Phew! A non-conference road win… It’s about time.
BYU pulled out a win today over the Washington Huskies by blocking an extra point attempt that would have tied the game as time wound down. Good times, good times…
Just as I was about to kick a hole in my TV in frustration over the atrociously biased Pac 10 refs (who had just swallowed their whistles on a blatant hold — a hold that likely prevented a drive-ending sack no less), just at that moment the refs blew the whistle on UW quarterback Jake Locker when he hurled the ball into the air after scoring a last second touchdown. The penalty meant that with the score at 27-28 the Huskies had to kick the extra point from an extra 15 yards out. In shades of the 2007 Las Vegas Bowl the Cougs promptly blocked the kick and won the game. Good times.
Here are a few things I learned from watching this game:
* The 2008 offense is better than the 2007 or 2006 offense. Seriously, this is a fantastic offense folks. If they can secure the ball a little better (as in, stop fumbling) they might be putting up 50+ points per game regularly this year.
* On a related note — No sacks; no QB hurries by UW. That’s a good offensive line.
* However… what’s up with all those shotgun snaps hitting Max Hall in the ankles?
* The defense is pretty much what the experts expected — not as good as last year. For the last several months the insiders have been saying “our defense is going to be better than people expect”. Uh… not so much. Those UW receivers were wide open over and over again. If Locker had any accuracy at all (or receivers with decent hands) he would have put up 400 yards today. BYU may be in for some shootouts this year if the defense can’t pull it together.
* Big mistakes in the defense early hurt in this game. How does safety David Tafuna let that ball go right trough his hands allowing UW to convert a first down on a third and 20-something? BYU should have put this game away sooner than they did.
* The national media was incensed by the celebration penalty on the last touchdown. Boo hoo. It was a perfectly legitimate call based on the rules. The dude scored a touchdown and heaved the ball like 40 feet in the sky. By rule that’s a penalty. With all the other obvious penalties these refs missed I can only credit them for getting this one right. If people want to complain they should complain about the existence of the clear rule that says chucking the ball in the air is unsportsmanlike, not about the enforcement of the rule.
* Sure I feel bad for Locker making a critical mistake like that. But no more than I feel sorry for Harvey Unga fumbling the ball on the 1 foot line after the Cougs had marched 96 yards to get there. Mistakes happen. All UW had to do was hit a 35 yard extra point from straight on. Instead they let BYU run them over and block it.
* It is nice to finally come out on the winning side of one of these close non-conference road games. As they say — it came down to one play and this year BYU made that play whereas in years past they did not.
* Dennis Pitta is possibly the best receiver in the country… and he’s a tight end. They guy never drops anything. It is astonishing.
* Austin Collie was trying too hard. He seemed wound up so tightly that he sort of self-destructed out there dropping multiple passes that he should have hauled in.
Next week: UCLA in Provo
The UCLA defense had BYU’s number last year and they appear to be just as good this year. But the UCLA offense is now led by our old pal Norm Chow. BYU is very focused on winning at home — UCLA will be a tough test and will come in as a ranked opponent.