BYU Cougars - The Salt Lake Tribune http://www.sltrib.com/Cougars Stories from The Salt Lake Tribune &copy; 2014 The Associated Press, The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our privacy policy: http://www.sltrib.com/pages/privacy. en-us webmaster@sltrib.com (Webmaster) BYU football: Cougars say they’re still behind Mendenhall (with video) http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/cougars/58542304-88/team-mendenhall-players-byu.html.csp Provo • BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said Monday that linebacker Sione Takitaki didn’t play in Saturday’s 42-35 loss to Nevada because the freshman blew off a team meeting or practice last week, despite emerging for a defense that sorely needs playmakers and better speed on the edges. Coupled with the coach’s expression of frustration with players missing defensive assignments and lacking concentration and focus after Saturday’s loss, some might take the Takitaki mistake as a sign that Mendenhall... Provo • BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said Monday that linebacker Sione Takitaki didn’t play in Saturday’s 42-35 loss to Nevada because the freshman blew off a team meeting or practice last week, despite emerging for a defense that sorely needs playmakers and better speed on the edges. Coupled with the coach’s expression of frustration with players missing defensive assignments and lacking concentration and focus after Saturday’s loss, some might take the Takitaki mistake as a sign that Mendenhall... <img src="http://mngislctrib.112.2O7.net/b/ss/mngislctrib/1/H.17--NS/0?&pageName=RSS" height="1" width="1" border="0" alt=""/> 58542304@www.sltrib.com Mon, 20 Oct 2014 17:09:45 MDT BYU football: Plenty of blame to go around in Cougs’ collapse (with video) http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/sports/58538354-77/byu-football-game-mendenhall.html.csp Provo • In the space of about a month, the BYU football team has gone from the best of times to close to the worst of times in the Bronco Mendenhall coaching era. The collapse has been sudden, unexpected and spectacular in its scope. The Cougars have lost three straight games to non-power five opponents, including back-to-back home games for the first time in 10 years, games they were favored to win by 21 and 12 points. Once 4-0 and ranked 18th in the country, they were embarrassed by an instate... Provo • In the space of about a month, the BYU football team has gone from the best of times to close to the worst of times in the Bronco Mendenhall coaching era. The collapse has been sudden, unexpected and spectacular in its scope. The Cougars have lost three straight games to non-power five opponents, including back-to-back home games for the first time in 10 years, games they were favored to win by 21 and 12 points. Once 4-0 and ranked 18th in the country, they were embarrassed by an instate... 58538354@www.sltrib.com Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:40:03 MDT BYU football: Cougars use RB platoon in place of injured Williams http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/cougars/58537539-88/byu-yards-cougars-carter.html.csp Provo • BYU’s leading rusher, Jamaal Williams, did not play Saturday night against Nevada because of a sprained ankle. It showed. Without its usual ability to depend on Williams, BYU had to ride the arm of quarterback Christian Stewart. He threw for 408 yards and four touchdowns, but the Cougars failed to withstand the Wolf Pack’s second-half rally and lost, 42-35. While not 100 percent, BYU’s rushing offense was surprisingly effective at times. With Williams sidelined and backup Algernon Brown... Provo • BYU’s leading rusher, Jamaal Williams, did not play Saturday night against Nevada because of a sprained ankle. It showed. Without its usual ability to depend on Williams, BYU had to ride the arm of quarterback Christian Stewart. He threw for 408 yards and four touchdowns, but the Cougars failed to withstand the Wolf Pack’s second-half rally and lost, 42-35. While not 100 percent, BYU’s rushing offense was surprisingly effective at times. With Williams sidelined and backup Algernon Brown... 58537539@www.sltrib.com Sun, 19 Oct 2014 15:25:47 MDT BYU football: Coaches say Cougars most deserving of power conference admission http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/cougars/58537523-88/byu-percent-coaches-football.html.csp Provo • BYU deserves to be in a one of college football’s five power conferences more than any other school that currently is not in one, according to a survey of coaches conducted by ESPN’s Brett McMurphy. In the website’s weekly college football poll called #1QFor128, BYU got 24 percent of the votes, edging out No. 2 East Carolina (21 percent) and No. 3 Boise State (19 percent). BYU travels to Boise State on Friday (7 p.m., ESPN) to take on the Broncos. Cincinnati and Houston, the team BYU def... Provo • BYU deserves to be in a one of college football’s five power conferences more than any other school that currently is not in one, according to a survey of coaches conducted by ESPN’s Brett McMurphy. In the website’s weekly college football poll called #1QFor128, BYU got 24 percent of the votes, edging out No. 2 East Carolina (21 percent) and No. 3 Boise State (19 percent). BYU travels to Boise State on Friday (7 p.m., ESPN) to take on the Broncos. Cincinnati and Houston, the team BYU def... 58537523@www.sltrib.com Sun, 19 Oct 2014 15:23:13 MDT Utah State football: Eight players produce sacks http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/cougars/58537339-88/eight-csu-grayson-rams.html.csp Fort Collins, Colorado • Utah State’s defensive players will lament how they let Colorado State quarterback Garrett Grayson escape three times, running for first downs in the Rams’ 16-13 victory Saturday night at Hughes Stadium. If they had lost, the Rams would have focused on the eight times the Aggies sacked Grayson, for 62 yards in losses. “I think they took it to us, there’s no doubt about it,” said CSU coach Jim McElwain. “We knew we were going to have some matchups issues — not to that ext... Fort Collins, Colorado • Utah State’s defensive players will lament how they let Colorado State quarterback Garrett Grayson escape three times, running for first downs in the Rams’ 16-13 victory Saturday night at Hughes Stadium. If they had lost, the Rams would have focused on the eight times the Aggies sacked Grayson, for 62 yards in losses. “I think they took it to us, there’s no doubt about it,” said CSU coach Jim McElwain. “We knew we were going to have some matchups issues — not to that ext... 58537339@www.sltrib.com Sun, 19 Oct 2014 14:50:47 MDT BYU football: Cougars blow lead in 42-35 loss to Nevada (with video) http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/sports/58536236-77/byu-nevada-game-cougars.html.csp Provo • Another game, another two-touchdown lead blown in the second half. But this one was even more disappointing for the BYU Cougars than last week, because it came at home in front of 56,355 fans at LaVell Edwards Stadium, and in a game in which they seemingly had control. Visiting Nevada held the Cougars to one touchdown in the second half and took a 42-35 win, handing BYU its third straight loss in a game eerily similar to last Thursday’s 31-24 overtime loss at Central Florida. “Nevada did... Provo • Another game, another two-touchdown lead blown in the second half. But this one was even more disappointing for the BYU Cougars than last week, because it came at home in front of 56,355 fans at LaVell Edwards Stadium, and in a game in which they seemingly had control. Visiting Nevada held the Cougars to one touchdown in the second half and took a 42-35 win, handing BYU its third straight loss in a game eerily similar to last Thursday’s 31-24 overtime loss at Central Florida. “Nevada did... 58536236@www.sltrib.com Sun, 19 Oct 2014 12:14:32 MDT BYU football: They’re 4-2 again, but Cougs say they’re still hungry http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/cougars/58532901-88/byu-game-ankle-cougars.html.csp Provo • The second half of the 2014 college football season arrives Saturday night for the BYU Cougars when they play host to Nevada at LaVell Edwards Stadium, but don’t blame coach Bronco Mendenhall’s team if it feels like it has been here before. It is like the movie “Groundhog Day,” and it has been this way all four seasons that the Cougars have been independent in football. Once again, two losses in the first half of the season and a series of lackluster opponents in the second half has spar... Provo • The second half of the 2014 college football season arrives Saturday night for the BYU Cougars when they play host to Nevada at LaVell Edwards Stadium, but don’t blame coach Bronco Mendenhall’s team if it feels like it has been here before. It is like the movie “Groundhog Day,” and it has been this way all four seasons that the Cougars have been independent in football. Once again, two losses in the first half of the season and a series of lackluster opponents in the second half has spar... 58532901@www.sltrib.com Fri, 17 Oct 2014 23:58:36 MDT Monson: BYU is trapped in college football purgatory http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/cougars/58521211-88/byu-football-season-bowl.html.csp BYU is in college football purgatory. The Cougars aren’t in heaven, but they’re not quite in hell, either. They’re not good enough to make a New Year’s Day bowl, to become truly relevant. And they don’t suck enough to go bowl-less. They can’t win every game, but they’ll win enough to qualify for a little postseason affair that isn’t enticing enough to capture anyone’s imagination. They’re stuck. They’re trapped in an aggravating version of Groundhog Day, living the same existence, suffering the... BYU is in college football purgatory. The Cougars aren’t in heaven, but they’re not quite in hell, either. They’re not good enough to make a New Year’s Day bowl, to become truly relevant. And they don’t suck enough to go bowl-less. They can’t win every game, but they’ll win enough to qualify for a little postseason affair that isn’t enticing enough to capture anyone’s imagination. They’re stuck. They’re trapped in an aggravating version of Groundhog Day, living the same existence, suffering the... 58521211@www.sltrib.com Thu, 16 Oct 2014 22:31:52 MDT BYU football: Ankle sprains bringing Cougars to their knees http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/cougars/58528903-88/ankle-byu-cougars-sprained.html.csp Provo • Every year, it seems like there is always an injury du jour afflicting the BYU football team. One year, it was torn labrums and other shoulder injuries. Another year, several players were sidelined by foot injuries, such as plantar fasciitis or Lisfranc fractures or dislocations. This season, it is sprained ankles. “At one point, we had 10 [sprained ankles], and that number has gone up,” coach Bronco Mendenhall said Monday as the injury-riddled Cougars (4-2) prepared for Saturday’s 8:15... Provo • Every year, it seems like there is always an injury du jour afflicting the BYU football team. One year, it was torn labrums and other shoulder injuries. Another year, several players were sidelined by foot injuries, such as plantar fasciitis or Lisfranc fractures or dislocations. This season, it is sprained ankles. “At one point, we had 10 [sprained ankles], and that number has gone up,” coach Bronco Mendenhall said Monday as the injury-riddled Cougars (4-2) prepared for Saturday’s 8:15... 58528903@www.sltrib.com Thu, 16 Oct 2014 19:47:54 MDT BYU football: Takitaki making the most of his 2nd chance http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/cougars/58525277-88/takitaki-byu-warner-poppinga.html.csp Provo • At college football signing day last February, everybody at BYU was talking about the swift receivers coach Bronco Mendenhall was bringing in, or how the Cougars beat USC for all-everything linebacker Fred Warner. Everybody except on-campus recruiting coordinator Geoff Martzen, that is. He was talking about another three-star linebacker from Southern California who committed to BYU so early that the hype for him didn’t build as it did for Warner and others. Sione Takitaki was an absolut... Provo • At college football signing day last February, everybody at BYU was talking about the swift receivers coach Bronco Mendenhall was bringing in, or how the Cougars beat USC for all-everything linebacker Fred Warner. Everybody except on-campus recruiting coordinator Geoff Martzen, that is. He was talking about another three-star linebacker from Southern California who committed to BYU so early that the hype for him didn’t build as it did for Warner and others. Sione Takitaki was an absolut... 58525277@www.sltrib.com Wed, 15 Oct 2014 23:06:52 MDT BYU football: Cougars working to shore up subpar kick coverage efforts http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/cougars/58521259-88/byu-poppinga-game-blackmon.html.csp Provo • The Cougars were rolling in the third quarter against Central Florida. They scored three quick touchdowns to take a 24-10 lead, and their defense was containing the Knights after giving up chunks of yards in the first half. The momentum switched when UCF’s Rannell Hall returned a kickoff 58 yards to the BYU 37. The Knights scored eight plays later to get back into the game. Later, UCF’s J.J. Worton returned a punt 29 yards into BYU territory, and the Knights went on to knot the score at ... Provo • The Cougars were rolling in the third quarter against Central Florida. They scored three quick touchdowns to take a 24-10 lead, and their defense was containing the Knights after giving up chunks of yards in the first half. The momentum switched when UCF’s Rannell Hall returned a kickoff 58 yards to the BYU 37. The Knights scored eight plays later to get back into the game. Later, UCF’s J.J. Worton returned a punt 29 yards into BYU territory, and the Knights went on to knot the score at ... 58521259@www.sltrib.com Tue, 14 Oct 2014 14:53:02 MDT BYU football: As season sputters, Cougs not using injury excuse (with video) http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/cougars/58517605-88/mendenhall-season-byu-saturday.html.csp Provo • Mired in a two-game losing streak and without their starting quarterback for the remainder of the season and a few other top players for possibly the next few games, the BYU Cougars might be tempted to throw their hands in the air and scream: Why us? But they are not, coach Bronco Mendenhall insisted as the Cougars (4-2) got back to work Monday and started preparing for Saturday’s home game against Nevada (3-3). “None of that that I know of, or that I have seen [is going on],” Mendenhall... Provo • Mired in a two-game losing streak and without their starting quarterback for the remainder of the season and a few other top players for possibly the next few games, the BYU Cougars might be tempted to throw their hands in the air and scream: Why us? But they are not, coach Bronco Mendenhall insisted as the Cougars (4-2) got back to work Monday and started preparing for Saturday’s home game against Nevada (3-3). “None of that that I know of, or that I have seen [is going on],” Mendenhall... 58517605@www.sltrib.com Tue, 14 Oct 2014 08:20:21 MDT BYU football: Injuries have turned dream season into nightmare http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/sports/58513799-77/byu-game-injuries-ankle.html.csp Provo • After his team handled Virginia 41-33 to improve to 4-0 and then enjoyed a bye week it really didn’t need, BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall conducted a press briefing on Sept. 29 as the Cougars turned their attention to Utah State. He answered more questions about his perception of the health of USU quarterback Chuckie Keeton than any queries about injuries to his own team, because, well, there weren’t many - and none were significant. Two weeks later, consecutive losses to Utah State and Ce... Provo • After his team handled Virginia 41-33 to improve to 4-0 and then enjoyed a bye week it really didn’t need, BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall conducted a press briefing on Sept. 29 as the Cougars turned their attention to Utah State. He answered more questions about his perception of the health of USU quarterback Chuckie Keeton than any queries about injuries to his own team, because, well, there weren’t many - and none were significant. Two weeks later, consecutive losses to Utah State and Ce... 58513799@www.sltrib.com Mon, 13 Oct 2014 09:25:08 MDT Former BYU QB John Beck is rookie again in Canada http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/cougars/58508585-88/beck-season-lions-cfl.html.csp Vancouver, B.C. • John Beck was once a hot NFL prospect. Now, the former BYU star is the oldest rookie quarterback in the Canadian Football League, serving as a backup with the B.C. Lions. Beck, 33, signed with the Lions, who play their home games in Vancouver, in the spring after being without an NFL team for a season and a half between 2012 and 2013. “It’s hard to be sitting at home watching a football season happen,” he said following a recent Lions workout at their practice facility in the V... Vancouver, B.C. • John Beck was once a hot NFL prospect. Now, the former BYU star is the oldest rookie quarterback in the Canadian Football League, serving as a backup with the B.C. Lions. Beck, 33, signed with the Lions, who play their home games in Vancouver, in the spring after being without an NFL team for a season and a half between 2012 and 2013. “It’s hard to be sitting at home watching a football season happen,” he said following a recent Lions workout at their practice facility in the V... 58508585@www.sltrib.com Sat, 11 Oct 2014 17:21:45 MDT BYU football: Limping Cougars mostly encouraged after UCF loss (with video) http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/cougars/58507626-88/stewart-quarter-cougars-game.html.csp Orlando, Fla. • It is still a loss, and all hope of a special season for the BYU Cougars is gone. But coaches and key players were encouraged by the 31-24 overtime setback on Thursday night at Central Florida, far more than they were after the 35-20 loss to Utah State last week that ended their perfect season and started them on this two-game losing skid. “Obviously we are really upset from losing the game,” said defensive end Remington Peck. “But we are still hungry. … We still have an edge, we... Orlando, Fla. • It is still a loss, and all hope of a special season for the BYU Cougars is gone. But coaches and key players were encouraged by the 31-24 overtime setback on Thursday night at Central Florida, far more than they were after the 35-20 loss to Utah State last week that ended their perfect season and started them on this two-game losing skid. “Obviously we are really upset from losing the game,” said defensive end Remington Peck. “But we are still hungry. … We still have an edge, we... 58507626@www.sltrib.com Fri, 10 Oct 2014 16:54:45 MDT BYU football: Cougars blow lead, fall in overtime to Central Florida http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/sports/58505639-77/byu-cougars-lead-florida.html.csp Orlando, Fla. • The Cougars got the middle parts right in Thursday’s nationally televised game at Central Florida. It was the beginning and end that kept them winless in the Sunshine State, and pushed their losing skid to two after the season’s phenomenal start. That’s now a distant memory, after Central Florida took the 31-24 overtime win in front of 41,547 at Bright House Networks Stadium, scoring a touchdown on its possession of the extra session. The Knights stopped the Cougars on 4th-and 3 ... Orlando, Fla. • The Cougars got the middle parts right in Thursday’s nationally televised game at Central Florida. It was the beginning and end that kept them winless in the Sunshine State, and pushed their losing skid to two after the season’s phenomenal start. That’s now a distant memory, after Central Florida took the 31-24 overtime win in front of 41,547 at Bright House Networks Stadium, scoring a touchdown on its possession of the extra session. The Knights stopped the Cougars on 4th-and 3 ... 58505639@www.sltrib.com Fri, 10 Oct 2014 07:23:15 MDT BYU football: Cougars scramble run strategy with Hill out http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/cougars/58506350-88/really-yards-cougars-mendenhall.html.csp Orlando, Fla. • In their first full game without injured quarterback Taysom Hill, the BYU Cougars got one carry and one yard from the other big running threat on their roster, Jamaal Williams. Recipe for disaster, right? Not really. Williams had a sore ankle all week, didn’t practice until Wednesday, and got just one carry in the eventual 31-24 loss in overtime to Central Florida before coaches decided he just couldn’t play effectively. So they turned to the bruising combination of Paul Lasike a... Orlando, Fla. • In their first full game without injured quarterback Taysom Hill, the BYU Cougars got one carry and one yard from the other big running threat on their roster, Jamaal Williams. Recipe for disaster, right? Not really. Williams had a sore ankle all week, didn’t practice until Wednesday, and got just one carry in the eventual 31-24 loss in overtime to Central Florida before coaches decided he just couldn’t play effectively. So they turned to the bruising combination of Paul Lasike a... 58506350@www.sltrib.com Thu, 09 Oct 2014 23:04:02 MDT BYU football: Injuries continue to pile up for Cougars http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/sports/58506865-77/ankle-game-byu-sprained.html.csp Provo • BYU rolled into Bright House Networks Stadium on Thursday night as a banged up football team. It left with a 31-24 overtime loss to Central Florida, and the injury situation got even worse. You might need a scorecard to keep track of all the injuries as the Cougars wait for a home game against Nevada a week from Saturday. Offensive lineman Brayden Kearsley (ankle), linebacker Alani Fua (ankle) and safety Dallin Leavitt (ankle) were listed as questionable all week, and did not play. Befor... Provo • BYU rolled into Bright House Networks Stadium on Thursday night as a banged up football team. It left with a 31-24 overtime loss to Central Florida, and the injury situation got even worse. You might need a scorecard to keep track of all the injuries as the Cougars wait for a home game against Nevada a week from Saturday. Offensive lineman Brayden Kearsley (ankle), linebacker Alani Fua (ankle) and safety Dallin Leavitt (ankle) were listed as questionable all week, and did not play. Befor... 58506865@www.sltrib.com Thu, 09 Oct 2014 23:03:11 MDT BYU football: Pass rush makes it tougher for UCF quarterback http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/sports/58506856-77/quarter-byu-holman-ucf.html.csp Orlando • BYU lost another game and found a pass-rushing star. Sione Takitaki, a freshman linebacker, registered two sacks and forced a fumble that he recovered, helping the Cougars stay close in Thursday’s first half against Central Florida before losing in overtime, 31-24. UCF quarterback Justin Holman passed for 326 yards and two touchdowns, but the Cougars disrupted him enough after the first quarter that he was much less effective and threw two interceptions. However, Holman passed for 159 ... Orlando • BYU lost another game and found a pass-rushing star. Sione Takitaki, a freshman linebacker, registered two sacks and forced a fumble that he recovered, helping the Cougars stay close in Thursday’s first half against Central Florida before losing in overtime, 31-24. UCF quarterback Justin Holman passed for 326 yards and two touchdowns, but the Cougars disrupted him enough after the first quarter that he was much less effective and threw two interceptions. However, Holman passed for 159 ... 58506856@www.sltrib.com Thu, 09 Oct 2014 22:55:39 MDT Kragthorpe: QB Stewart’s first start falls just short http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/cougars/58506308-88/byu-stewart-quarter-ucf.html.csp Orlando, Fla. • The last pass of Christian Stewart’s first start fell incomplete, and BYU’s quarterback trudged off the field, helmet in hand. After all the tumult of the previous week, the senior QB from Orem almost delivered a victory that restored some portion of BYU’s misshapen season. In the end Thursday night, he fell short in a 31-24 overtime loss to Central Florida. Nobody could say Stewart lost this game — or that he played well enough for BYU to win, either. The scoreboard tells the ... Orlando, Fla. • The last pass of Christian Stewart’s first start fell incomplete, and BYU’s quarterback trudged off the field, helmet in hand. After all the tumult of the previous week, the senior QB from Orem almost delivered a victory that restored some portion of BYU’s misshapen season. In the end Thursday night, he fell short in a 31-24 overtime loss to Central Florida. Nobody could say Stewart lost this game — or that he played well enough for BYU to win, either. The scoreboard tells the ... 58506308@www.sltrib.com Thu, 09 Oct 2014 22:37:02 MDT