The debate over luck and skill are always a touchy subject, but sometimes you have to take a step back and admit that luck had a lot to do with it.
Happy St. Patricks Day!
This article is instantly going to get some backlash for claiming that some of the plays that will be highlighted later in this article are luck as opposed to skill. Essentially, all of moments that will be highlighted are plays or situations that if put in the same position 100 times, it would happen less than 10% of the time.
Again, this is not a list of plays and moments that are pure luck. Things had to go the right way, players had to be in the right positions and the play call had to be right. However, even with that, sometimes you need the stars to align perfectly for it to work out.
This list will consist of five unlucky moments and five lucky moments for BYU Football. There are plenty of moments that will be missed, especially regular season games that took place over 15 years ago so if you know of one we miss, let us know in the comment section!
Unlucky – Two Targeting Calls
In 2016 BYU Football was in a tight game against Utah that seemed to be starting to head in BYU’s direction in the third quarter. On a quick dump pass by Utah, BYU senior safety Kai Nacua hit Demari Simpkins really hard and it appeared that Simpkins fumbled the ball and Nacua fell on it. Instead a targeting was called and after a lengthy review where the announcers agreed it was a clean hit the call was upheld. On the very next play McChesney was also called for a targeting call that was a bit more debatable, but still clean looking. That was also held up.
At the end of the game, BYU scored to make the score 19-20 with seconds remaining in the game. It is my personal belief that if the Cougars had Nacua and McChesney in the game they would have kicked the extra point and gone into overtime. But with two of their best defenders out, and on the road, going for two was the best option.
Lucky – The worst unsportsmanship calling…ever?
In the second game of the 2008 season against Washington, Jake Locker scored with 0:02 remaining in the game. As Locker crossed the goal line he tossed the ball into the air. There was no taunting or celebration dance but the flag was thrown for unsportsmanship conduct. Although a coach can be seen putting up one finger signaling an extra point attempt, to this day many argue the Washington would have gone for two. At worst, BYU likely would not have blocked the kick because they would have ran a prevent defense as opposed to an all out block that they were able to run since the ball was at the 17 yard line.
Also, if you go back and watch the play, there are at least three Cougars on the field before the play appears to be dead, another lucky break for the BYU.