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GAME WEEK: BYU vs. Idaho State

GAME WEEK: BYU vs. Idaho State

By KSL.com | Posted - Oct. 18, 2011 at 11:19 a.m.



This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

PROVO - BYU will host Idaho State on Saturday, Oct. 22, with kickoff set for 1 p.m. MT. The game will be broadcast live from LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on BYUtv and KSL Radio 1160 AM, 102.7 FM and ksl.com.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR
- BYU is facing Idaho State for the first time since 1951, a span of 60 years. It's the second-longest span between games against an opponent in BYU history after going 61 years between contests against Nevada in 1940 and 2001. The Cougars' will also set the third-longest span in two weeks when they face Idaho for the first time since 1956 - a span of 56 years.

BYU (5-2) vs. Idaho State (2-5)
Game 8 Notes
  • BYU (5-2) vs. Idaho State (2-5, 1-4 Big Sky)
  • Date: Sat. Oct. 22, 2011
  • Time: 1 p.m. MT
  • Site: LaVell Edwards Stadium; Provo, Utah
  • TV: BYUtv
  • Radio: KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM/1160 AM and ksl.com
  • Series Record: BYU leads 3-0
  • Last Meeting: 1951 (BYU 27-7)
  • Kickoff Weather: Partly cloudy, temps in the upper 60s
Series Snapshot ...
This will be the fourth time BYU and Idaho State have played. The Cougars are undefeated against the Bengals, holding a 3-0 advantage, with two meetings in the early 1950's and another in 1932. It has been 60 years since the two teams faced off, the last time coming in 1951 when BYU won in Provo 27-7.

BYU has not played five other current FCS teams (UC Davis, Northern Colorado, Montana State, Northern Arizona and South Dakota) since at least 1951. The FBS school BYU has currently gone the longest without playing is Texas Tech, a team the Cougars last played back in 1940 -- 71 years ago and counting.
- Multiple Cougars earned awards after last week vs. Oregon State. Riley Nelson earned Independent Offensive Player of the Week, Brandon Ogletree earned Independent Defensive Player of the Week and College Football Performance Awards linebacker honorable mention and Cody Hoffman earned CFPA receiver honorable mention and Rivals.com Independent Player of the Week.
- The Cougars are 4-0 overall and 3-0 under Bronco Mendenhall when playing teams classified in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). BYU has wins over Northern Iowa (41-17 in 2008), Eastern Washington (42-7 in 2007), Eastern Illinois (45-10 in 2005) and Murray State (43-9 in 1998).
- BYU is looking for its fifth-straight win. The Cougars have not won more than four in a row since winning its last five games of 2009 and the 2010 season opener.

THE BYU-IDAHO STATE SERIES
This will be the fourth time BYU and Idaho State have played. The Cougars are undefeated against the Bengals, holding a 3-0 advantage, with two meetings in the early 1950's and another in 1932. It has been 60 years since the two teams faced off, the last time coming in 1951 when BYU won in Provo 27-7.

RIGELL RETURNS
Former BYU kick returner and wide receiver Mike Rigell will be returning to LaVell Edwards Stadium as a member of the Idaho State coaching staff. Rigell currently is in his first year as the running backs coach after serving as a graduate assistant for the Bengals last year. Rigell found most of his success in a Cougar uniform as a kick returner. Before current kick returner Cody Hoffman returned a kick 93 yards for a touchdown earlier this year, Rigell was the last player to accomplish that feat when he took one 96 yards to the house against Hawaii his freshman season in 1998. Rigell was an all-conference honorable mention twice in his BYU career and racked up 3,005 all-purpose yards for the Cougars, good for 14th all-time at BYU. His 1,625 kickoff return yards are tops in Cougar history.

COMING IN THREES
For the second-straight game BYU had three touchdown passes through the air. Each touchdown reception came in the second half as well. Wide receiver Cody Hoffman caught the first one, a 12-yarder in the third quarter. JD Falslev caught the second one, a 2-yard toss, and tight end Kaneakua Friel caught the third touchdown from 8 yards out in the fourth quarter.

GETTING OFFENSIVE
For the third-straight week the BYU offense was able to rack up at least 400 yards of total offense. The Cougars rolled with 499 yards at Oregon State. Against San Jose State the Cougars picked up 446 yards and vs. Utah State the team used 451 total yards to beat the Aggies. Each game featured at least 200 rushing yards. In the past four games the Cougars have slowly improved their scoring as well, scoring 24, 27, 29 and 38 points.

COG IN THE MIDDLE
Despite missing one game due to injury, junior linebacker Brandon Ogletree is currently leading the BYU defense in total tackles, assisted tackles and unassisted tackles and ranks second on the team with two forced fumbles. Ogletree has 43 total tackles on the season, giving him an average of just over seven tackles per game. As a sophomore, Ogletree saw significant action in 11 games and recorded 49 tackles on the season. Ogletree also forced two fumbles and recorded an interception against Oregon State. For his efforts against the Beavers, Ogletree received Honorable Mention Linebacker of the Week honors from the College Football Performance Awards.

BEHIND ENEMY LINES
BYU continued its streak of recording at least 5.0 TFL to three games against Oregon State. BYU recorded a season-best 7.0 TFL for a total loss of 22 yards against the Beavers. Senior linebacker Jordan Pendleton, in his second game back from injury, led BYU with a career high 3.0 TFL. Pendleton also recorded a sack in the game. The Cougars recorded 5.0 TFL against the San Jose State and 6.0 against Utah State.

CORNER TACKLING
Junior corner Preston Hadley led the Cougars with 11 total tackles and three pass breakups against Oregon State. The 11 tackles recorded by Hadley are the second most for an individual Cougar this season, just behind the 12 tackles recorded by Spencer Hadley against Texas. The 11 tackles by Hadley nearly doubled his season total of 16 and marked the first time a corner has led BYU in tackles so far this season. His three pass breakups also tied the individual high for a BYU player this season. Hadley and Corby Eason recorded three pass breakups earlier this year against Utah.

FORCING FUMBLES
BYU has forced nine fumbles in seven games this season, a total that currently ranks atop the stand- ings for FBS Independent teams. The Cougars are averaging 1.29 forced fumbles per game this season. The linebackers have led the way in the forced fumble department. Junior Uona Kaveinga has three forced fumbles this season while fellow junior Brandon Ogletree recorded two against Oregon State. The Cougars have recovered seven of the nine forced fumbles, which also ranks first among FBS Independent teams.

TREE TOS
With two forced fumbles at Oregon State, junior linebacker Brandon Ogletree became just the second player in BYU history to force two fumbles in a game since official records were kept in 2000. Andrew Rich also recorded two against No. 3 Oklahoma in 2009. Ogletree also had an interception vs. the Beavers.

BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO
Senior defensive back Corby Eason has recorded two or more pass breakups in four of the last five games and now has 11 on the season and 14 in his career and was recently named to Phil Steele's Midseason All-Independent First Team. Eason's season mark ties for second-most in a season at BYU (since official stats were kept in 2000) behind Brian Logan's 14 while his career mark is good for a tie for fourth-most. Logan also holds that record with 21 career breakups.

KICK RETURN KING
Cody Hoffman is quickly moving up the career kickoff return list at BYU with 34 returns, 875 yards and a 25.7 average per return.

BYU Career Kick Return Yards
  1. Vai Sikahema (1980-81, 84-85) 973 yards
  2. Mike O'Brien (1986-88) 945 yards
  3. Cody Hoffman (2010-pres) 875 yards BYU Career Kick Return Average
  4. Chris Farasopoulos (1968-70) 27.27 avg
  5. Austin Collie (2004, 07-08) 26.06 avg
  6. Cody Hoffman (2010-pres) 25.74 avg

Coach Mendenhall Press Conference - Idaho State

The following is a partial transcript from head coach Bronco Mendenhall's weekly press conference, including comments from wide receiver Cody Hoffman, defensive end Matt Putnam and offensive lineman Houston Reynolds.

In regarding our last game after watching the film vs. Oregon State, I think our team took another step forward. I think we are gaining momentum, I think we are adding balance offensively and I think we continue to play consistent defensively. Our improvement is showing not only to our players but to our coaches. There is a sense of urgency to see how fast we can help this team reach its potential with five regular season games to go. That is our focus and our mindset. We are looking forward to getting back on the practice field to clean up and polish the parts of our game that we know can be improved. We look forward to playing at home again.

Do you believe the game at Oregon State was the most complete game the team has played on both sides of the football?

I think it was a relatively similar game defensively to how we have played previously with probably our best offensive game. If you put it in that context then I would say yes. We did not reach any of our pillars or our goals in special teams which is a focus for us. That part we were a little bit discouraged with. It was complete if you put offense and defense together, that part I would probably agree with.

Can you talk about what Matt Putnam's return to the team has meant?

Matt has already proven to be a big boost. He tipped a number of passes in that game, one of which caused an interception, and recovered a fumble just by sheer effort by trying harder than anyone else out there. He wanted the ball more than anyone else and you could see him pass players and dive on it. I think it means a lot to Matt to be with our program, even if it was just to come back and be a scout team player to practice and help our team get better says quite a bit as a senior. He is making the most of his opportunity to this point and is really one of the great success stories. He adds another element of just enjoying playing the game to our defense and cherishing every opportunity he gets to play.

How would you say the secondary has played to this point?

The secondary is coming along I think. The main routes that Oregon State ran were mostly taken away which were deep crossing routes and others. We got beat on a post route which basically had Corby Eason by himself. Other than that I was pretty pleased. I think we played consistently and kept the balls in front of us and most the calls were designed to do that to make sure the points were about what they were defensively. I think they are coming along and certainly have a chance to improve.

Based off of the last two games, is Riley the starting quarterback moving forward or is it week to week still?

It will still be week to week. Riley will start again this week against Idaho State but it will still be week to week. The way he is currently playing, I am impressed with and he is making a lot of good plays and helping our football team through two and a half games. He will continue to battle and compete but that doesn't mean that tenure or the starting job becomes his regardless of how he plays. It is week to week and he will be listed as the starter for this week.

With four-wins, what momentum have you been able to build over the past few weeks?

It is shaping out to be a season similar to some of our other double-digit win seasons we have had. Because there is talent and potential the execution is now starting to catch up with some of that will and talent. That is really what we have been pressing and we would like to see it continue. The team had played hard early where the talent wasn't exposed. Now the talent is being utilized, the will is still there and the execution is coming. When those three things meet that is when we become a good team and that is what we are capable of.

This week's opponent doesn't have the same type of momentum going in to the game this week as others, are you concerned about the players looking past them?

I certainly hope not. The focus is so much on improving our own performance and reaching our own potential. There wasn't much talk about playing Oregon State last week, it was just about our team getting better. Our opponent this week doesn't change this week at all and that is how I will approach it.

How much of Riley's personality, taking hits and running him the way you do, how much of his game frames risk in your eyes?

I think Riley has to be himself. That is part of Riley leading our team. If he isn't taking hits and his helmet isn't coming off he probably isn't as effective, and that probably sounds counter-intuitive. Our players like our leader at quarterback to be one of them so to speak and he is, he is a football player. He is not afraid of contact and not afraid to take a hit. He is very composed and super competitive. Our team likes that and it is one of his strengths as a quarterback. When elements like that do happen and he bounces up and isn't afraid of who hits him, no matter if he is outsized or not; he puts his helmet on and plays again.

Do you see any of Harvey Unga when you see Michael Alisa?

Yeah there are elements there that are similar. Michael is a little bit leaner and probably has a little more top end speed right now. The mindset and how difficult he is becoming to tackle and being able to break tackles and fall forward; we like big running backs that can break tackles and that is what Michael is doing now.

WR Cody Hoffman

What was the experience like having a lot of supporters for you at Oregon State?

It was great. Definitely playing on the road and having all of those supporters, it means a lot for them to make the trip to come support me and the Cougars.

What has been the biggest difference now that the team is starting to score more points over the last few weeks?

I think the momentum that Riley brings to the offense. He brings leadership that makes everyone want to play harder because everybody knows he is going to sell out for every play for them and so everybody wants to do the same to keep the momentum rolling.

DE Matt Putnam

You have been around the team a long time as a senior, what is the momentum like now?

I think it is just like what coach was saying. For the past four weeks it has just been about us. We haven't really focused on the other team but we are doing what we can to be the best we can be. We are just trying to get ourselves better each week.

With Idaho State passing a lot, does that change the defensive line rotation?

Maybe just a little bit. Hebron Fangupo and Romney Fuga are run stoppers, so it might be a little bit different where I can come in and try and bat some balls down. At the same time they can go in and destroy someone and it isn't like they aren't pass rushers. It will probably mostly the same as long as we stay healthy.

OL Houston Reynolds

What is Riley doing to help the offense find its groove?

I think Riley is a fighter. I think above anything else when he has the ball there is always a chance that even when things don't go right he can make something happen with his feet. It changes the way you feel about it and it has been a great experience to have him back there. He is there and committed, when you know guys are committed you fight for them.

The team has won four games in a row, do you like where the team is at this point?

Yeah, I feel like we are in a good spot. We have played really well and on the road to reaching our potential to continue to play well. I feel like we have figured some things out and as long as we continue to perform and do the things we have established we will be okay.

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