PROVO BYU's defense found itself, and sometimes put itself, in some precarious situations early on in Saturday's 35-16 win over Colorado State.
The Rams moved inside the Cougars' 20-yard line three times in the first half but at intermission had only three points to show for it.
"We just came up big with our backs against the wall, that's all I can say," said Jan Jorgensen, who recorded three sacks for BYU.
"They played well when they had to in terms of critical situations," coach Bronco Mendenhall said of his defense. "I was really proud of them for managing the field position. The idea was to see if (CSU) could run the ball consistently enough to score enough points to win. It's hard to score enough points if all you're doing is running the ball."
Still, the Cougar defense, which gave up only nine offensive points and 311 yards of total offense, was far from satisfied with its performance in terms of shutting down CSU's running game. The Rams rushed for 150 yards, the most BYU has yielded on the ground all season long.
"What's emphasized is not allowing a team to go over 100 yards," Jorgensen said. "You're not going to find many players on our defense happy that we let them run for more than 100 yards against us. We gave up too many yards rushing. But when our backs were against the wall, we did a great job of making plays and keeping them from scoring points."
Cornerback Ben Criddle, who intercepted CSU quarterback Caleb Hanie in the first half, explained the two main goals of the defense is to hold opposing teams to less than 24 points and under 100 yards rushing."We did OK. We did enough to win," Criddle said. "(CSU) had too many rushing yards, but we didn't give up many big plays."
STREAKY: Saturday's victory was BYU's fifth straight win overall and 12th consecutive Mountain West Conference victory. It marks the Cougars' longest conference win streak since they won 12 in a row from Nov. 20, 1982, to Oct. 19, 1985, as members of the Western Athletic Conference.BYU has now won 10 straight games at Edwards Stadium, dating back to the start of the 2006 campaign. The Cougars are 12-3 in Provo in the Mendenhall era.
UNGA BREAKS RECORD: Running back Harvey Unga now holds the all-time freshman rushing record at BYU. He gained 51 yards on the ground Saturday, giving him 735 yards this season, surpassing the previous mark of 733 established by Ronney Jenkins in 1996.
BOWL ELIGIBLE: With six wins this season, BYU is bowl-eligible for the third consecutive season. The Cougars haven't played in bowl games for three straight seasons since 1992-94. From 1978-1994, BYU appeared in a school-record 17 consecutive bowl games.
INJURY REPORT: BYU cornerback Kayle Buchanan suffered a shoulder stinger in the second half and did not return to the game.
E-mail: [email protected]