BYU ditched their pass-first offensive scheme and stuck it to the Rams by pounding the run.
"When we get the opportunity to run, we're going to take advantage of it," said junior right tackle Jake Kuresa.
Junior running back Curtis Brown put forth a stellar effort for the Cougars as he tallied 147 rushing yards on 31 carries.
But the dagger that ended all hope of a CSU comeback came on fourth down and 2 yards to go, as BYU handed the ball to Brown.
"All I did was run straight ahead," said Brown of the 4-yard run that set up the final score of the night.
While BYU displayed a well-balanced attack on offense, the Rams struggled on the ground. Kyle Bell, the nation's 10th leading rusher prior to the game, was unable to get enough carries to gain rushing momentum. He finished the night with nine carries for 36 yards.
Brown had help from fellow back Fahu Tahi, who returned Saturday from a suspension. The 240-pound senior finished the night with 86 yards on 14 carries and the Cougars amassed 274 rushing yards.
"I was hungry," Tahi said. "Our whole plan was to run the ball…pound the ball."
While the Rams staged a short-lived comeback toward the end, much of the game was dominated by the Cougars, which can mostly be credited to the running game.
"They were in a good rhythm all night because they were running the ball well," said CSU head coach Sonny Lubick.
Cougars rally behind Mendenhall
BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall can certainly be given a lot of credit for Saturday's 24-14 win. Mendenhall is in his first season as head coach of the Cougars. He was promoted to the position after spending two seasons as the defensive coordinator.
His defense left the CSU offense in much disarray as they were blitzed heavily throughout the game.
"They sacked us more tonight than we've been sacked all year long," said CSU head coach Sonny Lubick. "We couldn't find a way to stick them or slow them down."
The Rams' offensive line had only allowed three sacks in five games this season but gave up four to the Cougars.
CSU was held to 30 total rushing yards (after averaging in rushes for a loss). The offense also completed just three of 10 third down conversions.
"The defense played good enough to win," Mendenhall said. "They executed the plan we asked them to execute. They got pressure when they needed to and I was proud of them."
On a positive note…
Justin Holland looked composed and efficient in the loss. His numbers: 22 completions on 30 attempts for 281 yards with 2 touchdowns and no interceptions.
Johnny Walker continues to emerge as an excellent receiving threat for the Rams. He caught eight passes for 100 yards.