Saturday, November 24, 2007

Utah at BYU

1st quarter

The defenses have come to play. At 1:18 there’s no score.

Max Hall is not on. He’s only completed about 2 or 3 passes with one pick on the 16 yardline. BYU got it back on a pick and then Harvey Unga broke loose on a running play out to the 48. On a subsequent play Unga fumbled, but the Utes couldn’t move the ball and wound up punting.

End 1st quarter Utah 0, BYU 0

2nd quarter

BYU starts out moving the ball mostly on the strength of Harvey Unga carries.
BYU’s passing game isn’t clicking.
8:39 left in the half and Utah held BYU to a 47 yd field goal attempt that went wide left. BYU’s weak kicking game is a factor already.
BYU got a pass interception at the 40 yard line by Matt Bauman.

Austin Collie tried a halfback pass that was incomplete. Matt Allen was the intended receiver who was triple covered. The pass floated and the defensive backs caught up to Collie.

BYU gets first and 10 near the 10 on a pass to Manase Tonga.

Utah held the Cougars to a field goal attempt on fourth from the 2. The 22 yard attempt by Mitch Payne was good.

UofU 0 BYU 3

Double reverse by Utah loses 4 yds
Long pass by Johnson goes incomplete.

Utah called for dead ball unsportsmanlike after punting. Fair catch on BYU’s 18 + 15 yd penalty puts the ball on BYU 33 yard line 1st and 10.

Harvey Unga limps off field, there goes BYU’s running game Max Hall 8 for 19 with one pick so far
After a long gain unsportsmanlike conduct on BYU for tossing the ball to a Ute. Taunting, I guess.

Touchdown pass to Austin Collie but Collie called for pass interference. 15 yard penalty.
Looked like a picky call to me.

Long pass to Matt Allen incomplete. The Ute pushed Allen as he tried to make the catch. No PI call.
BYU punts, Utes take a knee.
At the Half Utah 0 BYU 3
2 turnovers apiece

3rd quarter

BYU’s kickoff is out of bounds, a common occurrence for BYU. Utes get the ball at their 35.

Utah converts on 3rd down for the first time today.
Another pass for another first down at the BYU 37.
Another good running play on first down picks up 9 yds.
First and 10 at BYU’s 24.
First down play nets another first down at BYU’s 13.
First down play nets 8 yds to BYU’s 6.
Holding penalty on 2nd down backs ball up to BYU’s 16, 2nd and 13. Option keeper gets the ball to the 11.
3rd down play Jan Jorgensen sacks Johnson.
Utes have to go for a 35 yd f.g. is good. So Utah scores on their first possession of the 2nd half.

9:45 Utah 3 BYU 3
Austin Collie returns kickoff to BYU 26.
Unga carries on first down for 2 yds.
2nd down pass to Collie dropped, incomplete.
3rd down pass good for 7 yds, not long enough for a first down.
BYU punts. Utah fair catches on the Utah 27 yardline. 8:05 left in the 3rd.

1st down option run to the right for 3 yds
2nd down counter trap for 5 yds.
3rd down Johnson keeps for no gain.
4th down Utah punts. Mohuica fair catches on BYU’s 28.

BYU 1st down on BYU 28 Unga carries followed by a quick snap running play for 1st down. TV missed the play while interviewing someone on the sideline.

1st down at BYU’s 41 pass to Unga for big gain.

1st down at Utah 32 yardline run for 2 yds.
2nd and 8 at 30 pass to Pitta good for first and goal at 10

1st down at Utah’s 10 yardline. Unga carries to the 7.
2nd down run carry by Seminoff for 2
3rd and goal Max in the gun pass incomplete Pitta wants PI but no flags thrown.
4th down Mitch Payne’s 22 yard field goal attempt is good.
Utah 3 BYU 6

BYU kickoff return pitched back by Utah with penalty for block in the back. Utah will start at the 6.
1st down Johnson in gun tries to pass then runs to the 13.
2nd down Mack runs left for a loss of three.
3rd down false start, half the distance,
Repeat 3rd down from the 6 false start again half the distance. Crowd noise must be bothering the Utes.
Repeat 3d down from the 6 Johnson can’t find anybody and scrambles to the 10 yardline.
4th down Utah punts from the end zone Muhuica returns to the BYU 43 yardline.

BYU 1st down pass incomplete.
2nd down Unga runs to the Utah 49.

End of quarter
Utah 3 BYU6

4th quarter

BYU 3rd down at Utah 49 4 to go. Max hall in shotgun throw to Collie at Utah 41.

1st down pass to Michael Reed for big gain down sideline to Utah 24 yardline.

1st down pass incomplete to Matt Allen, who complains to the official that he was held by the defender.
2nd down run by Tonga to the Utah 17 yardline.
3d down and 4 to go. Pass to end zone incomplete. Pitta complains to the official.
4th down f.g. attempt by Mitch Payne is good.

Utah 3 BYU 9

BYU isn’t getting the touchdowns it’s going to need to win this game. But then, so far, Utah isn’t getting them either.

Payne kicks off and Utah returns to their 25.

Utah 1st down pass to Richards for 7 yds.
2nd down pass complete for 1st down

1st down at Utah 42 run by Mack for 6 yds.
2nd down at Utah 48. Pass to outlet back tackled for loss of one
3rd down and 5 pass complete to Godfrey for a first down.

1st down at BYU 44 Johnson throws a high incomplete pass, receiver blasted by a Cougar while in the air. No penalty called.
2nd down pass for no gain.
3rd down and 10 long pass into end zone overthrown and incomplete.
4th down punt for touchback

I think the first team to score a touchdown is going to win this game

BYU 1st down on BYU 20 Long pass to Austin Collie to Utah 36

1st down Unga runs for 2
2nd down Unga runs for 4
3rd down poorly thrown pass incomplete to Unga, who was wide open but couldn’t find the ball.
4th down pass incomplete to Unga who was all alone with the ball just off his fingertips. If he could have caught it Utah couldn’t have prevented him from scoring. Ball goes over on downs.

Utah first down at Utah 32 run for no gain.
2nd down pass to Godfrey at Utah 35 yardline.
3rd down run for first down by Johnson.

1st down Johnson almost tackled for loss, but he gets away for a 2 yard gain.
2nd down at Utah 46 run by Mack for 5 yards
3rd down at BYU 49 3 to go Mack runs for 15 for a first down

1st down at BYU 34 Johnson drops back to pass, but tucks and runs for 3 or 4 yds.
2nd down 7 yds to go run for 3 yards. Clock ticking away, with 4:16 left in the game.
3rd down pass to Godfrey for first down.

1st down at BYU 23 Johnson scrambles for 3 yard gain.
2nd down at BYU 19 run by Johnson for 5 yd gain.
3rd down Loucks is in for Johnson and runs to 6 for first down.

1st and goal at BYU 6 Loucks stays in and gets the ball to the BYU 1.
2:10 to play and the clock is running.
2nd and goal pass thrown away by Johnson.
3rd and goal Mack runs for TD around right side. PAT good

Utah 10 BYU 9 1:34 left in the game. Did Utah score too soon?

Utah kickoff is deep in the end zone for a touchback.

BYU 1st and 10 and BYU 20 Hall back to pass, the ball is knocked loose, Hall recovers for an 8 yard loss.
BYU takes 1st time out.
2nd down at BYU’s 12 pass to Pitta is incomplete.
3rd down 1:19 left. Another pass to Pitta is also incomplete.
4th down and 18 to go. BYU must go for it. Pass to Austin Collie all by himself completed for a Big Gain.

1st and 10 at Utah 39 pass to Collie is incomplete.
2nd and 10 1 minute to play. Pass incomplete but a penalty flag is thrown. Personal foul called against Utah for unnecessary roughness gives BYU a 1st down at the Utah 24

1st and 10 false start. Crowd noise must be bothering the Cougars, too. See, what did I tell you, there’s no home field advantage for BYU when Utah is in town.
1st and 15 at Utah 29 long pass to Michael Reed incomplete. Flag thrown. PI against Utah. Reed was hit while the ball was in the air.

1st and 10 at Utah 14 run by Tonga to Utah 11.
BYU takes their 2nd time out. One time out left. 43 seconds left to play.
2nd down at Utah 11 Unga runs for a Touchdown with 38 seconds left.

Coach Bronco Mendenhall is calling their last time out. Will they go for 2?

BYU is going for 2 points to get a 7 point lead. Delay of game is called on BYU. BYU’s coaches protest that the clock was started after the time out incorrectly. The officials are stand firm and walk off the five yard penalty.
BYU will try for 2 from the 8 pass is caught for 2 points by Austin Collie in the back of the end zone..

Utah 10 BYU 17 with 38 seconds left in the game.

BYU kicks off and Utah returns to the Utah 39 with 30 seconds left.

Utah has all three timeouts left.
1st down pass dropped by Richards.
2nd down pass to Godfrey for a first down.16 seconds left.

1st down. Utah takes their first time out. Two left
1st down at 50 yd line. Johnson scrambles and throws what clearly looks like an intentionally incompleted pass. Johnson was ruled down, and Utah takes their 2nd time out.
2nd down pass complete to Richards at BYU 44. 5 seconds left.
3rd down pass thrown by Johnson but batted down in the end zone, with time expired.
BYU Wins 17-10!

Fans are rushing out onto the field.

Well, I was wrong. Max Hall was able to throw long on several occasions and the Utes had to honor that. And Tonga and Unga were awesome as the running game proved very effective in allowing BYU to control the ball and the game clock. The defense was able to hold the Utes to 10 points and that was good enough. BYU’s kicking game was still shaky, but it wasn’t enough of a factor to effect the outcome of the game. It was an awesome, hard fought well deserved Cougar victory. So I’m fine with being wrong in my prediction.


Gameday is here, and it’s time for me to make my prediction. Utah in a close one, by 3 points.

Not that I like Utah, because I don’t. Well, not when they’re playing the Cougars, anyway. I attended BYU in my youth, back when it was drawing a large share of it’s student body from Utah County kids. My wife, who’s from California, graduated from the Y and worked at the Missionary Training Center in the Health Clinic as an employee of BYU and retired with 12 years of service. And she’s as loyal a BYU football fan as there is on the female side of the aisle.

My son attends the University of Utah as a graphic arts student, so naturally he and his wife are Ute fans. But he roots for the Cougars when they’re playing anybody but the U.

A lot of people, particularly in the media, have started calling this rivalry "the Holy War", but it has nothing to do with religion. Or maybe it does, but it has less to do with Mormons vs. non-Mormons than it does with the fact that the schools are in such close proximity and have historically drawn from virtually the same population. Many LDS Church General Authorities hold degrees from the University of Utah. If I remember correctly, BYU’s current president graduated from the U. The Utes’ head football coach, Kyle Whittingham, played football for BYU. His dad Fred was a coach at BYU.

The two schools have very similar roots. I remember when I attended BYU I had a 3-ring binder that had an embossed BYU logo on the front, consisting of the seal of the University. The central figure in the seal was an old-fashioned beehive, complete with a few bees buzzing around it. Not many years later I saw a 3-ring binder with a University of Utah logo on the front. It was the seal of the University of Utah and had an old-fashioned beehive with bees buzzing around it. It was identical to my BYU binder, except for the fact that it said University of Utah instead of Brigham Young University.

So back to the game at hand.

First let me talk about BYU’s home field advantage. There is none. The Utes have proven that in recent years. When the Utes are in Provo, they’re as likely to win the game as the Cougars. I don’t think today is going to be any different.

BYU is at a disadvantage on offense because Max Hall is a sophomore and Brian Johnson is a senior. Johnson was hurt early in the season, but he’s back, and he’s proven he’s capable of playing at a high level. Hall, on the other hand, was dinged in their game last week against Wyoming, and I suspect that right throwing shoulder is not going to be 100%. If Hall can’t prove that he can hit Austin Collie going deep down the sideline or Dennis Pitta at medium range over the middle, I don’t think BYU’s running game alone is going to be able to get the job done against the Utes.

BYU’s defense is banged up, and they’re missing Quin Gooch, who’s out for the season with a knee injury. He’s been like a coach on the field, recognizing offensive formations and making defensive calls before the snap. The Utes are in good shape offensively, hitting on all cylinders. The Cougars are really going to miss Quin Gooch.

Where the Utes really have the edge, though, is on special teams. BYU has been shaky all year in their kicking game, and they’re only just now getting even close to mid-season form. They’ve kicked fewer field goals than any other team in Division I football. True, they’ve attempted fewer field goals, but there’s probably good reason for that. And they’ve had some kicks blocked, and they haven’t got it fixed, as evidenced by the fact that they had two kicks blocked just last week. Meanwhile, the Utes have been blocking kicks and setting up scores all year, and I think that’s going to play a role in today’s game. Add the fact that they have a solid kicker/punter and it’s clearly advantage Utah.

I think it’ll be a close game. There will probably be several momentum shifts, but I don’t think anyone’s going to break it open. In a close game, I think Utah’s advantages, especially in the kicking game, give them the edge.

If I’m wrong, though, I can certainly live with a Cougar victory.