It's tough to play Monday-morning quarterback for a team that is doing just about everything right.
What's there to say? Sure, you can talk about Earl Kauffman's subpar kicking outing, or all the holding and illegal-procedure penalties, or even . . . or even what?Let's face it. BYU came up against the best the WAC had to offer Saturday, the 9-1 (now 9-2) Wyoming Cowboys, and crushed them. It wasn't as easy as it looked, maybe, but the result was the same as every other BYU vs. the WAC contest this season: Cougar mayhem.
BYU, which jumped to No. 4 in the UPI poll and No. 5 in the AP poll, has scored 298 points against six WAC opponents, while giving up just 105 points. With 76 points against Utah and Hawaii, the Cougars will have scored more points in league play than any WAC team ever. The previous high-point team was Arizona State, with 373 in 1973.
And the Cougars' average WAC winning margin of 32.2 is just 4.3 points less than the margin Arizona State established, also in 1973.
BYU isn't a team right now, it's a juggernaut. That could change in a week, or two weeks, or come bowl time, but right now, it's the only way to describe the team that has made the WAC "race" a a one-horse exhibition.
OK, let's put the praise behind us and take a look at some neglected aspects of Saturday's no-contest. Such as:
- Time of possession. BYU controlled the ball for a phenonemal 40:20 against Wyoming, leaving the Cowboys on offense for just 19:40.
- Tackling. The statisticians credited no BYU defender with having made more than four tackles, and credited the entire team with just 28 tackles. That seems low, except that Wyoming only ran the ball 20 times and completed 15 passes. And seldom had the ball (see "Time of possession," above).
- Personal fouls. BYU tallied three of these, by assistant coach Roger French, backup linebacker Dave Porter and nose tackle Rick Wilson. French got his for jawing at an official after BYU's umpteenth illegal-procedure flag; Porter got his on a kickoff return for whacking a Cowboy who had just disengaged from a shoving match with Brad Clark; and Wilson got his for leveling a Cowboy several long moments after linebacker Scott Giles had sacked Wyoming QB Tom Corontzos.
- Embarrassment. The Oops! Award for this game goes to fullback Peter Tuipulotu, who uncharacteristically dropped a couple of easy passes, one of which was significant. The Cougars were at the Wyoming 11-yard line when Detmer found Tuipulotu so open it should be illegal in the right corner at about the 2-yard line. Detmer casually lobbed the ball over there. Tuipulotu said he thought he was covered, so he tried to put his body between the ball and the phantom defender behind him, and in all this maneuvering the ball hit him and bounced straight up in the air. As he looked around for it frantically, it came down and hit him again. It bounced up one more time, but this time it fell harmlessly to the turf. All this bouncing, and still a defender hadn't shown up. It was significant for two reasons: 1. It would have been a touchdown (as if BYU needed another one), and Detmer fumbled the ball away on the next play; and 2. It would have been the pass that made Detmer the all-time BYU passing leader, something he accomplished on the next drive with a 22-yard completion to Chris Smith.
So where does BYU stand now in the WAC? Alone. The Cougars would have to lose to both Utah and Hawaii, while Colorado State beat Hawaii, to miss out on the WAC title.
One more win, and they're in.