BYU-phoria Takes Hold of the Country

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BYU-phoria Takes Hold of the Country


In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past week or two – this just in – BYU football is taking the country by storm. Okay, so that’s maybe a bit much but the Cougars have had back-to-back wins in the most miraculous fashion the past two weeks. Football fans everywhere have found it highly entertaining. Here’s some amateur video taken Saturday night from a 15 year old kid I happen to know pretty well. This shows how ridiculous things are getting in Provo these days:

Mangum does it again!

Tanner Mangum somehow managed to find Mitch Juergens in the end zone on a desperation 4th and 7 play to pull ahead of Boise State.

There were still 40 or so seconds left on the clock after the play and that’s when things got completely out of hand inside Lavell Edwards Stadium. Enjoy this clip with the fantastic call from BYU play-by-play man Greg Wrubell:

Kai Nacua’s interception and return for a touchdown sealed the deal Saturday night.


So what are the take-aways from yet another improbable victory:

  • The wins over Boise State and Nebraska have moved BYU to 2-0 and catapulted them to a #19 ranking. Is BYU really that good? Maybe, maybe not. They’ve beaten two well-known teams and so they are where they are.
  • Did they just get lucky? Of course they did but they also played well enough in both games to be in contention at the end.
  • What are we talking about if Mitch Juergens does not catch that ball? We’d be talking about how poorly Bronco Mendenhall managed the clock and the play calling on that last series. I believe BYU had all 3 times outs left. Mangum took a sack on 2nd down with close to 1:30 left. Rather than take a time-out, regroup, realize you had two plays left to get a first-down (they still would have had two time-outs and over a minute left at that point-no need to go to the end zone) – Bronco just let the clock keep ticking. The 3rd down play proved unsuccessful and then they had to go last gasp at that point. It really did not need to end that way. I will give Bronco credit for nicely handling the clock on the last possession of the Nebraska game. However – 63,000 fans would have been calling into the post game show at 1:00 in the morning after Boise State, screaming for Bronco’s head if Miracle Mangum had not saved the day again.
  • There was a great vibe in the stadium all night. There was obviously a lot of enthusiasm spilling over from the Nebraska win. Boise is also the biggest name team to roll through Lavell Edwards Stadium this year. It made for a great atmosphere and the crazy ending will hopefully keep folks coming back for more. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, the real story will be told by how many fans are still coming out to watch games against sub-par opponents toward the end of the year when BYU will presumably have a few losses. That said, games like the one on Saturday night will sure help to keep the enthusiasm up.
  • I respect the BYU coaches for sticking with the run all night. A lot of people were probably second guessing the coaching staff when several of the runs went for a loss or straight into the line of scrimmage for no gain. However, it finally paid off as holes began to open up in the second half and BYU was able to gash Boise State for several big runs. There are a lot of complexities to football but the simple fact remains – tackling a large man running full speed gets harder and harder to do as the game wears on. BYU really helped their passing game by staying committed to the run and forcing Boise to stay home.
  • Even if BYU had lost, I thought they played well, particularly their defense. In fact their defense was terrific. Several times the BYU defense had a short field to defend and held. Guys were flying all over the place making tackles. They were very active. I just hope they can avoid injury.
  • For all of Mangum’s heroics, he made a lot of freshman mistakes. He took numerous sacks where he should have thrown the ball out of bounds. He had some bad interceptions. And when you really break it down, a good chunk of his 300+ passing yards came on helter skelter, roll to the right and let-it-fly throws. That’s kind of his signature move right now but you can’t build your entire offense around that one play.
  • What kind of chance does BYU have against UCLA this weekend? The Bruins are favored by anywhere from 14.5 – 17 points, depending on the sports book. That seems a bit odd for the spread to be so high between the 10th and 19th ranked teams. Again, I’m not sure BYU is a top 25 team. I am sure UCLA has top-10 talent. If BYU can hang with the Bruins on the road, keep the game within a touchdown or 10 points and not get a bunch of guys injured, I think you can count the game as a successful trip to Pasadena and still have plenty of momentum rolling into Ann Arbor.
  • And should BYU pull off the upset against UCLA………..stay off the roads between here and Ann Arbor, MI because you may have a Mormon minivan migration in the thousands descending on the Big House to see 3-0 BYU take on Jim Harbaugh and Michigan!


Matt Nielson has been writing about the college sports landscape in Utah and the Intermountain West since 2010. When he’s not pretending to be a professional blogger, he works full time as a residential real estate agent and house flipper. Matt graduated from Brigham Young University in 2000. He and his family reside in Salt Lake City, UT.


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