BYU has a tough schedule in 2013 — arguably its toughest ever — as it faces formidable opponents with strong coaches, tough defenses and potent offenses.
Notre Dame was undefeated last year until it lost to Alabama in the National Championship. Wisconsin shut out its first two opponents in 2013. Nevada is one of only six teams to beat BYU at home in the Mendenhall era. In their first two games, the Utes outscored their opponents 100-33. Utah State is a dangerous in-state rival that enjoyed its first-ever 11-win season in 2012.
Against BYU, Texas's defense wasn't quite everything it was pumped up to be, but the Longhorns did manage to put up a school record 715 yards in week one.
With a 1-1 record so far in its 2013 season, the Cougars now embark upon a week of rest and preparation in advance of the biggest game in the Beehive State, the BYU-Utah showdown.
It won't be long before Utes and Cougars are at each other's throats. In the meantime, here are 10 must-know facts about BYU football for the bye week.
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Despite outgaining Virginia in total offense (362-223), winning the turnover margin (+1) and forcing the Cavaliers to punt 13 times, BYU couldn't leave Charlottesville on Aug. 31 with a win, losing 19-16.
Jamaal Williams was the workhorse for BYU’s offense in the team's season opener, netting 144 rushing yards on 33 carries and gaining 25 yards on two receptions.
This was a winnable game for BYU, but the Cougars' costly mistakes helped Virginia secure the victory. Mendenhall's road record against ACC teams is now 1-3.
Texas is associated with big things, and BYU earned a big 40-21 win over No. 15 Texas on Sept. 7. BYU generated impressive numbers in this game.
The Longhorns surrendered 550 rushing yards to BYU. In its 121 seasons, no Texas team has ever given up that many rushing yards in a single game.
Those 550 rushing yards are also a single-game school record for BYU's offense. Here's another big number (and record): Until this game, no Texas team had ever allowed an opponent to run 99 plays in a single game.
In the Texas game, Taysom Hill ran for 259 yards (a career high) on 17 carries — a performance even Vince Young (former Texas star quarterback) could be proud of.
Hill's feat was just 13 yards shy of Eldon Fortie's school-record 272-yard rushing performance against George Washington University in 1962.
With his 259 rushing yards and 129 passing yards, Hill accounted for 57.1 percent of BYU's total offense.
The Cougars' blocking was solid against the Longhorns' defense, helping BYU to amass 679 yards of total offense and allowing Hill, Williams and Paul Lasike to find gaps to run through and gain big chunks of yardage.
Hill was sacked three times in the Virginia game, but the Longhorns' defense recorded zero sacks against BYU — another indicator of the offensive line's improvement.
Mendenhall's winning percentage (71.4 percent) is nearly identical to LaVell Edwards' winning percentage. Edwards' record at BYU was 257-101-3 (71.6 percent).
Kicker Justin Sorensen struggled in 2012, making only 50 percent (6-12) of his field goals, but he is perfect in field goals (5-5) and PATs (5-5) in the first two games of 2013.
The Cougars are 42-8 at LaVell Edwards Stadium since Mendenhall became head coach. The only opponents to win in Provo during the Mendenhall era are Boston College (once), TCU (twice), Utah (twice), Florida State (once), Nevada (once) and Oregon State (once).
During the Mendenhall era, BYU has posted records of:
- 42-8 in home games (84 percent)
- 26-20 in road games (56.5 percent)
- 1-0 at neutral sites (100 percent)
- 6-2 in bowl games (75 percent)
Mendenhall-coached BYU teams have played against but never beaten these teams: Boston College, California, Florida State, Nevada, Notre Dame, Boise State and Virginia.
With 10 regular-season games remaining in 2013, the Cougars' current coach has the opportunity to claim his first victories over Nevada, Notre Dame and Boise State.
During the Mendenhall era, the Cougars have never failed to qualify for a bowl game. The head coach is 6-2 in bowl games, including four consecutive wins.
His Cougars have won bowl games against Oregon (2006), UCLA (2007), Oregon State (2009), UTEP (2010), Tulsa (2011) and San Diego State (2012). His two bowl losses were against California (2005) and Arizona (2008).