Ten Cougars earn All-Conference Honors


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PROVO, Utah (December 5, 2006) -- A total of 10 BYU players received All-Mountain West Conference honors on Tuesday, headlined by senior quarterback John Beck who was unanimously selected as the Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Year. Second-year coach Bronco Mendenhall was also selected as the 2006 MWC Coach of the Year.

All totaled, 10 different players earned all-conference honors, including Beck and Cameron Jensen who were both unanimous first-team selections. Running back Curtis Brown and tight end Jonny Harline were first-team selections for the second straight year, while offensive lineman Jake Kuresa also earned first-team honors.

Four Cougar players earned second-team honors, including junior center Sete Aulai, junior safety Quinn Gooch, senior return specialist Nate Meikle and senior kicker Jared McLaughlin. Junior linebacker Bryan Kehl earned honorable mention All-Conference honors.

"I think it's fantastic for our young men to be recognized for their individual efforts and accomplishments," Mendenhall said. "However, the thing that is more important to our team is that everyone came together, worked together and won a conference championship, earning the right to represent the Mountain West Conference at the PIoneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl. I'm just extremely pleased."

Beck led the league in nearly every passing category. The native of Mesa, Ariz., led the league in passing yards per game (319.1), total offense per game (316.0), passing efficiency (173.3), completion percentage (70.4) and touchdown completions (30). During the season he had four games with over 300 yards passing, including 10 games with over 250 yards passing. He completed at least 65 percent of his attempts in 10 of the 11 games he played during the season and had three or more touchdown completions in seven games, including five games with four TD's.

"It's an honor to receive this award," Beck said. "I accept it on behalf of my teammates who have all worked so hard this season. Everyone played a huge part in our success."

Beck set a Mountain West Conference record after being named the league's Offensive Player of the Week seven different times during the season.

"I'm happy for John," Mendenhall said. "The season he has had is reflective of his leadership and talent. I'm pleased that his hard work and effort has been acknowledged by the league's head coaches and media."

Jensen finished the regular season with a team-best 99 tackles, including 53 solos. The Bountiful, Utah, native led the league with three fumble recoveries and had three interceptions on the season. He was also credited with nine tackles for a combined loss of 35 yards. Of those nine tackles for loss, eight were recorded as solo takedowns.

"It always feels great to be recognized," Jensen said. "Nothing comes close though to winning the conference championship."

Jensen captained a defensive unit that ranked 15th nationally in scoring defense, allowing just 15.2 points per game. The BYU defense also led the league and ranked fourth nationally in turnover margin, averaging 1.17 takeaways per game.

"Cameron is the best leader I have ever had to privilege to work with," Mendenhall said. "I couldn't think of a more fitting way for him to conclude his senior season."

Mendenhall, the league's coach of the year, led the Cougars to a 10-2 overall record, including a perfect 8-0 mark in league play to claim the team's first outright MWC title since the 2001 season.

"This honor is reflective of the leadership of this team. From our team captains to the team's leadership council, as well as each of our assistant coaches, this is an award that is reflective of their combined efforts. I give them credit for our success this season."

Throughout the season, BYU climbed the national polls by winning nine straight games to finish the regular season. As a result, the Cougars earned top-20 rankings in the Associated Press Top-25, the USA Today Coaches Poll, the Harris Interactive Poll and the BCS rankings. The Cougars' nine-game win streak marks the third longest active streak in the country and is only the seventh time in BYU football history the Cougars have recorded at least nine consecutive wins in a single season.

Through 12 games, BYU has outscored its opponents by an average 36.7 to 15.3 (+21.4). More impressively, the Cougars posted 138 first-quarter points and held opponents to just 15 points in the opening quarter of play throughout the season. After finishing 3-3 in Provo last season, Mendenhall and the Cougars registered a perfect 6-0 record at home in 2006. Not only did the 2006 Cougars finish the season as the most dominant team in the nation, but also they finished as the most dominant home team in BYU Football history. BYU averaged 47.2 points per game at LaVell Edwards Stadium while holding opponents to just 12.0 points per contest. The +35.16 margin not only led the nation in home scoring margin, but also set a new BYU record, eclipsing the old mark of +34.2 set in 1979. LSU finished the season behind the Cougars in 2006, posting a +31.9 home-field scoring margin.

#12 John Beck Senior, Quarterback MWC Offensive Player of the Year (Unanimous) MWC First Team (Unanimous) • A Jonny Unitas Golden Arm Award and Davey O'Brien Award candidate • Leads the Mountain West Conference and ranks fourth nationally, averaging 319.1 yards passing per game • Leads the Mountain West Conference and ranks fourth nationally, averaging 316.0 yards of total offense per game • Leads the Mountain West Conference and ranks second nationally with a passing efficiency of 173.3 • Leads the Mountain West Conference and ranks second nationally with a 70.4 completion percentage • Leads the Mountain West Conference and ranks fifth nationally with 30 touchdown completions on the season • The nation's leading senior quarterback, averaging 13.45 yard per reception • Leads the Mountain West Conference, averaging 317.2 yards passing per game against league opponents • Leads the Mountain West Conference, averaging 317.2 yards of total offense per game against league opponents • Credited in four games this season with over 300 yards passing, including 10 games with over 250 yards passing • Completed 65 percent (or better) of his attempts in 10 of the 11 games he played during the regular season • Had a passing efficiency of 150.0 or better in eight games, including four games with an efficiency rating of 200.0 or better • Had three or more touchdown completions in seven games during the season, including five games with four touchdown completions • Led BYU to a 10-win season, including nine straight wins to close out the regular season and an undefeated conference record • Named the Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Week seven times during the season -- a new MWC record

#6 Curtis Brown Senior, Running Back MWC First Team • Ranks second in the Mountain West Conference, averaging 74.2 yards rushing per game • Ranks second in the Mountain West Conference, averaging 79.2 yards rushing per game against league opponents • Ranks second in the Mountain West Conference with 890 yards rushing on the season • Leads the Mountain West Conference and ranks 14th nationally with an average 140.8 all-purpose yards per game • Ranks fifth in the Mountain West Conference with an average 4.58 receptions per game • Credited with eight touchdowns on the season • Credited with a season-high 124 yards rushing against New Mexico to become BYU's all-time leading rusher • Member of the team's leadership council

#13 Jonny Harline Senior, Tight End • John Mackey Award finalist • Lead the BYU roster and ranks fourth in the Mountain West Conference with 754 receiving yards on the season • Top-ranked tight end in the Mountain West Conference, averaging 62.8 yards receiving per game • Leads all league receivers with 11 touchdown receptions on the season, including a career-high three touchdown grabs against Utah • Twice featured on ESPN SportsCenter's Play of the Day (at TCU, at Utah) • An Academic All-Mountain West selection • Has been credited with at least 50 yards receiving in eight games, including six games with over 70 yards • Has been credited with over 100 yards receiving in two of the Cougars' final three games • The MWC top tight end, averaging 65.6 receiving yards per game against league opponents • Leads all MWC receivers with 10 touchdown receptions against league opponents, including five in the last three games

#73 Jake Kuresa Senior, Offensive Line MWC First Team • Played tackle, guard and center during the season • Offensive line captain (unit leader) • Credited with 96 knock-downs on the season • Allowed just 1.5 sacks on the season • Did not allow a single sack against MWC opponents • Anchored an offensive line that helped produce an average 458.6 yards of total offense per game (5th in the nation) • Provided protection for a passing offense that averaged 319.2 yards per game (4th in the nation) • Provided protection for a passing offense that produced an efficiency rating of 171.1 on the season (2nd in the nation) • Helped lead the Cougars to a league-best 277 first downs during the season • A vital part of an offensive line that helped BYU to a 56.6 third-down conversion percentage (3rd in the nation) • Started all 12 games for the Cougars • Part of an offensive line that allowed just 14 sacks on the season • Part of an offensive line that allowed just 9 sacks against conference opponents • Part of an offensive line that helped the Cougars to an average 36.7 points per game (6th in the nation)

#67 Sete Aulai Junior, Center MWC Second Team • Allowed just one sack on the season • Did not allow a single sack against MWC opponents • Credited with 108 knock-downs on the season • Anchored an offensive line that helped produce an average 458.6 yards of total offense per game (5th in the nation) • Provided protection for a passing offense that averaged 319.2 yards per game (4th in the nation) • Provided protection for a passing offense that produced an efficiency rating of 171.1 on the season (2nd in the nation) • Helped lead the Cougars to a league-best 277 first downs during the season • A vital part of an offensive line that helped BYU to a 56.6 third-down conversion percentage (3rd in the nation) • Started all 12 games at center for the Cougars • Part of an offensive line that allowed just 14 sacks on the season • Part of an offensive line that allowed just 9 sacks against conference opponents • Part of an offensive line that helped the Cougars to an average 36.7 points per game (6th in the nation)

#35 Cameron Jensen Senior, Linebacker MWC First Team (Unanimous) • Team captain • Leads the BYU roster and ranks sixth in the Mountain West Conference with 99 tackles on the season • Ranks third in the Mountain West Conference with 53 solo tackles on the season • Captains a BYU defense that ranks second in the Mountain West Conference (15th nationally) in scoring defense, allowing just 15.2 points per game • Captains a BYU defense that ranks fourth nationally and tops in the Mountain West Conference in turnover margin (+14), averaging 1.17 turnovers per game • Part of a defensive unit that ranks second in the Mountain West Conference (26th nationally) in third-down defense, allowing opponents to convert on just 53 of 161 (32.9) attempts • Leads the Mountain West Conference with three fumble recoveries on the season, averaging 0.25 recoveries per game. • Credited with nine tackles for a combined loss of 35 yards (ranks sixth in the Mountain West Conference) • Ranks second in the Mountain West Conference with eight solo tackles for a loss • Named the MWC Defensive Player of the Week after recording nine tackles against Colorado State, including a pair of sacks • Ranks third in the Mountain West Conference with three interceptions on the season • Averaged 8.8 tackles per game against Mountain West Conference opponents

#41 Bryan Kehl Junior, Linebacker All-MWC Honorable Mention • Totaled 65 tackles on the season, including 37 solo takedowns • Averaged 5.2 tackles per game against Mountain West Conference opponents • Had 8 tackles for a combined loss of 33 yards on the season • Credited with three sacks for a combined loss of 18 yards • Totaled six pass break-ups on the season • Part of a BYU defense that ranks second in the Mountain West Conference (15th nationally) in scoring defense, allowing just 15.2 points per game • Part of a BYU defense that ranks fourth nationally and tops in the Mountain West Conference in turnover margin (+14), averaging 1.17 turnovers per game • Part of a defensive unit that ranks second in the Mountain West Conference (26th nationally) in third-down defense, allowing opponents to convert on just 53 of 161 (32.9) attempts

#25 Quinn Gooch Junior, Safety MWC Second Team • Ranks third on the BYU roster with 65 tackles, including 37 solo tackles • Ranks sixth in the Mountain West Conference with an average 0.18 forced fumbles per game • Totaled 27 tackles against Mountain West Conference opponents, including 27 solo stops • Credit with four pass break-ups on the season • Part of a BYU defense that ranks second in the Mountain West Conference (15th nationally) in scoring defense, allowing just 15.2 points per game • Part of a BYU defense that ranks fourth nationally and tops in the Mountain West Conference in turnover margin (+14), averaging 1.17 turnovers per game • Part of a defensive unit that ranks second in the Mountain West Conference (26th nationally) in third-down defense, allowing opponents to convert on just 53 of 161 (32.9) attempts

#30 Jared McLaughlin Senior, Kicker MWC Second Team • Leads the Mountain West Conference in scoring with 92 points, averaging 7.7 points per game • Leads the Mountain West Conference with 53 converted point-after attempts • Has converted 53-of-57 point-after attempts on the season • Has connected on 13-of-17 field goal attempts, converting 76.5 of his attempts • Posted a Mountain West Conference best 53-yard field goal during the season • Converted 100 percent of his field-goal attempts from 0 to 39 yards (9-of-9) • Was 4-of-8 on field-goal attempts from over 40 yards • Before missing a 53-yard attempt against New Mexico, converted eight straight field-goal attempts, including a career-long 53-yarder against Air Force

#9 Nathan Meikle Senior, Return Specialist MWC Second Team • Credited with conference-high 26 punt returns for 307 yards on the season. • Ranked second in the Mountain West Conference (20th nationally) with an average 11.8 yards per punt return. • A CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-Region selection • A semi-finalist for the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame post-graduate scholarship award • Had two kick returns on the season for 103 yards • Averaged 51.5 yards per kick return • Recorded a career-long 84-yard kick return against Wyoming

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