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Provo • When No. 25 BYU lines up against Houston on Thursday night at LaVell Edwards Stadium, the blue-clad Cougars won't treat it like just another game. Instead, they will treat it like two games. Hey, it worked against Texas.
After BYU led UConn 28-7 in East Hartford and then failed to score in the second half until just over four minutes remained in the game, an eventual 35-10 win, coach Bronco Mendenhall decided to change up the Cougars' halftime routine.
It apparently worked, because the Cougars laid 28 points on Texas in the space of about eight minutes last Saturday.
"Yeah, significant changes," Mendenhall said. "I really won't share what we did, but from the minute we came in at halftime, we did things we've never done before. And when we came out at halftime, we did things we've never done before, and so we've been targeting those things."
Safety Dallin Leavitt, one of the more excitable players on the team, shed more light on those behind-closed-doors activities on Tuesday when Mendenhall and several players met the media for the first and only time this week prior to the Houston game.
Sports psychologist Craig Manning "talks about our energy levels, keeping them low, then right before the game being able to bring them up and being excited," Leavitt said. "Then, when we come into halftime, rejuvenate and take our pads off and get ready for the second half. We try to treat it like two different games."
Last year, the Cougars outscored opponents 94-55 in the third quarter, but seemed to bog down several times after looking sharp in the second quarter. Against Boise State, for instance, they jumped to a 24-3 halftime lead, but won just 37-20.
They scored 135 points in the second quarters of games, more than in any other quarter.
"It hasn't been a strength of ours. We knew we had to address it," Mendenhall said. "We had some ideas, put them in place. Did that translate directly to our third-quarter play [against Texas]? I can't say. We did target it, and we did some pretty unique things."
Linebacker Bronson Kaufusi, right tackle De'Ondre Wesley and running back Algernon Brown all sustained ankle injuries against Texas and left the game before it concluded.
Of the three, Kaufusi's injury, a high-ankle sprain, is the worst, a BYU football spokesperson said Tuesday.
Mendenhall said he was "not sure" whether any of the three will play on Thursday. Kaufusi was seen walking around the football complex with a walking boot on his foot.
"They are what they are," Mendenhall said. "I don't think there's anything that is game-limiting in addition to what you already know. … But hopefully we will be as healthy as possible by the time we play."
Running back Toloa'i Ho Ching remains sidelined by a concussion he suffered in the opener at UConn.
Now on scholarship
Mendenhall confirmed Tuesday that three players have been awarded, or re-awarded, scholarships in the past month or so. Receiver Kurt Henderson and kicker Trevor Samson are former walk-ons who have been given scholarships, while linebacker Zac Stout has been re-awarded a scholarship after being dismissed from BYU in November 2012.
Former BYU safety Daniel Sorensen was waived by the Kansas City Chiefs on Tuesday. … Four Cougars are from the Houston area: safety Harvey Jackson, receiver Jordan Leslie, receiver Mitchell Juergens and defensive back Garrett Juergens. … Houston's director of sports performance, Brian Odom, and BYU offensive coordinator Robert Anae were both members of the Arizona staff in 2011.
BYU's 2013 scoring by quarters
1st • 96
2nd • 135
3rd • 94
4th • 67