Wow — what a nailbiter

December 22, 2007    By: Geoff J @ 10:57 pm   Category: Sports

nullDid you see the Las Vegas Bowl tonight? Holy Smokes! We were done. You could have put a fork in the Cougs with 3 seconds left and an easy field goal lined up for the UCLA win. We were as done as we were against Utah I think. But like the Utah game an absolutely astonishing turn of events led to another BYU win. (A blocked kick this time around.) Congratulations Cougs! You overcame getting manhandled by the UCLA defensive front and a bad coaching decision at the end of the first half to get an improbable win.

So with basically the whole offense coming back next year do you think the Cougs will be in the top 20 in the preseason polls next year? A BCS bowl game run will definitely be in the air next season…


  1. What a frustrating game, knowing the whole second half that you could lose because of one stupid play call. I am surprised that BYU won, it was definitely the God of Spiting the Utes that blessed them.

    Comment by Kent — December 22, 2007 @ 11:08 pm

  2. “the God of Spiting the Utes”

    Hehehe. Niiiice.

    Comment by Geoff J — December 22, 2007 @ 11:11 pm

  3. yeah that brain fart of a call on the 3 with 12 seconds left in the first half had me yelling.

    My wife was like, “They are not professionals” I said it was the coach not the players who made that stupid decision.

    You have effectively 4 downs. 12 second take a knee, over and over.

    Yeah they definately made life interesting. You also notice they totally gave up on the run early and just kept passing.

    Oh and why did Hall NEVER run the ball? He could have thrown them off with a well timed scramble. He doesnt have to be Steve Young, to quote the guy from the michigan radio station last year.

    “Make a play… make a play!” :)

    But hey nice win.

    Comment by JonW — December 22, 2007 @ 11:14 pm

  4. The Cougs’ coaches called some real lame-brainers this year. Mendenhall goes into prevent defense and all it achieved was preventing us from stopping anyone. The blitz on the third-to-last play was the right call, Fowler just missed what should have been a pick.

    Now for the most idiotic stupidity of the year we get a hand off instead of taking a knee. Yeah, they’ll start in the top 15 next year and then let’s wait for the magic to happen.

    Comment by Blake — December 22, 2007 @ 11:22 pm

  5. I found about the game late and watched the last ~12 minutes.

    I didn’t know anything about UCLA’s kickers, but the commentators made it sound like he should be able to handle that last opportunity, as long as the blockers kept BYU out of the inside. I couldn’t tell that the ball hadn’t actually gone through until the entire (BLUE!) endzone seating area population leapt to their feet.

    Stupified. That’s what I was. Wow. Here’s looking forward to next year’s Cougars.

    Comment by mistaben — December 22, 2007 @ 11:34 pm

  6. the Make A play file can be found here if you want it.

    Comment by JonW — December 22, 2007 @ 11:34 pm

  7. yeah he made two from 50+ earlier so it WAS a gimme but hey that is why they play the games.

    Comment by JonW — December 22, 2007 @ 11:35 pm

  8. The cougars must have been good last week to be blessed with magic like that.:) Just kidding…

    Actually I see it as “what goes around comes around”. The cougars made a mistake to end the first half that UCLA took advantage of. At the end of the game, UCLA made a mistake (did anyone else think that kick looked way low for a short chip shot, even before it was blocked?), and BYU took advantage of it.

    I wish they had won a bit more decisively, but I don’t think people will even remember when it comes time to rank them next season.

    May I also take this moment to say, I told you so. Ok, not about the bowl game about the season in general.

    Comment by Horebite — December 23, 2007 @ 7:22 am

  9. Let’s start this again….

    Maybe Collie was right?

    No, really on the replay you could see Moroni missing off of the LV Temple way in the distance. What was he doing?

    That’s easier to swallow than the blocked field goal. Unbeliveable! (Actually, Aunt Rita, I think the UCLA kicker was TOO close – instead of getting elevation, he was still trying for another 50 yard distance and the ball came out at a lower angle making it easier to block. Even so, when it knuckle-balled short, that was when Moroni was doing his part. Yeah, I’m sure.) :)

    Comment by mondo cool — December 23, 2007 @ 7:32 am

  10. Altogether an entirely uninspiring game. BYU really wasn’t playing like they wanted it. I thought they’d lost it for sure.

    Oh well, at least they got a good set play example for future training purposes…

    Comment by Seth R. — December 23, 2007 @ 8:49 am

  11. I can’t imagine a less satisfying victory. When everyone was on the field jumping around I was yelling, “Stop celebrating! You should be hanging your heads in shame and thanking your lucky stars.”

    Everything in the second half was pathetic. Especially the last drive where they laid out the red carpet for them to march down the field for the winning field goal. They have a QB that’s as green as green can be and you rush three and give him all the time he wants. That’s idiotic. Blake’s right that the blitz was the right call on that 35 yard pass to the TE that put them into field goal range. The problem on that play wasn’t that the defender missed an easy pick, though, it was that he went for the pick instead of tackling the guy for a gain of three. He was way too late to go for the ball.

    Worst of all was the overall suckiness of the offensive and defensive lines. We couldn’t block anybody on offense and we couldn’t stop anybody on defense. We were dominated on the line of scrimmage on both sides. Terrible. Pass protection was OK, though. So there’s that.

    Comment by Tom — December 23, 2007 @ 9:26 am

  12. “Stop celebrating! You should be hanging your heads in shame and thanking your lucky stars.”

    Holy crap Tom. Get a grip on yourself. The team fought hard and won. The kicker didn’t shank the attempt — our guy blocked it. You are finding a way to cry and whine in a victory? Those people were jumping and screaming on the field because they were happy. I was doing the same thing in a living room with some friends out here. If following sports is this miserable for you even in victory perhaps you should avoid it altogether mate.

    Comment by Geoff J — December 23, 2007 @ 9:33 am

  13. Well, it wasn’t as serious as I guess it reads. I don’t really think they should hang their heads in shame. I was happy and relieved. It was a very unsatisfying victory, though. The whole second half was painful and the last drive was ridiculous. Why all defensive coordinators turn into lilly-livered morons in the last two minutes is beyond me.

    Also, I think the block was as much the kicker’s fault as it was a good play on our guy’s part. That was an awfully low kick and our guy wasn’t up that high.

    Comment by Tom — December 23, 2007 @ 10:23 am

  14. And yeah, I’ll criticize bad play even if my team wins.

    Comment by Tom — December 23, 2007 @ 10:29 am

  15. Well, umm, my condolences on your pain Tom. I hope you get better soon.

    Comment by Geoff J — December 23, 2007 @ 10:37 am

  16. Actually, Horebite. I said so.

    10-2 and beating UCLA in the LV Bowl. Kinda freaky actually.

    Comment by Eric Russell — December 23, 2007 @ 10:41 am

  17. Geoff,
    There’s no pain in it. It’s all fun. I’m evaluating the game from the perspective of a fan that likes to see good play almost as much as he likes to see a win. The win is great. Go Cougars! The play was terrible. If it wasn’t for the missed kick at the end everyone else would be complaining about the crappy play as well and saying they deserved to lose.

    I’ll stop raining on the parade now. GO COUGS!

    Comment by Tom — December 23, 2007 @ 12:17 pm

  18. Eric, that is impressive/freaky. Any predictions for next year.:)

    Comment by Horebite — December 23, 2007 @ 1:43 pm

  19. I caught ten minutes of the fourth quarter. You are right, that was quite the way for the game to end.

    Comment by Stephen M (Ethesis) — December 23, 2007 @ 2:58 pm

  20. Well Tom if it makes you happy I suspect there were a lot of lessons learned in this game for BYU.

    I think offensive coordinator Robert Anae got his butt seriously kicked by UCLA defensive coordinator (and potential new head coach) DeWayne Walker. As I understand it, Anae added no new twists to the offense whatsoever. He apparently thought that the Cougs could take just what they had and would be just fine beating the UCLA defense this time around. It smells a little like overconfidence or even arrogance to me. It almost cost the Cougs the game (even without the knucklehead call at the end of the first half). Dick Harmon reported the day before the game that UCLA’s defense had basically memorized the BYU offense and knew exactly what to look for based on the formation the Cougs lines up in. Man did it show. The UCLA defense was in the BYU backfield on nearly every play. Anae needs to take a hard look at his approach and start giving teams like UCLA new looks on occasion or BYU will be in big trouble next time around.

    I thought Bronco’s defense was alright but the bend but don’t break approach in the last series was a total disaster. He needs to reconsider his approach in those situations too.

    But overall I think that the Cougs have to be thrilled to have been humbled like that and yet still come away with a victory. UCLA has had its troubles but they have a ton of talented players still and managed to provide a good wake up call and measuring stick for BYU. Hopefully the Cougs will count their blessings and use this game as motivation in preparation for next season. With any luck the Cougs can start off better than 1-2 this go around.

    Comment by Geoff J — December 23, 2007 @ 5:00 pm

  21. Geoff,
    That’s the silver lining here (if you need to look for a silver lining after a win—which I do today, parade rainer onner that I am): they should learn from this experience.

    I wonder why defensive coordinators keep on letting offenses off the hook at the end of games. It’s a veritable syndrome. I’ve seen it in the NFL a ton this year: a defensive scheme that’s performing pretty well and making stops is jettisoned in favor of a scheme that gives the QB all the time he wants. I can’t count the number of times I’ve yelled at the TV, “Bring some pressure!” It just doesn’t make sense.

    Comment by Tom — December 23, 2007 @ 5:33 pm

  22. And yeah, let’s pray for some early season wins next year. The offense should be able to hit the ground running.

    Comment by Tom — December 23, 2007 @ 5:35 pm

  23. I thought it was a great game. I was surprised at the lack of penalties for BYU. There was one caught pass which was ruled incomplete (from my point of view) and there was one time it looked like BYU did a pass interference; but other than that a well-called and a well-fought game.

    The play call at the half was dumb, was it was admitted to be dumb by the coaches. On the other hand, it shouldn’t have been high risk.

    BYU played the field position game very well. I was surprised that we couldn’t get anything going though. We kept calling that same run play, and getting dropped for a loss by the same unblocked blitzer. That was dumb. When we blocked the kick, THAT WAS AWESOME!

    Comment by P. Nielsen — December 23, 2007 @ 9:03 pm

  24. While Anae’s prep was pretty bad, I think you really have to credit UCLA’s defense. They manhandled our O-Line. They completely shut down our running game. (They totally had Criddle’s number)

    Some folks were suggesting that they should have used the passing game to open up the running game. But never did.

    Comment by Clark — December 23, 2007 @ 10:51 pm

  25. So I guess the hero of the game, Eathyn Manumaleuna said something during a radio interview about going “balls out” on that last play when he blocked the potential game-winning kick. As it turns out, the term “balls out” has nothing to do with gonads as I had suspected; rather it has to do with going full throttle in a steam engine. See for yourself here. So my challenge to you is to use the term balls out at least once during a family gathering this holiday season and then explain that it the term is not off color at all!

    Comment by Geoff J — December 24, 2007 @ 12:47 am

  26. In addition to Bronco’s bad call at the end of the half, I also thought his decision to punt on 4rth and 2 was too conservative.

    But a win is a win, and it was definitely fun to watch. While this shows how immature I am, part of the deliciousness of the victory was thinking “Hahaha, in your face Ben Olsen!”

    It was also fun to think “How cool must his parents be to name their child “Bronco?”

    Comment by Katie — December 24, 2007 @ 11:20 am

  27. I said before that this was lose/lose for BYU. The only way to come out of this with pride was with a blowout win. Now I think I’m wrong.

    Luckily for BYU when the preseason rankings come out the press won’t remember the mitigating circumstances, they’ll remember that BYU closed out the season with a great run of wins and a W in a bowl game. That will set them up pretty well for next year.

    Comment by a random John — December 25, 2007 @ 7:52 pm

  28. Good point John.

    On paper the 2007 season ended up looking exactly the same as the 2006 season for BYU (finishing with 10 straight wins and a win over a big name Pac 10 team in the LV Bowl). But last year’s great season did not lead to a pre-season ranking this year because the offense lost all of its top producers. The major difference this time around is that 9 out of 11 starters on offense will back. Plus BYU will likely bring the longest winning streak in the nation into the 2008 season (I don’t think Hawaii will be able to beat Georgia). So when you combine the 22-4 record over the last two years, basically the entire prolific offense returning, and the longest winning streak in the nation I see no reason why BYU shouldn’t start as high or higher than they finish this year. That might mean a top 15 start to next year.

    (Of course with expectations that high another 11-2 season or better will be all the harder. Plus who knows how the 2008 defense will be.)

    Comment by Geoff J — December 25, 2007 @ 8:43 pm

  29. So did I mention that we got a puppy for Christmas? After long deliberation and a family vote we decided to name it Fui. (Harvey was the runner up name.)

    Now Brother Vakapuna will be remembered in our family long after his BYU career is over.

    Comment by Geoff J — December 25, 2007 @ 8:53 pm

  30. If you had named him Collie not only would you have sown confusion but his every step would be blessed. He’d probably never lose a bone.

    Comment by a random John — December 25, 2007 @ 9:06 pm

  31. You know the drill John. “Keep the commandments, prosper in the land”…

    Comment by Geoff J — December 25, 2007 @ 9:21 pm

  32. I should add that it is a bunch of crap that a team needs to have a running start to have any chance at a BCS bowl.

    Comment by a random John — December 25, 2007 @ 9:46 pm

  33. That’s true John. What it does need is a conference that doesn’t make it so no one can see any of the games. Give us back an ESPN contract.

    Comment by Clark — December 25, 2007 @ 10:45 pm

  34. One thing that I haven’t seen discussed in any of the coverage of the game is UCLA’s decision not to go for two after their touchdown. When they scored at the end of the half, they were down 17-12. Kicking the PAT left them down 17-13. How is that any better than 17-12? If they had gone for two and made it, the next field goal would have put them in a tie, and the blocked kick would have left the game in overtime. And if the two-pointer failed, they’d still be kicking for the win at 17-15.

    Always, always go for two when you’re down five. Walker loses the head coach position on that decision alone.

    Comment by Alf O'Mega — December 26, 2007 @ 7:18 am

  35. You know what Alf, you’re right. UCLA could have been in a position of having at least taken the game into overtime. Will it affect Walker’s bid to be a coach at UCLA? Walker is a class act and it would be a shame if it had that effect. I agree, always go for 2 when down 5. Mendenhall made the same faux pas against Tulsa, remember?

    Now for the big question — how can we go to a bowl game so unprepared? UCLA clearly had our offense’s number and they knew that Hall audibles into a running play about 99% of the time and they knew the gaps to shoot given the formation. Why didn’t we adjust?

    Comment by Blake — December 26, 2007 @ 8:28 pm

  36. Gaps? UCLA lined up in the BYU backfield. They were bringing the plays into the Cougar huddle. ([self-amusing reference out of left field]Mr. Deity: “All right. Everyone, snuggle up.” Jesse: “Sir, uh, ‘huddle up.'”[/self-amusing reference out of left field])

    Yeah, I think Walker should get serious consideration for head coach. If UCLA passes over him, they may well lose him to another program. He out-coached our offensive staff, even with that PAT blunder.

    Comment by Alf O'Mega — December 27, 2007 @ 10:28 am

  37. Congratulations to BYU and their fans. This was a good season.

    Also Geoff, your preseason predictions were remarkable. Has college Game day called? I can see you sitting inbetween Corso and Herbstreet.

    Comment by Eric Nielson — December 27, 2007 @ 12:38 pm

  38. Clark,

    For both The Mountain and the Las Vegas Bowl deal the MWC administrators should all be fired.

    Comment by a random John — December 27, 2007 @ 3:16 pm

  39. BTW, if you missed it, the Deseret News had a wonderful story about LaVell Edwards in his pre-successful BYU coach days. It can be found here:,5143,695238840,00.html

    Comment by Blake — December 27, 2007 @ 6:08 pm

  40. In other news…

    #19 BYU Basketball lost tonight at unranked BSU. I’m just not sold on this team yet. I think they will win the MWC and make the tournament but they seem largely leaderless to me. Unless someone steps up and consistently become “The Man” for this team I just don’t believe they have what it takes to power through close games. Just like the Michigan State game, the Cougs had a double digit lead at halftime and just got manhandled in the second half. I think the culprit is a lack of internal team leadership. You can’t have your star players show up some nights and disappear the next. That won’t cut it when the Big Dance comes around. Look for BYU to drop out of the rankings this week.

    Comment by Geoff J — December 29, 2007 @ 11:28 pm