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October 30, 2014

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MAACO Bowl Las Vegas:

Notebook: Wind caused problems for everyone

Las Vegas Bowl-BYU vs OSU

Max Hall (left) and Manase Tonga celebrate after a BYU touchdown during the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas Tuesday at Sam Boyd Stadium.  BYU dominated Oregon St. with a 44-20 win. Launch slideshow »

The teams and fans weren’t the only ones annoyed by the 45 mph winds that accompanied BYU’s 44-20 victory against Oregon State in the 2009 MAACO Bowl Las Vegas on Tuesday.

Tina Kunzer-Murphy, executive director of the bowl game, said everything went smoothly all night — except for the wind.

“I’m a control freak, so I’d like to control everything,” Kunzer-Murphy said. “But two things I can’t control are the football and the weather. It wasn’t what we all like it to be, but it’s just the time of year.”

Still, Kunzer-Murphy said the bowl game enjoyed its first year in association with MAACO.

The collision repair and auto painting company signed a three-year sponsorship deal with the bowl game earlier this year. Kunzer-Murphy said she kept apologizing to the MAACO representatives at the game for the wind and assured them it was the worst in the 18-year history of the game.

“They are great title sponsors,” she said. “I hope they don’t leave.”

Kunzer-Murphy and her staff will immediately start to review this year’s game and plan for the future.

“Now, we’ll start preparing and try to make things better for next year,” Kunzer-Murphy said. “It all starts over again.”

Rodgers brothers held in check

BYU wasn’t shy about sharing its defensive game plan after the bowl: Stop the Rodgers brothers.

The Beavers had relied on sophomore running back Jacquizz Rodgers and junior receiver James Rodgers to make big plays all year.

“They have ability to catch the ball, run with the ball and go to the distance on every single play,” BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “If they aren’t able to do that, then the workload has to be shifted elsewhere. We didn’t think that could happen at a consistent enough basis to score enough points to win the game.”

Jacquizz Rodgers finished with only 63 yards on 18 carries and four receptions for 13 yards. James Rodgers had 14 rushing yards and 30 passing yards.

Wind dictates kicking game

BYU freshman punter Riley Stephenson booted a career-best 60-yard punt late in the first half. Stephenson, however, needs to give credit to the ferocious winds that ripped through Sam Boyd Stadium for the feat.

The wind played a major factor in this year’s game, especially with quarterbacks throwing and kickers kicking into the wind.

The Stephenson punt rolled a good 30 yards to give Oregon State awful field position inside its 20-yard line. After Oregon State failed to gain a first down, Oregon State punter Johnny Hekker battled the wind with his punt and lost — for the second time of the first half.

Hekker’s punt resembled the loose papers flying around the stadium and quickly died out of bounds. Hekker can credit the wind for a 6-yard punt — his second 6-yarder of the half.

The longest punt in the 18-year Las Vegas Bowl history is 66-yards.

Sellout crowd quickly thins

The MAACO Bowl Las Vegas was a sellout for the fourth straight year on Tuesday night with an announced attendance of 40,018.

There were, however, several empty seats at Sam Boyd Stadium by the end of BYU’s victory.

Wind gusts up to 55 mph and a 20-plus point lead by BYU for most of the second half surely thinned the crowd.

Seats on Oregon State’s west side of the stadium were roughly 40 percent full, while the bleachers in the south end zone were about a quarter full for the entire second half.

The top attendance in the bowl’s 18-year history was 44,615 in 2006 for BYU’s 38-8 victory against Oregon. There were temporary bleachers constructed in the north end zone for that contest.

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