Cougars Host Mississippi State on Thursday Night ESPN
After a tough road loss at MWC foe Air Force on Saturday, BYU will make its first appearance in Cougar Stadium of the season, taking on Mississippi State on Thursday, Sept. 14 in Provo. Thursday's game will mark the first-ever meeting between the Cougars and Bulldogs. The game will be televised to a national audience on ESPN. The Bulldogs enter Thursday's game after a week off, following an opening-week win over Memphis, 17-3. MSU finished second in the SEC in 2000, with a 10-2 overall record, including a 17-7 win over Clemson in the Peach Bowl. This will be Bulldog head coach Jackie Sherrill's first-ever trip out West since taking over the MSU program in 1991. Mississippi State will be making its first regular-season trip to the West since playing at Colorado State in 1981. The Bulldogs defeated the Rams 37-27 in Colorado Springs under Bulldog head coach Emory Bellard, who many claim was the inventor of the famed "Wishbone" offense. The Bulldogs are only the third team from the SEC to ever appear on the BYU schedule. The Cougars last played an SEC team in 1998, traveling to Alabama, which resulted in a 38-31 loss. The only other game against an SEC opponent came in 1982 -- a 17-14 loss at Georgia. MSU is the first-ever team from the SEC to play in Cougar Stadium.
Thursday's game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN, beginning at 6 p.m. (MDT). The popular Thursday-night foursome of Mike Tirico, Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit and Dr. Jerry Punch return to Provo for the third time in the past two seasons. The Cougars appeared on ESPN's Thursday Night Game of the Week twice last season, defeating both Washington and Colorado State in back-to-back Thursday night games. Tirico, a 1988 Syracuse graduate, has handled Thursday Night Game-of-the-Week duties for the past three seasons, while Corso has been lending his candid and colorful opinions to the broadcast booth since 1987. Herbstreit came to ESPN in 1995 as a sideline analyst. (NOTE: Corso picked BYU as the upset-of-the-week just hours prior to the Cougars' 38-35 overtime win at Virginia. Thanks Lee!)
Scouting the Falcons
Mississippi State enters Thursday's game with a 1-0 mark on the season, having knocked off Memphis, 17-3, in Week One of the 2000 season. MSU did not play last weekend. The Bulldogs finished the 1999 season with a 10-2 record, finishing second in the SEC and captured a 17-7 win over Clemson in the Peach Bowl. The Bulldogs are under the direction of head coach Jackie Sherrill, who is in his 10th season at MSU. Sherrill, a 1966 Alabama graduate, has produced a 165-89-4 record over 22 years as a head coach at the Division-I level. Sherrill has coached at Washington State (1976), Pittsburgh (1977-81) and Texas A&M (1982-1988) prior to heading up the MSU program in 1991. Sherrill ranks eighth among the NCAA's winningest active coaches (BYU's LaVell Edwards ranks 3rd). Sherrill has not only been a successful head football coach, but has served as a coaching mentor as well. Dave Wannstedt (Miami Dolphins), Dave Campo (Dallas Cowboys), Bob Davie (Notre Dame), Mike Price (Washing State) and R.C. Slocum (Texas A&M) are just a few of Sherrill's prized coaching pupils. Against Memphis, the Bulldogs recorded just 127 total yards on offense, including 45 yards rushing and 82 yards passing. Junior tailback Dicenzo Miller led the Bulldogs with 31 yards on 11 carries, while junior quarterback Wayne Madkin was 10-of-20 for 82 yards. Madkin also had one interception. Sophomore receiver Terrell Grindle lead all MSU receivers with three receptions for 17 yards. Linebacker Mario Haggan anchored the Bulldog's defense, which ranked first nationally in 1999, with 10 solo tackles, and seven assists. All-America candidate Fred Smoot recorded two pass break-ups and one interception against the Tigers. The Bulldogs return 44 lettermen and just 10 starters from their 1999 squad. Offensive tackle Pork Chop Womack and madkin are the only two-year returning regulars, and are joined by three other regular, offensive starters from last year's team. On defense the Bulldogs have only three returning starters from the 1999 squad, including Smoot and linebackers Conner Stephens and Pig Prather. The Bulldogs also have a host of players who saw significant time during the 1999 season.
Thursday's contest will be the first ever game for the Bulldogs in the State of Utah and its first out West since traveling to Colorado State in 1981 ... Thursday's game in Provo will mark the first-ever appearance by an SEC team in Cougar Stadium ... The game will mark the first-ever meeting between LaVell Edwards and Jackie Sherrill ... MSU is 15-5 in games after an off week under the Sherrill era ... The Bulldogs return just 10 starters, including three starters from the nation's top-ranked defense in 1999.
Coach Edwards - (252-97-3, .720)
BYU head coach LaVell Edwards enters his 29th and final season at the helm of the Cougar program. On Aug. 17, 2000 Edwards made the historic announcement he would step down as head coach following the 2000 season. Edwards, who will be 70 in October, has a 252-97-3 record in 28 seasons with the Cougars. His teams have won 20 conference titles, including a share of the 1999 Mountain West Conference title and have appeared in 22 bowl games. In 1984, he was named National Coach of the Year after BYU finished the season 13-0 and won the National Championship. He needs just five victories to pass Tom Osborne as the sixth-winningest college football coach in history. He enters the 2000 season with the third-most wins (251) and the third best winning percentage (.723) among active coaches. Edwards has produced all but one winning season since taking over the program in 1972. Edwards' teams have passed for over 56 miles during his 28-year career. He has coached two Outland Trophy winners, four Davey O'Brien Trophy winners, 35 All-Americans, 11 conference Player-of-the Year recipients, 31 Academic All-Americans and has led the Cougars to seven NCAA single-season passing titles. Since 1972, Edwards has guided BYU to 22 postseason bowl appearances, including a string of 17 straight from 1978-1994. Only Michigan, Alabama and Nebraska have laced together a string of more consecutive appearances. The Cougars' last home game in Provo marked the 160th home game for Edwards. In 28 seasons, Edwards is 129-31 (.810) in Cougar Stadium. Enter the 2000 season, the former Utah State lineman ranks third among active coaches with 200-or-more wins. Edwards trails only Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden. The Cougars game against Florida State will mark Edwards' 350th career game. Edwards joined Hal Mitchell's BYU football staff as an assistant coach in 1962. He was named BYU's head coach in 1972 and has enjoyed winning seasons every year but 1973, when the Cougars finished 5-6. Labeled a "national coaching treasure" by USA Today, Edwards has coached his teams to four top-10 rankings and 13 top-25 finishes. Edwards' teams are known for their wide-open offenses. His quarterbacks have thrown over 11,000 passes for more than 100,000 yards and 635 touchdowns in 28 seasons. All American quarterbacks to play for Edwards include Gary Sheide, Gifford Nielsen, Marc Wilson, Jim McMahon, Steve Young, Robbie Bosco, Ty Detmer and Steve Sarkisian. Awards won by his players include a Heisman Trophy, a Maxwell Award, two Outland Trophies, four Davey O'Brien Awards and 31 All-America citations. Edwards inherited a mediocre BYU foot ball program that had a .431 winning percentage in 47 seasons. His teams have since made appearances in the Fiesta, Cotton, Holiday, Tangerine, Citrus, Copper, Aloha, Liberty, Freedom, All-America and Motor City bowls. Edwards has not shied away from playing tough non-conference schedules. His teams own victories over the likes of Notre Dame, Michigan, Penn State, Texas A&M, Texas, Oklahoma, Miami, UCLA, Washington, Pittsburgh and Colorado. Edwards' impact on the coaching world will continue long after he has left the coaching limelight. His former assistant coaches and players are now making their mark on the game. Seattle Seahawks head coach and general manager Mike Holmgren got his first big break as quarterbacks coach at BYU under Edwards. Current NFL head coaches Brian Billick (Baltimore Ravens) and Andy Reid (Philadelphia Eagles) played for the Cougars during the Edwards era. In the college ranks, Cal head coach Tom Holmoe played for Edwards and worked for a season at BYU as a graduate assistant coach. Alabama offensive coordinator Charlie Stubbs was also a graduate assistant with Edwards. Ted Tollner, San Diego State's head coach, served as Edwards' assistant. Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Gary Crowton grew up in Edwards' hometown of Orem, Utah, and patterned his coaching philosophy after Edwards', as did new Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach. One of 14 children, Edwards graduated from Lincoln High School in Orem, Utah. He attended Utah State University, where he earned all-conference honors before serving a two-year commitment in the Army. He began his full-time coaching career at Granite High School in Salt Lake City, where he coached for eight years before accepting a job at BYU.
Did Somebody Say McDonald?
Junior college transfer Brian McDonald played a major roll in the Cougars' second-half, come-from-behind victory over Virginia on Sept. 2. The 6-foot-0, 200-pound running back from Buena Park, Calif., totaled 86 yards on 20 carries, marking the most rushing yards gained by a BYU back since Fahu Tahi recorded 89 yards against UNLV last season. Perhaps most impressive was McDonald's three rushing touchdown, marking the first time a BYU ball carrier has scored three rushing touchdowns in a single game since Ronney Jenkins recorded three TDs against Utah in 1996. McDonald's two touchdowns in the third quarter against Virginia marked the first time since Nov. 6, 1999 (vs. San Diego State) the Cougars have scored more than once during the same quarter. McDonald's first, third-quarter TD marked the first rushing touchdown for the Cougars since the 4:47 mark in the fourth quarter against Wyoming on Nov. 13, 1999 (Kevin Feterik one-yard run). McDonald followed his performance at UVa with a season-high 88 yards against Air Force on Saturday. McDonald averaged 8.8 yards per touch, including a season-best 37-yard trot that lead to a 19-yard touchdown pass to Mike Riggell in the second quarter.
McDonald's 2000 Season Stats
G No. Gain Loss Net TD Long AVG/C AVG/G
3 33 191 1 190 3 37 5.8 63.3
Including the Cougars' Sept. 14th matchup against Mississippi State, BYU will appear on national television a total of six times during the 2000 regular-season, marking the most single-season national television appearances in BYU football history. The Cougars opened the season on ABC against Florida State, and will play on three ESPN Thursday Night games during the 2000 campaign. In addition, BYU will play at Syracuse on an ESPN2 national broadcast. Dating back to 1980, the Cougars have appeared on national television an average of three times per season. Prior to this season, the Cougars have played five games on national T.V. four different times, including the 1998, 1996, 1988 and 1985 seasons. Since 1980, BYU has played in at least one nationally-televised game. In 1999, the Cougars were 2-1 in national TV games. Since its first national television appearance in 1974, BYU has posted a 40-25-2 record while playing in front of a national audience, including a 22-15 mark on ABC and a 24-14-2 mark on ESPN. BYU has been a regular on ESPN's Thursday Night Game of the Week in recent history, compiling a 9-2 overall record and a current five-game winning streak. Current assistant coach Robbie Bosco led the Cougars to a 20-14 win over Pitt in the first live ESPN College Football broadcast in 1984. Over 11 years ago, the Cougars recorded their largest margin of victory while playing on national television, defeating Texas, 72-6, on Sept. 8, 1988.
Team Statistics BYU BYU Opp AFA AFA Opp
Total First Downs 64 62 7 13
First Downs-Rushing 19 22 4 8
First Downs-Passing 38 35 3 4
First Downs-Penalty 7 5 0 1
Rushing Att-Yds 84-216 131-513 35-45 41-87
Pass Comp-Att-Int 70-128-6 56-90-1 10-20-1 10-34-2
Passing Yards 909 738 82 81
Total Offense Plays-Yards 212-1125 221-1251 55-127 75-168
Punting No.-Avg. 16-41.6 19-43.2 10-45.5 10-44.2
Fumbles-Lost 7-4 0-0 3-1 5-3
Penalties-Yards 21-167 20-153 13-105 8-45
Sacks by-Yds Lost 7-46 15-101 7-52 4-24
3rd Down Conversions 15-40 24-50 2-14 5-19
3rd Down Conversion Pct. .380 .480 .143 .263
4th Down Conversions 1-1 1-2 0-0 1-3
4th Down Conversion Pct. 1.000 .500 .000 .333
Avg. Time of Possession 29:09 30:51 28:03 31:57
Scoring by Quarter 1 2 3 4 OT Total Avg.
Brigham Young 10 10 17 24 3 64 21.3
Brigham Young (Opp) 29 35 14 17 0 95 31.7
Mississippi State 0 10 0 7 -- 17 17.0
Mississippi State (Opp) 0 3 0 0 -- 3 3.0
Keeping the Faith
With Bret Engemann listed as the starter in BYU's first three games, the 2000 season will mark the first time since the 1991 season BYU has had a Mormon (preferably, Latter-day Saint) as its "regular" starting quarterback. With all three quarterbacks on the 2000 roster listed as returned missionaries, it will also mark the first season since 1988 the Cougars have been led by a returned missionary. Engemann served a two-year LDS Church mission in Boston, Mass., Backup Charlie Peterson served in Suva, Fiji and Brandon Doman served in Bahia Blanca, Argentina. The last "regular" starting quarterback at BYU to serve an LDS Church mission was Sean Covey, who started the 1988 season after serving a mission in South Africa. As a note, Paul Shoemaker, an LDS returned missionary played in five games during the 1997 season, starting in just one game (vs. Washington.)
In The Beginning
Sophomore quarterback Bret Engemann got his first collegiate start at quarterback on Aug. 26, taking on defending national champion Florida State. It was the first start Engemann has had since his senior year in high school back in 1996. Engemann was 12-of-28 in his collegiate debut, totaling 139 yards. Engemann split time with junior Charlie Peterson and was forced to sit out the fourth quarter due to a sprained knee. In his second career start, the sophomore quarterback followed a promising debut at Florida State with a stellar 447-yard, two-touchdown performance at Virginia on Saturday. Engemann completed nearly 83-percent of his passes, connecting on 34-of-41 for 447 yards and two touchdowns. After throwing an interception late in the third quarter, the 6-foot-4, 230-pound slinger connected on 12 straight completions, including a stretch of 11 straight during the fourth quarter to help overcome a 21-point halftime deficit. Engemann was named the Chevrolet Player of the Game and Mountain West Co-Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts in leading the Cougars to a 38-35, come-from-behind win over the Cavaliers. Engemann continued his hot streak in to the first quarter of Saturday's game at Air Force. Engemann connected on four of his first five attempts for 92 yards, leading the Cougars to two straight scoring drives to open the game. Engemann finished the day 18-of-40 for 235 yards and one TD, including a 55-yard strike to tight end Doug Jolley. Following is a breakdown of how other BYU quarterbacks have fared after their first three starts:
Name YR ATT COMP YDS INT TDs W/L
Virgil Carter 1964 63 22 396 6 3 0-3
Gary Sheide 1973 52 36 564 4 3 0-2
Gifford Nielsen 1975 42 28 415 2 3 2-1
Marc Wilson 1977 20 18 182 0 2 3-0
Jim McMahon 1978 39 22 368 2 2 2-1
Steve Young 1981 17 9 92 0 1 3-0
Robbie Bosco 1984 119 75 1002 2 8 3-0
Sean Covey 1987 37 23 249 1 0 2-1
Ty Detmer 1988 43 19 279 4 3 2-1
John Walsh 1992 100 52 857 5 9 1-2
Steve Sarkisian 1995 119 77 1056 4 4 1-2
Paul Shoemaker 1997 23 10 181 1 1 1-2
Kevin Feterik 1997 105 68 889 4 2 3-0
Bret Engemann 2000 109 64 821 5 3 1-2
During the 2000 season, the Cougars will compete against six teams which participated in bowl games during the 1999 season, posting a 4-2 mark. All 12 of this year's opponents posted a combined 82 wins during the 1999 season, totaling a .594 winning percentage. Nine of the Cougars 12 opponents recorded winning records in 1999, including Mississippi State (10-2) and Florida State (12-0). The Cougars have posted winning records against seven of this year's opponents.
While sitting in the team room this summer, senior offensive captain Kalani Sitake took notice of a number of former BYU All-America and All-Conference photos on the wall. Many of the players, including those from the 1984 National Championship team, were wearing mustaches. In an attempt to rally the troops, and perhaps an effort to tap in to the secret success of the 1984 team, Sitake encouraged several of his teammates to grow mustaches as well. Some member of the "Mustache Crew" now wearing mustaches (or trying to) include, Sitake, his brother T.J. Sitake, Setema Gali, Ben Horton, Brett Keisel, Jared Lee, Chris Hoke, Hans Olsen, Justin Ena, Isaac Kelley, Josh Lowe, team trainer George Curtis and associate athletics director Duff Tittle. Gali and the Sitake brothers have even written a song about their mustaches.
The Streak Continues
Despite a 31-23 loss at Air Force last weekend, the Cougars scored extended their NCAA record streak to 315 games without being shutout. BYU was last shutout during the 1975 season (Sept. 27, 1975 vs. Arizona State). To put the streak in perspective, the Cougars have not been shutout since a soft-spoken speedster out of Jackson State, named Walter Payton, was the Chicago Bears' first-round draft choice and Kam Valgardson, one of the oldest players on the BYU roster, was born three days after the shutout (Sept. 24, 1975).
With three-regular season, non-conference games on the East Coast, including matchups against Florida State, Virginia and Syracuse, as well as league games at Air Force, Colorado State and Utah, the Cougars will log some 10, 470 miles this season. With the exception of Hawai'i, which will make four trips to the Mainland, including three trips to the state of Texas, BYU will travel more miles than any other NCAA Division-I team in the country. The 2000 season will also mark the first time the Cougars have traveled east of the Mississippi River three different times during the regular season. The Cougars will be making first-ever appearances in Jacksonville, Fla., Charlottesville, Va., and Syracuse, N.Y. Following is a look at the round-trip miles the Cougars will travel:
Flordia State - 3,160
Syracuse - 3,190
Virginia - 3,090
Colorado State - 300
Air Force - 660
Utah - 70
Believe It or Not ...
Senior defensive tackle, Hans Olsen , the nephew of NFL Hall-of-Famer Merlin Olsen, has developed a unique talent. The 6-4, 295-pound farmboy from Weiser, Idaho, has balanced tables, chairs, bicycles atop a garden rake, small children in high-chairs and even railroad ties all on his chin. Olsen said he was inspired one day while fighting boredom on the family farm. A popular visitor among local elementary schools, Olsen will often balance large lunch tables on his chin if children promise to spend more time reading. Olsen's ultimate balancing act was accomplished by balancing two railroad ties on his chin at the same time. With one lying across the top of the other, Olsen's balancing act totaled over 250 pounds. Olsen's talent was recently featured in ESPN Magazine.
Pound For Pound
The BYU offensive line totals an beefy 1,145 pounds, averaging 289 pounds per man. They will be going up against the MSU defensive line, which weighs in at an average 307.8 pounds. The BYU front five is made up of one sophomore, two juniors and two seniors, while the Bulldog's defensive front four contains three seniors and one junior. Defensively, the Cougars' front four, which weighs in at an average 276 pounds, will be going up against an MSU front five that weighs in at a total 1,617 pounds. That's an average of 323.4 pounds per man. The BYU defensive front, which contains three seniors and a junior, will be grinding it out with two seniors and three juniors.
Natural Born Winners
Despite dropping the final three games of the 1999 season, the Cougars posted an 8-4 record, marking the 26th straight winning season. BYU has not had a losing season since posting a 5-6 mark in 1973 -- head coach LaVell Edward's second season as head coach. The Cougar's streak of 26 straight winning season ranks 11th all-time at the NCAA Division -1A level and is currently the second longest streak in the nation. (Nebraska leads with an impressive 38 straight winning seasons.)
BYU's Winning Margin
All-America and Biletnikoff Award candidate Margin Hooks currently ranks fifth in the nation with a streak of 27 straight games with at least one reception. The 6-0, 190-pound speedster led the Cougars in 1999 with 1,067 yards, averaging 97 yards per game. The senior receiver produced a team-leading seven touchdowns receptions and ranked third on the roster in scoring with 42 points on the season. Hooks has produced 2,307 career receiving yards and needs just 760 yards to become the Cougars' all-time receiving yardage leader. Hooks is currently ranked seventh on that list. Hooks produced four receptions for 66 yards against Florida State in the Cougars' season-opener and followed that performance with seven receptions for 76 yards against Virginia. Hooks was also credited with his first touchdown reception of the season -- a six-yard reception that pulled the Cougars to within one point with just :50 seconds remaining in the ball game. Hooks extended his consecutive reception streak with three catches for 42 yards against Air Force, including a 22-yard reception that lead to a second-quarter touchdown.
BYU Career Receiving Yardage Leaders
Receiver Career Yards
1. Eric Drage, 1990-93 3,066
2. Matt Bellini, 1987-90 2,635
3. Phil Odle, 1965-67 2,548
4. Gordon Hudson, 1980-83 2,484
5. Mark Bellini, 1983-86 2,429
6. Chris Smith, 1988-90 2,367
7. Margin Hooks, 1997-present 2,307
8. Glen Kozlowski, 1981-85 2,223
9. Mike Chronister, 1976-78 2,205
10. Dan Plater, 1978-81 1,979
A Look Back (Air Force 31, BYU 23)
The Air Force Academy edged BYU, 31-23, in the conference opener for both teams, beating the Cougars for only the second time in Falcon Stadium. The Cougars and the Falcons battled closely for three quarters without a turnover by either team, but in the end, turnovers proved to be BYU's downfall. Two fumbles late in the game led to an Air Force field goal, putting Air Force up 31-23, with just over a minute left. On BYU's final drive, the Falcons intercepted BYU quarterback Bret Engemann, giving Air Force the ball and a chance to run out the clock. After slow starts in the first two games of the sea son, BYU got off to a quick start against the Air Force Falcons, scoring on four of their first five possessions. Luke Staley's 14-yard touchdown with 5:25 left in the first quarter was the first touchdown for BYU in the first quarter since October 23, 1999 against UNLV. In the second quarter, Brian McDonald broke a 37-yard run and Margin Hooks caught a 22-yard pass, which led to a Mike Rigell touchdown catch from the 19-yard line, putting the Cougars up 17-14. In unusual fashion, Air Force scored three passing touchdowns in the first half to counter BYU's offensive attack and put the Falcons up 21-20 at halftime. Air Force quarterback Mike Thiessen passed for four touchdowns in all, the first option quarterback at Air Force to do so and the first time since 1982 that a Falcon quarterback has passed for four touchdowns in a game, tying an Air Force record. In contrast to last week's game, the Cougar offense struggled to move the ball in the second half against the Falcon defense. Margin Hooks extended his record of consecutive games with a catch to 27, the fifth best in the nation. Hooks finished the game with three catches for 42 yards. Once again, Owen Pochman was perfect on the afternoon hitting field goals of 27, 40 and 43 yards, his third fourth and fifth straight of the season, along with two PATs.
BYU's first-quarter touchdown with 5:25 remaining in the first quarter marked the first, first-quarter TD for the Cougars since Oct. 23, 1999 (vs. UNLV) -- a span of six games.
Saturday's attendance of 45,277 marked the largest crowd to ever watch an Air Force-BYU game in Falcon Stadium. The previous best was a crowd of 41,752 in 1995.
The Falcons' Mike Thiessen tied an Air Force record with four TD passes, which also marked the best single-game performance in the option era at Air Force. Thiessen tied the school record of four TD passes, set by Paul Stein (vs. Arizona, 1965) and Rich Haynie (vs. Arizona State, 1972).
Saturday's game marked only the second BYU loss in Falcon Stadium, dating back to the 1956 season. The Cougars lead the all-time series, 17-4, including a mark of 8-2 in Colorado Springs.
Player Injury Game Status
Jimmy Betham, DT Knee (ACL) Out
Jeff Holtry, LB Knee (ACL) Out
Ben Horton, WR Hand (Broken) Out (2-4 weeks)
Luke Staley, RB Knee Probable
Mike Lafitte (CB) Finger (Dislocated) Will Play
Brett Engemann (FB) Ankle Probable
What's The "O" For
BYU players will be wearing the letter "O" on the back of their helmets this season in remembrance of long-time trainer Ollie Julkunen, who passed away earlier this year. Julkunen, a native of Kuopio, Finland, will be remembered for his brilliant sense of humor and antics, in addition to his genuine love and concern for each student-athlete.
In the Cougars' first two games of the season, BYU failed produce a single point in the first half. BYU scored just three points in the second half against Florida State and did not break in to the endzone until the third quarter of the Virginia game. After scoring just six points in the last 10 quarters, including the first two quarters of the Virginia game, BYU exploded for 38 points in the second half to upset Virginia, 38-35. The Cougars continued their scoring ways in the first half of the Air Force game, scoring 20 points, including 10 points in the first quarter. The BYU touchdown with 5:25 remaining in the first quarter marked the first touchdown scored by the Cougars in the first period since a first-quarter TD at UNLV last fall -- a streak of six games.
The Red Zone
After cracking the Red Zone just once against Flordia State, the Cougars penetrated the Red Zone seven different times against Virginia, including the overtime period. The Cougars scored in an impressive six of seven trips to the Red Zone against the Cavaliers and followed that performance with three straight red-zone scoring drives against Air Force. The Cougars have scored on nine-of-11 red zone drives this season. Following is an overall look of the Cougars trips to the Red Zone:
Total Red Zone Series - 11
Times Scored After Entering the Red Zone - 9
Red Zone Scoring Efficiency (FG + TDs) - (.818)
Average Red Zone Appearances per Game - 3.7
Total plays in the Red Zone - 25
Touchdowns in the Red Zone - 7
Field Goals in the Red Zone - 2
Rushing Plays in the Red Zone - 11
Rushing TDs in the Red Zone - 4
Red Zone Rushing - 11 carries for 41 yards
Average Rush per Carry in the Red Zone - 3.7 y/pc
Passing Plays in the Red Zone - 12
Passing TDs in the Red Zone - 3
Red Zone Passing Efficiency - 9-of-12 (.750)
Field Goal Attempts in the Red Zone - 2
Field Goals Made in the Red Zone - 2
Red Zone Turnovers - 1
Missed Field Goals - 0
Blocked Field Goals - 0
Fumble - 2
Interception - 0
End of Game - 0
For only the third time in its history, BYU opened the season with three straight road games. Like the 1924 and 1991 season, the Cougars took to the road three straight times to open the 2000 season. Already this year, the Cougars have traveled to Jacksonville, Fla. (vs. Florida State) and Charlottesville, Va., and Colorado Springs. Since the Cougars last home game on Nov. 20, 1999, BYU has crossed the Mississippi River three different times, traveling to Detroit, Mich. (Motor City Bowl vs. Marshall), Jacksonville, Fla. (Pigskin Classic vs. Flordia State) and Charlottesville, Va. (vs. Virginia). In 1991, BYU went 0-3 on the road, dropping games against Florida State, UCLA and Penn State, but did not lose another game the rest of the season. In 1924, the only other year the Cougars started the season with three road trips, BYU posted a mark of 1-2 in the first three games and went on to record a 2-3-1 record . So far this season, the Cougars are 1-2 on the road, with additional road games scheduled in Syracuse, N.Y, Fort Collins, Colo. and Salt Lake City.
Bret Engemann completed the Virginia game with 12 straight completions, including 11 attempts in the fourth quarter. The 6-foot-4 sophomore carried that streak in to the Air Force game, completing his first two attempts, marking his career-best consecutive completion streak at 14. Engemann started the Air Force game connecting on four of his first five attempts for 92 yards, leading to 10 first-quarter points.
Engemann's 447 yard effort against Virginia marked the most yards ever by a BYU quarterback starting in only his second game. The mark of 447 yards ranks third on the all-time list among first-year starting QBs at BYU. Marc Wilson threw for 571 yards in only his seventh start, while Robbie Bosco chalked up 484 yards, also in his seventh start.
Senior receiver Margin Hooks needs just 61 yards to pass Chris Smith for 6th place on the BYU all-time receiving yardage list. The 6-foot-1 speedster needs only 760 yards to become the Cougars' all-time leading receiver. Hooks has also recorded 132 career receptions and needs just 73 completions to become BYU's all-time reception leader.
Thursday's game will mark the first time BYU has played a team from the SEC in Cougar Stadium. BYU has played only two teams from the SEC in its history, posting an 0-2 record. The Cougars last played an SEC team in 1998, falling to Alabama, 38-31. The Cougars also played at Georgia in 1982, falling to the Bulldogs, 17-14.
Cougars Dominate Overtime
Including BYU's overtime win against Virginia on Sept. 2, the Cougars have posted a perfect 4-0 record in overtime games. In fact, BYU has never lost an overtime coin flip. Each of the four games have been won by a field goal, including two game-winners by current BYU kicker Owen Pochman. All four games have been played on the road, including a neutral game in 1996 against Wyoming at the WAC Championship game in Las Vegas. The Cougars have never played an overtime game in Cougar Stadium. Following is a look at each of the Cougars' four overtime games:
Dec. 7, 1996 def. Wyoming, 28-25
Sept. 27, 1997 def. SMU, 19-16
Oct. 1, 1999 def. Utah State, 34-31
Sept. 2, 2000 def. Virginia, 38-35
On This Day (September 14)
Thursday's game will mark the fifth game in BYU history to be played on Sept. 14th. The Cougars are 2-2 on the 14th, including wins against Idaho State (27-7, 1951) and Washington (31-3, 1985). The Cougars last played on Sept. 14 in 1996 -- a 29-17 loss at Washington. BYU has not lost a game in Cougar Stadium on the 14th.
Of all the Division-IA schools in the west, including teams from the PAC-10, Big 12, WAC, Big West and Mountain West conferences, the Cougars ranked sixth in average home attendance during the 1999 season. Average home attendance for BYU in 1999 exceeded Cougar Stadium capacity (65,000), averaging 65,185 fans per game -- an improvement of over 2,480 fans from the 1998 season. Excluding teams from the Big 12, BYU ranked second behind only Washington (71,790) in average fan attendance. On the road, the Cougars have played in front of 54,260 fans at the Pigskin Classic in Jacksonville, Fla., and were part of the largest crowd to witness a football game in the State of Virginia, with 60,435 fans in attendance in Charlottesville. Nearly 4,000 BYU fans were also in attendance in Charlottesville. The Cougars also helped draw the largest crowd to ever witness a BYU-Air Force game in Falcon Stadium, drawing 45,277 fans last weekend. Of each of the Cougars' opponents this season, BYU has been a part of at least four record-setting crowds on the road, including stadium records at Qualcomm Stadium (56,737 - SDSU), Romney Stadium (33,119 - USU), Rice-Eccles Stadium (45,634 - UU) and Scott Stadium (60,435 - UVa).
BYU has put together 12 scoring drives on the season, including six against Virginia on Sept. 2 and five against Air Force on Sept. 9. The Cougars have constructed 92 plays covering 694 yards and totaling 64 points. The Cougars are averaging 7.7 plays per scoring drive and covering an average 57.8 yards per drive. Following is a look at BYU's game-by-game scoring drives:
Qtr Plays Yds TOP Result
3 13 73 4:05 FG
Qtr Plays Yds TOP Result
3 7 80 2:34 TD
3 8 80 2:55 TD
3 3 78 1:16 TD
4 9 69 4:02 TD
4 8 49 3:58 TD
OT 3 16 0:00 FG
Qtr Plays Yds TOP Result
1 7 36 3:02 FG
1 5 94* 2:00 TD
2 8 82 4:34 TD
2 9 37 2:17 FG
4 12 56 5:09** FG
* - Longest (yards) scoring drive of the season
** - Longest (time) scoring drive of the season