Yep, the Virginia Game Was the Most Impressive Win of The Year


Sep 20, 2014; Provo, UT, USA; Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Jordan Leslie (9) runs past Virginia Cavaliers cornerback Tim Harris (5) during the first half at Lavell Edwards Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

This game was weird. This game was odd. Yeah, the game was straight up bizarre. But at the end of sixty curious minutes of play Saturday afternoon in Provo, BYU walked off with their most impressive win of the year.

‘Dude, you must be crazy!’ you say. Yeah, you’re probably right. And yes, I haven’t forgotten that we spanked Texas 41-7 on the road in Austin. That memory will forever stay locked in my vault of Cougar niceties. However, the blowout, the beatdown, the bludgeoning in Austin, while amazing to watch, didn’t prove as much to me about this team as the win over the Cavaliers. The victory on Saturday was the Cougar’s most impressive win of the year.

The thing that was most impressive was that absolutely nothing went according to plan in that game and we still came out on top. That game went against everything that Mendenhall, Anae, and Howell likely planned for all week. When this has happened in past seasons the end result has not often been as favorable.

Anae looks to run 90-100 plays a game, yet ran only 60 on Saturday. The premise of Go Fast, Go Hard is that we will wear down opposing defenses by controlling the game clock and pounding out play after play faster than you can blink. Go Fast Go Hard is less than ideal when the offense rarely gets on the field! The Cavaliers more than doubled the time of possession of the Cougars and kept the double-headed passing/running threat of Taysom Hill sidelined for 2/3 of the game. It was obvious that the Cavaliers’ game plan was not to stop Taysom. No, they knew they couldn’t stop him, or likely even slow him. They’ve seen what he did to Texas two years in a row. They’ve seen his highlights on SportsCenter. And heaven knows that game tape of Taysom kept their coaches up at night. So they instead changed their game plan to keep him off the field together and it almost worked. By all accounts, BYU should have never been in the game with how little the offense was on the field.

If you don’t think Anae planned on running only 60 plays in the game, then neither did Defensive Coordinator Nick Howell plan on his defense being on the field for better than 40 minutes of the game. The Cavaliers to a certain degree exploited the non-existent pass rush of the Cougars and had no trouble passing up and down the field all day. To Howell’s credit, the defense came through in limiting the scoring opportunities for Virginia, including twice limiting them to a field goal while inside the 5-yard line. If just a few more of those offensive drives ended in TDs instead of FGs, the outcome is perhaps very different for Virginia. By all accounts, BYU should have never been in the game with how much the defense was on the field.

So why am I so impressed? Because despite all the “by all accounts BYU should have never been in the game” talk, they were in the game and they won. Bronco’s

history as a head coach is impressive when all goes according to plan. Wrubell and the BYU SportsNation guys can give you the stats and hoopla about when Bronco scores first, when Bronco has a halftime lead, when Bronco has a 4th quarter lead, etc. But this wasn’t one of those games. This was a game that totally went against the grain. The Cougars had to adjust and adapt. They adapted to their offensive warrior being sidelined. They adapted to their defense being exploited. They

adapted to some perhaps questionable officiating that continues to make the Mormon boys look like the most undisciplined, dirty team in the country. They got a 99-yard kickoff return by Adam Hine that seemed to take the last bit of air out of the Virginia sails when BYU needed it most. And in the end, a game that often felt like BYU trailed by 2-3 touchdowns ended with a 41-33 victory and a 4-0 record.

Games like this build character for a team and give everyone involved a little more moxie. The Texas win came with great style, shock, and surprise, but wins like that are like a “pretty boy” with great beach muscles and a rippling six pack. You look good with your shirt off, bro, but can you win a fight with that body? The Virginia game, on the other hand sprouted an extra layer of chest hair on the the Cougar’s manhood and taught us to fight like men. It prepared us for battle. I can’t be prouder of how the Cougs stood up to the fight and won confidently and convincingly. This team is shaping up to have some pretty special potential. Games like this give experience dealing with adversity to a team that is young and in need of all the experience it can get. If BYU is to continue to be 5-0, 6-0, and even 12-0, we will be able to trace key moments in each of those victories back to moments in the Virginia game, the most impressive win of the year.