Cougars Take on Undefeated Falcons Saturday

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PROVO, Utah -- Following the Cougars' largest come-from-behind victory in school history, a 35-34 win at Utah State on Friday, BYU (3-2) will travel to 19th ranked Air Force (5-0) on Saturday, Oct. 12. While the Falcons are already 2-0 in league play, Saturday's game will mark the first MWC game for the Cougars this season. BYU will be playing its fourth straight road game, while Air Force will be hosting its fourth game of the season. Game time is slated for 8 p.m. (MDT) and will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2.

The Cougars will travel to Colorado Springs via SportsJet, departing Provo on Friday, Oct. 11 at 2 p.m. (MDT), and arriving in Colorado Springs at 3:10 p.m. (MST). While in Colorado Springs, the team will stay at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort. BYU will return to Provo via SportsJet immediately following the game.

Saturday's game will be broadcast live to a national television audience on ESPN2, beginning at 8 p.m. (MDT). Jeff Hullinger will call the action, with former Cougars standout, Todd Christensen, lending color analysis. Stacy Paetz will report from the sidelines. Fans can also tune to KSL 1160-AM with Greg Wrubell calling the action and Marc Lyons lending expert analysis. Bill Riley will report from the sidelines.

The Cougars have posted a 2-1 record in league-openers since joining the Mountain West Conference in 1999. Entering the 2002 season, the Cougars were tied with Air Force, New Mexico, Utah and San Diego State with a 2-1 record in league-openers. The Falcons won their 2002 league-opener, defeating New Mexico, 38-31, in Colorado Springs. Ironically, the Cougars' only league-opening loss came at the hands of the Falcons during the 2000 season in Colorado Springs. In its third straight road game, including back-to-back trips to the East Coast, Air Force took advantage of a worn down BYU squad, edging the Cougars, 31-23.

Saturday's game at Air Force will mark the 23rd meeting between the two schools, dating back to the first meeting during the 1956 season. The Cougars own an 18-4 record against the Falcons, including a mark of 9-1 in Provo and a record of 8-2 in Colorado Springs. (BYU is 1-1 against Air Force when playing at a neutral site.) While BYU has won 14 of the last 17 meetings, including two of the last three, Air Force has won three of the last five games between the two schools. Including a 31-23 win in Colorado Springs during the 2000 season, the Falcons have won three straight games away from Provo, including two straight in Colorado Springs, and one game in Las Vegas (at the 1998 WAC Championship game). Last season, the Cougars upended the Falcons in Provo, posting a 63-33 victory over the Academy. Entering the 1995 contest in Colorado Springs, the Cougars had never lost to the Falcons at Falcon Stadium. However, with a 38-12 Air Force victory that season, that all changed. Including the 1995 loss at Falcon Stadium, the Cougars are 0-2 in Colorado Springs. Over the years, BYU has averaged 32.2 points per game at Falcon Stadium, while limiting Air Force to just 20.1 points per contest. However, entering Saturday's game, the Falcons are averaging a league-leading 38.2 points per contest, while BYU is averaging 31.8 points per game. Since 1994, following a BYU victory, Air Force has come back to win the next game, averaging a 34.5-17.5 margin of victory.

In the 2001 meeting between BYU and Air Force, senior tight end Doug Jolley led the Cougars to a 63-33 victory over the Falcons. Entering the game with only eight receptions for 117 yards, Jolley, a fifth-round draft pick of the Oakland Raiders, registered 10 receptions for a MWC-record 177 yards and three touchdowns. The Cougars didn't take long to seize control of the game. BYU scored on its first possession, an 18-yard strike to Jolley. On the ensuing kickoff, Aaron Edmonds recovered his own on-side kick and the Cougars drove the ball down the field, scoring on a two-yard Luke Staley run. BYU continued to dominate the Falcons in the first half, taking a 42-13 lead into the locker room. BYU pushed the lead to 63-13 after three quarters, scoring 21 points in each of the first three quarters. Senior quarterback Brandon Doman earned an early third-quarter rest after posting 338 yards passing on 20-of-32 attempts, including four touchdown completions. Staley rushed for 134 yards and two touchdowns and was also given a rest after just two offensive series in the second half.

In his first career start (at Utah State), true freshman Curtis Brown ran for 217 yards and three touchdowns, helping BYU record its largest come-from-behind victory in school history. Fueled by Brown's performance, the Cougars erased a 27-point halftime deficit to beat Utah State, 35-34, on Friday in Logan. Brown, who averaged 6.6 yards on 33 carries, also added 49 yards on 4 receptions and was named the MWC Offensive Player of the Week. Brown became the sixth back in BYU history to rush for over 200 yards in a single game, and his performance ranks fourth on the school's single-game rushing list. Brown is the second BYU player to have earned MWC Player-of-the-Week honors this season. Quarterback Bret Engemann was named the Offensive Player of the Week after leading BYU to a 42-21 victory over Syracuse in the opening game of the season.

Through five games this season, the Cougars have scored just seven points in the first quarter of play. In fact, BYU has been outscored 30-7 during first-quarter action. The Cougars have not scored in the first quarter since recording a 6-yard touchdown pass from Bret Engemann to Andrew Ord with 8:14 remaining in the first quarter against Syracuse. Since the Syracuse game, the Cougars have had 16 first-quarter possessions, and have crossed midfield only six different times. BYU's average field possession during the first quarter of play this season has been its own 46 yard line. In the past four games, the Cougars have been unable to enter their opponent's Red Zone.

Even before the 2002 season began, the Cougars lost three players to season-ending injuries. Redshirt freshman C.J. AhYou was lost on the first day of Fall Camp, suffering a torn ACL. AhYou, who was slated to start at defensive end missed the majority of last season also with a torn ACL. Just under two weeks prior to the Cougars' season-opener, senior offensive tackle Ben Archibald was lost for the season after suffering a mid-shaft compound fracture. Archibald, an Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award candidate, is expected to apply for a sixth-year following the 2002 season. Reserve senior cornerback Todd Barker injured his surgically-repaired shoulder and will be unable to return for his final season at BYU. Cornerback Mike Sumko suffered a torn abductor muscle (against Hawaii) and has been listed as probable for Saturday's game. Sophomore running back Marcus Whalen suffered a pulled abductor muscle at Georgia Tech. Whalen will be re-evaluated this week and has been listed as a game-time decision. Cornerback James Allen has been hampered by a high ankle sprain all season. Allen has received significant rest over the past three weeks and will be evaluated by team trainers this week. His status has yet to be determined. After missing the Utah State game with a pulled hamstring, receiver Andrew Ord has been listed as probable against Air Force. Cornerback Jernaro Gilford (knee) has also been listed as probable for the Air Force game.

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