BYU Looks for Winning Formula

When BYU holds their opponents to 100 yards rushing and 24 points, they win football games. Last Saturday's game against Tulsa was a perfect example of that statistical phenomenon. This Saturday, the Cougars of BYU will try to apply their winning formula again when they take on the Boston College Eagles in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.

"We have our goals and I think we met them, which will give our team a lot of confidence heading into Boston College," said quarterback John Beck. "I know a lot of us are fired up because we're 1-1 and they're 2-0 and we're going to their place. This is a really good opportunity for us to really be fired up and have a great opportunity to make some noise."

Senior running back Curtis Brown feels the team can continue to improve on the field and thereby surpass team goals.

"Last year our goal was 40 points and while some people thought that was a goal that was out of reach, we were able to reach that goal a couple of games," Brown said. "We've set the 24 points as a minimum but we want to score as many points as we can. Even in this Tulsa game we left some points on the field and could have had more than the 49 we scored. When we have the opportunity to score, we want to take full advantage of it. We want to go 10 for 10 in scoring if we have that many possessions. We want to be perfect every time we have the ball by being able to put it into the end zone. We want to be perfect in the blue zone. Statistically, the goals that we have show that when we've reached those numbers in the past, we win. For the defense it's just the reverse goals."

Against Tulsa, quarterback John Beck threw for 240 yards, connecting on 16-of-21 attempts. The senior had three touchdowns, including a 62-yard pass to Curtis Brown, a 16-yard pass to Zac Collie and a 3-yard pass to Matt Allen against what one national college football publication called the fifth best secondary in the Division I football.

"This week we just tightened up on a few minor things," said Beck. "We moved the football against Arizona, but when we got down into the blue zone, we had some penalties and made some mistakes. If you look at this game against Tulsa, we moved the football and scored when we got close to the end zone. We smelled it and wanted to get into the end zone and just made plays."

Beck's performance against Tulsa moved him past Steve Sarkisian and Marc Wilson for seventh place on BYU's all-time passing list with 7,665 yards. Beck is closing fast on former BYU and 49er quarterback Steve Young. With just 69 more yards, Beck will own the sixth spot on the Cougar's all-time passing list.

"All schemes are pretty much the same," Beck said. "It's just that some players might be a little bit better than others, but if you can execute your offense at a high enough level it's like the defense isn't even there. There's always holes and there's always seems and if you're that good at executing your offense it's like the defense isn't even there."

The Tulsa defense finished third in the nation with a total of 36 turnovers during the 2005 season. The Hurricane secondary accounted for the majority of those takeaways with 22 interceptions on the year. After throwing 11 interceptions during the 2005 season, Beck has not thrown an interception in 58 straight attempts.

"They call the Tulsa defense a 3-3-5 defense, but that Tulsa defense with the way they run it is a little bit different," said Beck. "When Coach Mendenhall ran it he had all five guys stacked 10 yards off the ball and they would come down. They ran it a little bit different. We played two really good secondaries, and that should prepare us for the teams throughout the season."

On the season, Beck has completed 44-of-58 attempts (75.8 percent) for 529 yards and four touchdowns. Beck was selected to the Davey O'Brien, Johnny Unitas, and Sammy Baugh watch lists this year.

"I think Arizona had a better scheme planed out against us than Tulsa," Beck said. "Tulsa kept their guys back, but it was kind of a different game plan than we expected from them. They usually play a lot of man but they dropped and played a lot of zone which means they probably expected us to throw the ball a lot more than we ended up doing. As a group we knew there were things we needed to do better, and we did that during the Tulsa game because after the Arizona game, we had a bad taste in our mouths. We talked all year about how great this team is and I don't think we represented that very well against Arizona, but I think we can and be successful at Boston College."

Curtis Brown is the all-time leader at BYU for 100-yard rushing games with 11. He just needs 759 more to become BYU's all time leader rusher. During the Tulsa game, Brown had one of the games highlights when he broke multiple tackles on a 62-yard touchdown reception. Brown will again be a key factor in BYU offense against Boston College.

"I don't know what was in the water that day but what ever it was it left my body after that run," chuckled Brown. "I was dead after that run, but really I just wanted to make a play. I just wanted to get the first down. It was third and seven and I was frustrated from the play before because whenever the ball touches my hands I should catch it. I said to John, ‘Look, I'm going to be open on this.' I was thinking he wasn't really listening but I guess he was. I caught the ball and made a move on the guy and started running. I saw that I had the first down then saw Matt Allen making a great block on the outside and thought to myself that I need to make the most out of this play. Somehow I was able to get free of the next tackle. My head was down most of the time I was being tackled. I popped my head up and I saw the safety coming and with what little energy I had left I stiff-armed him and was able to get into the end zone. Everyone was telling me how great it was but when I saw it on film and saw what happened, if it wasn't for a great block by Matt Allen down field I might not have made it."

Fui Vakapuna followed Brown's run with a 38-yard rumble of his own. He fought off eight tackle attempts on the play, leaving a trail of Tulsa defenders behind him.

Click on the following link to listen to Vakapuna talk about his run against the Tulsa defense.

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