<
>

Air Force 24, BYU 10

9/27/2003

PROVO, Utah (AP) -- For the first time in 21 years, Air Force had
something to celebrate on the way home from Brigham Young.

Chance Harridge ran for two touchdowns and passed for another
and Air Force coach Fisher DeBerry got his first win at BYU as the
Falcons beat the Cougars 24-10 Saturday, Air Force's first win in
Provo since 1982.

"It's a great place to be," said Harridge, who ended the game
with a touchdown from inside the 1 as the clock expired.

The late touchdown irked Cougar fans and a few of them let
DeBerry know it after he left the field.

DeBerry, who had been 0-7 in Provo, defended the call and said
he wasn't taking any chances even with just 2 seconds remaining.

"I wasn't trying to run it up if that's what you mean. I felt
the safest thing for us to do by goodness was to try to get it in
there," said DeBerry, in his 20th season as Falcons coach. "By
gosh, nobody needs to call me the things I was called. Maybe I need
to be a little bit tougher. I didn't appreciate that."

The ugly scene in the tunnel couldn't overshadow the
accomplishment for DeBerry. The last time Air Force won in Provo
was 1982, when DeBerry was an assistant to Ken Hatfield. The
Falcons needed a last-minute drive to win that year 39-38. But on
Saturday, the Falcon defense had BYU coming from behind throughout
the second half.

"I take my hat off to our football team. I mean to hold a BYU
football team to 10 points ...," DeBerry said. "That gives you
some kind of idea of the type of defense that our defense played to
day."

Darnell Stephens ran for 93 yards on 16 carries for the Falcons
(5-0, 2-0 Mountain West), who took advantage of a sluggish running
game and forced a key turnover in the fourth quarter. Air Force
beat BYU (2-3, 1-1) for the second straight year and have won five
of the last seven meetings.

The Falcons were 9-of-18 on third downs as they won their first
five games for the second straight season. A win over Navy next
week would match last year's 6-0 start.

BYU got a strong game from quarterback John Beck, who is
starting as Matt Berry continues to recover from a broken hand, but
it wasn't enough Saturday.

Beck completed 19 of 35 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown in
his second start for the Cougars, but that accounted for nearly
two-thirds of their offensive total of 306 yards. Rey Brathwaite
carried 14 times for 68 yards, but lost 10 on a late third down,
and Marcus Whalen gained just 28 yards on 10 carries and was
stripped in Air Force territory as the Cougars were trying to
rally.

"We had a great drive going and then we fumbled the football. I
felt bad for Marcus," BYU coach Gary Crowton said. "He was
feeling bad. We're all feeling bad."

After Harridge put Air Force up 17-10 with a 30-yard touchdown
pass to J.P. Waller, the Cougars started moving the ball with more
consistency than they had shown all day. Brathwaite took a pass 18
yards to the Air Force 36, then broke a 21-yard run to get the
Cougars into Falcon territory. But Air Force's Nate Allen stripped
the ball from Whalen and Ryan Carter recovered for the Falcons at
the 39.

The Cougars got the ball back with 4:05 remaining, but on
third-and-1 Brathwaite was stopped for a loss of 10. Beck's pass on
fourth-and-11 was way off target and the Cougars turned the ball
over at their own 19, drawing scattered boos from the home crowd.

Air Force was running out the clock, but went for it on fourth
down from inside the 1 with just seconds remaining. Instead of
taking a knee, Harridge scored on a dive as the clock expired,
drawing more boos.

"We would have had one play left and they didn't want us to
have that play," Crowton said. "We could have come up with
something might have gone 99 yards. They could have backed off a
little and knelt down maybe, but it doesn't matter. It doesn't
matter if you lose by a lot or a little."

Harridge had given Air Force a 10-3 lead with an 8-yard run
midway through the third quarter. The play capped a 14-play,
66-yard drive which featured four third-down conversions.

BYU responded by driving 80 yards and scoring on a 25-yard
touchdown pass from Beck to Phillip Niu with 3:02 left in the third
to tie it, but that was all the scoring for the Cougars as they
self-destructed in the fourth quarter.