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The Cougars “rose up” last Friday from back-to-back losses by beating Central Florida 24-17 at LaVell Edwards Stadium. BYU scored 17 points in the second half to come from behind and defeat the Knights in the Cougars’ second victory of the season.
4th Time is the Charm
Up until the game against UCF, the Cougars had not recorded a single sack. During the fourth quarter, junior defensive back Joe Sampson flew off the line of scrimmage untouched and sacked UCF’s quarterback for a big loss to ignite the crowd of almost 60,000. Along with that sack, the fourth game in the 2011 season for BYU held several “firsts.” For the first time this season the Cougars scored a running touchdown when senior running back J.J. DiLuigi capped a third quarter drive with a 16-yard run. His run helped BYU earn over 100 rushing yards in the game, another first this year. Up until Friday’s game, freshman wide receiver Ross Apo was the only player on offense to score a touchdown. Now four different Cougars have gotten into the end zone.
Defense keeps doing its thing
BYU won the turnover battle against the Knights as the defense forced two turnovers. The Cougars also continued their ability to stop the run as they held UCF to just 81 rushing yards.
It’s been a loooong time
The Cougars got a much needed morale boost from sophomore Cody Hoffman when he returned a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown during the third quarter. The last time BYU returned a kickoff for a score was in 1998 against Hawaii — Hoffman was just seven years old at the time.
Two of BYU’s starters did not see playing time last week against UCF. Senior linebacker Jordan Pendleton was out of the game nursing an injury. Also, offensive lineman Houston Reynolds sat out Friday’s game due to a pediatric injury.
Just Go For it
BYU’s offense converted on 6-of-16 of its third down conversions. The team also converted 1-of-2 of its fourth down conversions. Both fourth down situations featured second-string quarterback Riley Nelson. He threw an incomplete pass on the first try and ran a well-executed option run on the second attempt.
Friday Night Lights
Last week’s game against UCF was the first of back-to-back Friday night games in Provo. Although the Friday games give both football teams one less day to practice and prepare, both the UCF and the upcoming Utah State game will be nationally televised on ESPN.