Payne one of the best

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    By Ryan Hope

    Sophomore kicker/punter Matt Payne was named the Mountain West Conference special teams player of the week Monday, Nov. 4.

    Payne averaged 58 yards a punt in his four attempts against San Diego State Saturday, including a career-best 76-yarder early in the third quarter.

    “I was talking to the ball all the way down the field on that punt,” Payne said. “I”ve never kicked a ball like that.”

    As the Cougars” placekicker, Payne connected on two 47-yard field goals in the first half, helping BYU win their first MWC game against San Diego State, 34-10.

    Payne is averaging 47.8 yards-per-punt this season, which ranks him second nationally.

    “I expect a lot of things out of myself,” Payne said. “This year on punting we”ve had a combination of both good coverage and good placement.”

    Payne”s effort had both players and coaches marveling at his abilities and potential.

    “Matt has the strongest leg of anyone I”ve seen,” junior linebacker Colby Bockwoldt said. “I”ve seen (former BYU kicker) Owen Pochman and other NFL kickers kick, and Matt”s leg is stronger than them all.”

    Last season, Payne connected on 73-of-76 extra-point attempts, setting an NCAA record for most point-after attempts.

    “I was hoping for a year like last year,” Payne said. “Last year we were scoring a lot of touchdowns and a lot of points.”

    Payne is the third Cougar to receive conference player of the week honors.

    Junior quarterback Bret Engemann was awarded MWC Offensive-Player-of-the-Week honors after passing for 386 yards against Syracuse on Aug. 29. Freshman running back Curtis Brown won the same award after rushing for 217 yards against Utah State on Oct. 4.

    INJURY UPDATE:

    Junior cornerback Brandon Heaney will not play again this season after suffering another shoulder dislocation against San Diego State.

    Heaney has dislocated his shoulder several times this season, but Saturday was the final time it will happen this season. Heaney will undergo surgery in the next two weeks to correct the problem.

    Junior cornerback Jernaro Gilford is expected to play Saturday after appearing in only his third game of the season against San Diego State.

    Gilford was expected to miss the rest of the season but played against the Aztecs and recorded an interception in the fourth quarter.

    Junior strong side linebacker Paul Walkenhorst is questionable for Saturday”s game against Wyoming, after suffering a torn meniscus in his knee.

    Senior offensive linemen Dustin Rykert (knee sprain) and Isaac Herring (ankle sprain) are probable for Saturday.

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