On to the Stretch Run...



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Notes after a snowy Saturday in Provo...

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BYU's 42-7 win over Eastern Washington was the Cougars' 9th consecutive home win, tying the 5th longest home winning streak in school history (last matched in 1988). The BYU record for consecutive home wins is 17, set from 1989-1991.

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BYU has now won 59 consecutive games when rushing for 200+ yards in a game. The last time BYU lost with better then 200 yards on the ground was in 1985 at UTEP (298 rushing yards in a 23-16 loss).

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RB Harvey Unga's 145 rushing yards give him 684 on the season, leaving him only 49 rush yards shy of tying Ronney Jenkins' BYU freshman record of 733, set in 1996. Among FBS freshman, Unga is third nationally in rush yards, at 97.7 per game. Unga is 23rd nationally in all-purpose yards (153.3 per game), but among players without any kickoff or punt return yardage, Harvey is 5th nationally, and 1st nationally among freshmen in that sub-category.

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After going his entire BYU career without an interception, Senior LB Bryan Kehl has recorded interceptions in three consecutive weeks.

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With yesterday's results in the books, 6 of the 9 Mountain West Conference teams have at least two conference losses, and since one-loss New Mexico hosts one-loss Air Force this Thursday, 7 of the 9 conference teams are guaranteed to have at least two league losses. Obviously, BYU fans will be pulling for the Lobos to defend their home turf next week, then rooting for at least one more Lobo opponent to knock off UNM before the end of the season, thus assuring BYU's cushion--assuming BYU can continue to take care of business.

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After the Air Force game, New Mexico still has to travel to TCU and Utah, in addition to hosting CSU and UNLV. It's not a stretch to say it's unlikely the Lobos will go through that stretch unbeaten.

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Should Air Force beat New Mexico next week, the Falcons will assuredly keep the heat on BYU all the way to the finish, since their lone remaining league game will be San Diego State on November 17th, in Colorado Springs. I don't see the Falcons losing a frigid home game in mid-November to an Aztecs' team that has trouble winning its own temperate home games in September and October.

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By the way, if, before the season started you had asked me to name the MWC team "most likely to lose to a team on a 13-game losing streak," I wouldn't have hesitated even a second before identifying UNLV. I'd be surprised if the Rebels end up with a record any better than 3-9--and if that is the final record, Mike Sanford would be 7-28 through three seasons on The Strip. He can argue that three years isn't enough time to turn a program around, and that would be fine and all, if, say, Bronco Mendenhall wasn't 22-10 in his third season. Heck, Sanford's boss at Utah needed all of one season to turn the Utes into a BCS-buster, so Sanford should know better than most that he has done little to ensure his job security in Las Vegas.

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Next week's game at San Diego State is intriguing, if only for the fact that the Aztecs have a decent passing attack and a versatile quarterback who actually out-rushed Rodney Ferguson in the loss to New Mexico Saturday night. The Aztecs never trailed in that game until 15 seconds were left, and it was a heartbreaking loss--with QB Kevin O'Connell fumbling after securing what should have been a game-clinching first down in the final two minutes.

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When it comes right down to it, a properly-prepared BYU team should have little trouble with the Aztecs. SDSU's defense is the worst in the league (9th in total defense, 9th in pass and pass efficiency defense, 8th in rush defense), it's rushing offense is also dead last, and the Aztecs offensive line allows O'Connell to get beat up--he's been sacked 20 times this season. It's just not a good matchup for SDSU, which takes on a BYU team that is strong where the Aztecs are weak. SDSU has yet to score more than 24 points against any FBS opponent this season, and the UNM loss was the first in which SDSU lost by fewer than 16 points. BYU meantime leads the league in scoring offense, passing offense, total offense and rushing offense, and hasn't scored fewer than 24 points since the UCLA game.

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In short, it should be just the kind of game Max Hall needs to get "back in rhythm." The last three games have been the three lowest-rated games of his career, but bear this in mind: BYU is 5-0 this season when he throws for fewer than 300 yards in a game, but 0-2 when he has a big night throwing the ball (300+ yards).

There's no doubt Max would like to be sharper than he's been in the the last three games, but they have all been BYU wins, and the last two in particular have featured dominant rushing attacks (200+ yards on the ground in both). It would be one thing if Max was a little "off" and BYU was struggling for yards and points. Instead, the Cougars continue to assert themselves physically and tactically, and are the class of the conference.

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BYU continues to lead all FBS teams in Time of Possession (34:08). Since BYU began tracking the stat (in 1990), Bronco's three BYU teams are 1st (currently), 3rd and 4th alltime in BYU TOP. The previous BYU mark is 32:29 (1999).

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