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PROVO, Utah (Nov. 6, 2004) -- The BYU Cougars came on strong in the second half, defeating San Diego State 49-16 at LaVell Edwards Stadium Saturday. The Cougars improve to 4-1 in the Mountain West Conference and 5-4 overall. The Cougars also extended their win streak to three games, the longest streak the 2001 season.
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BYU coach Gary Crowton said he was pleased with the effort of his team and the energy supplied by the fans.
"The guys played hard," Crowton said. "I just want to thank the student fans. They were very loud."
The 49-point outburst was the highest scoring total since the Cougars scored 56 against Colorado State, Nov. 1, 2001. The 34-point margin of victory was the biggest since a 59-21 drubbing of San Diego State, Oct. 27, 2001. With 36-second half points, BYU has scored more than 30 second half points two weeks in a row.
"The team came out very focused in the second half," Crowton said. "It looked like they had something to prove."
John Beck led the offensive onslaught, passing for 313 yards and three touchdowns on 15-of-25 passing. Todd Watkins caught three passes for 135 yards and one touchdown and Austin Collie caught three for 95 yards and two touchdowns. Watkins' touchdown went for 68 yards while Collie caught the longest pass of the season, an 82-yarder for his second touchdown.
Curtis Brown led a solid rushing attack for the Cougars, running for over 100 yards for the fourth straight game. He is the first Cougar running back to do so since 2001, when Luke Staley eclipsed the century mark in seven consecutive games. Brown finished the game with 106 yards and one touchdown on 17 carries.
The BYU defense also turned in a solid performance. Shawn Nua contributed two sacks while Cameron Jenson and Micah Alba each had an interception. Jenson and Poppinga tied for the team lead in tackles with eight a piece.
Quarterback Kevin O'Connell, who passed for 229 yards one touchdown and ran for 101 more, led the San Diego State offense. Brandon Bornes picked up 64 yards on the ground and scored the other Aztec touchdown.
After forcing San Diego State to punt, the Cougars struck quickly on their first drive. On the second play, Beck found Todd Watkins, who was wide open down the middle, for a 68-yard touchdown with 11:27 remaining, the quickest BYU score of the season. The drive, which covered 74 yards on two plays, lasted only 46 seconds.
The Cougars shut the Aztecs out in the first quarter, the fifth straight first quarter shutout dating back to the Colorado State game Oct. 2. San Diego State got on board early in the second, however, on a 47-yard field goal by Garrett Palmer.
The score remained 7-3 until Micah Alba intercepted an O'Connell pass that set up a Matt Payne field goal. The 43-yarder with 3:51 left in the second was his 13th consecutive from between 40-49, breaking the record set by former Notre Dame kicker John Carney.
Payne added another three points just before the end of the half, splitting the uprights on a 34-yard field goal to put the Cougars up 13-3.
BYU got the ball to start the second half and added seven more on a 14 play, 73-yard drive that lasted 6:08. Brown, who capped the drive with a three-yard plunge, ran for 24 on the drive and also caught a 13-yard pass.
The Cougars did not wait long to add to their lead, scoring on a two-play, 58-yard drive that lasted just 37 seconds. The first play was a 52-yard flee flicker from Beck to Watkins, who stumbled after the catch to the six-yard line. Collie then made an acrobatic catch for the touchdown.
The point after by Payne was blocked, keeping the score at 26-3, putting to end Payne's school record of 67-straight extra point kicks, which dated back to the 2002 season.
On the ensuing San Diego State possession, BYU's Cameron Jenson intercepted an O'Connell pass on the Aztec 20-yard line. As he was going down, he pitched it to Nate Soelberg who ran the ball to the two-yard line. Fahu Tahi ran the ball in untouched to put the Cougars up 33-3.
San Diego State continued to struggle, turning the ball over on downs on the Cougar 30-yard line. A 43-yard run by Brown put the BYU in scoring position, and Payne connected on a 42-yard field goal to make the score 36-3.
The Aztecs again turned the ball over on downs and BYU made them pay in a hurry. On the Cougars first play, Beck found Collie streaking down the middle of the field for an 82-yard touchdown with 14:42 remaining, the longest BYU touchdown of the season. The reception gave Collie his team-leading seventh touchdown.
BYU added one more second half touchdown, a two-yard dive by Eric Watterson with 1:13 remaining. San Diego State also added two more touchdowns to account for the final score.
Crowton said he felt the win was very important for the Cougars.
"We're moving in the right direction," Crowton said. "It was a big win for us because it helps the team stay focused and continue to move forward."
BYU will conclude its home schedule next Saturday against New Mexico. Kick off is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
Written by BYU Athletic Communications