Game Recap: Brigham Young Cougars 24, San Diego State Aztecs 21

The Brigham Young Cougars used a strong run game to keep the ball out of the hands of San Diego State's dangerous offense to get their first win since the season opener. BYU piled up 271 yards on 62 rushes and scored all three of its touchdowns on the ground. J.J. Di Luigi, Bryan Kariya, and Joshua Quezada teamed to gain all but 2 of the 271 rushing yards, with each gaining 50 yards or more. BYU used a fake field goal on its first possession to keep the drive alive. The Cougars eventually ended that drive with a touchdown to take a 7-0 lead that they would never relinquish. That scoring drive was 19 plays and lasted 8:28.

In the first game since Bronco Mendenhall fired defensive coordinator Jaime Hill, the Cougar D played much more effective and with much more emotion. The defense forced the Aztecs to punt without a first down on five drives, including San Diego State's final drive with 3:26 to play with only a three point lead. Another drive ended after one play when Brandon Ogletree intercepted a Ryan Lindley pass.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Bryan Kariya, Running Back, 22 carries, 85 yards, 2 touchdowns.

PLAY OF THE GAME: Matt Marshall's 16 yard pass to Mike Muehlmann on the fake field goal in the first quarter.

What I was watching for:

  1. Will the injury situation get worse? No major injuries were sustained during the game.
  2. How will O’Neill Chambers play in his return? Chambers was a non-factor in the game. He played some special teams and was in the rotation on offense, but had no impact on this game.
  3. More or less dropped balls? Three passes were dropped on the opening drive. A successful fake field goal kept the drive alive. After that, dropped passes were not a problem.
  4. Home field advantage. A win is all I need to see for me to say home field was an advantage for BYU. San Diego State split the difference between the average points at San Diego and at LES with 21 points on Saturday.
  5. Protecting Jake Heaps. The strong run game helped take the pressure off and keep the sack total down. Heaps was sacked twice on the night for a loss of 12 yards. Overall the protection was adequate.

Other observations:

  • Time of possession for BYU was 45:01. After four games where the defense was stranded on the field most of the game, the offense moved the ball methodically all game to give the defense plenty of time to rest. I don't think BYU has ever had a higher time of possession.
  • Third down conversions were 12 of 19 (63%). That is better than the average last year when BYU led the nation. BYU converted two third downs to run out the clock on the final drive that started with 3:02 left and San Diego State having two timeouts.
  • The leading receiver was a tight end. After an unprecedented disappearing act by this position, Marcus Mathews led all BYU receivers with 43 yards receiving on three receptions. Mike Muehlmann and Devin Mahina added one reception each.
  • Pesky turnovers. This game was a lot closer than it had to be. Heaps threw an interception in the end zone on BYU's third drive when BYU already had a 14-0 lead. Two drives later, Marcus Mathews fumbled at the San Diego State 21 yard line. Two scoring opportunities were lost by these turnovers. These turnovers didn't kill BYU, but they didn't help. BYU cannot have turnovers like these next week at TCU.
  • Long Live Bronco. The team played much, much better this week, a night and day difference. It is obvious that Mendenhall is the right man for the job. Let's hope he never loses touch with the team again.
DATE: October 16, 2010
TIME: 3:00 PM (MDT)

Other recent posts on BYU Football Talk:
Game Preview: Brigham Young Cougars vs. San Diego State Aztecs
Thursday Trivia: 10 Consecutive wins
Flashback: Brigham Young Cougars 45, San Diego State Aztecs 44 (1993)
Brigham Young Cougars Football, 2010: A New Low?
Poll Results: When will Jake Heaps have his first 300 yard passing game?
Brigham Young Cougars Relieve Jaime Hill of Defensive Coaching Duties


  1. Good overview, Scott. It was a great game. As great as it was, though I too was frustrated with the turnovers. Two great scoring opportunities lost. We may be able to win once in a while when that happens (hence we are 2-4), but we need to clean that up and score every time we get down near the "blue zone."

    Overall, though, it was great to see the offense come alive and the defense play we energy.


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