BYU vs. SDSU: The Cougars win but it ain’t pretty

October 17, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 6:48 pm   Category: Sports

BYU survived a motivated SDSU team in San Diego today and took down the Aztecs 38-28.

It was a fairly pedestrian showing by BYU but a win is a win and no one will remember the score if BYU can beat TCU next week. The good news is that the passing attack of TCU isn’t nearly as good as SDSU’s. The bad news is the TCU defense is a lot better than SDSU’s.

Since I have a degree from both schools I was pleased with how good SDSU looked today. I think the Aztecs are on their way out of the MWC cellar and ready to be at least a second tier team in the conference. They seem to have better coaches and a better culture overall than I have seen on Montezuma Mesa in a long time.

Some random thoughts on the game:

– Andrew Rich got burned on pass coverage a LOT in this game. The guy can really hit but he was a bit exposed as a pass defender I thought.
– How about that Scott Johnson? Before the half he made a shoestring tackle on a log pass play to save a touchdown and a couple of plays later intercepted the ball to keep the Aztecs off the board at all that drive. That was huge.
– Max Hall looked really good. Several touchdowns and no interceptions. But the best play of the game was his deciding to run the ball in at the goals line with the clock winding down when everyone (including his own team) thought he was going to spike it at the end of the half. That was cool.
– Look for Dennis Pitta on Sundays starting next season. The dude may be the best BYU tight end of them all before career is over and that is saying a lot.
– Manase Tonga is underrated. Tailback Harvey Unga was ok today but he is a lot better when Manase is playing fullback.
– It is nice to seen newer offensive players like Hafoka, Thompson, Diluigi, and even Ashworth really contributing. BYU has a lot of weapons.
– I loved the Jorgenson sack at the end. Not only did it finally ice the game but he added to his conference record stats.

TCU is up next week in Provo. This is a major measuring stick game for this team and season. The game has massive conference title implications.


  1. Dang the Mountain. When will they be on Dish? My wife was sick so I couldn’t go to my friend’s house who has local cable. Bummer. Second game in a row I’ve had to miss.

    I’m glad Tonga played. I’d heard it was a game day decision. I agree with your comments on him. Even when he’s not handling the ball he’s an important player.

    How did the defensive secondary do overall? Sounds like not too good. What about special teams? Especially kicking?

    Comment by Clark — October 17, 2009 @ 9:47 pm

  2. Geoff: what degree did you get at SDSU? Just curious because I looked into getting my MA there.

    Comment by Chris H. — October 18, 2009 @ 7:10 am

  3. Thanks for the report, Geoff. I had to settle for keeping up with the score on ESPN’s gametracker, and your summary is about what I gathered from it.

    The most positive thing, I think, is that Hall has now gone 2 straight games without an interception. That is the first time he’s done that in his collegiate career, unless you count the 2007 LV bowl and the 2008 season opener as “2 straight games.” Hopefully this is a sign of increased confidence that is much needed for next week’s TCU game.

    Comment by Christopher — October 18, 2009 @ 8:59 am

  4. Clark — Tonga did not play and Harvey didn’t do nearly as well. I speculate those two are correlated.

    Chris H — I got an MBA there (plus my I spent my freshman year there before my mission). I know SDSU isn’t a top tier school but I felt like I got a great education there.

    Comment by Geoff J — October 18, 2009 @ 11:10 am

  5. BYU is #16 in the first BCS standings that came out today.

    Also, the ESPN College Gameday crew is coming to Provo for the premiere top 20 match-up of the week.

    Comment by Geoff J — October 18, 2009 @ 2:33 pm

  6. Poor Oklahoma and Texas ;)

    But I’m glad BYU won this one as well and impressed with the BCS showing.

    Comment by Stephen M (ethesis) — October 19, 2009 @ 6:02 am

  7. Geoff, my degrees are from Ricks, the U. of Utah, and I am ABD at Idaho State. The whole “top tier” thing means little to me (except when I get jealous of those who got to go to such schools).

    Comment by Chris H. — October 19, 2009 @ 6:15 am

  8. I found a website that was streaming the mtn tv feed live on the internet. I can’t imagine it was legal what they were doing, and it wasn’t a bad quality picture either.

    The entertaining part was that these BYU freshmen, who were broadcasting the game, were adding their own commentary instead of the original commentary. They were terrible, by all standards, but it was funny to hear them say the kinds of thing that you’re thinking but that you’d never hear in a professional broadcast.

    Comment by Eric Russell — October 20, 2009 @ 9:35 am

  9. So for those of us who’ve missed the past couple of games, what to expect this weekend? I think our team has talent and they’ve shown it before. (Say what you will about OK’s mistakes, but we played solid against them) I still worry about our offense getting nervous and Hall going for midfield into heavy traffic. I also really, really worry about our secondary. In past years we did OK at the beginning and by midyear other teams had figured out our defensive weaknesses – usually the secondary. While we are stronger this year, it does seem that’s a big weakness.

    I worry the most about our kicking and returning game. Neither have been strong this year in the games I’ve seen. Both have had some big errors. The kicking game in particular is needed to keep us in good field position.

    So is ESPN broadcasting this weeks game? (i.e. will I actually be able to see it if my wife is still sick?)

    Comment by Clark — October 20, 2009 @ 8:31 pm

  10. Clark, I believe the games is one Versus (either way, it is not on ESPN). That is part of why I hate the mtn so much: we gave up ESPN for the this garbage. Maybe ESPN wasn’t a great deal for the conference but it was great for fans all over the country.

    Comment by Chris H. — October 20, 2009 @ 8:58 pm

  11. Clark,

    VS. is broadcasting the game so if you have DirecTV you are hosed.

    Here is what you should expect this weekend:


    – Slowish BYU linebackers not being able to catch up with fast TCU runners (including the scrambling QB)
    – A BYU defensive line that doesn’t put a ton of pressure the QB unless a blitz is on
    – At least two pass interference calls against BYU
    – Lots of TCU catches down the middle of the field
    – Max Hall getting sacked a few times
    – At least one interception by TCU, possibly a BYU fumble or two


    – Some bone crushing hits by the BYU D
    – A fumble or two caused by the D (maybe an interception too)
    – Harvey running over people at times, and by them at others
    – Max hitting a lot of passes and only getting intercepted if he gets hit while throwing (which seems very possible with that TCU d-line)

    Mostly you should expect a BYU win.

    Comment by Geoff J — October 20, 2009 @ 9:12 pm

  12. Fortunately I have Dish so I have VS in HD.

    Comment by Clark — October 20, 2009 @ 10:41 pm