Jason Olson, Deseret News
LAS VEGAS The Jan Jorgensen run.
What's the story behind a single play?
Jorgensen represents a lot of things about BYU's seniors, who went out in style with a 44-20 blowout win over Oregon State in the Las Vegas Bowl this week.
He's a determined guy who cares how it's done and just like the rest of the seniors responded from a disappointing loss to TCU with a five-game win streak finish and 11-2 record. In his Cougar career, Jorgensen and the BYU seniors went 43-9 with two bowl victories.
Like fellow seniors Scott Johnson (corner, safety), Andrew George (second fiddle to Dennis Pitta), Manase Tonga (blocker for Harvey Unga), Brenden Gaskins and others, Jorgensen adjusted personal preferences on how and where to play on this team for the good of the entire squad. It turned out pretty good.
So, it is little wonder BYU's coaching staff used Jorgensen to symbolize a send off and a nice salute to the group that produced some made-for-the vault highlights clips for the program.
As Tuesday's game wound down to those meaningless plays to kill the clock, Jorgensen was ordered into the backfield, where he took a handoff from Max Hall. He ran a fullback dive play, good for 6 yards.
"Actually, it was 7 yards, but they didn't give me the spot," said Jorgensen with a big smile.
That play was a long time coming.
You see, in the disappointing loss to Florida State in Provo on Sept. 19, Jorgensen picked up a short kickoff and started to run and fumbled.
It was embarrassing. It gnawed at him. But the offensive coordinator took heart and promised Jorgensen that if the Cougars ever got in a blowout situation in the final games against Air Force, Utah or a bowl game, he'd give him a chance at redemption.
Late Tuesday night, after the Cougars had clearly manhandled Oregon State in the only Las Vegas Bowl featuring two ranked opponents, Jorgensen found himself on the sidelines wondering if Anae would ever make good on his promise.
Finally, he couldn't stand it any longer. He picked up the sideline phone and got on line with Anae. "I reminded him of his promise," said Jorgensen.
Anae told him to go over and stand by quarterback coach Brandon Doman.
Sure enough, Jorgensen got the call to trot on the field.
He got to do something every defensive lineman who has ever smashed, bruised or otherwise maimed one of those Hollywood pretty boy running backs dreams of doing: Take a turn with the ball.
Jorgensen had to follow a block by a guard and run through a hole. He did so with gusto and a little pride.
A salute to the seniors.
It was a fitting move for this group that really turned it on in wins over Wyoming, New Mexico, Air Force, Utah and Oregon State the past two months to finish their careers.
"We learned from these guys how to come together, to make it a Band of Brothers," said underclassman J.J. DiLuigi.
"Hopefully we can follow their example and keep this rolling, take from what they've shown us and continue building this program."
For Bronco Mendenhall, he's now in a tough spot to replace guys like Johnson, Jorgensen, Matt Bauman, Tonga, Max Hall and the bookend tight ends. But since his first year in 2005, a 6-6 finish, he's apparently found the weapons to do just that, never finishing with less than 10 wins.
"I was thrilled with the way our seniors led our football team," said Mendenhall.
"It was clear that they were determined to finish on the right note. It was clear they wanted as good a team as they could play on as big a stage as they could play."
And for Jorgensen and Company, they did deliver.
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