Tuesday Tidbits



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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The football Cougars open bowl practice tomorrow--the team will practice Thursday, Friday, Monday (closed to media) and Tuesday (closed to media) in Provo, then head for Las Vegas after the final Provo practice. The Cougars will hold closed practices at Valley High School in Las Vegas next Wednesday and Thursday.

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While I expect BYU to beat UCLA, and practically every national prognosticator forecasts the Las Vegas Bowl as a BYU blowout, the Bruins did a decent job at keeping games manageable this season--the Utah game obviously a notable exception.

Aside from the 44-6 loss on the hill, UCLA played only two other games in which the opponent topped 30 points, and one of those games was a UCLA win (44-31 v. Washington).

The Bruins are ranked highly in all major defensive categories--most impressive against the run (25th nationally, allowing 115 yards/gm)--and held BYU to 44 rushing yards in the teams' 1st meeting.

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Or, did BYU limit itself on the ground at the Rose Bowl? The Cougars attempted only 19 running back rushes, and Harvey Unga (not yet the feature back), had only 5 carries on the day.

The UCLA game is the only game in which BYU did not rush for at least 100 yards this season.

BYU averaged 13 yards per pass completion against the Bruins, but only 1.8 yards per rush attempt.

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KSL Newsradio will air a one-hour Las Vegas Bowl special, "Return of the Champions," Thursday, December 20th, from 7:00-8:00pm, live from both Broadcast House and Sam Boyd Stadium. The show will feature a play-by-play "year in review," an in-depth recap of the season with Bronco Mendenhall, and your phone calls.

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The Cougar hoopsters are home for 3 games spread out over 9 days--by the time the stretch is over, the Cougars should own the longest homecourt winning streak in the country. With 35 straight home wins, BYU trails Memphis (36), but the Tigers don't play at home again until the 22nd, so by then, BYU's home run could be 38 games and counting.

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Jonathan Tavernari might benefit from a change of scenery. Shooting 34% over the last 4 games, JT is out of sync with the offense right now, and a spell on the bench might benefit him, and give fellow "4" man Chris Collinsworth a chance to start and assert himself a little more on the offensive end--not to mention give BYU a boost on the boards. Colinsworth is second to Trent Plaisted in rebounds/40 minutes played (12.2 reb/40mp. Plaisted leads at 13.4).

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Nip this in the bud: in the first 4 games, Plaisted hit on 74% of his free throws. In the last 5 games, the number is 55%.

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