Saturday, September 6, 2008

Unfortunate way to end the game....

I had a feeling going into this game that Jake Locker would play a big role in it's outcome, I just didn't think it would be in the way that it turned out.

If you saw the game, or have watched any highlights you know that it ended with some controversy.  After a 17 play drive in which Locker put his team on his back and lead them down the field to score, he got hit with a celebration penalty for throwing the ball in the air.  Rather than a chip shot extra point attempt to tie the game, they got pushed back 15 yards.  BYU ended up blocking the field goal to end the game with the one point win, 28 to 27.

I'm glad the Cougs got out of there with the victory, I just wish it could have been under better circumstances. 

Locker played a heck of a game and it was a shame to see a call affect the outcome of the game.  It was the right call however, it just happens to be a stupid rule.  At least that part of it anyways.  The rule says:

After a score or any other play, the player in possession immediately 

must return the ball to an official or leave it near the dead-ball spot. 

This prohibits: 

(a) Kicking, throwing, spinning or carrying (including off of the 

field) the ball any distance that requires an official to retrieve it. 

(b) Spiking the ball to the ground [Exception: A forward pass to 

conserve time (Rule 7-3-2-d)]. 

(c) Throwing the ball high into the air. 

(d) Any other unsportsmanlike act or actions that delay the game.

The thing that people are failing to credit though is that the Y's defensive line stepped up big time and blocked the extra point.  Yes it was 15 yards farther, but it still was right down the middle and wasn't that difficult.

How many times is a 35 yard field goal blocked?  Not very often.  With the position of the ball on the field, had Washington put up a better front the kick would have been automatic.   

It's not the Y's fault for how things ended.  They had no control over the call, but when they needed the big play to seal the deal, Jan Jorgensen got a hand on the ball to block the extra point.  The day wasn't pretty, but we'll take it.  

BYU's offense is absolutely amazing.  No question about it.  Washington's defense was helpless when Max Hall and company were on the field.  The only possession that they Y didn't score in the second half is when they drove 94 yards and Harvey Unga coughed it up on the 1 yard line.  Had he just held onto the ball their never would have been any controversy. 

Hall is a stud, Pitta is amazing and Unga just punishes the defenders.  Those three had great games.  It's also worth mentioning that Max Hall didn't take any real hits today thanks to the excellent blocking by his offensive line.   

The defense on the other hand looked porous.  Not the front seven so much, but the secondary definitely struggles.  They gave up some big plays and had Locker not flat out missed some of his wide open receivers they would have given up a half dozen more.

Despite the great offensive day I wasn't too impressed with the Cougars defensive showing in Seattle.  They should have handled the Huskies better than they did.  It was their chance to shine in the national spotlight and unfortunately they kind of fizzled against what might be the worst team in the Pac Ten Conference.  The defense needs to step it up.

The redeeming factor in all this though is that an apparently good UCLA team comes to Provo next week to play.  If the Cougs can play some good football and get a decisive victory, people will forget really quickly the outcome of today's game and the controversy surrounding it.

Again, I am glad with the win.  However, with all the BCS talk generated by the team and coaching staff, as a fan I am going to hold them to a higher standard.  A one point victory over a pore Washington team isn't going to get it done if you want the respect from the National Media.  

They will need a good showing from both the offense as well as the defense if they want to beat UCLA on Saturday.  

I think they will do just that.

Go Cougs!


Tikes said...

I agree with your assessment of the Point after attempt. It seemed to me that the Washington line just gave up after the penalty. There were about 5 BYU guys that could have easily blocked the kick. I think they wanted to complain rather than simply make the kick.

Dr. P said...

I think it is safe to say that BYU should have never been in the situation they were in. Tied, or potentially tied with washington at the end of regulation. I saw the TD, and the "celebration". I know the rule, and all I have to say is that every rule is up for interpretation. For example, to play devil's advocate, how high is high? 10 ft? 3 ft? can we use replay to see if the ball was thrown high enough to merit a penalty? The referees enforced the so called rule, but would they have been fired for letting that one slide? no. What it did, was change the whole momentum or feeling of the game, and completely take the two point conversion off the table. A call by a referee changed the whole game. right or wrong. Lou Holtz was pissed. I venture to say that All BYU fans would be equally upset if it happened the other way around, with good reason.