Typically, BYU has been blessed with balmy climes for its annual spring Blue-White football game. This year, the Cougars weren't so lucky.
Dark clouds and inclement weather served as the backdrop for the zaniest and wettest Blue-White scrimmage in memory, which was also the shortest in Cougar football history.Ten minutes before the start of the exhibition game - marking the end of spring practices - the rain poured, creating a scene at Cougar Stadium that looked like something out of the movie Titanic.
Then came a swirling snowstorm.
As a result, the Cougars sloshed around in snow and mud in front of 1,500 diehard fans. The abbreviated game lasted only one hour and featured a collection of crazy plays that almost made the final score - White defeated Blue, 9-7 - coincidental.
Of course, unexpected occurrences are the rule in this kind of exhibition setting. But the star of the 1998 game was not tight end hopeful Carlos Nuno, but rather El Nino.
"It was unbelievable out there," said coach LaVell Edwards, who was referring to the weather, though he could have been talking about the action that took place amid a veritable blizzard. The slick and sloppy conditions wreaked havoc, making things especially difficult for quarterbacks and receivers on the frozen tundra of Cougar Field.
"Besides the fact my hands are numb, I can't feel the rest of my body," said Blue quarterback Drew Miller, after playing a game in snow for the first time in his life. Miller completed 7-of-16 passes for 88 yards. He was also picked off by safety Jason Walker.
"I've never played in anything like this," said Blue receiver and Texas native Margin Hooks, who led all pass-catchers with three grabs for 72 yards.
For much of the contest, snow blanketed the field - reminiscent of the 1985 BYU-Utah game - prompting Edwards to go with just 10-minute quarters.
Edwards decided to run the clock continuously after the first two drives, which included five incomplete passes. The two teams combined for 60 offensive plays from scrimmage.
Running back Tyrone Brown scored the first touchdown for the Blue team, a two-yard run set up by a 35-yard reception by Hooks late in the first quarter. White struck in the third quarter on a six-yard run by Jaron Dabney. The extra point was blocked.
Sophomore kicker Owen Pochman's 38-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter spelled the difference for the White team.
Edwards said Saturday's performances would have no bearing on the opinions he's already formed of his players based on the 15 practices held this month. Good thing, because the spring game was a comedy of errors. The coach was just glad to get out of it with no injuries.
Toward the end, things got downright wacky. Offensive lineman Joe Wong played on the defensive side of the ball and linebacker Brad Martin lined up at running back. It was clear coaches were allowing players to have a little fun.
Before the game, Edwards got down to business while chatting with the media. Among the issues he addressed included the quarterback situation, which has seen Miller and Kevin Feterik battle this spring for the starting nod.
"There is no announcement about the quarterbacks," he said. "We feel good about both of them. At some point next season, we will use both of them."
Listed No. 1 on the depth chart distributed to the media, however, was Feterik, who completed four of 11 passes for 55 yards, with Miller No. 2. Brandon Doman, a freshman returned missionary, is penciled in as the Cougars' third-string QB.
The decision regarding who will start in the opener at Alabama on Sept. 6 will be made during fall camp in August, Edwards said.
"There's no clear-cut choice right now," said the coach. "Both have different strengths. By the time we play Alabama, we'll have a pretty good idea."
He added that because of the nature of college football these days, with the way defenses are able to put pressure on quarterbacks, having two experienced quarterbacks will be an asset.
"We need both of them," he said.
NOTES: Running back Ronney Jenkins, who suffered a concussion during a scrimmage last week, did not play Saturday, nor did linebacker Rob Morris, who suffered a broken finger during practice . . . Both Doman and Mike Phelps, a 6-foot-4 sophomore transfer from Oregon, saw action Saturday. Doman was 2-of-5 for 40 yards. He also ran the ball four times for a game-high 37 yards. Phelps was 3-of-5 passing for 28 yards.