PROVO - BYU will travel to play Hawai'i on Saturday, Dec. 3, with kickoff set for 2:30 p.m. HT, 5:30 p.m. MT. The game will be broadcast live from Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawai'i, on ESPN2, WatchESPN.com and KSL Radio 1160 AM, 102.7 FM and ksl.com.
- BYU (8-3) vs. Hawai'i (6-6, 3-4 WAC)
- Date: Saturday Dec. 3, 2011
- Time: 2:30 p.m. HT (5:30 p.m. MT)
- Site: Aloha Stadium Honolulu, Hawai'i
- TV: ESPN2, WatchESPN.com
- Radio: KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM/1160 AM and ksl.com
- Series Record: BYU leads 19-8
- Last Meeting: 2002 (BYU 35-32)
- Kickoff Weather: Rain showers, temps in the upper 70s
This is the 28th meeting between BYU and Hawaii. The Cougars hold a 19-8 advantage over the Warriors. The last time BYU and Hawaii met was in 2002 when the Cougars defeated the Warriors 35-32 in Provo. Despite being outgained 455 to 394, BYU picked off Hawaii four times and came away with the victory. The last time the Cougars traveled to Hawaii, the Warriors handled BYU 72-45 in an offensive shootout. Hawaii amassed 646 offense while BYU had 612. The Warriors won the turnover battle 7-5 and took control for the win, snapping BYU's 14-game win streak and undefeated season in the last regular season game.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
- BYU and Hawai'i are meeting for the 28th time in school history and the first time since 2002. The last time the Cougars traveled to Honolulu, Hawai'i, the Warriors ended BYU's hopes of an undefeated season with a 72-45 win in 2001. BYU played at Aloha Stadium seven-consecutive years from 1984-90.
- BYU and Hawai'i have scheduled a multi-year series between the two schools that was announced earlier this year.
- BYU boasts nine players from Hawai'i, including regulars Travis Uale (Sr., DB), Graham Rowley (So., DL) and Simote Vea (Sr., DL).
- Under head coach Bronco Mendenhall, BYU has a 5-2 record in the month of December including 1-0 in non-bowl games (48-27 win at SDSU in 2007). Overall, BYU has a 7-5 record in regular season December games.
The Cougars are 4-0 against WAC teams this year after defeating Utah State, San Jose State, Idaho and New Mexico State.
THE BYU VS. HAWAI'I SERIES
This is the 28th meeting between BYU and Hawai'i. The Cougars hold a 19-8 advantage over the Warriors. The last time BYU and Hawai'i met was in 2002 when the Cougars defeated the Warriors 35-32. Despite being outgained 455 to 394, BYU picked off Hawai'i four times and came away with the victory.
The last time the Cougars travelled to Hawai'i, the Warriors handled BYU 72-45 in an offensive shootout. Hawai'i amassed 646 offense while BYU had 612. The Warriors won the turnover battle 7-5 and took control for the win, snapping BYU's 14-game win streak and undefeated season in the last regular season game.
Throughout the 1980s and ‘90s, BYU and Hawai'i had a fierce rivalry that was often one of the highlights of the season for both teams. The Cougars won 10 in a row from 1978 to 1988, including 1984's classic 18-13 win. The game was highlighted by BYU's Kyle Morrell leaping over both BYU's defensive line and Warriors' offensive line to stop Hawai'i's quarterback Raphel Cherry on a sneak at the goal line preventing a touchdown in the fourth quarter. The Warriors took three of the next four but BYU came back to win six-straight before Hawai'i stomped the Cougars 72-45 in 2001 at Aloha Stadium.
DON'T HASSLE THE HOFF
Wide receiver Cody Hoffman has become the playmaking receiver even though he got off a to a slow start. Hoffman caught just three passes for 20 yards in the first two games but for the season now has caught 45 passes for 698 yards and six touchdowns. He has made play after play recently and has averaged 134.5 all-purpose yards. He has set career game highs in receptions, yards, kick returns and all-purpose yards in various games this season. Hoffman has been especially dangerous as a kick returner. He has 778 kick return yards on the season, including a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, the first by a BYU player since 1998.
BYU Career Kick Return Yards
1. Rigell, Mike (1998, 00-01) 1,625 yards
2. Chambers, O'Neill (2008-10) 1,611 yards
3. Farasopoulos, Chris (1968-70) 1,391 yards
4. Collie, Austin (2004,07-08) 1,277 yards
5. Hoffman, Cody (2010-) 1,158 yards
BYU Season Kick Return Yards
1. Rigell, Mike (2001) 865 yards
2. Chambers, O'Neill (2008) 809 yards
3. Hoffman, Cody (2011) 778 yards
OH, HE PLAYS FOOTBALL, TOO
Running back Bryan Kariya has been an asset or the BYU ground game for the last several years. He has also been an asset in the classroom. Kariya was named to the Capital One All-Academic District 8 Team. With a 3.9 GPA and a major in Chinese with a minor in business, Kariya plans to head out to dental school after his BYU career is over. Last season, Kariya was the only Division I running back named Academic All-American by ESPN. Kariya leads the team in rushing touchdowns with five and has 64 carries for 247 yards. Kariya also has 12 catches for 84 yards and one touchdown.
BYU now has two members in its 1,000 career receiving yards and 1,000 career kickoff return yards. Cody Hoffman joins Austin Collie as the only two players to reach the mark. Hoffman now has 1,225 career receiving yards to go along with 1,158 career kickoff return yards. Hoffman has 45 catches for 698 yards and six touchdowns to go along with 778 kickoff return yards and one touchdown. Collie is BYU's career receiving yards leader with 3,255 yards and fourth in career kickoff return yards with 1,277 yards.
THIRD DOWNS THEN AND NOW
BYU is currently ranked No. 4 in the nation in third-down conversions, converting 53.25 percent. At the end of September, BYU was 78th in third-down coversions, converting 38.86 percent. In September, the Cougars converted 30 of 77 third downs, while in October and November BYU converted 52 of 77 third downs, good for the best mark in the nation over the last two months at 67.53 percent.
DI LUIGI DOES IT ALL
Senior running back JJ Di Luigi was named to the Doak Walker Award Watch List before the season began. The versatile back had 12 carries for 75 yards vs. New Mexico State to go along with three catches for 31 yards. Di Luigi has averaged 71.2 all-purpose yards per game in 2011, contributing all over the field in the run game and catching passes out of the back field. The California native moved into 17th all-time at BYU in all-purpose yards and is 11th in career rushing yards. He is in 10th in career-receiving yards by a running back* with 967. Here is how Di Luigi looks on the all-time lists and who he might pass in the coming weeks:
BYU Career All-Purpose Yards
1. Brown, Curtis (2002-06) 4,996 yards
13. Van Valkenberg, Pete (1970-72) 3,172 yards
14. Jenkins, Ronney (1996-98) 3,088 yards
15. Di Luigi, JJ (2008-) 3,038 yards
BYU Career Rushing Yards
1. Unga, Harvey (2006-09) 3,455 yards
9. Jenkins, Ronney (1996-98) 2,040 yards
10. McKenzie, Brian (1996-97) 1,954 yards
11. Di Luigi, JJ (2008-) 1,745 yards
Career Receiving Yds by a RB* (*w/ at least 1,000 rush yards)
1. Christensen, Todd (1974-77) 1,556 yards
8. Whittingham, Fred (1987-89) 1,006 yards
9. Staley, Luke (1999-01) 1,000 yards
10. Di Luigi, JJ (2008-) 967 yards
Sophomore linebacker Kyle Van Noy is the only player in the country with at least one tackle, sack, forced fumble, fumble recovery, interception, quarterback hurry, pass breakup and blocked punt. He is also one of only two players in the nation with at least five sacks and three interceptions.
COG IN THE MIDDLE
Despite missing one game due to a concussion, junior linebacker Brandon Ogletree is currently leading the BYU defense in total tackles and assisted tackles and ranks second on the team with two forced fumbles. Ogletree has 56 total tackles on the season, giving him an average of just over 6.5 tackles per game. 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.
The BYU defense ranks No. 3 in total defense in the NCAA when away from home despite playing on the road at such well-known venues as Vaught-Hemingway Stadium at Ole Miss, DKR-Memorial Stadium at Texas, Reser Stadium at Oregon State and Cowboys Stadium against TCU. The Cougars are allowing 286.3 yards per game when playing on the road and rank behind only Alabama and Virginia Tech. In addition, BYU has allowed opponents to score just 12 touchdowns on their home fields, good for No. 6 in the country.
BREAK IT UP
BYU defensive backs Corby Eason and Preston Hadley are one of the the best pass breakup duos in the nation. Eason has 14 pass breakups on the season, tied for No. 5 in the nation while Hadley's 12 breakups is good for No. 15. Eason is now tied with Brian Logan (2009-10) for most pass breakups in a season in BYU history (since official NCAA defensive stats were kept beginning in 2000). Eason has 17 pass breakups for his career, just four behind Logan's 21 for the BYU all-time record.
BYU senior linebacker Jordan Pendleton suffered a season and career-ending injury to his knee during the TCU game. At the time, Pendleton was among the team leaders in tackles, TFL and sacks. In spite of playing just seven games overall this year, Pendleton is still second on the team with 8.5 TFL and 4.0 sacks on the season. Now an inspiration for his teammates on the sideline (fellow linebacker Kyle Van Noy wore Pendleton's jersey on Senior Night against New Mexico State to honor Pendleton), the 6-3, 238-pound backer will look to heal in hopes of making an NFL roster next season. Coach Mendenhall Weekly Press Conference - Hawai'i
The following is a partial transcript from head coach Bronco Mendenhall's weekly press conference, including comments from running back Bryan Kariya, defensive lineman Simote Vea and defensive back Joe Sampson.
Good morning. After what seems like a long layoff we are anxious to play. Our coaches are eager to get back into practice and I think our players will be as well. The rest was effective and helpful and they enjoyed the time with their families. Also after a few days I found myself anxious to get back and finish our season. I think that will be the mindset that our team shows. We will work Monday through Wednesday aggressively here in Provo before we board the flight Wednesday. Thursday will be the players chance to enjoy being on the island. We will have a practice there but again our focus will be to get the majority of work done here because we had a couple days last week. We are looking forward to renewing this rivalry.
It has been a long time. I haven't been to Hawai'i with BYU. The last time I was there was with the University of New Mexico. I have only been there twice in terms of my coaching career. I know at one point this was a significant game for both schools. Possibly we can redevelop or develop that into a game like that and this will be one of the first steps.
Do you know, today, who will be starting at quarterback?
I don't. Riley Nelson has another checkup this week. There will be another CT scan. He has been cleared to fly but that doesn't necessarily mean he has been cleared to play yet. We are going to prepare both quarterbacks throughout the week. Hopefully as more information comes from the medical staff the more we will know. If Riley were cleared to play I would start Riley.
Can you talk about the distractions or possible distractions of playing in Hawai'i?
I checked the surf report, and it's supposed to be good, so if I'm not there at the game, then you'll know what's happened. When you go to Hawai'i, it's a vacation destination; the weather's nice, there is the ocean right there. It's natural unless you frame it to your team that there are times to focus on playing and times to focus on fun, and having clear delineations in between.
The practice model will set the tone for what we expect on Saturday, and that's the best way I know how to handle it. The maturity level of the players will also come into play and some will have a harder time than others. I think its probably why, and I have no statistics in front of me, but I would guess Hawai'i's record at home is stronger than it is away because of the advantage of being used to it.
Hawai'i lost its starting quarterback a few weeks ago, does that change how you prepare for them?
We've taken a hard look at that, and really the nature off their offense hasn't changed one bit. They've played two different quarterbacks since then. The routes haven't changed, the receivers haven't changed, the running back hasn't changed, nor have the offensive linemen. They're just doing it with different quarterbacks. Short of the experience benefit, they still seem to be moving the ball effectively. They throw it for about 300 yards and run it for about 100 yards and score a lot of points. I think Hawai'i is more systematic than personnel-driven.
Did you miss not having the BYU-Utah game not over the Thanksgiving week?
Yeah, I did. I never thought I would say that, because of how much hype and anticipation, but the season didn't seem right to finish. I'm not sure their thoughts are, in having it inferred that Colorado is their rival, but it is a lot of history so it is natural for that game to not quite be what it was in terms of the BYU-Utah game. I think it's just unfortunate that there's not a way to schedule around that.
Can you give us an update on what happened with the Big East?
I don't know, I really don't. I'm sure at some point maybe our administration will address that, but I really didn't ask any other questions, other than I told them I would trust their judgment when it ever got down to that point. I gave my input early, updated you whenever that was and that was when I really bowed out. I trusted our administration to go with it from there.
Can you assess the growth of Brandon Doman as an offensive coordinator?
I'll try to. What I think is the best way to gauge it is in our conversations I think he has gained confidence. In our spring game, as we were joking to each other even having fans in the stadium for our first scrimmage seemed to make a difference for him. I had forgotten it was the first time he had called plays in front of anyone. Then to have as tough of a schedule as we had in the beginning of the year with that newness and getting acclimatized I think he has done a nice job of growth. And not necessarily in a playcalling role but in field presence and leadership role day by day in the season.
Where have I seen the most growth? I would say day by day in leadership presence on the practice field and how he handles the team in terms of preparation. The plays being called are similar but the confidence in which they are being called and the command of the staff and offensive unit that has changed quite a bit from week one to week 12. That is noticeable.
Running back Bryan Kariya
What has your final season been like here at BYU?
It has been great. We didn't start as fast as we would have liked to, dropping a few close ones. The Utah game we would have liked to win all those. It has been a productive season. We have been able to push the program forward and get better as things have gone on. We are looking to continue the momentum we have had and finish strong thoughout the rest of the games we have.
Was it productive having a second bye week?
I guess we will see how it goes over the next couple of games. It was nice to spend time with family over Thanksgiving. But we are hungry and ready to go for this week as well. We want to come back and make sure we have everything in line and ready to go for our game on Saturday.
Defensive lineman Simote Vea
Does it make it tough with no conference title and knowing where you are going for a bowl game early on?
Every practice our coaches get on us to better ourselves. Yeah we are bowl eligible but there is so much more we could be. We could be more dominant and more assignment sound. That is how are practices have been; just trying to get better.
Will it be difficult to focus in Hawai'i?
I think it will affect some players. But ultimately we are going there to play a game and play our last football game. For me being a senior and the rest of the seniors I hope we can focus enough, pull ourselves together and win.
Defensive back Joe Sampson
How difficult will it be to defend Hawai'i's uptempo passing offense?
They pass the ball a lot. I think we feel like it plays to our strengths. We have a good pass defense and we will be ready. I love playing against teams that pass our run outside a lot. It's fun.
What are the chances of distraction with Hawai'i being a vacation destination?
I've never been to Hawai'i and it will be a good experience. But I don't think it will be a distraction. We are trying to win as many games as possible still no matter what. We won't take them lightly.