The 2018 season was a coming out party for several youngsters in the program, led by true freshman quarterback Zach Wilson. BYU football utilized a strong nucleus of freshmen in 2018 with key upperclassmen to not only improve its results but also offer a foreshadowing of greater things to come for the program moving forward. During the season the Cougars played 28 freshmen, including 18 true freshmen, while 14 different freshmen started at least one game. BYU’s freshman class made a combined 75 starts during the season and nearly every position featured freshmen as starters, including quarterback, running back, offensive line, tight end, wide receiver, defensive line, defensive back and kicker. Improving upon a disappointing nine-loss season in 2017, the Cougars finished 2018 with a 7-6 record that was highlighted by a big road victory over No. 6 Wisconsin and a record-setting bowl performance to wrap up the season. For the first time since 2015, BYU earned a spot in the top-25 polls during the season and also improved to 2-0 under Kalani Sitake in postseason play. BYU kicked off the year with a win over Arizona and potential Heisman candidate Khalil Tate. A dangerous runner, Tate was bottled up all night and BYU beat the wildcats 28-23 on the road. After a home loss to a stout Cal team, BYU hit the road again and put together a historic win at No. 6 Wisconsin in a 24-21 win. The Cougars defeated McNeese at home before back-to-back losses at No. 10 Washington and home to a dangerous Utah State team. After six games, Coach Sitake made a change at quarterback to Wilson and the BYU offense got a boost in the next game against a 6-1 Hawai'i team in Provo. The Cougars rocketed to 49 points, beating the Warriors 49-23 to spark the back half of the season. A letdown followed the next week however, with BYU falling to the MAC divisional champions, NIU. Despite a solid performance from Wilson at Boise State, the Cougars fell 21-16 to the Broncos but had a chance to win it with a play from the BSU 2-yard line with just seconds remaining. Wilson's keeper came up short though. BYU won the next two against UMass and senior day against New Mexico State behind a solid ground game that racked up 317 yards against the Aggies. Another heartbreaker happened at Utah in the last regular season game. BYU led 20-0 at halftime and looked to be fully in control before a furious comeback from the Utes would deny the Cougars to end the losing streak to Utah in a 35-27 loss in Salt Lake. At 6-6, BYU accepted an invitation to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl where Zach Wilson put on a historic and perfect 18 for 18 passing day, throwing for 317 yards and four touchdowns to route the Western Michigan Broncos 49-18 in Boise.
A record number of injuries and other setbacks derailed the 2017 campaign and the Cougars missed a bowl game for the first time in 13 seasons, finishing with a record of 4-9. The injury bug bit early and often for BYU and at times proved too much to handle. The Cougars had 37 different players miss significant time with an injury. Of those 37, 25 were members of the two-deep and 13 were projected starters before the season began. There were some bright spots in the season, first wit tight end Matt Bushman on offense, leading the team with 49 receptions, 520 yards and three touchdowns en route to being named a Freshman All-American by USA Today Sports, Chat Sports, 247 Sports and the FWAA. His marks were best among FBS true freshman tight ends and best by any BYU tight end since consensus All-American Dennis Pitta in 2009. Tejan Koroma was named a Pro Football Focus Second Team All-American after completing his fourth consecutive year as a starter, totaling 51 starts in his career. Defensively, Fred Warner was a star, leading the team in tackles and went on to be drafted in the third round by the San Francisco 49ers. The injuries however, combined with another strong independent schedule proved daunting. BYU suffered a seven-game losing skid during the season before finishing the year 3-2 to close the final five games. The Cougars were able to identify depth in new places with so many contributors missing time. Five different players took snaps at quarterback with Tanner Mangum, Beau Hoge, Joe Critchlow all starting games in addition to Koy Detmer Jr. seeing time on the field as well as Austin Kafentzis as a situational runner. After winning game one, BYU dropped the next seven as the season's injuries took their toll. BYU got back on track against San Jose State in Provo with a 41-20 victory before falling to a surging Fresno State team in California. BYU lost Mangum for the season against the Bulldogs as well. True freshman Joe Critchlow won his first start against UNLV, thanks to a historic performance by running back Squally Canada. Canada ran for 213 yards on 25 carries, good enough for the No. 10 mark in school single-game history. The Cougars won 31-21 but then suffered another setback the next week against UMass, falling 16-10 on a disappointing senior day. BYU ended the season with a trip to Hawaii and finished on a high note, taking down the Warriors 30-20 on Thanksgiving weekend to finish the 2017 campaign on an uptick.
Former BYU fullback Kalani Sitake was named head coach following 2015's Las Vegas Bowl. Right out of the gate, he took on one of the most challenging and diverse schedules in Cougar history for the 2016 season. BYU finished the year 9-4, including a 24-21 win in the Poinsettia Bowl to cap Sitake's first year at the helm. Taysom Hill returned as a fifth-year senior to quarterback the new pro-style offense led by BYU's lone Heisman Trophy winner, Ty Detmer, who returned on Sitake's staff as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Jamaal Williams also returned for his senior season and the career rushing record, finishing with 3,901 yards, highlighted by a 286-yard game to break the single-game school record against Toledo. He finished the year No. 5 nationally with 137.5 yards per game, totaling 1,375 in just 10 games played. The Cougar defense also shined, finishing No. 2 nationally in takeaways with 31, and No. 14 in scoring defense at 19.5 points per game. BYU started the year with an 18-16 win vs. Arizona at Phoenix Stadium when freshman Jake Oldroyd knocked in his first career field goal for the game-winner. The Cougars dropped three straight after that by a total of seven points but rebounded with a thrilling 55-53 win over an offensively-loaded Toledo team. Williams ran for 286 yards to break Eldon Fortie's single-game record that stood since 1962. He also scored five touchdowns to tie the single-game record. Rhett Almond kicked a 19-yard field goal to win it as time expired. BYU went on to beat Michigan State on the road in dominant fashion, 31-14 and then defeated Mississippi State of the SEC with a 28-21 double-overtime victory at LaVell Edwards Stadium. The Cougars were tripped up on the road at No. 14 Boise State, losing another one-point contest. BYU won its final four regular season games but lost quarterback Taysom Hill with an arm injury in the final regular season contest. Experienced backup Tanner Mangum stepped in and along with Williams' 210 yard performance beat former conference foe Wyoming in an unusual wet and rainy San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. Hill finished his Cougar career No. 4 at BYU in total offense with 9,744 yards of total offense. Following the season, Williams was selected in the fourth round by the Green Bay Packers in the NFL Draft. Nine other Cougars got NFL opportunities, including Hill who also signed with the Packers.
In the final season at BYU for head coach Bronco Mendenhall, the Cougars achieved their best record since 2011, finishing the season 9-4. Led by Touchdown Club of Columbus Freshman of the Year Tanner Mangum, the 3,854 total passing yards are the most in a season for BYU since 2008. Additionally, the offense scored the second-most points per game since 2009 with 33.7. The offense this season was well rounded with five receivers who each had more than 450 yards, including three with over 575. The season started off with one of the most memorable plays in BYU football history. With senior quarterback Taysom Hill injured, Mangum came off the bench. In the final play, Mangum threw a Hail Mary to Mitch Mathews, who caught the ball for the miraculous 33-28 win at Nebraska. Mangum followed up that performance with another incredible heave when BYU was down against No. 20 Boise State in the home opener. Mangum found Mitchell Juergens in the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown. A pick-six from Kai Nacua sealed the 35-24 win. Following the second week, the Cougars were ranked 19/22 heading to No. 10/12 UCLA, but they fell short. After a second loss to Michigan, BYU won five in a row, four of which were at LaVell Edwards Stadium. The Cougars participated in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl against rival Utah, then ranked No. 22. However, BYU was unable to overcome five first-quarter turnovers. The Cougars fought back into the game, but the comeback fell short, losing 35-28. Mendenhall finished his time at BYU with a 99-43 overall record as the head coach, which is second all-time at BYU. Bronson Kaufusi finished his career ranked No. 3 in BYU career tackles for loss with 44 and second all-time in sacks with 26.5. The Baltimore Ravens selected Kaufusi in the third round as the 70th pick in the NFL Draft.
BYU achieved a 3-0 record against Power 5 conference opponents, finished 8-5 overall and overcame a rash of midseason injuries to key players including starting quarterback Taysom Hill, running back Jamaal Williams, right guard Brock Stringham and cornerback Jordan Johnson. In all, 22 players who were starters or significant contributors missed multiple games with injuries during the year. In reaching the 2014 Miami Beach Bowl, BYU became one of only 12 programs to earn a bowl invitation each of the last 10 years. The Cougars scored more points in 2014 than they had since 2001. BYU also finished No. 14 in the nation in scoring offense with 37.1 points per game and No. 26 in total offense at 460.5 yards per game. BYU exploded out of the gates with a 4-0 start, topping UConn, Texas, Houston and Virginia. The 41-7 drubbing of Texas highlighted the first four games as BYU silenced over 93,000 fans in Austin to the tune of the Longhorns worst home loss since 1997. In game five against Utah State, Taysom Hill suffered a season-ending leg injury, signaling the start of a wave of injury to the program. The Cougars lost four straight but with Christian Stewart in at quarterback, BYU rebounded to win four straight and earn another bowl invitation. The regular season was capped off with a thrilling 42-35 win at Cal in an exciting back-and-forth offensive display. BYU dropped a heartbreaker in overtime to Memphis in the Miami Beach Bowl 55-48 in overtime. Stewart finished the year with 2,610 passing yards and 25 touchdowns in 11 games. Mitch Mathews highlighted the air attack with 73 catches, 922 yards and nine touchdowns.
The Cougars finished the 2013 season with an 8-5 record after playing one of the toughest schedules in school history and advanced to a ninth straight bowl game. Six of BYU's eight wins came against eventual bowl teams, including a 40-21 win against No. 15 Texas in Provo. The Cougars ran all over the Longhorns, rushing for a school-record 550 yards. The new go-fast, go-hard offense from returning offensive coordinator Robert Anae helped quarterback Taysom Hill put together a season of 2,938 passing yards and 19 touchdowns while running for 1,344 yards and 10 more scores. Running back Jamaal Williams also ran for over 1,000 yards with 1,233 yards and seven touchdowns. Wide receiver Cody Hoffman became the school's career leader in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. He finished 2013 with 57 receptions, 894 yards and five touchdowns. Defensively Uani 'Unga was tackling machine, setting the single-season record for BYU with 143 stops. Kyle Van Noy wrapped up his Cougar career with 17.5 more tackles for loss to make him the career leader in TFL. Van Noy went on to join former teammate Ezekiel Ansah with the Detroit Lions after being selected in the second round of the NFL Draft, No. 40 overall.
A dominant defense led BYU to its seventh winning season in as many years as the BYU football team finished the 2012 season with eight wins, a program-best fourth consecutive bowl victory and the No. 3 defense in the nation ... With an 8-5 record, BYU claimed its sixth season with at least eight wins under Bronco Mendenhall's eight-year head coaching tenure ... Incredibly consistent all year long, BYU finished the year ranked No. 3 in total defense, allowing just 266.1 yards per game. In fact, the Cougars ended the season ranked in the top four in five major defensive categories ... BYU was No. 1 in third down conversions allowed (26.52 percent), No. 2 in rushing yards allowed (86.92 ypg), No. 2 in red zone conversions allowed (64.29 percent), No. 3 in scoring defense (14.0 ppg) and No. 4 in first downs allowed (14.7 per game) ... The season was capped off by an incredible bowl game, this time the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl vs. familiar foe San Diego State. The game was somewhat of a snapshot of the Cougars' season with an offense trying to find itself, struggling for much of the contest, and the defense continuing to be dominant ... Junior linebacker Kyle Van Noy finished the season No. 2 in the nation with 13.0 sacks, No. 2 in forced fumbles with six and No. 4 in tackles for loss with 22.0. He was the only player in the nation to record a statistic in every major defensive category for the second straight season ... Van Noy earned All-America honors from CBSSports.com (2nd team), Associated Press (3rd team), Phil Steele (3rd team) and SI.com (honorable mention) ... BYU had three additional players earn All-America honors including punter Riley Stephenson, wide receiver Cody Hoffman and defensive end Ezekiel Ansah.
Embarking on its first season playing as an independent, BYU finished the year with its fifth 10-win season (10-3) in the last six years, seventh-straight bowl invitation and third-straight bowl win ... finished the season with a 24-21 come-from-behind victory over Tulsa in the Armed Forces Bowl ... earned a No. 25 final ranking in USA Today Coaches Poll and was No. 26 in AP Poll ... Cody Hoffman was named bowl MVP with eight receptions, 122 yards and three touchdowns ... Riley Nelson named starting quarterback after leading Cougars to a 27-24 victory vs. Utah State in the fifth game of the season ... BYU won nine of its last 10 games and finished the season ranked No. 5 in third-down conversions, and No. 14 in total defense ... running back Bryan Kariya named Academic All-District ... Kick returner Cody Hoffman set school records with 36 returns and 879 return yards; also returned a kickoff for a touchdown, the first BYU player to do so since 1998 ... Seven different players named to the FBS All-Independent Team, eight to the Yahoo! Sports All-Independent Team and 16 to the Phil Steel All-Independent First and Second Teams ... running back Bryan Kariya named Academic All-District ... offensive lineman Matt Reynolds finished career with 52 consecutive career starts, tied for the BYU record.
Starting the season 2-5 with six games against eventual bowl-bound teams, BYU finished the year winning 5 of its last 6 to finished third in the MWC (5-3) and earn the program's sixth-straight bowl invitation ... finished the season with a 52-24 win over UTEP in the New Mexico Bowl ... BYU set 31 New Mexico Bowl and 11 BYU bowl records during the game ... Heaps was named Offensive MVP while Rich was named Defensive MVP ... Senior kicker Mitch Payne set the all-time BYU scoring record, finishing with 334 points ... Heaps broke every BYU freshman quarterback record, playing in every game as a true freshman ... Junior Bryan Kariya was named an Academic All-American, the only FBS running back to earn the honor ... Riley Nelson was one of 11 FBS players named to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team ... Matt Reynolds, Andrew Rich and Vic So'oto were named All-MWC First Team and JJ Di Luigi was named to the Second Team with seven others named honorable mention ... BYU finished its time in the MWC with the most wins (64) in conference history.
In a season featuring several signature victories, BYU achieved an 11-2 record (7-1 MWC) and No. 12 final ranking in the national polls while strengthening its tradition as one of the nation's top football programs ... No. 12 ranking is highest since No. 5 in 1996 ... ranked as high as No. 7 during the season ... earned highest-ever final BCS ranking at No. 14 ... one of only six schools nationally to be ranked in both final polls and the final BCS standings each of the last four years and the only program to do so from a non-automatic-qualifying BCS conference ... won more games (43-9 record) the last four years than all but four teams in the country (Boise State, Florida, Texas and Ohio State) ... opened the season with a 14-13 win over No. 3 Oklahoma at new Dallas Cowboys Stadium and finished with a 44-20 triumph over No. 16 Oregon State in the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas, going 3-1 overall against nationally ranked opponents, including a 26-23 overtime win over No. 19 Utah ... made its fifth-straight bowl appearance for the first time since a string of 17 consecutive bowl invitations from 1978-1994 ... individually, senior tight end Dennis Pitta earned Consensus All-America honors while setting the NCAA record for most career receiving yards by a tight end (2,901) and breaking Austin Collie's school record for career receptions (221) ... Pitta was named to 10 different All-American teams ... Nine different Cougars (Pitta, Max Hall, Brian Logan, Matt Reynolds, Terence Brown, Braden Hansen, Jordan Pendleton) received various All-America recognition, including two receiving Academic All-America honors (Scott Johnson, Matt Bauman) ... seven members of the team were named to the All-Mountain West Conference teams with six other Cougars receiving honorable mention ... Harvey Unga became the school's all-time leading rusher with third-straight 1,000-yard season ... Max Hall set BYU record for most wins as a starting quarterback with 32.
The Cougars posted their third consecutive season with 10-plus wins with a 10-3 final record in 2008 … BYU earned a spot in the national polls each week during the season, including a ranking as high as No. 7 … BYU finished third in the MWC at 6-2 and received an invitation to the 2008 Pioneer Las Vegas bowl … ranked No. 16 in the final BCS standings before a 31-21 defeat to Arizona in Las Vegas … with another undefeated home record the 2008 Cougars maintained LaVell Edward Stadium’s undefeated record over the past three seasons, a first in program history … BYU became one of only nine schools nationally to be ranked in the top 25 of the final BCS standings each of the past three seasons, with only five teams winning more games than the Cougars over that same time span … three Cougars, Matt Bauman, Kellen Fowler and David Oswald, were named ESPN the Magazine Academic All-Americans, a program record … junior wide receiver Austin Collie, junior tight end Dennis Pitta and senior offensive linemen Ray Feinga and Dallas Reynolds were named to the Offensive All-MWC First Team , while junior defensive lineman Jan Jorgensen was named to the first-team defense … Pitta was one of only two unanimous selections … junior quarterback Max Hall, sophomore running back Harvey Unga, senior offensive lineman Travis Bright and senior linebacker David Nixon earned second-team all-conference recognition while senior defensive back David Tafuna and senior punter CJ Santiago received honorable mention … seven Cougars received All-America accolades ... Collie was named to six different teams, including first-team All-America recognition from CBSSports.com and second-team accolades from The Associated Press … offensive lineman Matt Reynolds was named to four Freshman All-America teams, including three first-team awards …. Collie, Hall, Pitta, Jorgensen, Dallas Reynolds and Feinga were among the top considerations for national awards at their respective positions … Collie led the nation in total receiving yards and in receiving yards per game with a BYU single-season record of 1.538 receiving yards … Pitta was second among tight ends and 27th among all receivers with 83.31 receiving yards per game … Hall was No. 6 in passing yards per game, No. 7 in total passing yards, No. 8 in completions per game, No. 9 in total offense and No. 11 in passing efficiency … he totaled a MWC single-season record 35 touchdowns, including seven scoring throws in BYU’s 59-0 win over UCLA … Unga turned in his second-straight 1,000-yard rushing season with 1,132.
Head coach Bronco Mendenhall led the 2007 BYU team to its second-straight outright Mountain West title behind another perfect 8-0 MWC season ... BYU’s second straight 11-win season was capped with a No. 14 national ranking in both the Associated Press Top-25 and USA Today Coaches Poll ... The season marked the highest finish for the Cougars in the national polls since 1996 ... Behind the arm of All-MWC sophomore quarterback Max Hall and the legs of Freshman All-American Harvey Unga, BYU’s all-time leading freshman running back, the Cougars are the only team in Mountain West Conference history to win back-to-back outright league titles and to record back-to-back undefeated league records ... To go along with their 16-game conference win streak, the Cougars boast the nation’s longest overall winning streak at 10 games and have won 21 of their last 23 games ... Over the past two seasons, the Cougars have not lost a single home game or a MWC game ... BYU reached its second consecutive Las Vegas Bowl victory, 17-16, in dramatic fashion -- with a block on UCLA’s potential game-winning field goal attempt as time expired ... Mendenhall is the first coach in school history to lead the Cougars to three consecutive bowl games in his first three years as head coach ... Hall, in his first year as a starter, put in the fourth best performance by a first-year quarterback at BYU to date and was the nation’s top sophomore quarterback in terms of passing yards ... As the nation’s 10th ranked defense, the Cougars allowed just 307.2 yards per game, allowing only one 100-yard rusher all season ... Unga picked up Freshman All-America and MWC Freshman-of-the-Year honors after leading the Cougars with an average of 94.4 yards per game ... Defensive lineman Jan Jorgenson ranked ninth nationally with 13.5 sacks on the season.
BYU knocked off 10 straight opponents, over the final three months to finish the 2006 season with an 11-2 record … The Cougars tallied a perfect clip against league opponents to win their first outright Mountain West Conference Championship since the 2001 season … BYU went on to dismantle Oregon, 38-8, in the Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl … The Cougars’ 10-game win streak marked the longest since the 2001 season and only the seventh time in the program’s history the Cougars have had nine or more consecutive wins in a single season … BYU earned top-20 rankings in the Associated Press Top-25, the USA Today Coaches Poll, the Harris Interactive Poll and the BCS rankings … With an impressive win over the Ducks in the Las Vegas Bowl, national voters ranked BYU No. 15 in the final poll of the season … Under head coach Bronco Mendenhall—the Mountain West Conference and AFCA Region 5 Coach of the Year—the Cougars led the MWC and ranked fourth in the nation in passing offense, averaging 323.5 yards per game during the regular season. The Cougars also led the league and ranked fourth in the country in total offense, producing an average 465.5 yards per contest. BYU also led the Mountain West and ranked fifth nationally in scoring offense, averaging 36.8 points per game. The BYU offense finished the regular season ranked second nationally in passing efficiency, posting a rating of 167.08 … Defensively, the Cougars ranked fourth nationally and led the league in turnover margin, averaging +1.08 turnovers per game. BYU also made tremendous strides defensively, ranking 16th in the nation in pass efficiency defense (106.23) and 10th nationally in scoring defense, allowing just 14.7 points per game … BYU outscored its opponents during the regular season by an average 36.8 to 14.7 (+22.1). More impressively, the Cougars posted 138 first-quarter points and held opponents to just 15 points in the opening quarter of play throughout the season. After finishing 3-3 in Provo last season, the Cougars registered a perfect 6-0 record at home in 2006. Not only did the 2006 Cougars finish the season as the most dominant home team in the nation, but also they finished as the most dominant home team in BYU Football history. BYU averaged 47.2 points per game at LaVell Edwards Stadium while holding opponents to just 12.0 points per contest. The +35.16 margin not only led the nation in home scoring margin, but also set a new BYU record, eclipsing the old mark of +34.2 set in 1979. LSU finished the season behind the Cougars in 2006, posting a +31.9 home-field scoring margin.
Under the direction of first-year coach Bronco Mendenhall, the Cougars were 6-5 overall in the regular season and finished tied for second in the Mountain West Conference at 5-3 … BYU earned an invitation to the Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl and played California … The Cougars fell to California, 35-28 … Mendenhall revamped the coaching staff prior to the season, adding Robert Anae (offensive coordinator), Brandon Doman (quarterbacks coach) and Patrick Higgins (wide receivers coach) … BYU also switched back to the traditional uniforms, while maintaining the navy blue, worn by all of the great BYU teams with the traditional Y logo on the helmets … John Beck, Jonny Harline and Curtis Brown led an offensive attack that was BYU’s most potent since 2001, averaging 33.0 points per game (second in the MWC and 24th in the nation) and 462.4 yards of total offense per game … Beck led the conference and was fifth in the nation in passing yards (309.1 per game) and led the conference in touchdown passes (27) … Brown also added six 100-yard rushing games to give him 11 for his career, the most in BYU history … Harline led the team and ranked among the top tight ends in the nation with 63 receptions for 853 yards and five touchdowns … Beck, Brown and Harline were all named to the All-MWC First Team …. Cameron Jensen led the team in tackles for the second-consecutive year by recording 84.
BYU posted its third-consecutive losing season, the longest such streak since the Cougars were sub-.500 from 1959-64 … Despite the losing 5-6 record, BYU finished third place in the Mountain West Conference at 4-3 … The Cougars’ schedule was one of the most difficult in team history, including games against Notre Dame, the defending national champions USC, then-undefeated Boise State and an undefeated University of Utah team … John Beck and newcomer receivers Todd Watkins and Austin Collie combined to create one of the most potent passing attacks in the league … Beck threw for 2,563 yards while Watkins, a transfer from Grossmont Junior College caught 52 passes for 1,042 yards and six touchdowns … Collie, a true freshman, caught a team-high 53 passes for 771 yards and eight touchdowns … Matt Payne finished his career as second on BYU’s all-time scoring list with 312 and set an NCAA record for most consecutive field goals between 40-49 at 14, dating back to the 2002 season … he also set the school record for most consecutive PATS with 67, dating back to 2002 … Gary Crowton resigned at the end of the season and replaced by Bronco Mendenhall.
BYU posted back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since 1970-71 before LaVell Edwards took over the reigns of the program … John Beck became only the second true-freshman to start at quarterback for BYU when he started against Stanford ... Running back Reynaldo Brathwaite recorded the longest run from scrimmage in Cougar history, a 95-yard score against San Diego State … Freshman tight end Daniel Coats was named to The Sporting News Freshman All-America team after posting 30 receptions for 378 yards and four touchdowns…The Cougars’ NCAA-record scoring steak ended at 361 after being shut out 3-0 against Utah in the final game of the season. The last time BYU was shut out was when Arizona State blanked the Cougars 20-0 on September 27, 1975.
For the first time since 1973 the Cougars finished the regular-season with a sub-.500 record ... coincidentally, the ‘73 season was the second under legendary coach LaVell Edwards ... his replacement, Gary Crowton, just completed his second season at BYU…for the first time in the four-season history of the MWC, BYU failed to win a conference road game, going 0-3 ... the Cougars combined to post a 9-2 conference road mark through the league’s first three seasons … Matt Berry was the first redshirt freshman quarterback to start at BYU since Ty Detmer in 1988…Brady Poppinga led the MWC with eight sacks for minus 52 yards … Matt Payne led the country with a punting average of 47.6 yards.
In his first season after taking over the BYU football program Gary Crowton led the Cougars to 12 consecutive victories and an outright Mountain West Conference title thanks to a dramatic come-from-behind victory over rival Utah in Provo ... Luke Staley was named a consensus All-American and became BYU’s first Doak Walker Award winner for the nation’s top running back ... Staley led the nation in scoring at 15.45 points per game and was third nationally in rushing at 143.82 yards per game ... The Cougars led the nation in scoring offense with 46.77 points per game and in total offense with 542.85 yards per game ... BYU was the first MWC school to go undefeated in conference games and boasted eight players being named as first-team all-league ... Staley was named Offensive Player of the Year in the Conference and set BYU single-season records for points scored, touchdowns scored and rushing yards ... injuries took Staley out of the Cougars final two games which resulted in loses at Hawaii and in the Liberty Bowl against Louisville ... BYU climbed the national polls to as high as No. 7 on Nov. 25th and finished the season ranked No. 24 in both polls ... First-Team All-MWC defensive end Ryan Denney was named to the Academic All-America team and was drafted in the second round by the Buffalo Bills ... All-MWC tight end Doug Jolley was also selected in the second round of the 2002 NFL draft by the Oakland Raiders.
BYU won its last two games, including a memorable thriller at Utah, to send coach LaVell Edwards out with a 6-6 record in his 29th and final year as a head coach…Playing one of its toughest schedules in history, the Cougars played Mississippi State, Syracuse, Virginia and national power Florida State in the Kickoff Classic…Against Utah, BYU trailed by one point but went 80 yards on nine plays, including two dramatic passes from quarterback Brandon Doman to wide receiver Jonathan Pittman, for the come-from-behind victory…Owen Pochman, Setema Gali, Jr., Justin Ena and Aaron Edmonds were all named to the All-Mountain West Conference first team… Pochman and Tevita Ofahengaue are both selected in the NFL draft with Ofahengaue being “Mr. Irrelevant” as the last player selected in the draft.
Won the first-ever Mountain West Conference Championship with an 8-4 season record (5-2 conf.) … A 27-20 win over Air Force marks LaVell Edwards’ 250th victory as head coach of the Cougars … junior kicker Owen Pochman becomes the school’s all-time leading scorer, picking up 90 points on the season to give him a career total 247 … a six-game winning streak in the middle of the season has BYU ranked as high as No. 12 in the USAToday/CNN Coaches’ Poll … running back Luke Staley is named Freshman All-American and conference Freshman of the Year, leading the nation’s freshmen in scoring average with 78 points in eight games … Rob Morris returns from a four-game absence to earn All-America status … Morris is picked in the first round with the 28th overall pick by the Indianapolis Colts … The Cougars finish the season ranked first in the conference in total offense and rushing defense, as well as eighth in the nation in passing offense and 14th in the nation in rushing defense … BYU makes its first-ever Motor City Bowl appearance against Marshall … Edwards concludes the season with his 20th career conference title and 22nd bowl appearance in 28 years.
BYU runs up a 7-1 conference record (9-5 overall) to win the WAC Pacific Division title ... The Cougars meet Tulane in their first-ever Liberty Bowl appearance ... BYU’s season is highlighted by its defense, ranked No. 5 in the nation, allowing only 91.2 rushing yards and 273.9 total yards per game ... After a slow start, the Cougars won seven games in a row ... Season highlights included a 26-6 thumping of Arizona State, a 13-0 shutout of San Diego State and a 26-24 victory over Utah ... Rob Morris, John Tait, Brian Gray and Daren Yancey were all named to the All-WAC first team ... John Tait was selected in the first round of the NFL Draft (14th overall) by the Kansas City Chiefs ... Sophomore kicker Owen Pochman set a school record by connecting on 62 consecutive PATs.
BYU finishes fifth in the WAC’s Mountain Division with an overall record of 6-5 (4-4 in the WAC)... Cougars fail to receive a bowl bid for only the second time in 20 years... Drew Miller becomes first ever true freshman to start at quarterback for BYU... starting QB role is never quite locked up as three different quarterbacks see considerable playing time throughout the season... Brian McKenzie becomes only the fourth Cougar to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season and moves into sixth place on BYU’s career rushing list with 1,954 yards.
BYU completes the longest season in Division I college football history and plays in its first ever New Year’s Day bowl game with a 19-15 Cotton Bowl victory over Kansas State...BYU finishes the season with a 14-1 record and a No. 5 national ranking in both polls, its highest ranking since 1984...QB Steve Sarkisian leads the nation in pass efficiency with a 173.6 rating...the Cougars finish sixth in the nation in total offense with 478 yards per game...the defense leads the WAC in rushing yards allowed (124.6), total yards allowed (316.3) and points allowed (18.7)...James Dye finishes second in the nation in punt returns with a 17.6 average...BYU wins the inaugural WAC Championship game with a 28-25 victory over Wyoming in Las Vegas, Nevada...BYU goes undefeated in the WAC, giving LaVell Edwards his 18th career title.
A first-ever multi-year contract for a BYU coach is given to Edwards... the string of 17 consecutive bowl games comes to an end... Cougars finish number two in NCAA in punt returns at 18.9, while James Dye is number one at 21.9... Steve Sarkisian is the first junior college player since 1973 to start as a BYU quarterback ... BYU finishes in a four-way tie for first in the WAC.
It’s a historic season with victories over Notre Dame and Oklahoma to finish 10th in the final CNN/USA Today poll... five players are drafted, the most ever... Cougars win their first bowl game since 1988... BYU dedicates Copper Bowl effort to graduate assistant coach John Farley, who was sidelined in August with heart trouble and died in December... Cougars are third nationally in passing with John Walsh fifth in total offense... Jamal Willis becomes the all-time leading rusher and breaks the record for touchdowns...David Lauder sets a career record for consecutive PATs with 53.
BYU ties for the WAC title and goes to the Holiday Bowl (16th straight bowl game), nearly beating Big Ten co-champ Ohio State...Cougars win all four league games in September before injuries hit and team loses four games in October... BYU gains 20th straight non-losing season... team ranks second in passing and ninth in total offense and John Walsh is fifth in total offense and ninth in passing efficiency... freshman Alan Boardman finishes ninth nationally in punting and Eric Drage sets career records for touchdown receptions (29) and yardage (3,066)... BYU’s NCAA record of 53-straight games with a touchdown pass ends at CSU, but Cougars extend the nation’s longest streak without being shut out to 236 consecutive games.
Cougars are forced to use three different quarterbacks (and a fourth in the bowl game) but finish fifth nationally in passing and seventh in total offense... 23rd in rushing defense... among the highlights were beating powerful Penn State (30-3 until the closing minutes), a first-ever game against Notre Dame, finally taking the series lead against Utah State and the 19th win by Coach Edwards in 21 games against Utah... Ryan Hancock finishes third in total offense and passing... BYU wins WAC title and goes to the Aloha Bowl...BYU’s 15th straight bowl.
Cougars go undefeated in the final 10 games as Ty Detmer finishes his incredible career with 62 NCAA records, including an amazing 15,031 yards passing and a career passing efficiency of 162.7 (nearly five points above Jim McMahon’s previous record)... BYU ties seventh-ranked Iowa, 13-13, at the Holiday Bowl, its 14th straight bowl game... Shad Hansen sets a school record with 325 career defensive points... Peter Tuipulotu winds up with the best career rushing average (5.5)... Detmer repeats as the Davey O’Brien Award winner.
Ty Detmer, a consensus first team All-American, becomes the first player in the Rockies to win the Heisman Trophy...also wins the Davey O’Brien Award...finishes with 5,188 yards passing—the most ever—and increases his NCAA records to 47... Chris Smith also is consensus All-American and has more reception yards (1,156) than any tight end in history... Andy Boyce gains more yards receiving (1,241) than anyone who has played at BYU... Matt Bellini breaks the career record for catches with 204... BYU shocks the nation by upsetting top-ranked Miami but loses a shot at being number one with a loss at Oregon... BYU wins the WAC and goes to its 13th straight bowl.
BYU returns to the top of the WAC after a three-year absence... offensive lineman Mohammed Elewonibi becomes the second BYU player in four years to win the Outland Trophy and is consensus All-American... Bob Davis and Chris Smith are named to several All-American teams ... Fred Whittingham is first team Academic All-America... sophomore Ty Detmer breaks 11 NCAA records and ties two others... Cougars make 12th straight bowl appearance but drop a tough game to Penn State in the Holiday Bowl.
Cougars win seven straight but drop to third in WAC race... punter Pat Thompson named All-America and finishes second nationally while team is first in punting and net punting... behind quarterbacks Sean Covey and Ty Detmer, BYU is fourth in passing, 13th in total offense and 13th in scoring... BYU plays second-ranked Miami even for three quarters... Bob Davis is a finalist for the Butkus Award as the country’s top linebacker... 11th straight bowl trip (Freedom Bowl) is 20-17 upset over Colorado.
BYU defense leads the nation with 50 takeaways (28 interceptions and 22 fumble recoveries) with Troy Long getting the most defensive points... after offensive line is decimated in pre-season camp, Cougars bounce back from 1-2 start to win eight of final nine regular season games... Cougars come within a two-point conversion of another WAC title... Chuck Cutler begins the first of two years as a GTE Academic All-America first teamer... Leonard Chitty sets career records for consecutive conversions (42) and for field goals (34)... Cougars rank ninth nationally in passing offense and 22nd in scoring offense... Cougars win Gridiron Bowl (the final regular-season game against Colorado St.) in Melbourne, Australia, but injuries prove costly in the All American Bowl versus Virginia.
Edwards passes Frank Kush as the winningest coach in WAC football history... Jason Buck becomes only the third player in the Western United States to win the Outland Trophy and is named consensus All-America ... Shawn Knight is also named to several All-American teams ... Lakei Heimuli comes on strong toward the end of the season to break Jeff Blanc’s record for career rushing yards... Cougars fail to win WAC championship for the first time in 11 years but post an 8-5 record and play UCLA in the Freedom Bowl.
Cougars’ defense of the National Championship begins with win over Boston College in the Kickoff Classic... that game plus a bowl and playing at Hawaii allows BYU to become the only collegiate team to play 14 games in a season... defensive tackle Jason Buck is named third team All-American and WAC Defensive Player of the Year... Mark Bellini earns second-team All-America honors... a tie with Air Force for the WAC championship... quarterback Robbie Bosco ranks second in total offense and seventh in pass efficiency... finishes third in the Heisman Trophy balloting... BYU defense ranks 19th against the rush and 18th overall... Cougars lose to Ohio State in the Florida Citrus Bowl and end the season ranked 16th in both polls.
Cougars win the National Championship by becoming only the third team in NCAA history to win 13 games in a season... win streak is extended to 24 games... quarterback Robbie Bosco leads the nation in passing and finishes second to Doug Flutie in pass efficiency (151.8)... defensive back Kyle Morrell named first team All-American... team leads the nation in passing (346.2) and total offense (486.5)... defensively, Cougars finish 10th in scoring defense... another WAC championship and a victory over Michigan in Holiday Bowl VII... Edwards named NCAA Coach of the Year by most organizations ...Bosco is runner-up for the Davey O’Brien Award and third in the Heisman.
Another 11-win season... Cougars are ranked seventh in final polls, highest ever for a BYU team... quarterback Steve Young and tight end Gordon Hudson both named consensus All-Americans... after losing to Baylor in the opening game, BYU wins final 11 games... BYU leads the nation in passing and total offense and is second in scoring... Cougars set NCAA total offense record with 584.2 yards per game... BYU wins eighth straight WAC title and defeats Missouri in Holiday Bowl VI... Edwards surpasses the 100-victory milestone...Young wins the Davey O’Brien Award and finishes runner-up for the Heisman.
BYU expands Cougar Stadium to 65,000 seats and sells out each game... loses home opener to Air Force (39-38) but comes back to win seventh straight WAC title and plays Ohio State in Holiday Bowl V... Gordon Hudson is named consensus All-American... BYU finishes third nationally in total offense... Steve Young is named WAC Offensive Player of the Year.
Another 11-win season for the Cougars... have a 17-game win streak and rank eighth in the polls before losing to Nevada-Las Vegas... BYU leads the nation in passing for the third consecutive year... McMahon earns All-America honors and finishes his career with 70 NCAA records and sets record with all-time high in career pass efficiency (156.9) ... McMahon wins the first Davey O’Brien Award ... Cougars win WAC and play Washington State in Holiday Bowl IV... LaVell coaches West team to a victory in the Hula Bowl... also coaches in the Japan Bowl... Edwards’ 86-32-1 record ranks among top 10 in the nation.
The school’s first 12-win season... BYU leads the nation in three statistical categories: total offense (535.0), scoring (46.7) and passing (409.8)... quarterback Jim McMahon is named to the Kodak All-America team along with tackle Nick Eyre... McMahon is the first Division I player to pass for more than 4,000 yards in a season (4,571)... sets or ties 31 NCAA records, most in total offense and passing... pass efficiency (176.9) was the highest ever... also led the nation in total offense (385.6)... after losing the first game to New Mexico, BYU wins 12 straight ... Cougars win WAC and defeat SMU in Holiday Bowl III by scoring 21 points in the final four minutes.
With two all-conference quarterbacks to choose from, Edwards decides to redshirt McMahon and play senior Wilson... Cougars upset Texas A&M in season opener and go on to record 11 straight wins ... Wilson leads the nation in total offense (325.5) and is fourth in pass efficiency (147.1)... finishes the year as consensus All-American with 10 NCAA records to his credit... Cougars lead the nation in four categories: passing (368.3), total offense (521.4), scoring (40.6) and kickoff returns (26.3)... Cougars are 12th in scoring defense (11.4) and sixth in punting (40.1)... BYU becomes first Division I school to pass for more than 4,000 yards in a season... LaVell receives the Bobby Dodd Coach-of-the-Year award... Cougars win the WAC and play Indiana in Holiday Bowl II.
Both Marc Wilson and sophomore Jim McMahon see action in 10 games as they share quarterback duties... Cougars are eighth in passing and fourth in fumble recoveries... Cougars win the WAC, play their final regular-season game in Yokohama, Japan, against UNLV, and meet Navy in the first Holiday Bowl.
Gifford Nielsen unexpectedly exits scene with injury in fourth game (Oregon State) and Marc Wilson takes over... by the end of the year, the two have combined for 40 TD passes, 3,585 yards passing and a .605 completion percentage... Wilson finishes eighth in passing and third in total offense... Cougars lead nation in passing (341.6), finish second in scoring (39.4) and third in total offense (470.2)... BYU’s 341.6 yards passing per game was third highest in NCAA history, and 41 TDs was second... Cougars top the nation in takeaways (fumbles recovered or interceptions) with a total of 56... Cougars tie for first in WAC and make a post-season trip to play two Japanese all-star teams.
Gifford Nielsen places fourth in NCAA completions per game (18.8) with only one-tenth completion separating him from Jack Thompson (Washington State) in second place... Nielsen finishes second to Tommy Kramer (Rice) in total offense... Cougars finish first in passing (307.8), sixth in total offense (424.4) and eighth in NCAA scoring (31.9)... Nielsen voted first team All-American... BYU ties for WAC title and plays Oklahoma State in the Tangerine Bowl.
A year of adjustment: the Cougars falter through the first part of the season, then win six of their last eight games... Gifford Nielsen, a sophomore reserve, comes off the bench in the fourth game (New Mexico) to spark a come-from-behind victory... Nielsen sets WAC record with 10-of-12 passing... becomes starter... Cougars finish 10th nationally in team passing.
Team ranks high in two NCAA statistical categories: seventh in passing offense, third in rushing defense... Gary Sheide is runner-up in passing for the second year in a row (behind Steve Bartkowski of California) ... Sheide’s career completion percentage is fourth all-time.. Bartkowski’s final pass completion edged Sheide (182-181) for title... LaVell wins first WAC championship and a trip to the Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma St.—BYU’s first bowl.
The Cougars begin to move offensively... quarterback Gary Sheide is runner-up in NCAA passing and third in total offense... teammate Jay Miller leads the nation in pass receiving (100 receptions for 1,181 yards)... Cougars finish second nationally in passing and eighth in total offense... Miller sets an NCAA record for most pass receptions (22) in one game... running back Steve Stratton is named the first Academic All-American in school history.
LaVell Edwards, defensive coordinator for the Cougars, is named head coach in January... had been a member of the BYU staff since 1962... halfback Pete Van Valkenburg wins NCAA rushing title beating out All-Americans Greg Pruitt and Otis Armstrong with a 138.6 yards-per-game average... the Cougars also lead the league in defense against the rush.