BYU might still be feeling some lingering effects from its first loss of the season.
Coming off a mediocre effort, the No. 17 Cougars look to defeat host Colorado State for the fourth straight time on Saturday in a Mountain West contest.
Possibly still trying to recover from a 32-7 loss at TCU on Oct. 16, BYU (7-1, 4-1) needed a fourth-quarter rally to beat a three-win UNLV team 42-35 at home last Saturday. The Cougars moved up one spot in the poll after the victory.
“When it comes down to winning football games there has to be grit, determination, execution and we have to make enough plays to win,” coach Bronco Mendenhall told the school’s official Web site. “That is what we did and I’m proud of our team.”
The result left BYU fourth in the Mountain West, one-half game behind third-place Air Force. The Cougars are one of three MWC schools ranked this week, joining No. 12 TCU and No. 10 Utah - both undefeated in league play.
Sophomore Max Hall was 24-for-31 for 245 yards with four touchdowns, including a 6-yard score to Dennis Pitta with 1:46 remaining to give the Cougars the lead. The BYU defense then stopped the Rebels to secure the victory.
“Obviously your nerves get a little bit going when you have situations like that,” said BYU’s Austin Collie, who set a Mountain West record with his sixth straight 100-yard receiving game. “But the defense pulled through and did exactly what they needed to do and we got the win.”
Hall, eighth in the nation with a 161.0 passer rating, has thrown 24 touchdowns, two fewer than he did during his entire freshman season. He went 22-for-30 for 355 yards and three touchdowns in BYU’s 35-16 victory over Colorado State last Nov. 3.
Collie, who caught eight passes for 111 yards and a TD in that contest, looks for another big game against the Rams after recording seven receptions for 113 yards last Saturday. With 12 career 100-yard games, Collie needs one more to break the school record established by Eric Drage.
Though the Cougars have little trouble scoring with an offense averaging 34.5 points per game, they have struggled defensively of late, allowing 67 points in their last two games after yielding 61 total in their first six contests. BYU also allowed a season-high 463 total yards to UNLV.
While BYU has dominated Colorado State (4-4, 2-2) in recent years, the Rams totaled 507 yards - including 211 on the ground - in a 38-34 win at San Diego State last Saturday.
“Every Saturday is a chance to try and get our run game cranked up and going,” Colorado State coach Steve Fairchild said. “We’re always going to try and have balance here offensively, and let one help the other.”
The Rams’ Gartrell Johnson rushed 26 times for 130 yards against the conference’s worst rushing defense for his second 100-yard game of the season. Quarterback Billy Farris was 25-for-34 for 296 yards and three TDs - all to senior tight end Kory Sperry.
Four of Farris’ nine touchdown passes this season have come in the last two games.
Colorado State looks to avoid a seventh straight loss to a ranked opponent. The Rams last defeated a team in the Top 25 on Aug. 31, 2002, a 19-14 win at then-No. 7 Colorado.
BYU holds a 35-27-3 lead in the all-time series versus Colorado State, and has won 11 of the past 13 meetings between the schools in Fort Collins. The Cougars have averaged 40.5 points in those 11 victories.
- BYU-Colorado St. Preview
- Arkansas star running back leaves practice in ambulance
- Herbert and Carrington shine in Oregon's Spring Game
- Receiver Jalen Robinette undrafted after Air Force ruling
- Players from Big 12 are slow to go in NFL draft once again
- Ex-Penn St officials to be sentenced in June over Sandusky
- No. 17 BYU rallies for 45-42 win
- Harbaugh thanks Italy for hospitality during Rome trip
- With 53 draft picks, SEC leads nation for 11th straight year
- Run on Washington DBs highlights 2nd round of NFL draft
- NCAA football recruiting reforms clear last potential hurdle
- Washington and Ohio State announce home-and-home series