BYU-BAUMAN, Matt 4-9; NIXON, David
4-2; TAFUNA, David 2-4; JOHNSON, Scott 2-4; RICH, Andrew 3-2; FOKETI, Mosese
2-3; CLAWSON, Coleby 1-4; BRADLEY, Brando 3-1; FOWLER, Kellen 3-1; DENNEY, Brett
1-3; DOMAN, Shawn 2-1; HOWARD, Brandon 1-2; KARIYA, Bryan 2-0; PUTNAM, Matt 2-0;
AH YOU, Matt 1-1; JORGENSEN, Jan 1-1; FRIEL, Kaneuka 1-0; SORENSEN, Danie 0-1;
PRITCHARD, Iona 0-1.
Game Notes: Cougars Return Home to Host UNLV
Coming off its first loss in over a year, No. 17 BYU (6-1, 2-1) looks to rebound against UNLV on Saturday as it returns to the comforts of LaVell Edwards Stadium, where it has won 16 straight games. Along with those wins, and with the help of BYU’s fans, Edwards Stadium has had 10 consecutive sellouts dating back to the Cougars’ 20-7 win over Arizona on Sept. 1, 2007. Despite their 32-7 loss at TCU last week, the Cougars have won 10 consecutive Mountain West Conference home games.
UNLV enters Saturday’s game coming off a close 29-28 loss to Air Force last weekend. The Falcons’ Ryan Harrison made a 19-yard field goal with 2:36 remaining in the game, dropping the Rebels to 3-4 on the season and 0-3 in MWC play.
Game time is scheduled for 12 p.m. (MT) and will be broadcast nationally on The Mtn.
THE BYU-UNLV SERIES
The Cougars hold an all-time record of 12-3 against the Rebels, including a 6-3 record over UNLV in Provo. BYU is 3-0 against the Rebels during the Bronco Mendenhall era. The two teams first played each other in 1978 in Yokohama, Japan, with the Cougars taking a 28-24 win in the Land of the Rising Sun. BYU won six in a row from 1981-2001. In the last meeting between these two teams in 2007, Harvey Unga recorded a career night, carrying the ball 25 times for 177 yards--both career-highs. In the second half alone, Unga rushed 18 times for 118 yards. BYU won that meeting on Oct. 13, 2007, 24-14.
ON THE TUBE
Saturday’s game will be broadcast live to a national television audience on The Mtn. James Bates will call the action and Todd Christensen will lend analysis, along with Sammy Linebaugh as the sideline reporter. Bates was an All-Southeastern Conference linebacker at the University of Florida and captain of the Gators’ 1996 national championship football team. Christensen was a standout at BYU before launching an NFL career, playing as a tight end with the Cowboys and the Raiders. Linebaugh is an Emmy-winning TV reporter who currently freelances for several media outlets including the Mtn. Sports Network, NBC NewsChannel and ESPN radio.
A LOOK BACK: TCU 32-BYU 7
The nation’s longest football winning streak came to an end last Thursday as No. 8 BYU fell to No. 24 TCU, 32-7, at Amon G. Carter Stadium. The Cougars had won 16-straight games dating back to Sept. 22, 2007. Among the limited highlights on the night for BYU was wide receiver Austin Collie who totaled more than 100 receiving yards for the fifth straight game to tie a Mountain West Conference record. Collie caught 6 passes for 116 yards. Junior defensive lineman Jan Jorgensen also tied the MWC career sack record at 20.5 with a sack on TCU’s Jeremy Kerley in the second quarter. Hall finished the night 22-42 for 274 yards, but was sacked six times. Tight end Dennis Pitta, a John Mackey Award candidate, caught eight passes for 84 yards. Running back Harvey Unga carried the ball 14 times for 54 yards and caught four passes for 40 more. BYU is now 6-1 (2-1 in MWC) on the season and has won 27 of its last 30 games. The loss to TCU snaps a MWC record 18-straight league victories. BYU had also won its last 11 MWC road games.
COMPETING AS A RANKED TEAM
After Thursday’s loss to TCU, the Cougars are 144-42 when nationally ranked in the Top 25. The defeat snapped a 13-game winning streak for BYU as a nationally ranked team, dating back to 2006.
NATIONALLY RANKED OPPONENTS
BYU is now 1-13 in games against ranked opponents, dating back to the 1999 season. The Cougars’ only win during that span was a 31-17 win over then-ranked No. 15 TCU in 2006.
COLLIE HITS CENTURY MARK
Junior Austin Collie broke the 100-yard receiving mark for the fifth straight game with a game-high 116 yards on 6 catches against the Horned Frogs last Thursday. Collie accomplished this feat after recording no receptions in the first quarter. His first reception of the night was a 23-yarder in the second quarter. Collie’s five-consecutive games ties a MWC record held by SDSU’s J.R. Tolver (2002).
CLIMBING UP THE BYU RECORD CHARTS
With his 116 yards receiving against TCU, Austin Collie now has 2,506 career-receiving yards, surpassing both Mark Bellini and Gordon Hudson to move up to No. 5 on BYU’s all-time career receiving list The junior needs only 42 more yards to pass Phil Odle (2,548 yards) and claim the No. 4 spot.
Collie now has 11 career 100-yard receiving games, which is third all-time at BYU. He is also tied for third on the MWC record list, behind the 12 and 13 games of SDSU’s Jeff Webb and J.R. Tolver, respectively.
Counting his touchdown against New Mexico, Collie now has 23 career touchdowns, needing only three more to make it into BYU’s top 10. Pete Van Valkenberg and Eric Lane currently hold the No. 10 spot with 26 career touchdowns. Collie’s 23 touchdowns put him only six behind the MWC leader, Jovon Bouknight of Wyoming (29).
LARGEST LOSS SINCE 2005
For a team that averaged 37.8 points coming into the TCU game, the Cougars suffered their worst loss since a 49-23 loss at Notre Dame in 2005. TCU’s 32 points marked a season-high for BYU opponents, who before Thursday, averaged only 10.2 points per game.
NATION’S LONGEST WINNING STREAK ENDS
With their 32-7 loss to TCU on Thursday, the Cougars’ 16-game winning streak ended. Before today, BYU’s last loss came on Sept. 15, 2007 at Tulsa. The Cougars lost that matchup 55-47.
GOING FOR IT
BYU attempted three fourth-down conversion attempts on Thursday, successful on 1-of-3. The Cougars’ successful conversion came late in the third quarter when quarterback Max Hall ran for a two-yard touchdown, giving the team its lone score of the game. BYU is now 3-2 on fourth-down conversion attempts.
PLAYING UNDER THE LIGHTS
After its loss to TCU, BYU now holds a 1-1 record when playing night games. The Cougars’ game against Utah State (W, 34-14) marked BYU’s first night game of the 2008 season.
The Cougars held the Horned Frogs scoreless in the fourth quarter on Thursday. All totaled, the BYU defense has recorded 17 shutout quarters thru the first seven games of the season, including two shutouts wins over UCLA and Wyoming. The Cougars has outscored or tied their opponents in every quarter except five.
BYU’s 23-0 deficit heading in to the halftime break against the Horned Frogs marked the first time the Cougars have been shutout in the first half since their 20-3 loss to Boston College on Sept 3, 2005. Boston College held BYU scoreless while scoring 10 points in the first half. Thursday also marked the first time this season the Cougars have been trailing at halftime. BYU is now 0-1 when down at the half.
PAPER OR PLASTIC
Junior defensive lineman Jan Jorgensen’s sack against TCU’s Jeremy Kerley in the second quarter gives him 20.5 career sacks, tieing the MWC record of 20.5 held by New Mexico’s Michael Tuohy, TCU’s Chase Ortiz and former Cougar Brady Poppinga. Jorgensen recorded four sacks his freshman season in 2006, 13.5 his sophomore season and three to date in 2008.
TURNOVERS TRANSLATING TO POINTS
In the first seven games this season BYU has forced 19 turnovers, converting 12 of those into points. Of those 12 turnovers, 10 have resulted in touchdowns (70 points) for the Cougars.
TALE OF THE TAPE
BYU’s starting five offensive linemen weigh in at an average 326.4 pounds and average 6-feet-6. The front five will be going up against a UNLV defensive front that measures an average 6-feet-2, 294 pounds. Defensively, the Cougars’ front three average 6-feet-3, 278 pounds, while the UNLV offensive line tips the scales at an average 6-feet-4, 298 pounds per man.
The TCU game marked senior offensive lineman Dallas Reynolds’ 45th straight career start. During that streak, Reynolds has started at every position on the offensive line, including tackle, guard and center. Reynolds’ younger brother Matt started at left tackle in the 2008 season opener. His father, Lance, is the associate head coach for the Cougars. Reynolds is currently tied at first for the most consecutive starts by an active Football Bowl Subdivision (Division I-A) player. Reynolds has started in every game of his BYU career, beginning with the Cougars’ 20-3 loss to Boston College on Sep. 3, 2005.
HE WHO SCORES FIRST...
TCU’s 25-yard touchdown with 12:10 remaining in the first quarter marked the second consecutive game this season BYU has failed to score first. The week prior the Cougars gave up a 27-yard field goal to New Mexico in the second quarter. BYU is 1-1 when failing to score first.
For the only second time this season, BYU lost the opening coin toss, with TCU electing to defer to the second half. BYU is now 1-1 when losing the opening coin toss.
IT’S BEEN A WHILE
BYU has been unable to return a kickoff for a touchdown for 125 consecutive games. Mike Rigell was the last Cougar to accomplish the feat, turning in a 96-yard touchdown in a 31-9 victory at Hawaii on October 17, 1998.
LONGEST MARCH DOWNFIELD
BYU’s first touchdown drive against New Mexico of 95 yards marked the longest of the 2008 season in terms of yardage. The drive which lasted 5:04 minutes, ended with a one-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Max Hall to tight end Andrew George. The Cougars’ longest drive in terms of time off the clock was in the second-quarter of the UCLA game. The 13-play drive of 48 yards took 6:43 minutes off the game clock.
DON’T LOOK BACK
In the Bronco Mendenhall era, BYU is 32-4 when leading at halftime and 31-1 when taking a lead into the fourth quarter.
FIRST HALF DOMINANCE
The Cougars held a 7-3 lead at halftime against New Mexico, marking the 16th time in the past 18 games BYU has held the lead at intermission. The Cougars have held their opponent to seven or fewer points in the opening half 12 times in 17 games. BYU is undefeated in those 12 games.
BEST OF THE BUNCH
Following the 2004 season, Bronco Mendenhall was one of 13 men who received their first head football coaching job at the Football Bowl Subdivision (Division I-A) level. Of those 13 coaches, Bronco Mendenhall has compiled the best overall record to date.
EDWARDS’ STADIUM STREAK NOW SPANS THREE SEASONS
With BYU’s 21-3 win over New Mexico, the Cougars have not lost in Edwards Stadium since November 19, 2005. BYU has won 16 straight home games, dating back to September 9, 2006. The last time the Cougars won 16 consecutive home games was 16 seasons ago when the team won 17 in a row from Oct. 7, 1989 to Nov. 23, 1991. Over that span, the Cougars have beaten their opponents by an average of 28.8 points per game and have allowed just 9.7 points per game. The Cougars have allowed seven points or less in nine of the last 16 home games.
The 64,105 fans in attendance for the Cougars’ 21-3 win over New Mexico marked the tenth consecutive sell-out at Edwards Stadium. The current streak marks the longest streak of consecutive sellouts since the 1991-92 seasons. Over 256,000 (256,425) fans have attended the first four home games at Edwards Stadium this season, averaging 64,106 fans per game. The last time the stadium was not sold out was against New Mexico on Nov. 18, 2006 when 63,814 fans were in attendance—231 short of a sellout.
BEST IN THE MOUNTAIN WEST
Since the Mountain West Conference was formed in 1999, BYU has posted a record of 48-21 against league opponents, marking the most wins of any other conference opponent. The Cougars have also won a league-best four MWC titles (1999, 2001, 2006 and 2007).