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BYU football notebook: Cougars lose 2 more defenders to injuries

Published: Thursday, July 30 2015 4:39 a.m. MDT

LOGAN — The injuries continue to mount for the BYU defense.

Entering Friday night's 31-16 loss to Utah State, the Cougars played without starters Romney Fuga (out for the season with a knee injury), Steven Thomas (concussion) and Jameson Frazier (broken thumb).

Then, against the Aggies, two more starters suffered injuries.

Senior safety Andrew Rich suffered a stinger and upper arm contusion in the second quarter on a play near the goal line with one minute left in the second half. J'ray Galea'i played in place of Rich in the second half.

Jordan Pendleton sustained a knee sprain in the third quarter and did not return.

"It's always sad to see players go down, especially when you consider Romney Fuga, Jordan Pendleton and Andrew Rich, players that have been in the program so long and I have strong relationships with," said coach Bronco Mendenhall. "That makes it even more difficult."

"First, it was Romney last week, probably our best player on defense," said senior defensive lineman Vic So'oto. "Then our second-best player, Jordan Pendleton, went down. Another great player, Andrew Rich, went down. He leads the team in tackles. Anytime someone goes down it's a bad thing for your defense. Especially those types of guys."

STREAK OVER: Going into Friday's game, BYU owned a 10-game winning streak over Utah State.

The Aggies earned their first victory over the Cougars since a 58-56 decision in Logan in 1993. USU's last win before that came in 1982.

The longest win streak in the series was 10 wins, set by the Cougars from 1983-92 and 1994-2010.

THE SERIES: Friday's game marked the 80th meeting between BYU and Utah State. The Cougars lead the all-time series, 43-34-3.

Currently, BYU and Utah State are scheduled to play in 2011 and 2012.

OLD WAGON WHEEL: Besides getting a win, USU will gain possession of the Old Wagon Wheel, symbolic of supremacy between the Cougars and Aggies.

Since 1948, the winner takes possession of the Wheel, which has been on display at the Marriott Center since 1994. BYU will now send the Old Wagon Wheel to Logan.

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS: The Cougars are now 19-4 all-time when playing on Friday nights. The loss was BYU's first setback to the Aggies on a Friday. BYU is now 13-1 against USU in Friday night games.

NOT-SO-HAPPY RETURNS: Two Cougars returned to their hometown Friday.

Injured quarterback Riley Nelson, who was USU's starting quarterback in 2006 before an LDS mission and transferring to BYU, stood on the Cougars sideline in street clothes with his right arm resting in a sling. Nelson started at quarterback for the first three games of the season before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury.

J.D. Falslev, also a Logan native, had a 34-yard kickoff return in the second quarter that set up BYU's first score of the game, a 23-yard field goal by Mitch Payne.

e-mail: jeffc@desnews.com

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