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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Flashback: 7 Home Games (1996)

The 2011 Brigham Young Cougars schedule includes seven home games. The only other time that BYU played so many games at home was 15 years ago. The 1996 Cougars ran the table and finished a perfect 7-0 at home.

Average points scored: 42.7
Average margin of victory: 27.1

Texas A&M (41-37)—Behind the strength of Steve Sarkisian’s 536 yards passing and 6 touchdowns, BYU upset #13 Texas A&M. K.O. Kealaluhi and Kaipo McGuire were Sarkisian’s top targets with 151 and 146 yards, respectively. Sark’s 46-yard TD pass to K.O. with less than 1:30 to play was one of the most memorable plays of the decade.

Arkansas State (58-9)—BYU used a balanced attack (302 yards passing, 258 yards rushing) as they cruised to an easy victory. The 58 points was the most points scored by BYU in a game since 1990 (62 vs. San Diego State).

New Mexico (17-14)—It took a blocked field goal by Omarr Morgan to seal this win. BYU outgained New Mexico 426 yards to 273. Turnovers (3) by BYU kept this game close, particularly the fumble that New Mexico returned for a touchdown.

SMU (31-3)—All the scoring in this game was done in the first half. Both Sarkisian and Kealaluhi had big days again. BYU’s two new running backs (Brian McKenzie and Ronney Jenkins) started to come alive, and accounted for 3 of BYU’s 4 touchdowns. The Cougar D held the Mustangs to just 218 yards of offense. BYU never punted.

UNLV (63-28)—BYU started slow in this one scoring only 7 points in the first quarter. The second quarter was different with 21 points. Sarkisian passed for 400 yards, and Mark Atuaia was his top target snagging four passes for 105 yards, including a 61-yard grab. The BYU defense sacked the UNLV quarterback seven times.

UTEP (40-18)—BYU started slow again in this game. Chris Ellison’s 65-yard pick six was the team’s only points in the first quarter, and BYU only led 12-3 at halftime. James Dye jump started the team by returning the second half kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown.

Rice (49-0)-The final home game was BYU’s most complete game of the season. Rice had scored 51 points on Utah one week earlier. BYU held the Owls scoreless, and shutdown their run game. Rice had been rushing for over 400 yards on a weekly basis. BYU limited them to 119, and they didn’t have a pass game to fall back on. Rice became the first team in Cougar Stadium history to have 0 passing yards. BYU, meanwhile, rolled up 323 yards rushing. Dustin Johnson caught an 87-yard touchdown pass, and James Dye returned a punt 67-yards for a touchdown. Each score sparked 21-points of scoring in the second and third quarters, respectively.

The wild success of the 1996 team at home in the only other season that BYU has played seven home games is just one more sign that 2011 is destined to be a great year for BYU football.

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

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