Cougs' Take on Broncos Thursday

Cougs' Take on Broncos Thursday

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PROVO, Utah (Oct. 27, 2003) -- Following a come-from-behind, overtime victory at UNLV on Saturday (Oct. 25), the Cougars will return to Edwards Stadium to take on Boise State in the first-ever meeting between the two schools. The game will be broadcast to a national television audience on ESPN, beginning at 5:45 p.m. (MST). The Cougars, now 4-5 overall on the season, will look to improve to 5-5 (.500) with a win on Thursday. Boise State, winners of five straight, will enter Thursday's game following a 77-14 pasting of San Jose State. The Broncos are 7-1 on the season and lead the WAC with a perfect 4-0 league record.

THE HISTORY: BYU vs. BOISE STATE -- The First Meeting
Thursday's game between BYU and Boise State will mark the first-ever meeting between the two schools. The game will mark the third time this season BYU has faced an opponent for the first time, including games against USC (Sept. 6) and Stanford (Sept. 20). The Cougars are 0-2 in those games; however, since 1922, BYU has posted 42 wins against first-time opponents. Overall, the Cougars are 42-49-1 (.462) in games vs. first-time opponents. BYU head coach Gary Crowton has fashioned a perfect 2-0 record in games against Boise State. As the head coach at Louisiana Tech (1996-1998), Crowton and the Bulldogs posted a 31-27 win in 1997 and a 63-28 win in 1998 over Boise State. The game will mark the first time BSU coach Dan Hawkins has faced the Cougars.

TELEVISION - Thursday's game will be broadcast to a national audience on ESPN. The game will be broadcast beginning at 5:30 p.m. (MST). ESPN has indicated the game will kickoff at 5:45 p.m. (MST). Mike Tirico will call the action with Kirk Herbstreit and Lee Corso lending expert analysis. Dr. Jerry Punch will report from the sidelines.

RADIO - Fans can tune to KSL Radio--the 50,000-watt home of the Cougars--and follow the action with the broadcast team of Greg Wrubell, Marc Lyons and Bill Riley.

INTERNET - A live webcast of the game, which includes play-by-play and up-to-the-minute statistics, can be viewed by logging on to:

In addition, a live audio stream is available at

From national publications to live television broadcasts, BYU football is one of the more visible programs in the country. Since its first national television appearance in 1974, BYU has posted a 52-35-2 record when playing nationally televised games, including a 24-16 mark on ABC and a 28-22-2 record on ESPN or ESPN2. Dating back to 1980, the Cougars have appeared on national television an average of three times per season. Since the 1980 season, BYU has played in at least one nationally-televised game per year. On Sept. 1, 1984, Robbie Bosco led BYU to a 20-14 victory over Pitt in the first live ESPN College football broadcast. Thursday's game will mark the fourth of five nationally televised games this season. (The Cougars' games at USC and UNLV were "split" nationally on ABC.)

Since the 1999 season -- the first year of the Mountain West Conference -- the Cougars have played on Thursday night eight different times, posting a 4-4 record. Thursday's game will mark the third and final Thursday night contest for the Cougars this season. BYU started the season with a 24-13 Thursday-night win over Georgia Tech

- Thursday's game will mark the first-ever meeting between the two schools.

- BYU head coach Gary Crowton is 2-0 against Boise State, racking up wins as the head coach at Louisiana Tech.

- The Cougars are 5-2-1 all time against teams from Idaho, including a record of 3-0 against Idaho State, 1-2 against Idaho and 1-0-1 against the College of Idaho. BYU has not played a team from the state of Idaho since 1955 -- a 49-6 loss at Idaho. The Cougars are 2-1 in Provo against teams from Idaho. BYU has not lost to a team from Idaho since 1955.

- The BYU roster includes three players from Idaho, including Levi Madarieta (Weiser), Scott Tidwell (Nampa) and Quinn Christensen (Idaho Falls) while the Boise State roster does not include a single player from the state of Utah.

- The Cougars recorded their fifth overtime victory on Saturday, defeating UNLV 27-20. Following an overtime victory, BYU has gone on to post a 3-1 record the

- The Boise State offense ranks third nationally, averaging 517.9 yards per game, while the BYU defense ranks 17th nationally, allowing just 302.56 yards per contest.

- The Broncos have averaged nearly 42 points per game, rankin fourth in the nation, while the Cougars rank 95th with an 18.99 points-per game average. The BYU defense ranks 62nd nationally, allowing 24.9 points per game.

- Boise State leads the WAC in eight different statistical categories, including Total Offense (517.9), Scoring Offense (41.9), Rushing Defense (75.5), Total Defense (340.0), Scoring Defense (15.9), Net Punting (37.5), Punt Returns (13.91), Passing Efficiency (161.4)

- Boise State's Ryan Dinwiddie ranks sixth nationally in total offense, averaging 326.0 yards per game.

- Thursday's game will mark the 70th career game for BYU head coach Gary Crowton. In over five seasons as a head football coach at the Division I-A level, Crowton has tallied a record of 42-27 (.609), including a mark of 21-14 (.600) at BYU. Crowton spent three years as a head coach at Louisiana Tech, posting a record of 21-13 (.618).

Following Toby Christensen's 8-yard touchdown reception from Matt Berry in the second quarter at UNLV, BYU extended its NCAA-record streak to 359 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.

The Cougars' 44-36 win over San Diego State on Saturday, Oct. 4, 2003 marked BYU's 450th all-time victory, dating back to the 1922 season. Over that 80-plus-year span, the Cougars have posted a mark of 450-348-26 (.562). The win also marked the 20th victory for head coach Gary Crowton since taking over the helm of the BYU program in 2001. In his third season at BYU, Crowton has racked up a record of 20-14 (.588). Over the span of his career, including three years as the head coach at Louisiana Tech Crowton is 41-27 (.603).

The Cougars haven't lost four straight games in a single season since the 1968 season. Yet, having lost three straight at home, dating back to the Cougars Sept. 20 loss against Stanford, BYU is just one win away from equaling the 35-year-old record. After opening the season with a 24-13 win over Georgia Tech at Edwards Stadium, the Cougars have dropped three straight home games, posting a 1-3 mark on the season. The Cougars lost an 18-14 decision to Stanford, followed by a 24-10 loss against Air Force on Sept. 27. Most recently, BYU lost to Colorado State, 58-13, on Oct. 9, marking the most points ever allowed and the largest losing margin ever recorded in Provo. With a three game home losing streak, the Cougars will look to pick up a win against Boise State and avoid the first four-game home losing streak in Provo since the 1968 season. That year, under head coach Tommy Hudspeth, the Cougars were 0-5 in Provo. A win on Thursday, combined with a win in Provo on Nov. 22 (vs. Utah) would ensure the Cougars of their 32nd straight non-losing home season.

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. The Cougars are 169-56 (.751) in Provo, dating back 40 years (1963), including a 10-7 (.589) home record against MWC opponents since 1999.

The BYU offensive line, which includes three seniors and two freshmen, weighs in at a beefy 1,600 pounds, averaging 320 pounds per man. The O-line will be squaring off against a Boise State defensive line (two seniors, a junior and a sophomore) that tips the scales at an average 262.8 per man. On defense, the Cougars' line (three seniors) weighs in at 280.3 pounds per man, while the Broncos' offensive line (two seniors, two juniors and a sophomore) average 290 pounds per man.

Junior punter/kicker Matt Payne leads the Mountain West in punting and ranks 9th nationally with an average 45.2 yards per punt. He is also second in the league after connecting on 14-of-17 (.824) field goals, including a long of 53 yards--the second longest field goal in BYU history behind a 56-yarder by Owen Pochman. Payne also leads the Mountain West with a perfect 18-for-18 mark in point-after attempts. Sixteen of Payne's 58 punts have landed inside the 20-yard line. Against UNLV, Payne nailed 40- and 50-yard field goals and had five punts for 258 yards, averaging a career-high 51.6 yards per punt.

After running back Marcus Whalen went down with a foot injury in the Cougars' season-opener against Georgia Tech, junior running back Reynaldo Brathwaite burst on to the scene and hasn't looked back. Brathwaite leads the Cougars with 735 yards rushing on the season, ranking fifth overall in the Mountain West. Brathwaite, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound junior has 131 carries on the season, averaging 5.6 yards per carry. He has posted a BYU record 95-yard touchdown run (at San Diego State), in addition to an 89-yard run in the Cougars' 10-7 win at New Mexico.

On the season the Cougars have allowed 33 scoring drives, including 13 drives of 38 yards or less. The longest drive for an opponent this season has been an 83 yarder (at San Diego State), while the shortest was an 11-yard drive posted by USC. BYU opponents average scoring drive covers 49.5 yards. Offensively, BYU has had 30 scoring drives, averaging just over 55.3 yards per drive. The Cougars' longest drive was a 95-yarder against San Diego State, while the shortest was a 7-yard drive at UNLV. Nine of the Cougars' 30 scoring drives have been 78 yards or longer.

Against San Diego State, BYU recorded six sacks, improving its season total to 17. Against Colorado State and Wyoming the Cougars sacked the opposing quarterback three times each contest. Last week against UNLV, the Cougar defense sacked Rebel quarterback Kurt Nantkes one time to improve its total to 23 sacks. In the season's first five games the Cougars had recorded 11 sacks, averaging 2.2 sacks per contest. Colby Bockwoldt leads the team with 4.5 sacks, followed by Brady Poppinga with four and John Denney with 3.5. BYU has seven players with at least two sacks on the season.

DEFENSIVE NOTES The Cougar defense, which ranks 17th nationally and yields 302.5 yards per game, will face a Boise State offense that is third in the nation in total offense with an average of 518 yards per game. Bronco quarterback Ryan Dinwiddie is ninth in the nation in pass efficiency with a rating of 161.1 and has thrown for 2,609 yards 18 touchdowns and one interceptions. BYU's defense ranks first in the MWC and is tied for 21st nationally with eleven interceptions. Jernaro Gilford and John Denney lead the Cougars in interceptions with two a piece. Eight Cougars have at least one interception. Last week against UNLV, Aaron Francisco grabbed his first interception of the year to seal the Cougars' victory in overtime. The Cougar defense ranks second in the MWC in rush defense and second in pass defense.The BYU defense has scored one touchdown on the season. Interestingly, that touchdown came against San Diego State, marking the third straight game at Qualcomm Stadium the Cougars have scored a defensive touchdown ('99, Hans Olson; '01, Isaac Kelley; '03, Colby Bockwoldt.). On the season, the BYU defense has prevented its opponents from gaining its season average in seven of the eight nine.

On the season, the Cougars have scored 19 of 23 times it has entered the Red Zone. In the season-opener against Georgia Tech, BYU scored on 3-of-4 trips inside Georgia Tech's 20-yard line, including two touchdowns and a field goal. Defensively, the Cougars gave up two field goals, and forced a fumble inside the Red Zone. In one of the best red zone defensive series of the night, Georgia Tech had a first-and-goal from the Cougars' four-yard line. Linebacker Mike Tanner and Cougarback Aaron Francisco stopped P.J. Daniels for a one-yard to bring up second and goal from the three-yard line. After a delay of game penalty, Tech quarterback Reggie Ball threw the ball away as the Cougars applied exceptional defensive coverage. Facing third and goal from the eight-yard line, defensive end John Denney swatted Ball's pass attempt to force fourth-and-goal from the eight-yard line. The Yellow Jackets managed a a 26-yard field goal after having the ball inside the four-yard line. Against fourth-ranked USC, the Cougars scored on three-of-three attempts inside the Red Zone, including a 14-yard touchdown pass from Matt Berry to Daniel Coats. Following is a game-by-game look at both the Cougars' Red Zone offense and Red Zone defense on the season. At UNLV, the Cougars entered the Red Zone four times and scored three touchdowns and one field goal, including the game winning touchdown pass from Matt Berry to Toby Christensen in overtime.

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