Las Vegas Leftovers



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Solid, solid win for BYU Saturday night in Las Vegas. Say what you will about BYU's inability to hang onto the football, but anytime you can go an entire game and punt only once, you're playing some good offensive ball. Defensively, BYU is on a roll. Even with the 55 point, 600-yard night in Tulsa on its resume, BYU is in the top 40 in scoring defense (39th), total defense (21st), and rush defense (20th). BYU has allowed 255 yards or fewer in 4 of 6 games, and has allowed more than 27 points only once.

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BYU is now 106th nationally in turnover margin (9 takeaways, 16 giveaways). The 16 turnovers are 3 more than BYU had all of last season, and the 8 fumbles lost double the number of fumbles lost last season.

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15 of the 16 turnovers have come in the passing game: 8 interceptions, 4 Max Hall fumbles taking hits in the pocket, and 3 receiver fumbles after catches (So'oto, George and Allen). The only other turnover came in the New Mexico game after Hall failed to cleanly handle a snap.

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So, while BYU struggles with turnover trouble, don't blame the running backs. BYU has exactly one running back fumble in the last 20 games. Since Bronco Mendenhall took over, BYU running backs have lost 3 fumbles in 31 games. Matter of fact, running backs have lost fumbles in only 2 of 31 games, as two of the fumbles in question came in the same game (v. Utah in 2005).

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Breaking it down by carries, BYU running backs have 3 fumbles in 890 carries since the start of the 2005 season, for a fumble percentage of .00337

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BYU has re-taken its lead atop the NCAA "Time of Possession " rankings, with an average possession time of 34:25 per game.

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Running back Harvey Unga is third among all FBS freshmen in rushing yardage 89.83 ypg. He is the first-ever BYU freshman back to record three hundred-yard rushing games in a single season. He is two average games away from breaking Ronney Jenkins' freshman season rushing record.

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BYU is also in the NCAA top 10 in passing offense (6th) and 3rd down conversion defense (9th). BYU is in the bottom 10 in punt returns (109th).

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Around the Mountain West...

... things are worse at Colorado State than anyone could ever have imagined. The blowout home loss to Air Force makes it 13 straight losses, and due to bad weather and a bad team, there were only about 8,000 fans in the stands Saturday. Understatement of the year from Sonny Lubick: "Things aren't looking very good."

... SDSU is still SDSU. Some things never change (see: UNLV).

... don't mess with Rocky Long after a bye week.

... Utah picks up an easy win. Now, they take on a TCU team that surprised me by the way it put up the points at Stanford. The loser of Thursday night's game officially drops out of conference title contention.

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The first BCS Standings are out--among non-BCS teams, only Hawaii appears, at 18th. Considering Hawaii's lack of schedule strength (and the fact UH must still play Boise State and Washington), it's unlikely the Warriors will finish in the top 12, or ahead of a BCS Conference champ in the top 16.

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Air Force (4 pts), and BYU (2 pts) were the only MWC teams picking up Top 25 votes in the AP poll--in the Coach's poll (the one that counts, BCS-wise), BYU received 8 points, and Wyoming, 1. In the Harris Poll (the other BCS "counter"), only Air Force receives votes (2 pts).

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After play Saturday, only 21 FBS teams have fewer than 2 losses. Only 18 FBS teams, including BYU, have yet to lose conference game.

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Tracking the "3rd year, first-timer" coaching stat, Bronco Mendenhall continues to lead all FBS coaches with a 21-10 record. Charlie Weis continues to fade--he's now 20-12. Kyle Whittingham (another "Class of 2005" head coaching rookie), is now 19-13.

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