It’s a big honkin’ Saturday for BYU sports

November 24, 2007    By: Geoff J @ 6:34 am   Category: Sports

As if the big BYU-Utah football game were not enough, the still-undefeated men’s hoops team knocked off #6 Louisville last night in Las Vegas and will play #1 North Carolina tonight in the finals of the Las Vegas Invitational. Days like today are a BYU sports fan’s dream come true. The only question this morning is whether it will be a good dream or not by the end of the day…

Nothing would spoil the day like a home football loss to the Utes. BYU football is sporting a shiny new top 25 ranking this week (coming in at #23 in both polls) after knocking off Wyoming last week for the team’s seventh straight win in a row. Utah also comes in to today’s match up with a seven straight win streak and is looking to exact a little revenge for the last second Beck-to-Harline touchdown that gave BYU the win last year in SLC. The pundits agree that the teams are quite evenly matched this year so the game at noon MST in Provo is shaping up to be a good one. As a BYU fan, I’m betting on the home field advantage and the Cougs’ senior leadership on the defense and offensive line to make the difference in a win for the home team. But a victory won’t be easy for the guys in blue so stay tuned.

The currently unranked men’s basketball team is looking very much like a top 25 team right now as well with more talent on the team and confidence on the floor than I ever remember seeing in a BYU basketball team. The team remains undefeated after the big win last night which was available via some pretty nice coverage on BYUTV for once. The production quality of the broadcast was actually pretty impressive when compared to the quality of the average “mtn.” broadcast (so I’m told). The announcers did a nice job overall but it did get a little irritating when the play-by-play guy kept talking about BYU still “hanging around” in the game even when the Cougs were up by like 10 points. Oh well, I guess he was playing up the underdog role or something. Anyway, BYU should have won the game by 10-20 points instead of by 2 in my estimation. The Cougs missed way too many open threes and layups as the poor shooting percentage in the first half showed (BYU shot 39% in the first half to the 70% of Louisville and still took a 4-point lead into halftime). Seemed like the BYU players were a little amped up in general in the game so that might explain the multitude of shots hitting back iron… Well, that is with the exception of sophomore Jonathan Tavern who looked as calm as a summer’s breeze as he put on a show for the 40 NBA scouts in the crowd. Tavernari lit up Louisville with 29 points and was complemented nicely on the inside by a 21 point game from Trent Plaisted. The whole win was very impressive. The best sequence started with a poke-away steal by Tavernari that was grabbed by Murdoch (I think); Tavernari received the outlet pass down court and since he was being chased he dropped a behind-the-back pass to the trailing Plaisted who soared in for a ferocious tomahawk jam. I couldn’t believe that play didn’t make SportsCenter because it was sweet. (I’ll add it here if I find a video clip online).

Anyway, the football game is airing today at 2:00 EST on VS and CSTV (plus the “mtn.” for the three of you who get that) and the basketball game will air at 10:30 EST on ESPN2. GO COUGS!

In the meantime, here are some highlights from a few past football games for your viewing pleasure. The CSU game highlights are here (set to The Cult’s “Fire Woman” no less):


Here are some highlights of the second half of the EWU game that I don’t think I ever posted:


Post football game update — See this from the Daily Herald folks:



  1. Rise and Shout baby. Thanks for the update Geoff.

    Comment by Guy Murray — November 24, 2007 @ 7:17 am

  2. Awwwwwww Yeeeahhhhhhhh!

    Comment by Geoff J — November 24, 2007 @ 3:32 pm

  3. Wow!!! What a game!!!!

    Comment by P. Nielsen — November 24, 2007 @ 3:47 pm

  4. Best 2 minutes of game time of the year. Wow. What a game. And I can’t believe all the Utes complaining about the refs. Yeah one call was bad but that wasn’t going to make the game.

    I’ll tell you though I was nervous after we had so many chances to solidify the lead and just couldn’t finish. (Although Unga was playing hurt – but still…)

    Comment by Clark — November 24, 2007 @ 9:07 pm

  5. Great basketball game. So close to an upset.

    Comment by Mark D. — November 24, 2007 @ 10:53 pm

  6. So close indeed… It looked like BYU just got a little tired at the end there. We got outscored 11-2 in the final couple of minutes. Tavernari and Plaisted had open threes but every single one of them at the end hit front iron. That’s a pretty good indicator that the shooter has lost some of his spring. Well at least Dickie V. is now a fan. That ought to help with the publicity the team gets at least. I expect a top 25 or even top 20 ranking ought to be coming with the new hoops polls on Monday. Now the question will be which team will be ranked higher this week — men’s hoops or football. (What a great question to be able to ask!)

    Comment by Geoff J — November 24, 2007 @ 11:00 pm

  7. Good game, though it was unfortunate the Y came out on top. I posted a recap and some thoughts here.

    Complaining about the refs is like a kid whining when their parents enforce a rule one way when they enforced it differently 10 minutes earlier. Even if you do complain its not going to change anything and you should have freaking stopped them on 4th and 18 anyway! DAH!

    Comment by Jon in Austin — November 24, 2007 @ 11:01 pm

  8. Lastly, I refuse to blame the officials but I do have one question framed in the voice of the immortal Karl Malone:

    What Robert Johnson have did that Brian Kehl have not did to earn a personal foul?

    Comment by Jon in Austin — November 24, 2007 @ 11:13 pm

  9. Yeah, the refs did call it another way. All game long the refs had let the Ute defensive backs all but mug the Y receivers and push them out of their routes. At the end of the game, the two interference penalties were so blatant that the refs couldn’t let it go any longer. I was there up close and personal for both calls.

    I’m glad that Unga got the opportunity to redeem himself after muffing what obviously should have been a touchdown reception. Frankly, let the Utes complain.

    4th and 18 and the Ute defenders just got beat. They didn’t blow the assignment so much as Collie blew by them. How is Hall’s shoulder?

    Comment by Blake — November 24, 2007 @ 11:15 pm

  10. Blake,

    Regarding Hall’s shoulder, see this from R. Potkey’s blog:

    After the game, BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall admitted Hall’s shoulder injury suffered against Wyoming last week was much more severe than the team led everyone to believe.
    He said he was amazed Hall was even able to throw at practice on Tuesday because the sprain was pretty bad. Hall said the adrenaline helped pull him through, and it’s a good thing because he needed every ounce of strength in right arm for his 49-yard connection down the right sideline.

    Comment by Geoff J — November 25, 2007 @ 9:01 am

  11. Unga had a pretty serious ankle injury. He left for the locker room in the 2cd. So while it was disappointing he screwed up several catches, it was understandable that he didn’t have his normal speed.

    Comment by Clark — November 25, 2007 @ 7:30 pm

  12. Good point Clark. In the end, it was the defense that won this game. They stuffed a pretty decent Ute offense and really punished both runners and receivers. There was pressure on the Ute QB thruout the game.

    However, I have one gripe about the coaching which just left me shaking my head in wonder. In the first series of the 2nd half, BYU changed its defensive scheme and essentially ran a prevent defense. They rushed only 3 and most times only 2. With the pressure off, the Utes marched down the field to get a field goal. It was obvious that the scheme was not working after the first 3 downs, but they stuck with it. Now here is what has me just dumbfounded at the stupidity of this defensive move. Against TCU, BYU did the same thing in the last drive and it failed miserably. TCU moved down the field very quickly for a TD on the prevent defense. What is mystifying is that BYU had been applying a pressure defense during the entire first half of the Utah game with great results and there was absolutely nothing in the Ute offense to justify the change. Did I miss something or was this just a boneheaded coaching call that demonstrates that there is a hole in the head somewhere on the BYU coaching staff?

    Comment by Blake — November 25, 2007 @ 8:25 pm

  13. Congratulations on a nice season. What bowl game is most likely? I have lost track of what the MWC champ usually gets.

    Comment by Eric Nielson — November 26, 2007 @ 9:42 am

  14. Eric,

    The Las Vegas Bowl is licking their chops to get us in over there but the BCS is still making them wait since there is an extreme longshot chance we make it into one of their bowls still.

    Comment by Geoff J — November 26, 2007 @ 2:11 pm

  15. BYU Hoops is ranked #21 in the AP and #23 in the Coaches poll as of today.

    This goes along nicely with BYU football’s #19 ranking in the BCS standings as of this weekend.

    Very nice.

    Comment by Geoff J — November 26, 2007 @ 2:12 pm

  16. 4 and 18. Yeah.

    Comment by Adam Greenwood — November 26, 2007 @ 3:35 pm

  17. My gripe with the coaching was using Unga too much. You don’t run someone, who just ran 50 yards, twice in a row.

    Comment by P. Nielsen — November 26, 2007 @ 6:49 pm

  18. 4th and 18 and the Ute defenders just got beat. They didn’t blow the assignment so much as Collie blew by them.

    No offense but you really don’t know what you’re talking about here. Watch the replay and note how McCain is cheating on the play looking into the backfield instead of taking the deep quarter like he should have been. Factor in Gary Anderson’s comments after the game and you’ll see how it was a defensive break down that left Lassie open, not simply his speed or God’s magic.

    Unless you think divine intervention was involved in smiting the wicked Utes with that abomination of a play.

    Comment by Jon in Austin — November 26, 2007 @ 7:45 pm

  19. Jon in Austin: time to unwad your shorts. You’re right. McCain had a man-to-man assignment. He blew it — except that he has a pretty good defense for what he did. When the QB is running free the assignment can shift — as it did here. With all due respect to Gary Anderson, he’s the one who set up the tight man-to-man. So why was McCain cheating up? Part of the man coverage. Collie blew by him — and only then did McCain roll to pick up the QB. When the play broke down and Hall began to scramble out of the pocket, McCain rolled to take the QB after he had already been beat by Collie. Go watch it again and you’ll see what I mean. McCain rolled only because he had already been beat by Collie.

    Perhaps I’m as clueless as you suggest, but I’m betting not. Since the defensive captain for the Ute defense is my law partner’s son-in-law, I have a bit of knowledge about what happened from the guys on the field.

    I’ll let your comment about magic and “Lassie” alone since it must hurt too much to admit that Collie just flat out beat McCain so McCain had to improvise. BTW Collie’s post-game comment was just plain stupid. But when the Y converts 4th and 18, it sure looked like a miracle. It felt like a miracle on par with the resurrection. I was in the stadium and the fans were all dead and buried after Utah scored. However, I’ve seen the Utes pull off enough miracles to know that they aren’t limited to Collie and his team.

    Comment by Blake — November 26, 2007 @ 9:41 pm