PROVO, Utah -- For the second time in the past three weeks, BYU punter Matt Payne has been named the Mountain West Conference Special Teams Player of the Week.
Payne, who currently holds 13 different Mountain West Conference special teams records, connected on a 46-yard field goal with 10:30 remaining in the second quarter to give the Cougars an early 3-0 lead in Saturday's contest against No. 1 USC. Payne's field goal, his fourth straight of the season, came after the BYU defense had held the Trojans scoreless throughout the first quarter--the first time USC had been shutout in the opening quarter since the 2002 season.
The Lou Groza Award candidate also added an extra point in the third quarter to pick up his 253rd career point, ranking third on BYU's all-time scoring list. On the season, Payne has connected on four-of-four field goal attempts--all over 40 yards. Payne has also connected on 27 straight point-after attempts, dating back to Nov. 2, 2002. He leads the Cougars with 16 points on the season.
Payne, a 6-foot-4, 238-pound senior from North Ogden, Utah, was also credited with eight punts for 386 yards, averaging 48.3 yards per punt against the Trojans. The Ray Guy Award candidate connected on a career-long 79-yard punt in the second half, marking the longest punt in Mountain West Conference history. Payne's 79-yard bomb was also one yard shy of Lee Johnson's 21-year-old school record.
On the season, Payne leads the MWC with an average of 47.0 yards per punt, ranking third nationally. He has produced a 44.3 yard net average, which also ranks third in the nation. Of his eight punts, only two were returned for a total of seven yards--a net punting average of 47.4 yards on the night. Two of his eight punts were downed inside the 20 yard line, while he had one touchback and one fair catch called.
On the season, Payne has had 9-of-20 punts downed inside the 20-yardline, while only five of his punts have been returned for an average of only 5.4 yards per return.
It is the fifth time in his career he has been named the league's top special teams player of the week.
Written by BYU Athletic Communications