BYU Football: One win in the books but the “Quest For Perfection” still needs work

September 2, 2008    By: Geoff J @ 2:52 pm   Category: Sports

When Nevada backed out of their scheduled season opening game with BYU several months ago BYU was left in a bad spot. They needed to schedule a home game for August 30 with a good opponent. The problem is that most schools are not super anxious to come to Provo to face the Cougs — largely because most schools realize it is hard to beat BYU in Provo these days. So BYU reportedly took the best game it could get. That meant that Division 1AA (FCS) powerhouse Northern Iowa.

In the end BYU took care of the NIU Panthers 41-17. But the game was no thing of beauty for the Cougs on Saturday. BYU actually did have an excellent first half. It was the dominating performance one would expect from a top 20 division 1A (FBS) school over a good school from a lower division with the Cougs leading 27-3 going into the break. But the third quarter was a disaster for BYU. After losing 4 fumbles the Cougars gave up 14 points and scored none in the 3rd and the score heading in to the 4th quarter was 27-17. BYU righted the ship quickly enough and got those 14 points back but the game did show that BYU is has a way to go in its “Quest For Perfection” (the team motto in 2008).

Here are some random thoughts and observations about the game:

– First, I was stoked to actually see this game. The game was on the MTN (The Mountain West Conference channel) but this season for the first time that channel is available nationwide to DirecTV subscribers who pay the $12/month upgrade to get the Sports Pack. Very sweet for fans like me.
– Quarterback Max Hall looked great. The dude passed for nearly 500 yards and completed like 80% of his attempts
– There were some painful rookie mistakes in this game. Two fumbles were lost by new running backs, and another fumble was lost when the rookie left tackle whiffed on pass protection and Hall got drilled (in his own end zone no less) and fumbled. The other two fumbles were by veterans so clearly hanging on to the ball is a concern. I suspect that is the result of not much real contact in Fall camp.
– If the offense can avoid turnovers in general it could be scary good this year
– 200+ yards receiving from our tight end? That rules.
– Running back Harvey Unga is a tremendous talent for BYU. Even without fellow running back Fui Vakapuna playing (due to an academic issue) Harvey looked good running and receiving
– Freshman Oneal Chambers has a ton of raw talent. If he can keep his head screwed on right he will make a real difference this year.
– Where was that vaunted defensive line? They were adequate but not great
– The defense in general looked pretty mediocre to me — although the crushing blows delivered by new LB Coleby Clawson were impressive
– Anyone else nervous about the BYU cornerbacks? They looked slow Saturday — especially Johnson. Slow corners are never a good thing.
– Mike Reed is a real asset at receiver. He is often overshadowed by other players on offense but the guy can play.
– Let’s hope Austin Collie leaves his dancing shoes home in the future and gets the yards in front of him

Coming Up

BYU travels to Seattle to play a woeful UW team led by embattled coach Tyrone Willingham. The Cougs must win this game to retain any national respect but the Huskies are playing with their backs against the wall after getting their butts handed to them by Oregon last week. Should be fun to see if BYU can finally win a non-conference road game.

BYU is ranked #15 in both polls as of today.

Any thoughts o ye Cougar fans?


  1. Go Dawgs.

    Comment by L-d Sus — September 2, 2008 @ 6:44 pm

  2. I hate The Mtn. network and I hate the MWC for signing a contract with them.

    Comment by Rusty — September 2, 2008 @ 7:01 pm

  3. I may not have had the best experiences at BYU, but GO COUGARS!!! :)

    Comment by Dan — September 2, 2008 @ 7:39 pm

  4. Why did my comment go into moderation?

    Comment by anon — September 2, 2008 @ 7:40 pm

  5. I’m also glad that at least one satellite company has picked up the mountain. I’m still stuck with Dish, but we were lucky to have some friends invite us over who have Direct and the MTN. I wish I could say that I was as impressed with BYU’s playing as much as I was with Oregon against Washington, but I can’t. I’d like to see BYU get more pressure on the QB, like Oregon did all night against UW. I’d like to see more consistency from blockers and ball handlers alike. And of course, I’d like to see our first non-conference road win this weekend. (Go Cougs!)

    Comment by Clean Cut — September 2, 2008 @ 9:00 pm

  6. Dan — For some reason the spam filter caught your first comment. Let me know if you have that trouble again.

    Rusty — So I take it you don’t get DirecTV at your Brooklyn apartment? Kinda hard for find a place for that dish I suppose…

    Comment by Geoff J — September 2, 2008 @ 9:01 pm

  7. I wish I could have seen it. (D*** you Dish for not picking up the Mountain)

    Sounds like it was the game to miss if I had to miss one though.

    Comment by Clark — September 2, 2008 @ 9:08 pm

  8. BTW – was the Mountain coverage as bad as in prior years? (i.e. bad commentary, bad camera work, bad direction?)

    Comment by Clark — September 2, 2008 @ 9:18 pm

  9. It was indeed a bit like a pre-season game Clark. As for the MTN coverage — yeah it was weak. One would do well to turn down the sound and listen to the streaming KSL radio broadcast I think.

    Comment by Geoff J — September 2, 2008 @ 9:28 pm

  10. I am no fan of the U of U, but folks in my neck of the woods are feeling pretty low seeing them beat Michigan. That could be a huge game at the end of the year.

    Comment by Eric Nielson — September 3, 2008 @ 5:56 am

  11. I hate the mtn, too. I should get out more ’cause I don’t know anybody w/ direcTV. Still, grateful for the W.

    Comment by mondo cool — September 3, 2008 @ 9:27 pm

  12. Is it just me or are the PAC-10 refs cheaters? I saw so many open field holding penalties committed by Washington that weren’t called by the PAC-10 bozo team that I just shake my head in utter disgust. The PAC-10 insists on having a full squad of PAC-10 refs for an obvious reason: it gives an advantage to PAC-10 teams. Game in and game out against the PAC-10, the ref crews are atrocious. Washington repeatedly grabbed defensive lineman jerseys in the open field in plain site and tackled defensive lineman from behind at the point of attach in the open field in plain site. What is it that has to happen for fairness. Yeah, BYU beat Washington. It should have won by at least two touchdowns.

    Next week we face another crew of PAC-10 bozos on our home field. Every game against UCLA where there is a PAC-10 officiating crew has been an obvious “miss the call” when its the PAC-10 team and “make it up as you go along” with BYU.

    Comment by Blake — September 6, 2008 @ 3:57 pm

  13. I dunno. Calling excessive celebration on the home team with 2 seconds left doesn’t sound like biased officiating to me. Just incompetent.

    Comment by Last Lemming — September 6, 2008 @ 4:30 pm

  14. LL: The ref explained that he was absolutely required to throw the flag by rule 9-2-21a because the Wash. QB threw the ball in the air. If the ball is thrown so that the a ref has to retrieve it, then it must called. Not incompetent or biased reffing; just stupid rules.

    Comment by Blake — September 6, 2008 @ 5:02 pm