BUT SERIOUSLY, FOLKS: Southern Utah coach Ray Gregory was in fine form in front of the media during Tuesday's Big 5 Huddle - despite his T-birds suffering a frustrating loss at Idaho State the previous week.
SUU outgained Idaho State 477-267 in total offense, but eight turnovers halted any hopes for a T-bird victory Saturday in Pocatello. Idaho State triumphed 46-31 - with the final three points coming on a last-second field goal despite a 12-point Bengal lead.- On creating a no-love-lost rivalry with Idaho State after last week's first game of a four-year series: "We're going to hate them for three years now. We're going to go for two points after every touchdown . . . I'll ask the referees if I can have all six timeouts in the second half."
- On his attitude toward Idaho: "I'm anti-potatoes now - I'll only eat rice from now on."
- On SUU's eight turnovers: "I think it was a national record." (Editor's note: The record is actually 13.) I asked Neil (Gardner, SUU sports information director) that. He said we don't keep those stats. I told him we should start - it would give us something to shoot for."
- On the four interceptions: "Coach (LaVell) Edwards said his team is trying to throw the ball more effectively. We're just trying to throw it to ourselves. . . . We've got to find a way to put a handle on the ball or quit throwing it."
- On the no-calls against Idaho State: "They don't call holding in the Big Sky - it must be a league rule. I thought the WAC was bad, but the Big Sky is worse."
- On upcoming opponent Southwest Texas, which SUU beat 41-27 in Cedar City last year and faces this week in San Marcos, Texas: "They're an arrogant bunch, even when we beat them handily last year. . . . We'd knock one guy over and two others would fall down."
- On a planned trip to the Alamo after SUU arrives in San Antonio en route to San Marcos: "I want to take them somewhere where the homefield advantage meant nothing."
JUAN MORE TIME: University of Utah senior Juan Johnson's 190-yard game (32 carries) boosted his average exactly 20 yards, from 62.1 yards per game to 82.1 ypg. That puts him eighth in the WAC, 42nd/NCAA, and moved him past teammate Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala (70.7 ypg).
RUN, JARON, RUN: BYU freshman return specialist Jaron Dabney is ranked third in WAC and 13th in the nation in punt returns, taking 12 punts for 166 yards. Most of that yardage came last weekend, when he set a Cougar Stadium record for punt-return yardage with 155 yards on six returns (including his 83-yard touchdown return).
Dabney is first in the WAC and also 13th nationally in kickoff returns, with a per-return average of 27.2 yards.
TRIPLE THREAT: For the second time in school history, Utah State has a career 4,000-yard passer (Matt Sauk, 4,228), a 2,000-yard receiver (Nakia Jenkins, 2,145) and a 1,000-yard rusher (Demario Brown, 1,254) at the same time. It also happened in 1991 with the threesome of quarterback Ron Lopez, receivers Rod Moore and Tracey Jenkins and running back Roger Grant.
RANK AND FILE: Figure this one out. In the USA Today/ESPN coaches Top 25 college football poll, BYU is tied with Toledo this week as the top teams in the category: "others receiving votes," (the equivalent of the No. 26-ranked teams). Fellow WAC member Air Force is ranked 24th. Still, the Cougars are ahead of WAC peers Rice, Colorado State and New Mexico.
In the media-based Associated Press Top 25, however, BYU is second-to-last among "others receiving votes" (equivalent to No. 37). And in that poll, the Cougars trail Air Force, CSU and Rice in point totals.
TOMMY BOY: After missing two field goals and a late extra point that would have tied the SMU game Oct. 11, Utah sophomore placekicker Tommy Truhe, in his first season, made a PAT and then nudged a 42-yarder over the crossbar and confidently hit a 31-yarder in the first half at Oregon Saturday amid a swirling wind in an unfamiliar stadium. Truhe moved to second in the WAC (from third) and to No. 17/NCAA (from No. 21) in field goals per game at 1.4.
BYU BITS: Senior wide-out Ben Cahoon - dubbed "The Big Cahoona" in Provo - leads the conference in receiving yards (102.6 yards a game) and is second in catches per game with a 5.7 average . . . TE/FB Dustin Johnson ranks third in the nation in tight ends in catches and fifth in receiving yards . . . Gabe Giordano, who plays on the Y. special teams, is out for the season after tearing an ACL against Hawaii . . . Quarterback Kevin Feterik will keep his fractured right ankle in a cast for another two weeks.