NCF Nation: MAACO Las Vegas 2009 bowls

BYU dominated Oregon State and kept the Mountain West’s 2009 bowl winning streak alive. The Mountain West, which is making a push for automatic qualification in two years, is 2-0 in its bowl games with three remaining.

The Cougars, who were playing in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas for the fifth consecutive season, started slowly but turned it on midway through the first quarter and couldn't be stopped.

How the game was won: BYU rebounded from a 7-0 first quarter deficit and rattled off 30 unanswered points to dominate Oregon State and give the Cougars their third win over a ranked team this year and second win over a ranked team from an automatic qualifying conference.

Turning point: Two plays after BYU tied the game at 7-7, linebacker Matt Bauman picked up a fumble from OSU running back Jacquizz Rodgers and ran it back 34 yards for a score to give the Cougars a 14-7 lead and they never looked back.

Stat of the game: Oregon State’s rushing game was ineffective against a BYU front seven that came ready to stop the run and star running back Rodgers. Oregon State rushed for just 91 yards, its third-lowest rushing output of the season.

Player of the game: The BYU defense played its best game against a formidable opponent since facing Oklahoma in the first game of the season. It contained Oregon State’s dangerous running game and the secondary kept the receivers in check until garbage time. Oregon State managed just 313 total yards of offense, it second-worst output of the season. The Cougars also forced three turnovers and turned all three into points.

Unsung hero of the game: The wind was definitely in BYU’s favor on Tuesday as it continually gave the Cougars good field position because of poor punting by Johnny Hekker. Hekker’s 6-yard punt in the second quarter set up a touchdown to make the score 23-7. He had two 6-yard punts in the quarter. The Cougars scored nine points in the second quarter, but controlled the field position because of Hekker’s inability to adjust to the gusting winds.

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