(Saturday, November 15th)
Final Score: (16) BYU 38, Air Force 24
Colorado Springs, CO (Sports Network) - Max Hall threw a pair of touchdowns to Austin Collie, and Harvey Unga added two scores on the ground, as 16th-ranked BYU defeated Air Force, 38-24.
Hall completed 28-of-37 passes for 354 yards and one interception for the Cougars (10-1, 6-1 MWC), who have won four straight and will close out the regular season on November 22 at Utah. Collie had 130 yards on seven receptions, while Dennis Pitta made nine grabs for 113. Unga rushed for 88 yards on 19 carries, but after the game BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall wasn't so happy about the miscues of his team.
"This particular team isn't as clean as the previous two teams," Mendenhall said. "It wouldn't do a head coach any good to jump up and down and make all kinds of emotional comments or actions, because this team is still learning and growing. Amazingly, there's 10 wins to show for it, and that's a credit to their heart and their grit and competitive will, because it's not the cleanest-playing football team playing right now."
Todd Newell amassed 116 yards rushing and scored a touchdown for the Falcons (8-3, 5-2), whose five-game winning streak was snapped. Tim Jefferson threw for only 98 yards on 12-of-20 passing and ran for 75 yards in defeat.
"We had some opportunities to make first downs and we didn't make it there," said Air Force coach Troy Calhoun. "We had some chances to maybe come up with some interceptions. You've got to make every single one of those plays. Just from a program standpoint, we've got a ways to go. We have some work to do to say the least."
The Cougars trailed 14-10 at the break, and their first series of the second half started at the Air Force 45 thanks to a poor punt by Ryan Harrison. BYU capitalized on the short field, mixing in the run and the pass, and Unga's one-yard TD run capped the eight-play drive.
Reggie Rembert lost the handle on the ensuing kickoff, and Spencer Hadley recovered the fumble for BYU, which quickly added to its advantage. Starting at the Falcons 20, Hall hit Andrew George for 14 yards, and an Air Force penalty advanced the ball to the three. Two plays later, Unga bounced outside for the two-yard score.
Collie hauled in a six-yard TD pass for a 31-14 Cougars lead, and Harrison drilled a 34-yard field goal for Air Force with 56 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Jared Tew's 19-yard TD run cut the deficit to seven with 7:37 left in regulation and put the finishing touches on an impressive 85-yard drive, but the Cougars embarked on a 91-yard drive to restore the 14-point lead.
Faced with a 3rd-and-8 at his own 11, Hall delivered a strike to Pitta for a 12-yard gain. Hall threw for 10 yards on 2nd-and-2 and, after he misfired on first down, the BYU signal-caller completed a 14-yard pass to Collie. The duo hooked up again for a 45-yard touchdown on the next play.
Brandon Howard then picked off Jefferson in the end zone with 2:44 showing on the clock and BYU ran out the remaining time.
BYU began its second drive of the contest at its own 43-yard line and the visitors needed just five plays to open the scoring. After Unga ran for 19 yards and Hall completed three consecutive passes to three different receivers, Fui Vakapuna took it the rest of the way for an 11-yard score.
A 46-yard field goal by Mitch Payne gave the Cougars a 10-0 lead with 13:29 remaining in the second quarter, but Air Force seized all the momentum, scoring 14 unanswered points and making a key defensive play late in the frame.
Asher Clark's six-yard TD run put the Falcons on the board. BYU then marched across midfield on its next series before Hall was sacked for a 10-yard loss on third down and the drive stalled at the 48.
Air Force took over at its own 17 and drove the length of the field in five plays. Newell rumbled 33 yards on first down and, after Jefferson threw an incompletion, Kyle Halderman sprinted 46 yards down the right sideline. Two plays later, Newell plowed into the end zone from a yard out, and the Falcons led 14-10 with 1:55 to play.
Hall, though, proceeded to guide the Cougars deep into Air Force territory, where, on 2nd-and-goal from the three, his pass was tipped and intercepted by Aaron Kirchoff in the end zone with 11 seconds left in the half.
George finished with five catches for 62 yards...BYU has won the last five meetings against Air Force...BYU outgained the Falcons, 480-421.
11/16 02:50:28 ET