Week 13: BYU vs. Oregon State
It’s been a long while since that game against Utah, but looking back on that victory is just as sweet now as it was when I rushed the field on that cold November night.
On a personal level, this was a game to remember. As a lifelong Cougar fan, I have seen plenty of BYU victories over Utah on the television screen. I remember Brandon Doman leading a late charge to give LaVell Edwards his final win in Salt Lake City. Then the next year when Luke Staley rallied the troops in a comeback win for the Cougars.
Back in 2005, I was a freshman at BYU and couldn’t wait to experience my first Holy War in person. It was a great game, but BYU ended up with a loss in overtime. The Cougars came back with two of the most exciting wins in the rivalry’s history, but I was serving a mission at the time and missed both games.
In 2008, I made my way to Rice-Eccles Stadium to what was a good game for about three quarters, before the last one was made utterly forgettable by our friend Max Hall. Needless to say, I made the walk of shame down the aisle as Utah fans showered me with some laughable insults. I know someone once said Ute fans were classless, but this bunch that hollered at me was downright unintelligent. I digress.
Enter the 2009 season. Both teams came into the game with two losses that had dashed their chances of playing in a significant bowl game, but that didn’t change the fact that this was a huge game. Bragging rights from this game are good as gold.
I came into this game with confidence in the Cougars and they came out strong in the first three quarters, building a 20-6 lead. However, with their offense showing no signs of life and the defense starting to give way late in the second half, I wondered if this really would be the year I would finally see BYU beat Utah.
I admittedly didn’t have much faith going into the overtime period but, after the BYU defense came up with a huge stop, I felt something magical could be in store and, sure enough, that’s what happened. In a few quick seconds, I saw a needle-threading pass, a couple missed tackles, and the next thing I knew I was on the field, celebrating with the team.
It was not a pretty win. I could go on for days about how we could have played better and where we made mistakes, but in the end all that really matters is that we got the win.
Welcome to the Bronco Mendenhall Bowl
Alright, we get it and I’m sure you do too. BYU loves playing in bowl games and Las Vegas loves having BYU play in them. One of these days both sides of this relationship will break up and find better halves. As for now they will have to deal with one another. It’s a good thing the Cougars have a quality opponent in Oregon State.
The Beavers might be one of the best coached teams in the country. They started out slow but got better as the season went on, even though they didn’t win their Civil War game against Oregon. Mike Riley deserves all the credit in the world for putting together a quality team every year.
This year Riley has the Brothers Rodgers — wide receiver James and running back Jaquizz — to thank for his success. They are the heart and soul of the Beaver offense and will give the BYU defense fits with their blazing speed.
The key in this game is which team’s defense will show up. BYU’s defense had a great game against Utah and a repeat performance should give them the win. Oregon State, on the other hand, folded like a cheap suit against Oregon in the second half. If the BYU defense is able to create turnovers, then they will be in business. If the OSU defense is able to consistently hold BYU to third-and-long situations, then they should dominate.
I tossed and turned about this one for hours and it comes down to one thing — superstition. Two of the three games in which I choose BYU to lose this year, they ended up winning. I know that it’s not a large sample size and there are a few things to factor in, but that’s my game plan and I’m sticking to it. Oregon State 34, BYU 24.
1. Andrew George — Finally gets the attention he deserves.
2. Jordan Pendleton — Set the tone with a bunch of huge hits and tackles for loss.
3. O’Neill Chambers — You are one dangerous son-of-a-gun, and the ball bounced your way this go-around.
1. Wide receivers — Aside from a couple nice catches, Jacobson, Hafoka and Ashworth were invisible.
2. Robert Anae — Nothing worked down the stretch, except for that last play.
3. Utah fans — (I was going to say something, but in fear of a Facebook group being formed to commemorate my hate for Utah, I withhold my comments.)
Jake Welch is the lead sports columnist for Rhombus. Follow him on Twitter @jraywelch.
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