3:00 PM ET, September 20, 2008
LaVell Edwards Stadium, PROVO, UT
QB Hall ushers No. 14 BYU to nation's-best 14th straight win in shutout
PROVO, Utah -- So much for that inexperienced defense holding back BYU. The Cougars are looking as strong on that side of the ball as they usually do on offense.
No. 14 BYU earned its second straight shutout, beating Wyoming 44-0 and extending the nation's longest winning streak to 14 straight games.
• The Cougars, who extended their Mountain West-record conference win streak to 17 games, have won their last two games by a combined score of 103-0, pitching back-to-back shutouts for the first time since 1985 (same scores: 59-0 vs. Wyoming, 44-0 vs Utah State).
• BYU has won 15 straight home games, outscored opponents 144-16 in three home games this year.
• Max Hall passed for 190 yards, just the second time in 17 career starts he's been held under 200 yards.
• Wyoming has lost eight straight games at BYU, and eight of its last nine meetings with the Cougars.
-- ESPN Research
The Cougars (4-0, 1-0 Mountain West) forced six turnovers and returned two of them for touchdowns.
"If they keep playing like that, with the aggressiveness and the hard hitting and the passion that they're plying with right now, good luck to the other teams' offenses," said Max Hall, who threw for three touchdowns before getting to rest in the fourth quarter for the second straight week.
BYU was coming off a 59-0 win over UCLA and has consecutive shutouts for the first time in 23 years. BYU last held two straight opponents scoreless in 1985, beating Wyoming 59-0 and Utah State 44-0 -- identical scores to the 2008 shutouts.
"That's something we try to do every time we come out and play," said David Nixon, who returned an interception 19 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter and also recovered a fumble he forced in the first half. "Any time you get turnovers, the game's going to be swinging your way. You get that emotion and momentum on your side it's going to be a great day."
BYU is on its longest winning streak since winning the last two games of 2000 and starting the following year 12-0. The Cougars, who have won 15 straight at home and 17 in a row in the Mountain West, are off until visiting Utah State on Oct. 3.
Hall finished 16-for-27 for 189 yards with no interceptions and Austin Collie had two catches for touchdowns. Harvey Unga ran for one score and caught a pass for another for the Cougars, who are off until visiting Utah State on Oct. 3.
"They're a real good football team and took advantage of all of our mistakes," Wyoming coach Joe Glenn said.
Devin Moore ran 14 times for 97 yards and Dax Crum was 15-for-28 for 119 yards for Wyoming (2-2, 0-2), which hasn't won in Provo since 1987. The Cowboys fumbled four times, losing three, and had three passes intercepted in their first road game of the season.
"Their defense is a little under-ranked," Moore said. "They were a little faster than I thought they were."
Wyoming finished with 273 yards of offense.
BYU had a season-low 364, but that was more than enough. Coach Bronco Mendenhall benched his starters by the fourth quarter for the second straight week.
"If that's at the expense of polls, rankings or points, then it's at that expense," Mendenhall said. "I have been around selfish teams that do that. That's not who we will be."
Hall still has 15 touchdowns in four games and got to rest the entire fourth quarter for the second straight week. He could have taken off the third, too, after BYU broke open the game with three touchdowns in the second quarter.
Hall found Collie on a deep sideline route for a 62-yard touchdown that put BYU up 20-0 with 4:03 left in the quarter, then connected with Collie again on a slant in the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown with 31 seconds left in the half. After gaining just 43 yards in the first quarter, the Cougars had 192 in the second and scored three touchdowns, starting with a 1-yard run by Unga with 6:08 left in the period.
Wyoming drove to the BYU 36 on the opening possession, but gave the Cougars an easy score on a mental blunder.
Dax Crum overthrew Greg Bolling in the flat, but the play didn't go forward and was a lateral instead of an incomplete pass. There was no whistle and the Cowboys didn't try to recover, leaving it free for Scott Johnson to scoop and run 64 yards for a touchdown.
Nixon returned interception 19 yards for a touchdown with 8:25 left in the third. Brandon Bradley tipped the ball and Nixon caught it and the 19 and beat quarterback Karsten Sween to the corner of the end zone to give BYU a 41-0 lead.
The closest the Cowboys got to the end zone was the BYU 9-yard line early in the fourth quarter, but Daniel Sorensen intercepted a tipped pass to end the threat and BYU's reserves held on for the shutout.
"There were some times where they were awfully close to scoring some points," Nixon said. "For us to get some turnovers down there just shows the character of our football team and our defense."
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Max Hall and the confident Cougars took the field at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
Gameball goes to... Max Hall. BYU's QB remained hot, throwing for 190 yards and 3 TDs.
Stat of the game... 17. The Cougars have won a MWC-record 17 straight conference games.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||4-13||6-15|
|4th Down Conversions||0-0||0-0|
|TD||11:10||Scott Johnson 64 Yd Fumble Return (Mitch Payne Kick)||0||7|
|TD||06:08||Harvey Unga 1 Yd Run (Pat Blocked)||0||13|
|TD||04:03||Austin Collie 62 Yd Pass From Max Hall (Mitch Payne Kick)||0||20|
|TD||00:31||Austin Collie 7 Yd Pass From Max Hall (Mitch Payne Kick)||0||27|
|TD||11:45||Harvey Unga 11 Yd Pass From Max Hall (Mitch Payne Kick)||0||34|
|TD||08:25||David Nixon 19 Yd Interception Return (Mitch Payne Kick)||0||41|
|FG||06:51||Justin Sorensen 31 Yd||0||44|