Matt Payne Earns Record Sixth MWC Honor

For the third time in five weeks -- and for a league record sixth time in his BYU career, Cougar kicker <b>Matt Payne</b> was named the Mountain West Conference Special Teams Player of the Week. Payne helped the Cougars to a 31-21 win over Colorado State on Saturday with his foot and yet another outstanding, bone-jarring special-teams tackle.

The only player in the nation listed on both the Lou Groza Award and Ray Guy Award watch lists, Payne was credited with five punts for an average of 47.6 yards per punt and added seven points in the Cougars' 10-point victory over Colorado State.

The 6-foot-4, 238-pound senior connected on a 52-yard field goal to give BYU an early 3-0 lead with 9:55 left in the second quarter. He also split the uprights on four point-after attempts on the night.

Payne was also credited with another bone-jarring tackle in kickoff coverage. Payne holds the MWC record for most career field goals with 46 and has hit 55 consecutive point-after attempts.

Payne averaged 47.6 yards per punt against the Rams, marking his highest average since posting 48.3 yards per punt against top-ranked USC earlier this season.

Against CSU, only two of his five punts were returned for a combined total of five yards, establishing a 46.6 net punting average. Three of Payne's punts were downed inside the 20-yard line, including two punts inside the five-yard line. As a result, Colorado State was forced to start five drives with an average field position from their own 14-yard line.

As a result of Payne's accuracy, BYU leads the nation with a net punting average of 42.9 yards per punt. Payne ranks third nationally in overall punting with a 46.5 yards-per-punt average.

Two of Payne's punts led directly to 10 points against Colorado State, which proved to be the Cougars' winning margin against the Rams.

With one second remaining in the first quarter, Payne hit a 55-yard punt that pinned the Rams up against their own three-yard line. After the defense forced CSU to punt deep in its own territory, the BYU offense took advantage of its field position and used nine plays to set up a Payne 52-yard field goal.

After the BYU offense had stalled early in the third quarter, Payne came up with 52-yard field goal that went out of bounds at the CSU two-yard line and as a result, changed the momentum of the game.

The BYU defense held firm again, forcing Colorado State to punt once again. Trailing 14-10, BYU took over with 5:25 left in the third quarter and drove 65 yards for the go-ahead touchdown—a Curtis Brown five-yard run.

Payne's 52-yard field goal was the second longest of the season. He is a perfect 6-for-6 from 40 yards or more on the season, including 2-for-2 from over 50 yards.

With four PAT's on Saturday, Payne has connected on 55 straight field goals, dating back to the Cougars' season-opening victory against Syracuse in 2002. His streak currently ranks as the 10th longest in the country. Payne has made 11 consecutive point-after attempts this season.

Payne has scored 269 career points, including a team leading 32 points this season. He ranks third on BYU's all-time scoring list, needing 22 points to pass Luke Staley for second on that list.


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