Flashback: Staley leads the offense, Peterson breaks McMahon's record in win over Wyoming

With all the talk and excitement over Snow College head coach Paul Peterson possibly coming to BYU to be the offensive coordinator, it seems appropriate to look back at one of the games Paul's brother Charlie quarterbacked the Cougars to victory.

Luke Staley (Jason Olson, Deseret News)

On October 26, 2000, the BYU Cougars faced the Wyoming Cowboys in their annual conference clash. Wyoming came to Provo trying to win game number two on the season, and end BYU's bowl hopes.

BYU received the opening kickoff. After picking up a first down by completing two short passes, Charlie Peterson found Luke Staley on at screen pass. The screen was set up well. Staley made a one-handed catch, and then used his blockers to turn the short pass into a 48-yard gain. BYU was already in scoring position. A pass completion to Margin Hooks on 3rd and 3 was inches short. Rather than kick a field goal from the five-yard line, BYU decided to try and pick up the first down on a quarterback sneak. A Wyoming defender came through the line untouched and dropped Peterson for a loss.

Wyoming was able to move the ball on the BYU defense. Defensive lineman Chris Hoke did get a tackle for loss on the drive, but it didn't kill the Cowboys' drive. Facing their own 4th and 1, Wyoming successfully executed a quarterback sneak and picked up the first down. The Cowboys moved another 20 yards downfield when they faced a 3rd and 5. Wyoming threw a pass down to the goal line, but cornerback Isiah Joiner was there to knock it away. Michael Madsen was also there to intercept the ball.

The Cougars took over at their own one-yard line. Staley did a good job digging BYU out of the hole with runs of five and seven yards. After a Kalani Sitake seven-yard run, Staley caught a five-yard pass to pick up another first down. He followed that with a 14-yard run. Peterson was sacked on the next play, but got those yards back on a eight-yard pass to Ben Horton to set up 3rd and 10. Peterson's third down pass would have been a first down, but it was dropped.

Following the Cougar punt, the BYU defense got the ball right back after three downs.

Back-to-back holding penalties to start the next drive put BYU in a 1st and 30 situation. On 3rd and 22, Peterson found tight end Tevita Ofahengaue for 24 yards. Two plays later the first quarter ended. While BYU hadn't put any points on the board, Peterson had broken Jim McMahon's school record of 156 consecutive passes without throwing an interception.

Peterson threw an incomplete pass on the first play of the second quarter that forced BYU to punt. Aaron Edmonds used perfect placement, and punted the ball out of bounds at the three-yard line.

Wyoming could do absolutely nothing with the ball and punted right back to BYU. The Cougars took over with great field position at the Wyoming 41. On first down, BYU tried to run a wide receiver quick screen, but the ball traveled backwards, and the receiver dropped the ball. Wyoming recovered.

BYU stuffed the Wyoming quarterback on a sneak on 3rd and 1. The Cowboys were going to go for it on fourth down, but they jumped early and got a false start penalty. That forced Wyoming to punt.

Tight end Doug Jolley caught two passes for 21 yards on the next series, but BYU couldn't do anything else. After BYU punted to Wyoming, the game got very, very sloppy.

The Cougar defense used a five-yard tackle for loss by linebacker Isaac Kelly on 2nd and 3 followed by a Hoke and Setema Gali sack on third down to create another punting situation. However, away from the play, a BYU defensive back got flagged for a personal foul, which gave Wyoming a fresh set of downs. Sloppy play number one.

Wyoming ran the ball three plays in a row for another first down. On 3rd and 3, the Wyoming quarterback attempted a pass, but linebacker Justin Ena tipped the ball. This time, Tyson Smith was the beneficiary. Sloppy play number two.

Smith's interception gave BYU the ball at its own 45-yard line. On first down, Staley fumbled the ball backwards. Wyoming ended up recovering the ball at the BYU 33. Sloppy play number three.

Wyoming completed a pass for five yards on 3rd and 8. Before the receiver was down, Ryan Denney knocked the ball loose. Hans Olsen was there to recover for BYU. Sloppy play number four.

Peterson completed two passes in a row, and Staley ran for three yards. It was looking like BYU could do something on this drive, but on 3rd and 7, Peterson's streak ended at 164 passes. He threw an interception that was returned 11 yards to the BYU 44-yard line. Sloppy play number five.

Wyoming completed three straight passes of 11, 9, and 12 yards. After an incomplete on first down, Wyoming threw for the end zone. Joiner was there and had the ball on his finger tips for an interception, but the much taller Wyoming receiver was able to reach over and take the ball away for a touchdown.

That gave Wyoming a 7-0 lead with 49 seconds before halftime. That was plenty of time for more excitement, er, sloppiness.

Peterson completed a pass to Staley on first down, but nine-yards downfield he fumbled fighting for extra yards. Of course, Wyoming recovered. Sloppy play number six.

Wyoming threw two incomplete passes, and then ran the ball for a two-yard loss. On the final, sloppy, play of the first half, Wyoming tried a hail Mary. Naturally, it was intercepted by Smith. With no time left on the clock, Smith pitched the ball to Jared Harper before being tackled. Harper was able to get 14 more yards before being tackled. Sloppy play number 7.

That made eight combined turnovers in the first half (four each). During the half, Smith got stitches on his chin.

Both teams were able to clean up the sloppiness, for the most part, during halftime. That didn't stop the BYU defense from jumping off sides on the first play of the second half. Olsen helped make up for that mistake with a two-yard tackle for loss. Wyoming still picked up the first down with an eight-yard run the next play. The Cougars were able to stop the Cowboys after that, and forced a punt three plays later. That punt was a bad one, and travelled just 27 yards.

BYU kept things simple on offense. A short pass and a seven-yard Staley run got the Cougars a first down. Peterson threw two incompletions, but found Jonathan Pittman for 12 yards on third down to keep the drive going. That was the longest play on the drive. BYU continued to grind it out with nothing longer than seven yards on the next six downs. Staley converted a 4th and 1 with a three-yard pick up, which set up 1st and Goal at the six-yard line. Staley got the call on the next play, but picked up just a yard. Peterson rolled to the left on the next play. He couldn't find any open receivers, but beat the Cowboys defenders to the corner of the end zone for the touchdown.

BYU had a bad snap on the extra point, which kept Wyoming ahead on the score board, 7-6.

Two plays into the next drive, Wyoming had to change quarterbacks. With the new guy in, the Cowboys called a designed quarterback draw. He was dropped for a five-yard loss. Wyoming moved even further back the next play when Hoke and Kelly combined for a sack.

Staley ripped off a 15-yard run on first down, but a block in the back during the run brought it back. Peterson connected with Mike Rigell for 14 yards. That was inches short of the first down. On third down, Staley got that first down with a five-yard run. BYU couldn't pick up another first down, and Peterson hobbled off the field as the field goal unit came on the field.

Owen Pochman's kick bounced off the cross bar, and in. That gave BYU its first lead of the game, 9-7, with 1:49 left in the third quarter.

The third quarter ended with a Brett Keisel sack for a loss of 10 yards, a four-yard run, and a delay of game penalty. BYU got the ball back after a nine-yard scramble by the Wyoming quarterback on 3rd and 21 to start the fourth quarter.

Wyoming jumped off sides on the first play of the drive. After Staley lost two yards on a run, he picked up 20 on a screen pass. BYU went away from Staley for one play. He then got two carries in a row and picked up five and 10 yards, respectively. That moved the ball to the Wyoming four-yard line. Staley went out for a breather. True freshman Marcus Whalen took his place, and steamrolled a Cowboy linebacker to score on his first touch of the game.

Whalen's touchdown pushed the Cougar lead to 16-7.

Wyoming was still unable to sustain a second half drive. Olsen got another tackle for loss, and Hoke got another sack.

Peterson was still in the game, but definitely banged up. BYU kept the ball on the ground with seven consecutive run plays. Whalen had really fresh legs, so he got five of those carries. After runs of 10, 6, 12, and 4 yards, he only got one on 3rd and 4, so BYU kicked another field goal to extend the lead to 19-7.

BYU had scored on all four of its second half possessions.

With time running out, and down double-digit points, Wyoming started moving the ball. The Cowboys picked up three first downs. Two of those came on passes over 20 yards long, but with 1:59 to play, Smith picked off his third pass of the night. That tied a school record for most interceptions in a game.

That enabled BYU to run out the clock, and get LaVell Edwards win number 255. That tied him with Tom Osborne for number of wins at one school.

Even at this point in his career, Staley had shown a nose for the end zone. While he was the team's leading receiver and rusher, he did not score a touchdown.

The Cougar defense allowed Wyoming to convert just 2 of 14 third downs. Wyoming had just 68 yards rushing, and 237 total yards.

PLAY OF THE GAME: Tyson Smith's third interception of the night to seal the win.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Luke Staley--23 carries, 88 yards; 3 receptions, 78 yards

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