I watched with disappointment and respect as Steve Young valiantly tried to get the Cougars into the end zone late in the fourth quarter of a crushing defeat at the hands of the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 1982 Holiday Bowl. Recently I watched Taysom Hill with the same level of respect in the closing moments of the Fight Hunger Bowl against the Washington Huskies.
Both of the games resulted in losses for BYU but they also illustrated the personal strength and mettle of the field general for the teams. In the 1982 bowl game, a 17-10 halftime lead ballooned to a 47-17 victory for the Buckeyes. Young was undaunted and continued to battle for every yard and first down in an attempt to close the gap in the late stages of the game. Young's total offensive stats for the game were 337 yards, and he completed 27 out of 45 passes, with one interception, and he either ran or passed in 54 of BYU's 64 plays.
In the 2013 game, Hill proved himself to be modeled after Steve Young in his heroic efforts. Although BYU lost to the Huskies 31-16, Hill battled to the end with his arm and with his legs to attempt to get the Cougars into contention. Hill's total offense for the game was 426 yards, and he completed 25 of his 48 passes with one interception. He ran or passed in 79 of BYU's 97 plays, which was about the same percentage as Young's 1982 performance.
What can BYU fans take from this? We don't know what the future holds, but if we look at the springboard Steve Young had for his next season at BYU, it is a welcome portent. In 1983, the Cougars had a record of 11-1, including a 55-7 trouncing of Utah, and a dramatic Holiday Bowl win over Missouri. Young had one of the greatest seasons ever enjoyed by a BYU quarterback and an illustrious NFL career. For those whose hopes spring eternal, we can look forward to the possibility that such a season and a performance can be duplicated. I'll be watching with respect.
Ken Driggs of Mesa, Ariz., is a BYU graduate and served as Cosmo in the ’60s. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.