Scores

Final

(16) BYU 38

(10-1, 4-1 away)

Air Force 24

(8-3, 3-3 home)

Coverage: CBS Sports Network

3:30 PM ET, November 15, 2008

Falcon Stadium, Usaf Academy, CO

1 2 3 4 T
#16BYU 7 3 21 738
AFA 0 14 3 724

Top Performers

Passing: M. Hall (BYU) - 354 YDS, 2 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: H. Unga (BYU) - 19 CAR, 88 YDS, 2 TD

Receiving: A. Collie (BYU) - 7 REC, 130 YDS, 2 TD

Hall's 354 passing yards help BYU school Air Force

Associated Press

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Austin Collie marched into the locker room at halftime, looked around at his somber teammates and let them have it.

The BYU standout receiver lit into the 17th-ranked Cougars for lethargic play and looking like "zombies."

Fast Facts

• BYU kept their hopes for a Mountain West Conference title alive with 28 second-half points to improve to 10-1 on the season and setting up crucial matchup with Utah next week.

• BYU has now won 22 of its past 23 MWC games.

• Air Force fell to 14-62-4 all time against ranked teams.

-- ESPN research

They listened, and BYU rallied in the second half for a 38-24 win over Air Force on Saturday.

BYU scored 21 straight points in the third quarter to turn a halftime deficit into a lead the Cougars wouldn't relinquish, setting up a clash with No. 7 Utah next weekend for a share of the Mountain West Conference title.

"I told the team that we're a lot better than this," Collie said. "We're one of the best teams in the nation, we needed to start playing like it ... We needed someone to step up and get in the guys' faces and say, 'This isn't how we play football."

His actions then spoke even louder on the field.

Collie had two touchdown catches, including a 45-yard snare with 4:46 remaining to seal the win for BYU (10-1, 6-1 MWC).

Watson: All Is Quiet

After all possible questions about specific plays and schemes were exhausted, Bronco Mendenhall was asked about next week's game against Utah, BYU's bitter opponent and hated rival, and mum was the word, writes Graham Watson. Blog

Corralled most of the day, Collie came on late, finishing with 130 yards, his ninth straight 100-yard performance.

He also moved to within 35 yards of passing Eric Drage as the school's career leader in receiving.

"He's clutch -- bottom line," said Max Hall, who completed 28 of 37 passes for 354 yards, picking apart an Air Force defense that came in leading the league against the pass. "He makes plays when we need them in big-time situations. He came up huge again tonight."

Especially in the speech department.

Cougars coach Bronco Mendenhall just sat back and listened.

"I really didn't say a word. Austin Collie rallied the team," Mendenhall said.

Harvey Unga added two touchdowns in a 74-second span in the third quarter, the tipping point of the game.

The bruising sophomore powered in from a yard out early in the third.

Then, on the ensuing kickoff, Reggie Rembert had the ball squirt free on a hit from Blake Morgan, and it was recovered by Spencer Hadley.

Three plays later, Unga romped in from the 2.

"You're never going to be mistake-free," Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said. "But you've got to be inching right up against it. When we play teams like BYU and Utah, that's just the way we have to play."

Speaking of Utah, well, the Cougars aren't speaking of Utah.

Mendenhall placed a gag order on his team -- at least for a few days. The talk can begin early next week, not now.

"We're just going to enjoy this," Hall said.

As the Cougars took the field before the game, they heard a chorus of "overrated" chants from the Air Force fans.

It didn't bother BYU. In fact, the drone was deserved.

"The first half, I could've said we were an overrated team," Collie said. "Second half, we stepped up. We proved we're one of the best teams. Hopefully, our momentum will carry us on."

The Cougars have beaten the Falcons (8-3, 5-2) in five straight.

Yet this was far from easy, despite BYU sprinting out to a 31-14 lead following Collie's spirited chat in the locker room.

The Falcons pulled to within a touchdown on Jared Tew's 19-yard run with 7:37 left.

But Collie halted the threat by hauling in his 45-yard score on a double move he'd been setting Rembert up for all afternoon.

Collie came to a stop 10 yards out, Rembert bit and Collie took off down the sideline, Hall hitting him in stride.

"We thought we could get them," Collie said.

Hall didn't see the completion after being hit by blitzing safety Chris Thomas.

"One step away," said Thomas, whose team sacked Hall three times. "But football is a game of inches and he made a great pass and they made a great play."

Dennis Pitta caught nine passes for 113 yards, while Unga had 88 yards rushing on 19 attempts.

Todd Newell rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown for Air Force, and Asher Clark added a touchdown run.

Freshman quarterback Tim Jefferson had won five straight since taking over the starting job, but the Cougars halted the streak. He threw for 98 yards and rushed for 75 more.

"We had some drives where we were flawless and there were others where we laid an egg," Jefferson said. "I don't think they're that much better than us. I kind of think we beat ourselves."

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Team Stat Comparison

 
BYU
AFA
1st Downs3221
Total Yards480421
Passing35498
Rushing126323
Penalties9-688-73
3rd Down Conversions6-115-14
4th Down Conversions0-01-2
Turnovers22
Possession31:5728:03

Passing Leaders

BYUC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Hall28/373549.621
Air ForceC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Jefferson12/20984.901

Rushing Leaders

BYUCARYDSAVGTDLG
Unga19884.6219
Vakapuna7324.6111
Air ForceCARYDSAVGTDLG
Newell211165.5133
Jefferson12756.3045

Receiving Leaders

BYURECYDSAVGTDLG
Collie713018.6245
Pitta911312.6018
Air ForceRECYDSAVGTDLG
Fogler22110.5013
Cousins2189.0011

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERBYUAFA
TD07:41Fui Vakapuna 11 Yd Run (Mitch Payne Kick) 70
SECOND QUARTERBYUAFA
FG13:29Mitch Payne 46 Yd 100
TD06:44Asher Clark 6 Yd Run (Ryan Harrison Kick) 107
TD01:55Todd Newell 1 Yd Run (Ryan Harrison Kick) 1014
THIRD QUARTERBYUAFA
TD10:58Harvey Unga 1 Yd Run (Mitch Payne Kick) 1714
TD09:44Harvey Unga 2 Yd Run (Mitch Payne Kick) 2414
TD05:15Austin Collie 6 Yd Pass From Max Hall (Mitch Payne Kick) 3114
FG00:56Ryan Harrison 34 Yd 3117
FOURTH QUARTERBYUAFA
TD07:37Jared Tew 19 Yd Run (Ryan Harrison Kick) 3124
TD04:46Austin Collie 45 Yd Pass From Max Hall (Mitch Payne Kick) 3824