GAME WEEK: No. 17 BYU at Colorado State

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BYU COUGARS (7-1, 3-1) vs. CSU (4-4, 2-2)
Saturday, Nov. 1, 2008
Hughes Stadium (34,400)
Fort Collins, Colorado
4 p.m. MT
BYU, Bronco Mendenhall (34-10 in fourth season; same overall) CSU, Steve Fairchild (4-4 in first season; same overall)

BYU leads, 35-27-3 after the Cougars' 35-16 win in Provo on Nov. 3, 2007)

The Mtn. (James Bates, Todd Christensen, Roger Bailey)

KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM) and the Cougar Sports Network (Greg Wrubell, play-by-play; Marc Lyons, game analyst; Nate Meikle, sideline)

Coming off a narrow 42-35 home victory over UNLV last week, No. 17 BYU (7-1, 3-1) hits the road to face Colorado State on Saturday, continuing in its hopes of earning a third Mountain West Conference title. The Cougars lost their last road game two weeks ago, a tough battle between two nationally-ranked teams at TCU, but hope to turn things around in Fort Collins.

CSU enters Saturday's game coming off a close 38-34 win at San Diego State last weekend. The Rams' Billy Farris threw three touchdown passes to Kory Sperry in the win, helping improve the team's record to 4-4 on the season and 2-2 in MWC play.

Game time is scheduled for 4 p.m. (MT) and will be broadcast nationally on The Mtn.

The Cougars hold an all-time record of 35-27-3 against the Rams, including their most recent 35-16 victory in Provo in 2007. These two teams first met in 1922 when CSU posted a 33-0 shutout victory over BYU. The Rams went on to win the first six meetings between these two teams, until BYU finally pulled out a 20-12 home win in 1938. The Cougars have won the past four matchups, as well as 11 of the past 13 meetings in Fort Collins. In those 11 games, BYU has averaged 40.5 points.

Saturday's game will be broadcast live to a national television audience on The Mtn. James Bates will call the action and Todd Christensen will lend analysis, along with Roger Bailey as the sideline reporter. Bates was an All-Southeastern Conference linebacker at the University of Florida and captain of the Gators' 1996 national championship football team. Christensen was a standout at BYU before launching an NFL career, playing as a tight end with the Cowboys and the Raiders. An alumnus of Florida State University and right-handed pitcher, Bailey played for the Colorado Rockies from 1995-1997.

No. 17 BYU started and ended Saturday afternoon's game against UNLV with big plays and endured a hard-fought battle in between to secure a 42-35 victory in front of a sellout crowd at LaVell Edwards Stadium. BYU junior wide receiver Austin Collie made a play to open the game when he returned the opening kickoff 75 yards to set up BYU's earliest scoring strike of the season when Andrew George hauled in an 8-yard touchdown pass from Max Hall with just 2:35 gone off the clock. The game ended with sophomore defensive back Andrew Rich intercepted UNLV's Omar Clayton in the end zone as time expired to end the Rebels' last-chance attempt to force overtime. The Cougars and Rebels stayed within one scoring possession of each other during the entire game and UNLV stood at the 25-yard line when Rich intercepted the Rebels' last hope of matching BYU. Junior quarterback Max Hall led the offensively dominated game going 24-of-31 for 245 yards and four touchdowns, while Collie led the team with seven receptions for 113 yards. Collie set a new MWC record with his sixth straight 100-yard receiving game.

After Saturday's win over UNLV, the Cougars are 145-42 when nationally ranked in the Top 25. With the win, a ranked BYU team has won 14 of its last 15 games, dating back to 2006.

Quarterback Max Hall recorded four touchdown passes against UNLV on Saturday. The junior has thrown a scoring pass in every game this season except for the Cougars' loss to TCU earlier in October. Hall has now thrown a touchdown pass in 19-of-21 career games.

Junior Austin Collie broke the 100-yard receiving mark for the sixth straight game with 113 yards on seven catches against the Rebels. Collie's six-consecutive games sets a MWC record previously held by SDSU's J.R. Tolver (2002) with five.

With his 113 yards receiving against UNLV, Austin Collie now has 2,619 career-receiving yards, surpassing Phil Odle as No. 4 on BYU's all-time receiving list. The junior needs only 16 more yards to pass Matt Bellini (2,635 yards) and claim the No. 3 spot.

Collie now has 12 career 100-yard receiving games, which ties a BYU record with Eric Drage. He is also tied for second on the MWC record list with SDSU's Jeff Webb, both behind the 13 games of SDSU's J.R. Tolver.

Counting his touchdown against New Mexico two weeks ago, Collie now has 23 career touchdowns, needing only three more to make it into BYU's top 10. Pete Van Valkenberg and Eric Lane currently hold the No. 10 spot with 26 career touchdowns. Collie's 23 touchdowns put him only six behind the MWC leader, Jovon Bouknight of Wyoming (29).

Austin Collie's 75-yard kickoff return on BYU's opening drive against UNLV marked a season-long for the Cougars. The previous team-high was O'Neill Chamber's 51-yard return against Northern Iowa. The last time BYU had a kickoff return for more that 75 yards was Nate Meikle's 84-yard return against Wyoming on Nov. 9, 2006.

Last week's 21-21 halftime score marked the second time this season the Cougars ended the first half tied with their opponents. The last time BYU was tied at the half was at Washington on Sept. 6, 2008 with a score of 14-14.

With a previous career-long run of 20 yards, quarterback Max Hall surpassed that mark with his 31-yard rush against the Rebels during the second quarter. His longest run this season coming into today was seven yards.

Freshman running back Bryan Kariya blocked a UNLV punt midway through the second quarter, which was caught by Brandon Bradley. The Cougars were able to quickly translate good field position into points as Harvey Unga ran for a two-yard touchdown two plays later.

As a team, BYU has blocked four kicks this season, already surpassing the three blocks recorded during the 2007 season. Along with Kariya's, Jan Jorgensen blocked a potentially game-tying PAT attempt at Washington, Russell Tialavea blocked a UCLA field goal attempt and Michael Alisa blocked a kick against New Mexico. The last time BYU recorded four blocked kicks in a season was back in 2000.

Against UNLV the Cougars were successful on their first 2-point conversion attempt of the season. Harvey Unga caught a pass from Max Hall in the endzone following a Dennis Pitta touchdown, putting BYU up 42-35 with 1:46 remaining in the game. The last time the Cougars attempted and were successful on a two-point converstion was during the 17-10 victory over Utah in 2007.

All totaled, the BYU defense has recorded 17 shutout quarters thru the first eight games of the season, including two complete shutout wins over UCLA and Wyoming. The Cougars has outscored or tied their opponents in every quarter except six in 2008.

BYU's 23-0 deficit heading in to the halftime break against the Horned Frogs marked the first time the Cougars have been shutout in the first half since their 20-3 loss to Boston College on Sept 3, 2005. Boston College held BYU scoreless while scoring 10 points in the first half. That game also marked the first time this season the Cougars have been trailing at halftime. BYU is now 0-1 when down at the half.

BYU's starting five offensive linemen weigh in at an average 326.4 pounds and average 6-feet-6. The front five will be going up against a CSU defensive front that measures an average 6-feet-5, 263 pounds. Defensively, the Cougars' front three average 6-feet-3, 278 pounds, while the CSU offensive line tips the scales at an average 6-feet-5, 299 pounds per man.

Freshman linebacker Matt Putnam's 12-yard sack with less than 10 seconds remaining in the game against UNLV helped save the win for BYU. Through eight games this season the Cougar defense has recorded 18 sacks. Junior defensive lineman Jan Jorgensen's sack against TCU's Jeremy Kerley in the second quarter gives him 20.5 career sacks, tieing the MWC record of 20.5 held by New Mexico's Michael Tuohy, TCU's Chase Ortiz and former Cougar Brady Poppinga. Jorgensen recorded four sacks his freshman season in 2006, 13.5 his sophomore season and three to date in 2008.

In the first eight games this season BYU has forced 20 turnovers, converting 12 of those into points. Of those 12 turnovers, 10 have resulted in touchdowns (70 points) for the Cougars.

The UNLV game marked senior offensive lineman Dallas Reynolds' 46th straight career start. During that streak, Reynolds has started at every position on the offensive line, including tackle, guard and center. Reynolds' younger brother Matt started at left tackle in the 2008 season opener. His father, Lance, is the associate head coach for the Cougars. Reynolds is currently tied at second for the most consecutive starts by an active Football Bowl Subdivision (Division I-A) player. Reynolds has started in every game of his BYU career, beginning with the Cougars' 20-3 loss to Boston College on Sep. 3, 2005.

Andrew George's touchdown with 12:25 remaining in the first quarter against UNLV gave BYU the early 7-0 lead. BYU has scored first in six games this season, marking the 28th time in the last 33 games. The Cougars are 26-2 in those 28 games. BYU has also scored an opening drive touchdown in 14 of its last 19 games. Prior to last Saturday, the Cougars had gone two consecutive games without scoring first, giving up a TCU's 25-yard touchdown with 12:10 remaining in the first quarter last week and a 27-yard New Mexico field goal in the second quarter the week prior.

Max Hall's touchdown pass to Andrew George with 12:25 remaining in the first quarter agaisnt UNLV was BYU's earliest score this season. The Cougars scored at the 11:51 mark against Utah State, but haven't scored as early as they did today since Oct. 20, 2007 when defensive back Corby Hodgkiss returned a 39-yard interception for a touchdown with 13:34 remaining in the opening quarter.

For the third time this season, BYU lost the opening coin toss, with UNLV electing to defer to the second half. BYU is now 2-1 when losing the opening coin toss.

BYU has been unable to return a kickoff for a touchdown for 126 consecutive games. Mike Rigell was the last Cougar to accomplish the feat, turning in a 96-yard touchdown in a 31-9 victory at Hawaii on October 17, 1998.

In the Bronco Mendenhall era, BYU is 32-4 when leading at halftime and 31-1 when taking a lead into the fourth quarter.

Forced and recovered turnovers have resulted in fast scoring drives for the Cougars, who have put together nine scoring drives of a minute or less so far this season, including two against Utah State. In eight games, this number beats the total of seven recorded in 2007. BYU's second quarter scoring drive of six seconds agaisnt UCLA, marked the shortest Cougar scoring drive since a three-yard touchdown run by Harvey Unga against TCU on Nov. 8, 2007 knocked four seconds off the clock.

Despite its relative youth, the Cougar defense successfully kept its opponents from scoring a single touchdown in three of the first seven games of the season. Both UCLA and Wyoming were held scoreless through four quarters apiece, while New Mexico forced to settle for a single field goal.

The Cougars put together a run of 137 unanswered points over the span of three games before the Utah State Aggies scored a touchdown with 13:47 remaining in the fourth quarter. The stretch consisted of shutout wins over UCLA and Wyoming, 59-0 and 44-0, respectively, as well as a 24-0 lead heading into the fourth quarter against Utah State. Over that time BYU held its opponents scoreless in 11 straight quarters.

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