BYU football: Cougars survive blustery year

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 10 2012 6:56 p.m. MST

Perhaps the biggest question for the offense will be on the offense line, where the Cougars have to replace left tackle Matt Reynolds, who had 52 career starts, and center Terence Brown, who tallied 39 career starts. Braden Brown, Braden Hansen and Houston Reynolds will return to anchor the O-line. There are young players in the program that are expected to emerge, like Ryker Mathews, who was injured this season, and center Blair Tushaus.

DEFENSE

The nucleus of BYU's defense, which ended up ranked No. 13 nationally in total defense, No. 22 in scoring defense, No. 15 in pass efficiency defense, and No. 19 in rushing defense, remains in tact next season.

While the Cougars lose linebackers Jordan Pendleton, Jameson Frazier, and Jadon Wagner; defensive lineman Hebron Fangupo; and defensive backs Travis Uale and Corby Eason, the returning players provide stability to the defense.

Headlining the group is linebacker Kyle Van Noy, who scored the game-winning touchdown in the season-opener at Ole Miss. Van Noy made big plays throughout the year, including 15 tackles-for-loss, seven sacks and three interceptions. He'll be joined by the team's leading tackler, Brandon Ogletree, and Uona Kaveinga. Spencer Hadley, Tyler Beck, and Alani Fua are among those expected to make contributions next season at linebacker.

Romney Fuga, Eathyn Manumaleuna, Graham Rowley, and Travis Tuiloma are back on the defensive line while junior college transfer Marques Johnson, who has enrolled at BYU this month, should bolster the Cougars' depth at that position.

In the defensive backfield, Preston Hadley, Joe Sampson, Daniel Sorensen and Mike Hague return. Hadley and Sampson, who signed last February, made an immediate impact on the defense this season.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Placekicker Justin Sorensen and punter Riley Stephenson will take care of kicking duties again. Both will look to be more consistent next season.

The Cougars have proven playmakers when it comes to the kick return game.

In 2011, Hoffman ended a 13-year drought for BYU as he became the first Cougar to return a kickoff for a touchdown since 1998 with a 93-yard return for a TD against Central Florida. Then, against TCU, Falslev returned a punt 67 yards for a touchdown against TCU, marking the first time a Cougar had returned a punt for a TD since 2006.

email: jeffc@desnews.com

twitter: @AJeffreyCall

Season in review

LOOKING BACK

2011 results (10-3)

Sept. 1 — at Ole Miss, Won 14-13

Sept. 10 — at Texas, Lost 17-16

Sept. 17 — UTAH, Lost 54-10

Sept. 23 — UCF, Won 24-17

Sept. 30 — UTAH STATE, Won 27-24

Oct. 8 — SAN JOSE STATE, Won 29-16

Oct. 15 — at Oregon State, Won 38-28

Oct. 22 — IDAHO STATE, Won 56-3

Oct. 28 — vs. TCU, Lost 38-28

Nov. 12 — IDAHO, Won 42-7

Nov. 19 — NEW MEXICO STATE, Won 42-7

Dec. 3 — at Hawaii, Won 41-20

Dec. 30 — vs. Tulsa (Armed Forces Bowl), Won 24-21

Statistical leaders

All-purpose yards — Cody Hoffman (1,825 yards)

Fumble recoveries — Jameson Frazier (2)

Interceptions — Kyle Van Noy, Travis Uale (3)

Pass breakups — Preston Hadley, Corby Eason (14)

Passing — Riley Nelson (1,717 yards)

Receiving — Cody Hoffman (943 yards)

Rushing — JJ Di Luigi (584 yards)

Sacks — Kyle Van Noy (7)

Scoring — Justin Sorensen (93 points)

Tackles — Brandon Ogletree (76 tackles)

Tackles-for-loss — Kyle Van Noy (15)

LOOKING AHEAD

2012 schedule (Tentative)

Sept. 1 — WASHINGTON STATE

Sept. 8 — WEBER STATE

Sept. 15 — at Utah

Sept. 22 — at Boise State

Sept. 29 — HAWAII

Oct. 5 — UTAH STATE

Oct. 13 — OREGON STATE

Oct. 20 — at Notre Dame

Oct. 27 — TBA

Nov. 3 — TBA

Nov. 10 — TBA

Nov. 17 — TBA

Nov. 24 — TBA

Home game: Idaho

Road games: Georgia Tech, New Mexico State, San Jose State

Top statistical returnees

All-purpose yards — Cody Hoffman (1,825 yards)

Fumble recoveries — Brandon Ogletree, Kyle Van Noy, Daniel Sorensen, Uona Kaveinga, Joe Sampson (1)

Interceptions — Kyle Van Noy (3)

Pass breakups — Preston Hadley (14)

Passing — Riley Nelson (1,717 yards)

Receiving — Cody Hoffman (943 yards)

Rushing — Michael Alisa (455 yards)

Sacks — Kyle Van Noy (7)

Scoring — Justin Sorensen (93 points)

Tackles — Brandon Ogletree (76 tackles)

Tackles-for-loss — Kyle Van Noy (15)Heady goes here

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