Game Notes: Ranked Teams Battle In Homecoming Game
Coming off a 38-28 win at San Diego State last week, No. 16 BYU (6-1, 3-0 MWC) hosts No. 8 TCU (6-0, 2-0 MWC) in its homecoming game at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. MT. Both teams enter Saturday’s contest undefeated in Mountain West Conference play, with the Horned Frogs looking to extend an eight-game overall win streak. The Cougars on the other hand haven’t lost a league game at home since 2005.
TCU defeated Colorado State, 44-6, last weekend and hopes to keep its BCS busting hopes alive with a win over the Cougars.
ON THE TUBE
Saturday’s game will be broadcast live to a national television audience on VERSUS-HD. Joe Beninati will provided play-by-play coverage with Glenn Parker lending color analysis. Tim Neverett will report from the sidelines.
The game marks the final of two BYU games available on VERSUS during the 2009 season. The network also covered the Florida State contest on Sept. 19.
ESPN COLLEGE GAMEDAY IN TOWN
ESPN’s College Football GameDay show will be broadcast live from BYU this Saturday. Provo will play host to both the radio and television ESPN College GameDay broadcasts.
ESPN College GameDay Built by The Home Depot will begin broadcasting live on Saturday at 10 a.m. ET / 8 a.m. MT. College GameDay host Chris Fowler will be joined by ESPN analysts Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit and Desmond Howard for the live television broadcast.
College GameDay on ESPN Radio will begin broadcasting from BYU at noon ET / 10 a.m. MT as Ryen Russillo, Trevor Matich and Brad Edwards cover the college football scene. The radio show will include interviews, analysis, previews and predictions. Matich, the starting center for the BYU National Championship football team, will have his underdog pick of the week. Russillo will document his trip to Provo as part of his weekly online feature “Russillo on the Road.”
THE BYU-TCU SERIES
BYU and TCU have met eight times over the past 22 years with the Cougars holding a 5-3 record over the Horned Frogs. As MWC opponents, the teams are 2-2 against each other. TCU won the first ever game against BYU, 33-12, in 1987. Back then, the Horned Frogs played in the Southwest Conference while the Cougars competed in the WAC. The following year, BYU exacted revenge with a 31-18 victory at Cougar Stadium. Interestingly, the Cougars’ 2006 season 31-17 win against then-No. 15 ranked TCU in Fort Worth, Texas was the Cougars’ first road win over a nationally-ranked opponent since September 20, 1997 (at Arizona State). BYU defeated the Horned Frogs again in 2007 as freshman running back Harvey Unga scored two rushing touchdowns helping the Cougars to a 27-22 victory.
WHAT THE GAME MEANS
- With a win on Saturday the Cougars would extend their MWC home win streak to 14 games--extending the conference record.
- Defeating No. 8 TCU would give BYU two wins over Top-10 teams in a single season for the first time in program history. The Cougars posted a 14-13 victory over No. 3 Oklahoma in their season opener at Cowboys Stadium.
- A win would improve the Cougars’ season record to 7-1. Before its 7-1 record to open the 2008 season, the last time BYU had a 7-1 start or better was in 2001, when the program posted 12 consecutive wins before ending with back-to-back losses to Hawaii and Louisville.
TCU’S LAST OUTING
FORT WORTH -- Jeremy Kerley tiptoed the sideline, then came to a near stop before finding an open lane to the end zone for his second punt return for a touchdown in three games and No. 12 TCU remained undefeated with a 44-6 victory over Colorado State on Saturday.
Quarterback Andy Dalton finished 15-of-23 passing for 211 yards for his 23rd career victory. Sammy Baugh (29 victories from 1934-36) is the only TCU quarterback who has won more, and the junior Dalton still has 1 1/2 seasons left.
The Horned Frogs have won eight consecutive games overall, and 11 in a row at home.
COUGAR-HORNED FROGS TIES
- The Cougar roster boasts four Texas natives, including wide receiver McKay Jacobson (Southlake), defensive back Landon Jaussi (Wylie), linebacker Brandon Ogletree (McKinney) and offensive lineman Fono Vakalahi (Bryan).
-- BYU wide receiver McKay Jacobson and TCU linebacker David Stolzman and kicker Kevin Ortega all went to Southlake Carroll HS in Southlake, Texas. This is the fourth team Jacobson has faced this season that features at least one fellow Dragon.
LAST TIME: TCU 32, BYU 7 (OCT. 16, 2008)
FORT WORTH -- The nation’s longest football winning streak came to an end Thursday as No. 8 BYU fell to No. 24 TCU, 32-7, at Amon 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 of TCU’s Jeremy Kerley in the second quarter.
Hall finished the night 22-of-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’S LAST OUTING
SAN -- No. 18 BYU outpaced San Diego State 38-28 Saturday at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego with quarterback Max Hall throwing for a season-high 346 yards and running for a career-best 47 yards in the victory. With the win, the Cougars improve to 6-1 on the season and 3-0 in the Mountain West Conference.
Quarterback Max Hall completed 27-of-39 passes for 346 yards and three touchdowns while carrying the ball a career-high 14 times for a personal-best 47 yards and one touchdown. His rushing score came at the end of the half in one of several key plays that proved to be difference-makers in the win.
Overall, BYU totaled 512 yards of offense compared to 342 by the Aztecs. BYU passed for 346 yards and rushed for 166 with Unga leading all rushers with 81 yards on 26 carries. Unga also added 37 yards receiving to become just the ninth Cougar to total 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving during his career. Curtis Brown (2002, 2004-06) was the last BYU player to accomplish the feat.
BYU won the coin toss last week and elected to defer—for the fifth time this season. BYU is now 4-1 when winning the toss.
COMPETING AS A RANKED TEAM
With the win over SDSU last week, the Cougars are 154-45 when nationally ranked in the Top 25. A ranked BYU team has won 23 of its last 27 games dating back to 2006.
The Cougars’ No. 7 national ranking in the AP Top 25 Rankings after back-to-back wins over Oklahoma and Tulane was their highest since finishing the 1996 season at No. 5. BYU entered the top 10 in the coaches’ poll following Week 2 after earning a ranking as high as No. 7 last season.
ENDING AN 18-YEAR DROUGHT
Before securing a 14-13 win over No. 3 Oklahoma on Sept. 5, the last time BYU beat a nonconference team ranked in the Top 10 was its 28-21 win over No. 1 Miami on Sept. 8, 1990. The win over the Sooners gave the Cougars their first win over a ranked nonconference opponent since it defeated No. 14 Arizona State, 26-6, on Sept. 12, 1998. Since that day, BYU lost 12 consecutive games to ranked nonconference opponents. The last time BYU beat a ranked nonconference opponent on a neutral field was the Cotton Bowl game of Jan. 1, 1997, when BYU beat No. 14 Kansas State, 19-15.
PULLING OUT THE CLOSE ONES
After a close 14-13 victory over the Sooners in their season opener, the Cougars have won nine consecutive games decided by seven points or fewer. Last season BYU pulled out nail-biters against Washington, UNLV and Colorado State.
MENDENHALL TEAMS DEFEATING RANKED FOES
Under Bronco Mendenhall, BYU is now 2-6 vs. ranked foes, with its wins being a 31-17 victory over No. 15 TCU on Sept. 28, 2006 and a 14-13 win over No. 3 Oklahoma on Sept. 5, 2009.
DON’T LOOK BACK
In the Bronco Mendenhall era, BYU is 38-4 when leading at halftime and 36-1 when taking a lead into the fourth quarter.
Mendenhall’s teams have won 25 straight games when leading by at least 14 points at the halftime break, 72 overall as a team. The last time BYU lost a game after leading by at least 14 points at the half was on Oct. 10, 1987 when is lost, 29-27, in its homecoming game against Wyoming.
The TCU game will mark the last of five night games for the Cougars this season, with a later start (after 5 p.m.). BYU is 3-1 in night games so far after defeating Oklahoma in its season opener, dropping the contest to FSU on Sept. 19 and defeating Utah State and UNLV.
MWC HOME WIN STREAK CONTINUES
With the win against CSU the Cougars extended their MWC home win streak to 13 games--extending the conference record. The win also gave BYU a 6-1 record in its past seven MWC openers.
PROGRAM’S 500th WIN
The Cougars’ 38-28 victory over San Diego State marked the 500th all-time win for the BYU football program. Dating back to 1922 the Cougars have a 500-373-26 all-time record with a .571 winning percentage.
The 64,103 fans in attendance for the Cougars’ 35-17 win over USU marked the 15th consecutive sell-out at LaVell Edwards Stadium. The current streak marks the longest streak of consecutive sellouts since the 1990-92 seasons. In three games this season BYU is averaging 64,134 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.
TALE OF THE TAPE
BYU’s starting five offensive linemen weigh in at an average 317 pounds and average 6-feet-4. The front five will be going up against a TCU defensive front that measures an average 6-feet-2, 276 pounds. Defensively, the Cougars front three average 6-feet-3, 262 pounds, while the TCU offensive line tips the scales at an average 6-feet-3, 317 pounds per man.
HE WHO SCORES FIRST...
BYU was the first to score last week on a 1-yard touchdown run by Harvey Unga with 7:46 remaining in the first quarter. BYU has been the first to score in four games this season, the other being Tulane, Colorado State and UNLV. The Cougars are 4-0 in those three games.
Going into the game last week the Cougars led the nation in third-down conversion percentage, converting a total of 44-of-71 attempts. Last week BYU continued that success, moving the chains on 15-of-21 third-down attempts against the SDSU defense.
With his 10-yard reception with 6:35 remaining in the third quarter against SDSU, junior running back Harvey Unga became one of only nine Cougars to record over 1,000 career yards through the air and on the ground. Unga currently has 1,006 yards receiving and 2,466 yards rushing.
Other Cougars who accomplished this feat are Curtis Brown, Jamal Willis, Lakei Heimuli, Luke Staley, Hema Heimuli, Todd Christensen, Scott Phillips and Fred Whittingham.
UNGA ON THE RUN
After Harvey Unga’s 1-yard touchdown with 7:46 to play in the first quarter of the SDSU game, the junior has now recorded a rushing score in each of the past five games. His touchdowns have accounted for BYU’s first in four of those five games. Unga now has nine rushing touchdowns on the season.
All-American tight end Dennis Pitta caught his first pass of the SDSU game with 13:31 remaining in the second quarter for a 12-yard gain. The senior has caught a pass in 37 consecutive games dating back to Oct. 23, 2004 (at Air Force), prior to his mission.
With his 9-yard reception with 4:00 remaining in the second quarter of the SDSU game, Dennis Pitta became BYU’s all-time leading tight end, surpassing Gordan Hudson’s 2,484 career receiving yards during the 1981-83 seasons. As a Cougar, Pitta has racked up 2,543 receiving yards.
He also passed Hudson as BYU’s career receptions leader among tight ends earlier this season during the CSU game and now has 193 career catches. Those receptions move him into third place in the BYU record books for receivers overall, behind Austin Collie (215) and Matt Bellini (204).
His 18 career touchdowns also place him second behind Hudson (22) in touchdown receptions by a tight end.
HALL CREEPS UP ON DETMER’S WIN RECORD
With the Cougars’ 38-28 win over SDSU, senior quarterback Max Hall now has 27 career wins as the starting play-caller for BYU. As far as where that puts him on BYU’s all-time list, Hall trails only Ty Detmer, who racked up 29 wins during his career from 1988-91.
SCORING HALL PASSES
Quarterback Max Hall recorded three touchdown passes against SDSU last week. The senior has thrown at least two scoring passes in every game this season, giving him 16 on the year. Those 16 touchdown passes have been to eight different members of the BYU receiving corp. Hall has now thrown a touchdown pass in 30-of-33 career games.
The SDSU game marked senior defensive lineman Jan Jorgensen’s 46th straight career start. During that streak, Jorgensen has started every game of his collegiate career and set a new MWC all-time career sack record at 23.5. His first career start came against Arizona on Sept. 2, 2006.
Junior defensive back Andrew Rich recovered a fumble with 55-seconds remaining in the second quarter of the USU game. With the BYU offense back on the field, Max Hall led a two-play, 29-yard scoring drive, capped by a 3-yard touchdown run by senior Manase Tonga.
The Cougars have now recovered six fumbles in their first seven games.
PAPER OR PLASTIC?
Defensive lineman Jan Jorgensen picked up his second sack of the season with less than two minutes remaining in the game against SDSU. With that he extends his MWC career sack record to 24.5. The previous record of 20.5 was 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 five in 2008.
Collectively the Cougars have recorded 13 sacks in their first seven games this season.
Senior defensive back Scott Johnson intercepted his third pass in two games with 6:04 remaining in the second quarter against SDSU. The interception set up a scoring drive capped by a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Max Hall to give the Cougars a 21-14 lead heading into the halftime break. Johnson picked off two passes in BYU’s win over UNLV last week.
The Cougar defense has now snagged eight interceptions through their first seven games.
IT’S BEEN A WHILE
BYU has been unable to return a kickoff for a touchdown for 138 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.
The last time BYU returned a punt for a touchdown was back on Nov. 9, 2006 when freshman McKay Jacobson ran one back 77 yards. Thirty-six games have passed since then.