By MICHAEL MILLER
There is an old saying in football that defense wins championships.
Saturday, against the No.14 Arizona State Sun Devils, the Cougars showcased their defense to a national television audience and the viewers had to be impressed.
The Cougars used a base defense against Alabama and the results were less than impressive in the sweltering southern heat. However, once BYU returned to the Wasatch Front, the defense put together a game plan for the Sun Devils.
“We practiced all week in a blitz defense,” senior defensive lineman Daren Yancey said. “Everyone has to be willing to do their part in order for the blitz to work,” he said.
And everyone did his part. BYU used a clogging blitz defense in the middle of the line during the first half that frustrated the Sun Devils, including tailback J.R. Redmond.
“Against Arizona State we did blitz like we planned on doing and it helped us win the game,” Yancey said.
WEEKLY WAC HONORS: Running back Ronney Jenkins and place-kicker Owen Pochman have been named the Western Athletic Conference offensive and special teams players of the week in the WAC’s Pacific Division.
Jenkins, a sophomore from Port Hueneme, Calif. rushed for a career high 171 yards on 30 carries and a two-yard touchdown. He also caught three passes for 43 yards. Jenkins is currently ranked sixteenth in the NCAA in all-purpose yardage with 339 yards.
Pochman, a sophomore from Mercer Island, Wash. kicked four field goals and two point-after conversions for 14 of the Cougars’ 26 points.
DOWN THE MIDDLE: Speaking of Pochman, he has 34 consecutive PATs and has kicked seven-straight field goal attempts (21 yards, 52, 23, 34, 41, 33, 38).
“Owen is a great kicker and was very good last year,” BYU Head Coach LaVell Edwards said. “He is very accurate and has developed into a fine kicker.”
Owen’s older brother, Ethan, was BYU’s kicker in 1996 and set Cougar records for most consecutive PATs (61), points in a season (123) and most field goals (21).
The younger Pochman is on a pace that would enable him to pass some of the marks set by his older brother.
A STITCH IN TIME: Friday afternoon, senior linebacker Brad Martin got injured in a car accident on Freedom Blvd. on his way to practice at Cougar Stadium. The injury was not severe, but required seven stitches to his upper forehead the day before the game. The accident hardly bothered Martin as he recorded six tackles and did a great job defensively against the Sun Devils.
LAVELL LEAPS: With the win over Arizona State Saturday, Coach Edwards moved ahead of former Michigan coach, Bo Schembechler, to claim eighth place on the all-time Division I coaches’ victory list with 235. Edwards, in his 27th year, needs just four more wins this season to surpass Woody Hayes who posted 238 wins in his career at Ohio State.
INJURY UPDATE: Sophomore running back Kalani Sitake suffered a concussion in Saturday’s game when Arizona State free safety Mitchell Freedman hit him hard. Sitake laid on the ground for several minutes, before getting up and should be ready for Saturday’s game at Washington.
Will Snowden, sophomore running back did not play against the Sun Devils and was still suffering from a hamstring pull that happened during the Alabama game. Snowden was not able to run at Monday’s practice and his status is in question for the game against the Huskies.