I guess that’s why you play the games. Two weeks ago SDSU crushed USU. Last week USU crushed BYU. So SDSU should really crush BYU right? Wrong. In a rock-paper-scissors-like twist, BYU beat SDSU this afternoon 24-21.
BYU did it with some really solid defense, a bruising running game, only a few passes, and some lucky calls by the refs. On the defensive side, Bronco’s decision last week to fire defensive coordinator Jaime Hill and take over that role himself looked really smart today. This was easily the best defensive performance of the year by BYU. They were especially effective at stopping the run. On offensive side, the o-line really showed up today and the running back committee of DiLuigi, Kariya, and Quezada pounded and pounded all afternoon. BYU ran the ball more than 70% of the time and completely dominated the time of possession by a 3-1 margin. As for the lucky calls, there was a borderline pass interference call late in the game that was useful to BYU. But the real doozy was the DiLuigi fumble that should have gone to SDSU in the 3rd quarter. BYU somehow was awarded the ball even after an officials review that showed it really was a fumble. It was likely because the line judge blew the whistle really early, perhaps before either team secured the ball. Aztec fans will be angry about that one for a long time (and rightfully so).
The game was as close as it was because of some silly mistakes by BYU. Jake Heaps made a bad pass into the end zone that was intercepted. Chalk that up to him being a freshman. One of the young tight ends had a really silly fumble that BYU lost as well. And the punter Stephenson shanked another 12 yard punt which didn’t help. Nevertheless BYU did just enough to win. Interestingly, BYU’s magic number is 24. When BYU scores 24 or more or holds the opponents to less than 24 BYU normally wins. Both of those happened today.
Perhaps this will be a turning point for this team. BYU fans sure hope so. BYU will face a top 5 team next week at TCU so that one will be very hard to win but there are some much easier games on tap after that. One think is for sure — this season looks better for BYU than it did after the game in Logan. This was a huge win for BYU and dramatically improves the Cougars’ chances of going at least 6-6 and making a bowl game.