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Cougars’ defense stifling

PROVO, Utah — So much for that inexperienced defense holding back Brigham Young. The Cougars are looking as strong on that side of the ball as they usually do on offense.

No. 14 BYU gained its second straight shutout, beating Wyoming 44-0 on Saturday and extending the nation’s longest winning streak to 14 games.

The Cougars (4-0, 1-0 Mountain West Conference) forced six turnovers and returned two of them for touchdowns.

“If they keep playing like that, with the aggressiveness and the hard hitting and the passion that they’re playing with right now, good luck to the other teams’ offenses,” said Cougars quarterback Max Hall, who threw for three touchdowns before getting to rest in the fourth quarter for the second straight week.

BYU was coming off a 59-0 win over UCLA and has consecutive shutouts for the first time in 23 years. BYU last held consecutive opponents scoreless in 1985, beating Wyoming 59-0 and Utah State 44-0 — identical scores to the 2008 shutouts.

“That’s something we try to do every time we come out and play,” said BYU linebacker David Nixon, who returned an interception 19 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter and recovered a fumble he forced in the first half. “Any time you get turnovers, the game’s going to be swinging your way. You get that emotion and momentum on your side, it’s going to be a great day.”

The Cougars had eight new starters on defense when the season started and were leaning on Hall and the offense as the young defenders gained experience. Through four games, the defense has more than held its own.

BYU is on its longest winning streak since capturing the last two games of 2000 and starting the following year 12-0. The Cougars, who have won 15 straight at home and 17 in a row in the Mountain West, are off until visiting Utah State on Oct. 3.

Hall finished 16-for-27 for 189 yards with no interceptions, and Austin Collie had two catches for touchdowns. Harvey Unga ran for one score and caught a pass for another for the Cougars.

“They’re a real good football team and took advantage of all of our mistakes,” Wyoming coach Joe Glenn said.

Devin Moore ran 14 times for 97 yards and Dax Crum was 15-for-28 for 119 yards for Wyoming (2-2, 0-2), which hasn’t won in Provo since 1987. The Cowboys fumbled four times, losing three, and had three passes intercepted.

“Their defense is a little under-ranked,” Moore said. “They were a little faster than I thought they were.”

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