BYU at Air Force (Or AFA bombs BYU)

September 11, 2010    By: Geoff J @ 12:59 pm   Category: Sports

We are moments away from the second game of the 2010 season. BYU is in Colorado Springs to play Air Force this week. Kickoff coming up. I’ll give updates as we go.

Pregame thoughts

– The MWC has a “big 3” with BYU, Utah, and TCU. AFA is considered the #4 team. Nevertheless BYU has handled AFA fairly easily nearly every year under Bronco Mendenhall. Part of that may be that Bronco has some very specific defensive schemes he developed to slow down AFA.
– This game is the first of the BYU farewell tour in the Mountain West. For whatever reason fans and writers from MWC schools seem to be much more angry at BYU for leaving than they are Utah for leaving. Go figure.
– With the date being 9/11 there are several commemorations of the 9/11/01 attacks on the US

1st Quarter
– BYU receives the kickoff and returns to the 26. Nelson at QB. His passing looks atrocious this drive but he is killing the Falcons with his feet. (The receivers still are dropping passes too.) It looked like he almost knocked out one of the AFA linebackers in one collision. Touchdown BYU. BYU 7 AFA 0
– BYU squib kicks into the wind. AFA take over at their 38. Marching down the field on the BYU D. Easy touchdown pass on a major defensive breakdown by BYU. BYU 7 AFA 7
– BYU takes over on the 20 with Heaps at the helm. Kid throws a pretty ball. DiLuigi continues to impress at RB. But he fumbles into the endzone on a long sweep run. AFA ball.
– Three and out for AFA. Punt.
– Nelson takes over at 50. Another false start. Lots of penalties in the first quarter. Nelson passing looks better this drive. AFA has had a ton of penalties so far. A personal foul plus a pass interference in the end zone gives BYU a first and goal at the 8. Another false start. Nelson punches it in. Extra points bangs off the upright but goes through. BYU 14 AFA 7
– AFA takes over after touchback. Couple of first downs. End of quarter.

2nd Quarter
– AFA gets hits a 22 yard pass on 1st and 20. Then gets 8 on 3rd and 9. They go for it on 4th and 1 and get it. AFA marches down gashes BYU up the middle. First and goal at the 5. TD AFA. BYU 14 AFA 14
– DiLuigi returns kickoff to 44. Heaps takes over. Three and out. Punt.
– AFA takes over at the 20. BYU holds to three and out. Punt.
– Nelson takes over at the 35. Another false start. Nelson fumbles after getting first down on run. AFA ball.
– AFA takes only two plays to score another touchdown on a reverse. BYU 14 AFA 21
– Heaps takes over at the 24. Interception first pass. AFA ball at the BYU 34. (Third BYU turnover in the half)
– AFA gets to third and short but Andrew Rich drops the runner for a loss. FG attempt. Miss. BYU ball. (Bullet dodged)
– Nelson takes over. Only first down is another personal foul on AFA. Punt.
– AFA runs out clock. End of first half.

3rd Quarter
– AFA takes over at the 20. Andrew Rich gets dinged up but looks ok. BYU defense looks wobbly. Chop block call saves BYU from big play. 3rd and 25 on gets a few. Punt.
– Nelson takes over. (Interesting because he had the last series so the rotation is off). Offense looks wobbly too. One first down then punt.
– AFA takes over. Gets a first down. Then throw a pick on a nice one handed grab by Hunter.
– BYU takes over again with Nelson. Three and out again. Nelson’s arm remains very suspect. Punt.
– AFA takes over. 46 yard option run for touchdown. BYU 14 AFA 28
– BYU stays with Nelson. Hmmm. End of 3rd. Nelson facing a third and 9.

4th Quarter
– Nelson pass incomplete. Yuck. Punt. Absolute shank. Goes 1-2 yards. The wheels are falling off for BYU.
– AFA takes over past mid field. AFA gashes BYU again. Fumbles but BYU fails to come up with it. Next play is a touchdown. The rout is on. BYU 14 AFA 35
– Nelson in again. The problem is that it is a lot of run plays. One first down and then done. Punt. (Shanked again!)
– AFA takes over past midfield again. Uale is in at safety and looks good. Eason with a nice play at corner too. Three and out. Punt.
– Nelson takes over again. Marching down. Nice pass to Hoffman. Drop by TE Matthews. Chambers drops a sure touchdown in the endzone. Do the BYU receivers and tight ends just suck this season? Bad pass on 3rd and 2. Nelson stuffed on QB keeper on 4th and 2. AFA ball. This game is over with seven minutes to go.
– AFA marching again. Clock runs down. Game over. Final: BYU 14 AFA 35

Final Thoughts
BYU played terribly the entire game. The defense got run over by AFA. The offense looked bad but got progressively worse. Nelson was effective at first but his lack of arm makes him easy to figure out. Heaps should have had a scoring drive but DiLuigi fumbled into the endzone. Then after his INT he got benched for good. With the receivers and tight ends looking so pathetic it is hard to say if BYU will need Heaps arm or not though. Even when he hits receivers they drop the ball too often. All in all it looks like BYU will be lucky to go better than 7-5 right now. That was a complete train wreck.

The good news might be that Florida State is getting completely steamrolled by Oklahoma today. Maybe they will be even more beat up next week than BYU is. But I doubt that will help this BYU team.


  1. Dang that was ugly

    Comment by Clark — September 11, 2010 @ 3:56 pm

  2. The fact is that the coaching schemes for BYU are terrible. The two QB scheme has prevented any rythm for either. When Heaps should be in the game, Nelson is.

    The defense just looks happless. The corners never show up on the pitch, there is no penetration and

    The kicking game in the 2nd half is pathetic.

    The offensive line can’t block a 4 man rush. The tight end is nowhere to be seen (except to drop a pass right in the bread basket).

    What can I say. The cougs look like a high school team. Air Force isn’t that good — BYU is that bad. It looks like delusions of grandeur at this point to go independent.

    Comment by Christine — September 11, 2010 @ 3:58 pm

  3. Christine,

    What does this bad game have to do with the decision to go independent? The money and exposure are still significantly better for BYU as an independent teamed up with BYU. This one ugly loss is completely unrelated to that.

    Comment by Geoff J — September 11, 2010 @ 4:18 pm

  4. Geoff: Wake up and smell the coffee (or in your case the Postum which looks as old and out of date as BYU’s game). It BYU is a so-so program, then independence is a lot harder to make work. Better money? Of course. Anything would beat the pittance the MWC threw their way. The problem is that the MWC really didn’t want BYU to hang around – 0 concessions to BYU on anything. Go figure.

    Comment by Christine — September 11, 2010 @ 4:23 pm

  5. What is a lot harder about independence? Scheduling? Not when ESPN is helping.

    Look, it was an ugly loss but you are out to lunch if you think this somehow relates to the decision of whether BYU should stay in the MWC in football or not. No need to get crazy.

    PS — Notre Dame, Navy, and Army are significantly more so-so than BYU and they do just fine as independents.

    Comment by Geoff J — September 11, 2010 @ 4:28 pm

  6. Considering that the cameras rarely give us any idea of the pass coverage, it’s hard to say how tight AF’s coverage was, but I felt like Nelson always intended to try and run unless someone was widely open. That’s not going to work in the long run. He has to make more of an effort to throw. Heaps should have begin given a shot at some point in the second half.

    Comment by Eric Russell — September 11, 2010 @ 4:38 pm

  7. I was disappointed in the decision to bench Heaps in the second half. If we are going to lose I’d rather lose going down gunning and giving our QB of the future more reps.

    Now comes the real troubles with having 2 QB’s. Nobody will gripe much when we win with 2 qbs. But when AFA holds you to 14 points and causes three turnovers in a half people will rightfully question it. (Of course if the defense makes a habit of giving up 35 it may not even matter.)

    How about that drop by Chambers in the endzone? What a mess. Even when Nelson was on target these guys were dropping the ball. This could be a long and painful season if these issues aren’t resolves immediately.

    Comment by Geoff J — September 11, 2010 @ 5:47 pm

  8. Go Air Force! Nice to see my fellow Airmen are keeping the Rocky Mountains safe for liberty, Mom, apple pie, and the American Way.

    Rameumptom, retired USAF

    Comment by Rameumptom — September 11, 2010 @ 6:34 pm

  9. Nice win for the Zoomies to be sure. They took BYU behind the woodshed today.

    Comment by Geoff J — September 11, 2010 @ 6:35 pm

  10. Best. Game. Ever.

    ‘Atta boy, Riley!

    Comment by Scott B. — September 11, 2010 @ 7:17 pm

  11. Wow, when we did predictions a few weeks ago this game certainly wasn’t one that I thought BYU would lose. I’m more confident in my 8-4 guess now. The QB thing is horrible, Nelson seems lost.

    Comment by jjohnsen — September 11, 2010 @ 7:23 pm

  12. I never thought Aur Force would be the game we lost. But give them credit. Outside of too many penalties they played a great game. BYU just was bad in every way. I honestly don’t know why Heaps was left out the second half when Nelsen can’t do deep balls. Yes the receivers were under tight coverage and were dropping balls when it came their way. But there was no way we cod come back purely with the option.

    The big question is whether this was BYU losing control because the team is so young that they lost their heads or if there are objective weaknesses in Nelsen, the receivers and the front D that all other teams will exploit.

    BTW what was up with CBS never showing down field camera shots? Reminded me of the director of the MTN. The announcers mentioned the coverage but the director never gave a shot.

    Comment by Clark — September 11, 2010 @ 9:45 pm

  13. Dang the iPhone typos…

    Comment by Clark — September 11, 2010 @ 9:47 pm

  14. Stinky.

    Comment by mondo cool — September 11, 2010 @ 10:31 pm

  15. O how the mighty have fallen…how delicious!

    Comment by Aaron — September 12, 2010 @ 6:27 am

  16. My sense when I prediceted my 7-5 or 8-4 season was that this was a rebuilding year and it could get ugly. I was right. They will now most likely lose to Utah, TCU, Florida State and one other conference game

    Comment by bbell — September 12, 2010 @ 12:56 pm

  17. I think it’s too early to say. Certainly the team is extremely weak. In QB. In the front D. In the receivers. The question is whether and how the coaches adjust. This could be akin to Tulsa a few years back. Or it could be indicative of a pretty bad year. (7-5 at best)

    Here’s hoping we regroup for next week which will be a much harder game.

    Comment by Clark — September 12, 2010 @ 5:17 pm

  18. Since this was the last time for quite a while that BYU will play at the Academy, I decided to splurge and get excellent tickets for this game. After the first score, I told the nice AFA fan sitting next to me that I was sure that the final score would not be 7-0. I had no idea how right I was.

    The most discouraging part for me was that it was a sloppy game on both sides of the ball. AFA was out of control on all their stupid penalties, and BYU couldn’t account for all eleven guys on the other side on defense or on offense. In the end, AFA just wanted it more, and BYU was worn out and confused on both sides of the ball. I wouldn’t have minded the loss so bad if it had been a well-played game from either time. In the end, AFA was just not as sloppy as BYU was.

    Comment by CS Eric — September 13, 2010 @ 7:05 am

  19. I think taking Heaps out was a huge mistake. Even though we make still have lost, as was said before, if you are going to lose you might as well give the long term QB more reps.

    Keeping Nelson in their did nothing for us short term and will do nothing for us long term in my opinion.

    Comment by Joseph Smidt — September 13, 2010 @ 8:29 am

  20. Joseph, I think they took him out because he was inexperience with the wind and because Nelsen’s running game was the only positive they were seeing. I think this a mistake because the only way they were going to come back was with the long ball and Nelsen can’t throw it. If anything I think this showed exactly how to defend against Nelsen.

    But yeah, it was sloppy on BYU’s part. Very. They had more penalties than they should have as well.

    While there was some sloppiness on Air Force’s part I was overall pretty impressed with them. Especially their QB who is the best I’ve seen them have in quite some time. How much of that looking good was BYU just playing atrocious is an other matter. Unfortunately CBS’ camera work was pretty bad so it was hard to tell what was going on in many plays. Especially out there with the secondary and receivers.

    Comment by Clark — September 13, 2010 @ 3:33 pm

  21. To add AFA had some great trick plays that BYU – especially their front D – appeared unable to know how to deal with. Probably due to their inexperience. As I said this could be a very long season. If it is going to be like that though then I think getting the team experienced is going to be pretty important.

    Comment by Clark — September 13, 2010 @ 3:34 pm

  22. Bronco hinted that we might see a lot more of Heaps in this week’s game in the press conference today.

    Comment by Geoff J — September 13, 2010 @ 3:45 pm

  23. Don’t panic yet, you fair-weather Cougar fans. AFA is an anomaly every year. No team that goes into that game thinking it will be a lark will escape without a rude awakening. BYU just wasn’t ready for them this year. It takes very specific, disciplined preparation to beat Air Force. BYU didn’t do it, and it showed. That’s all.

    Comment by MCQ — September 13, 2010 @ 5:07 pm

  24. I’m not panicking. I’d note that almost every year BYU loses a game to an easy team they really should win. I’m not saying AFA is weak. I was pretty impressed with their play actually. (Other than some sloppiness in penalties) I’m saying this is more like Tulsa from a few years back and will show the strength of the team. No one picked us to win the conference anyway.

    This week will be a pretty hard game at Florida though. So it’ll be interesting to see what Bronco comes up with.

    Comment by Clark — September 14, 2010 @ 12:26 pm

  25. Can’t wait for the following games. I am just hoping BYU doesn’t have a bad season and gets really humbled after their attitude of “we are too great for this conference: we are going independent…” Then having to face the crude reality that this conference seems to be exactly where they belong.

    Comment by Manuel — September 15, 2010 @ 4:01 pm

  26. Manuel,

    I keep hearing people spout nonsense like that and it baffles me. BYU left the MWC for a simple reason — the MWC was saddled with an ATROCIOUS television deal. That horrendous deal is locked in until 2016. After Utah left BYU decided there was no real chance of escaping that TV deal by becoming an AQ conference and thus no good reason to stay either. ESPN was there offering an exclusive TV deal to BYU for cryin’ out loud. Sure, it would have been nice if the whole MWC could have gotten a better TV deal but that is not the way it happened. So BYU made the only rational choice: Go indie with ESPN, make 4-6 times more money on TV every year, and increase TV exposure by several orders of magnitude. It was a no-brainer. Even if BYU were to go 1-11 for the next few years the choice would still have been a no-brainer for BYU (though ESPN would be bummed if that happened).

    The only real sticking point was scheduling. But with the help of ESPN that will be just fine too.

    Comment by Geoff J — September 15, 2010 @ 4:17 pm

  27. I’ve noticed people like to project on teams. I see no evidence of arrogance at BYU – certainly not Bronco.

    Comment by Clark — September 15, 2010 @ 6:29 pm

  28. LOL. OK, I think you two need a visit to campus…

    I agree with the TV deal, but believe me, on campus the feelings and talk is quite different, and I am sure it permeates either from or to the actual team.

    Comment by Manuel — September 15, 2010 @ 10:25 pm

  29. If arrogance is a real problem around campus why not hope BYU does get humbled on the field this season Manuel?

    Comment by Geoff J — September 16, 2010 @ 10:20 am