Cougars Prep for Cardinals

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After back-to-back road games, the Cougars (2-1, 1-0) return home to LaVell Edwards Stadium to face Stanford on Saturday Sept. 20, marking the first home game against a Pac-10 opponent since the 1999 season. The game is slated for a 4:30 p.m. (MDT) start and will be broadcast live by SportsWest on KSL-TV (Salt Lake City), KRON-TV (Bay Area) and on the Church Satellite System. While BYU will enter Saturday's game with three games under its belt, Stanford has played just one game this season -- a 31-10 win over San Jose State back on Sept. 6. The Cardinal did not play last weekend, while the Cougars picked up a critical 10-7 Mountain West Conference road victory over New Mexico.

Saturday's game will mark the first-ever meeting between the Cougars and Cardinal. Over the years, the Cougars have posted a 42-48-1 (.467) record when facing a team for the first time. The game marks the second time this season BYU has played an opponent for the first time. (USC, Sept. 6) Entering his sixth season as a head coach, including three years at Louisiana Tech, Gary Crowton has posted a 21-14 (.600) record against opponents he has coached against for the first time.

Saturday's game will be broadcast live by SportsWest on KSL-TV, Ch.5, in Salt Lake City, beginning at 4:30 p.m. (MDT). KSL's Tom Kirkland will call the action with former BYU quarterback Blaine Fowler lending game analysis. The game will also be broadcast in the Bay Area on KRON-TV. In addition, fans with access to ward or stake meeting houses with satellite capabilities can view the game, live, on the Church Satellite System. The game is also available on ESPN's Game Plan. The Audio-Visual Committee for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has specified that the games may be viewed in any room throughout the ward or stake building, excluding the chapel. Fans can also tune to KSL 1160-AM with the broadcast team of Greg Wrubell, Marc Lyons and Bill Riley.

LAST WEEK (BYU 10, New Mexico 7)
After jumping out to a 10-0 lead in the first half, the Cougars, fueled by a stellar defensive effort, held on for a 10-7 Mountain West victory over New Mexico on a windy night in Albuquerque. Junior running back Reynaldo Brathwaite led the Cougars, finishing the game with a career-high 169 yards rushing on 19 carries. Brathwaite had an 89-yard run in the first quarter that set up BYU's first score, a 20-yard field goal from Matt Payne. With the Cougars pinned deep in their own territory during the first quarter, Brathwaite took the ball and appeared to be stopped for a loss. He reversed his field, from left to right and raced down the sideline before finally being stopped at the two-yard line. The 89-yard run marked the longest run from scrimmage in BYU history in over 45 years. During the first half, BYU added another score on a 30-yard pass from Matt Berry to Philip Niu, his first career reception Berry was 6-7 for 64 yards on the only touchdown drive of the game for the Cougars. The game lived up to its billing as a showdown of two of the top defenses in the Mountain West Conference. The BYU defense allowed just 312 yards of total offense and held the Lobos scoreless for three of the four quarters, marking the fifth straight game the Cougars have held an opponent scoreless in at least one quarter. In each of the Cougars' three games this season, they have held their opponents scoreless in two or more quarters. Coming into the game New Mexico was averaging 50 points and over 500 yards-a-game in total offense. New Mexico finally got on the board late in the third quarter on a three-yard run by DonTrell Moore. The touchdown was set up by a 66-yard screen pass to Adrian Boyd -- the longest play allowed by the Cougars this season. After UNM scored with 4:38 left in the third quarter, the two defenses dug in their heels. The two teams exchanged punts throughout the fourth quarter. BYU got the ball back for the final time with 4:47 left in the fourth quarter. Brathwaite picked up a first down on a one-yard run before Todd Mortensen dumped off to fullback Kyle Wilson for a critical 16-yard gain. On first and 10 at the UNM 40 yard line, Fahu Tahi was stopped for a two-yard loss. On second and 12, Brathwaite picked up six yards, forcing a third and 6 from the 36 yard line. Needing a first-down to seal the victory, Crowton opened up his bag of tricks, calling for a halfback pass. Brathwaite looked off his primary target, Jason Kukahiko, and found Toby Christensen for a 26-yard gain and the game-clinching first down.

The Cougars' 10-7 win over New Mexico marked only the sixth time since 1977 BYU has scored just 10 points in a single game. Interestingly, the Cougars are 5-1 in games when they score just 10 points.

Following Matt Payne's 20-yard field goal in the first quarter against New Mexico, BYU extended its NCAA-record streak to 353 games without being shutout. BYU was last shutout during the 1975 season (Sept. 27, 1975 vs. Arizona State.) Interestingly, the Cougars do not have a single player on their rosters who was alive the last time BYU was shutout.

Sophomore quarterback Matt Berry will miss Saturday's game after breaking his hand against New Mexico. Berry had surgery on Sunday, Sept. 14, and will be out 3-5 weeks. Senior defensive back Brandon Heaney suffered a season-ending shoulder injury against Georgia Tech. The injury is to the opposite shoulder he had surgically repaired after last season. Heaney is expected to have surgery this week on the injured shoulder and is likely to miss the remainder of the season. Running back Marcus Whalen suffered a foot injury against Georgia Tech and did not play against USC or New Mexico. While Reynaldo Brathwaite will start at running back, Whalen is slated to see action against the Cardinal. Backup quarterback John Beck suffered a concussion against USC and did not play against New Mexico. With the injury to Berry, Beck has been listed as the starter for Saturday's game against Stanford. Starting center, Scott Jackson, suffered a knee injury against New Mexico. He has been listed as possible for Saturday's game. If he is unable to play, Hanale Vincent will start at center. Starting fullback Fui Vakapuna also suffered a knee injury against New Mexico. Vakapuna is questionable for the Stanford game. Naufahu Tahi will start at fullback if Vakapuna is unable to go. Reserve linebacker Bryant Atkinson will mist 2-4 weeks with a knee injury. Atkinson is scheduled to have arthroscopic surgery this week.

Despite not having a single reception in the Cougars' 10-7 win over New Mexico, freshman tight end Daniel Coats ranks second nationally among all tight ends with 69.0 yards per game, and second among freshman receivers with 4.7 receptions per contest. Coats moved in to the national lead after the second week of play, recording a team-leading eight receptions for 114 yards in the Cougars' 38-15 loss at fourth-ranked USC. The 6-3, 249-pound tight end has averaged 6.7 receptions per contest and an average 69.0 yards per contest. Coats was named the MWC Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 1 after helping the Cougars to a 24-13 season-opening victory over Georgia Tech. In his first collegiate game, Coats not only earned the starting assignment against Georgia Tech, he also led the entire team with six receptions for 93 yards. Coats, a graduate of Northridge HS in Layton, Utah, was also credited with a game-high two touchdown receptions and averaged 15.5 yards per reception -- the first freshman tight end in school history to record two TDs in a single game. With BYU trailing 3-0 with 5:07 remaining in the first quarter, facing a fourth-and-three from the Georgia Tech 38 yards line, sophomore QB Matt Berry found Coats over the top for a 38-yard, finger-tip touchdown catch -- his first, career reception. In the third quarter, trailing the Yellow Jackets 13-7, Berry hooked up with Coats for what would be the game-winning touchdown -- a 15-yard pass in the endzone to cap a seven-play, 80-yard drive to start the second half. In his second career start, Coats broke the 100-yard barrier, becoming the first BYU receiver to record 100 yards since Reno Mahe had eight receptions for 124 yards against UNLV last season. Coats's performance also marked the first 100-yard performance for a tight end since Doug Jolley racked up 177 yards on 10 receptions in 2001 against Air Force.

After winning the time of possession battle for two of the first three weeks of the season, BYU is enjoying an average 5 minute and 22 second advantage in terms of time of possession. Against Georgia Tech, the Cougars dominated the clock, racking up an 18:12 advantage over the Yellow Jackets. At USC, the Cougars had the ball 2:30 longer than the Trojans. While the Cougars won the battle of field position, the Lobos had the ball 32:18, compared to BYU's 27:42.

Saturday's game against Stanford will mark the 12th time in the last five years BYU has faced a team coming off of a bye week. The Cougars have posted an 8-3 (.727) record in those games with the last game coming against Nevada last season.

Through three games this season, the Cougar defense is ranked 24th in the nation in total defense, and second in the conference, yielding only 287 yards-per-game. This is an improvement of almost 100 yards-per-game from last season when the defense gave up 384.7 yards per contest. BYU's offense will face a Stanford defense that is ranked 19th in the country after one game, giving up only 270 yards per game. The Cardinal only gave up nine yards on the ground against San Jose State in their only game this season.

The BYU offensive line, which includes three seniors and two freshmen, weighs in at a beefy 1,528 pounds, averaging 306 pounds per man. The O-line will be squaring off against a Stanford defensive line (one sophomore, one senior and two juniors) that tips the scales at an average 282.5 per man. On defense, the Cougars' line (two seniors and a junior) weighs in at 280.3 pounds per man, while the Cardinal offensive line (two seniors, two freshmen and one sophomore) average 302 pounds per man.

Since the 1990 season, when BYU starts the year with a junior or senior at quarterback, the Cougars have posted a 72.8 winning percentage. In that same time frame, when BYU starts the season with an under-classmen, the Cougars win just over 50 percent of their games. Since the 1990 campaign, BYU has only started an under classmen in four different seasons, including 1992, 1993, 2000 and 2002. This season, the Cougars started sophomore Matt Berry through the first three games. He started the season having started six games, marking the most starts by a BYU quarterback entering a season since Kevin Feterik in 1999.

With a perfect 6-0 record in Provo during the 2001 season, the Cougars have recorded 12 undefeated home season since the 1967 campaign. In fact, since the stadium was expanded to 65,000, the Cougars have posted eight different seasons without losing a game in Provo. The 2001 perfect home season marked the first since 1998. BYU finished the 2002 season with a 4-2 home record, marking the team's 31st consecutive non-losing home season. In 2003, with a victory over Georgia Tech, BYU is off to a 1-0 start this season. The Cougars are 169-52 (.765) in Provo, dating back 40 years (1963), including a 10-4 (.714) home record against MWC opponents since 1999.

In the four-year history of the Mountain West Conference, the Cougars have posted a 20-9 record against league opponents. During that span, the Cougars have registered a combined, overall record of 33-19 (.635). Overall, the Cougars have won more league titles, and have been to more bowl games than any other team in the MWC. BYU has won two of the four MWC titles. Of the seven MWC opponents, none have a winning record against the Cougars. While Air Force, Colorado State and Utah have a 2-2 record against BYU, the Cougars own a winning record over four MWC opponents, including New Mexico (4-1), San Diego State (3-1), UNLV (3-1) and Wyoming (4-0).

Since 1980, BYU has had 65 different opportunities to repay an opponent for a previous loss. When the Cougars face an opponent, having lost in the previous meeting, they have recorded a 43-22 (.662) record. Since Nov. 7, 1998, BYU has lost only one game to an opponent in a payback situation, posting a 17-1 record. BYU knocked off Syracuse on Aug. 29, 2002 and held off Hawaii on Sept. 6, 2002 for two straight payback opportunities last season. In 2003, the Cougars have already posted a 2-0 record in payback opportunities, defeating Georgia Tech, 24-13, and New Mexico, 10-7, in the first two of six total payback games this season. Of the six payback opportunities, the Cougars will face four opponents in Provo.

During the 2003 season, BYU will compete in six road games, including tough, non-conference trips to USC and Notre Dame. Last season the Cougars struggled on the road, posting a 1-5 road record. Since joining the MWC in 1999, the Cougars are 8-6 on the road against league opponents, including a 10-7 win over New Mexico on Sept. 13. Over the past 40 seasons, dating back to 1963, BYU is 128-91-3 (.583) on the road. In that span, the Cougars have recorded just three seasons with a perfect road record. (1984, 1979 and 1966.) Over the past 40 years, BYU has tallied 29 non-losing road records, including a 6-1 mark in 2001.With a win in Albuquerque on Sept. 13, the Cougars ended a four-game road losing streak that dated back to Oct. 12, 2002 in a 52-9 loss to Air Force in Colorado Springs.

With Matt Berry sidelined this week with a broken hand, head coach Gary Crowton has indicated John Beck, a true freshman, will get the nod at quarterback against the Cardinal.Beck will become the first true freshman to start at quarterback since Drew Miller eanred the starting job for a single game during the 1997 season. As a backup against TCU, on Oct. 25, 1997, Miller completed 16-fo-26 attempts for 180 yards and three touchdowns, earning the starting job the following week at UTEP. In his first career start, Miller was 17-of-32 for 226 yards. He failed to complete a single touchdown pass, and was picked off three times in the Cougars' 14-3 loss against the Miners. The following week, the Cougars' went to their third starting quarterback of the season -- Kevin Feterik -- who held on to the starting job for two more seasons. Beck will become only the second true freshman to start for the Cougars at quarterback.

On the first play of the game, true freshman Drew Miller connected with Dustin Johnson for 55 yards. Despite an 8 play, 83-yard drive, the Cougars were forced to settle for an Owen Pochman 21-yard field goal to end the game's first drive. UTEP missed on its first two field goal attempts before scoring a touchdown to start the second quarter. In the third quarter, UTEP linebacker Brent Henderson intercepted a tipped Miller pass and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown. On the next series, Miller hit Margin Hooks for a 41-yard bomb. Just when the momentum started to turn in the Cougars' favor, Miller threw his second interception of the game on the very next play. With :12 seconds remaining in the game, Miller again connected with Hooks on a 44-yard strike down the sidelines. But again, on the very next play, Miller was intercepted in the endzone to end any hope of a BYU come-back.

Despite a decrease in penalities from the season-opener to game three, the Cougars were flagged seven times for 74 yards. The Cougars, who currently rank last in the MWC, are averaging 11 penalties for 99.0 yards per contest. Against USC, BYU was flagged 10 times for 91 yards, while in the season-opener against Georgia Tech, the Cougars were hammered 16 times for 132 yards, marking the most yardage since having 140 yards stepped off at Nevada last season. The all-time, single-game record for most penalty yardage against the Cougars remains at 219 (vs. Weber State on sept. 17, 1975). The 16 penalties marks the most flags thrown against the Cougars since being called for 18 penalties against Wyoming in 1990. Including the victory over Wyoming in 1990, the Cougars have had 44 games with 10 or more penalties called against them. Last season, BYU had a single-season record six games with 10 or more penalties. Prior, both the 1993 and 1991 teams had five games with 10 or more penalties. Including he 1990 Wyoming game, BYU has posted a record of 27-17 (.614) when it has been flagged 10 or more times. The record for most penalties called against the Cougars in a game stands at 22 (vs. Utah State; Oct. 18, 1980).

Last season the Cougars gave up an average 2.9 turnovers per game. After three games, BYU has produced a +1 turnover margin. While recording four turnovers against Georgia Tech, allowing just two, the Cougars gave up five turnovers against USC, while forcing just three turnovers. In a defensive battle at New Mexico, the Cougars recovered one fumble, and did not allow a single turnover. On the season, BYU has forced eight turnovers, while also allowing seven turnovers.

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