Wow. I didn’t see that one coming, but if that is how it’s going to be, then I hope I’m off every week. The first half of that game was perhaps the best and most complete football BYU has played since the UCLA game last year and was a fine reward for fans. It even looked like the players themselves were having a good time. And once again, the team, with a near flawless game, has done a good job of raising expectations for the next three games to a level that may be hard to meet. As we witnessed in the aftermath of the FSU and TCU games, it can be dangerous to set such high expectations for fans (although fortunately it appears as if the players themselves have been more grounded), but at the same time, it will ensure that BYU football is the topic of conversation in meetinghouse hallways on Sunday mornings across America once again.
What we learned:
• Which team will show up? This was answered quickly and decisively, and as mentioned, perhaps beyond anyone’s expectations.
• Will BYU finally resolve to disrupt an opponent’s quarterback? Yes they did. And it worked like a charm. ACS was on the run nearly every play ensuring insufficient time to throw downfield and limiting his accuracy. Let’s hope this continues for a few more games…
• How much will the return of McKay Jacobsen impact the game? As expected. Jacobsen returned and promptly made one of the first big plays of the game, then broke out his 80 yard TD reception outrunning the defender for the final 20-30 yards. BYU really needs another one or two fast/impact wide receivers.
• Can the secondary (or the defense as a whole for that matter) limit the big plays? YES! Other than one scoreless drive at the end of the first half, Wyoming didn’t really have any plays.
• Will the team succeed on its first drive of the second half? Yes and Yes. After losing the coin toss and taking the ball on the opening kickoff, the Cougars to set the tone early and never slowed down. In opening the second half, the defense held and then the offense promptly scored again. It was Wyoming, but Bronco must be reconsidering his preference to defer.
• Will the running game be more than adequate? This was the Max Hall show, but the running game was a big part of making that happen. Harvey Unga had several nice 7, 8, and 9 yard runs. Riley Nelson also showed some ability to pick up yards, practically running the same play all the way down the field at 10 yards a pop.
• Will we finally see a non-offensive touchdown? Not this time, but there has to be something left to next time.
• Weather. Beautiful. Other than the coats worn by the few fans in the stands, it could have been Palo Alto.
A few other thoughts:
• I wrote last week that Wyoming was probably the fourth or fifth best team in the conference. But after Saturday’s game, I sure hope not.
• Wyoming did not look very good, but played Utah tight last week. What does that say about the Utes’ chances against TCU on Game Day on Saturday?
• What was up with the call of 12 men on the field? Thanks to the magic of DVR, those of us following along at home were able to do our own version of the ‘review’ and came up with a different conclusion. Does anyone have any more info on that? (Wrubell on call-in show, etc?)
• Back in the BCS at #22. It is nice to be able to appreciate the little things again.
• It was good to see the second and third teamers get some game time in the third and fourth quarters. There hasn’t been as much of that this season as was expected.
• Kudos to the offensive line, which had a great game in pass protection and opening up running lanes.
• Another shout out to the defense--across the board a job well done. They looked good while turning in lopsided efforts in the turnover (2) and sack (3) departments. Jan Jorgensen was named conference defensive POW for his 1.5 sacks (the first mulit-sack game he has had going back at least to last season).
• Max Hall was unreal. Only two incomplete passes (20 of 22)—one of which he threw away to avoid a sack and the other was dropped by Pitta. Only one game in BYU history has seen a quarterback with a higher completion percentage—Steve Sarkisian was 91.2% on 31 of 34 against Fresno State in 1995, which is an NCAA record (for more than 30 attempts). There may not be a game next season that we don’t think back with fondness for the days of Max Hall. Oh, and it appears he figured out how to ‘fix’ that interception thing he had going on…