BYU is embarking on a three-game WAC road trip, and if recent history is any indication, it will be tough for them to win all three.
The last three times the Cougars had three straight road games, they lost at least one of the games.In 1988 the Cougars opened such a trip with a loss to San Diego State, then beat Air Force and lost to Utah. In 1987 BYU beat Texas, then lost to Texas Christian before stomping New Mexico. And in 1986 the Cougs beat Utah, lost to San Diego State and beat Air Force. BYU's combined record for the three trips was 5-4.
BACKFIELD BREAKDOWN: In 60 offensive plays before the third string was sent in against New Mexico, here's how BYU used its backs: fullback Peter Tuipulotu lined up in the backfield for 37 plays, halfback Stacey Corley was in for 24 plays, fullback Mike Salido was in for 22 plays, and halfback Matt Bellini for 16 plays. Keep in mind, however, that this doesn't include the many times Bellini lined up in the slot as strictly a receiver.
The Cougs used a two-back set (with several variations) 41 times, a one-back set 18 times, and a no-back set once.
By the way, could it be that one reason Stacey Corley's rushing numbers aren't what everyone expected is that it's too easy to predict when Corley is going to get the ball? Corley carried the ball four times against the Lobos, and BYU lined up essentially the same way each time - with Tuipulotu a couple yards ahead of him and off to one side.
(A final note: This information was gleaned from a TV replay, and camera angles occasionally made it necessary to guess who was in the backfield.)
GRAY AREA: Safety Derwin Gray, the WAC defensive player of the week for his three interceptions last Saturday, also tallied the second-highest defensive-point total of the season. The interceptions, three unassisted tackles and one assisted tackle gave him a total of 22 points, one behind tackle Rich Kaufusi's 23 points registered against Miami. In that game, Kaufusi had two unassisted tackles, nine assisted tackles, two tackled-for-losses, a pass batted down and four quarterback hurries.
LUCKY LEVER: The happiest man on the field - and maybe in the stadium - at the New Mexico game had to be backup placekicker Keith Lever. Within a 24-hour period last weekend, Lever became a daddy for the first time and kicked his first varsity field goal.
Lever spent most of Friday at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center with his wife, Christie, as she prepared to deliver their first child. The baby, a 7-pound, 10-ounce girl they named Jennifer Carrie, was born at 11:35 p.m. Friday. By the time the tired dad got home and into bed, it was close to 4 a.m.
He got up four hours later, had pre-game breakfast with the team, took roses and balloons to his wife, and went to the stadium. And then placekicker Earl Kauffman was sandwiched between two Lobos and injured, and Lever got the call.
"I felt great, because even though I didn't have any sleep I was on cloud nine," he said. "I just kept thinking about my wife and little girl, and that kept me going."
For the record, Lever booted two extra points and a field goal with 26 seconds left in the first half that just . . . barely . . . cleared . . . the . . . crossbar.
SHORT STUFF: Tennis bad boy Andre Agassi was at Cougar Stadium last Saturday, a guest of fullback Mike Salido, sort of. It seems Agassi was in Provo visiting a girl, and the girl knew Salido, and the girl coaxed some complimentary tickets out of Salido . . . Pro scouts have been making their usual visits to Provo, gauging the seniors' NFL potential. Among the players that scouts have mentioned looking at are offensive linemen Neal Fort, Mike Keim and Bob Stephens, cornerback Brian Mitchell, tackle Kaufusi, halfback Matt Bellini, tight end Chris Smith and linebacker Alema Fitisemanu.
With 200 yards passing this week, quarterback Ty Detmer will pass ex-Ute Scott Mitchell on the NCAA career passing yardage list.