Cougars barely escape Aggies


    By Ryan Hope

    True freshman Curtis Brown started his first game Friday night Oct. 4 against Utah State and finished rushing for 217 yards and three touchdowns.

    Brown replaced sophomore starter Marcus Whalen who missed the game due to a groin injury, suffered against Georgia Tech on Sept. 21.

    Brown”s ground game plus four receptions for 49 yards helped the Cougars squeak by Utah State 35-34.

    “We knew we were bigger and more physical up front,” Brown said. “We just felt it was going to be a matter of time before things started opening up.”

    The Cougars trailed 34-7 at halftime and were struggling on both sides of the ball.

    “I was very disappointed about how we played in the first half,” head coach Gary Crowton said. “I told the guys at halftime that we still believed in them, and they needed to get back out there and play one series at a time.”

    The Cougars scored 28 unanswered points in their first four possessions of the second half on their way to the victory.

    “We just played more composed in the second half,” Crowton said. “We got the run and pass going, and Engemann played a lot better in the second half.

    Junior quarterback Bret Engemann was in the middle of a quarterback controversy in the two weeks leading up to Friday”s game, and nearly lost his position at halftime.

    “I told some of the other quarterbacks to start warming up at halftime,” Crowton said. “But it was time for me to see what Bret could do when the chips were down.”

    On BYU”s first possession of the second half Engemann led the team to six first downs before Brown scored his second touchdown of the night on a one-yard run.

    “It makes me feel good that he [Crowton] stuck with me,” Engemann said. “I have to prove myself every game.”

    The Cougar defense forced Utah State to punt on its next possession, and seven plays later Brown scored on a 32-yard touchdown run.

    Utah State senior kicker Dane Kidman missed a 47-yard field goal attempt on the Aggies next possession giving the Cougars the ball on the USU 30-yard line.

    The Cougars marched down the field garnering four first downs before Crowton reached into his bag of tricks to score another touchdown.

    From USU”s 17-yard line Engemann pitched the ball to senior wide receiver Reno Mahe on an end around. Mahe then handed the ball to junior receiver Toby Christensen who reversed direction before pulling up and throwing to junior receiver Jason Kukahiko in the end zone.

    The touchdown narrowed the score to 35-28 with 9:55 left in the fourth quarter.

    Another Utah State punt gave the Cougars the ball on their own 18-yard line with 9:07 left in the game.

    The Cougars scored the go-ahead touchdown two minutes later on an 18-yard Engemann bootleg pass to senior tight end Gabriel Reid.

    The Cougar defense held the Aggies on two more fourth quarter possessions to seal the victory.

    “I can”t say enough about the defense,” Engemann said. “The offensive line along with our defense won the game for us.”

    Juniors linebackers Paul Walkenhorst and Levi Madarieta, and junior cornerback Brandon Heaney all recorded interceptions for the Cougars.

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