Dick Harmon: BYU football: Offensive miscues too much for Cougar defense to overcome
Credit must also go to somebody who wasn't even in the stadium or within two or three time zones: some may not want to admit it, but Norm Chow brought John Hays from Western Nebraska last year, and Hays was the second biggest factor — next to BYU turnovers — in the last two Utah wins, and for sure in Saturday's victory.
Credit Hays for coming off the bench a week ago, doing very well, and taking the baton during Jordan Wynn's retirement week and making it count Saturday.
The first half was exactly how this game was billed. Both defenses ruled the day, holding scoring opportunities down. Utah's offensive line struggled to give John Hays a ton of time and he got sacked twice and hit repeatedly. BYU's offensive linemen engaged in serial illegal motion penalties never displayed before this season.
Credit Utah's defense for that.
Utah defeated BYU because they were capable of shucking off sloppiness and penalties and pressuring BYU's defense into mistakes, miscues, penalties and general unpolished execution on the road.
Credit Kyle Whittingham for taking an embarrassed and humbled football team, jacking it up during the week, finding a game plan that would work — although it took time — and making it work on the field.
For the Cougars?
Another devastating loss to its rival. BYU did not rise up in a huge game.
They came to Rice-Eccles Stadium ranked and ripe to make a run in the polls.
They tried, they really, really did.
But 12 months, give or take a day or two, showed that BYU could not protect the football after a full season of painful memories they tried to forget and bury. Apparently the ground was too hard to shovel. Turnovers surfaced like marbles on a driveway for these Cougars.
And that's a shame for a very good BYU defense. One of two defenses on the field that did not deserve to lose.
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