The Butler may have done it, but he wasn't alone.
Washington had a little help in its 20-10 victory over BYU Saturday."If it was a Nintendo world," BYU linebacker Rob Morris said. "We'd hit reset and start again."
If only it were that easy.
Pint-size sophomore Toure Butler (5-9, 160) took a fumble 35 yards for a touchdown and returned a kickoff 98 yards for another as the Huskies took advantage of Cougar mis-for-tune on offense and special teams.
"Certainly it's frustrating. The defense played exceptionally well and kept us in it," BYU coach LaVell Edwards said after the Cougars limited the Huskies to just one offensive touchdown. "Credit Washington. They made big plays when they had to. That was the difference."
After Owen Pochman's 23-yard field goal gave BYU its first offensive life less than three minutes into the second half, Washington quickly countered. Butler took the ensuing kickoff back for a score to make it 20-3. And though the Cougars eventually scored a touchdown of their own, on a 1-yard plunge by quarterback Kevin Feterik eights minutes later, it was far too little, far too late.
Edwards' worst fears were realized.
"Going into these three games (Alabama, Arizona State and Washington) we simply had to avoid the big play and not turn the ball over," said Edwards, whose team is now 1-2 overall. "If we did that we could win."
It didn't happen Saturday. Not with all the big plays, the dropped passes, the interception, the fumble and 11 penalties for 96 yards. Quarterback Kevin Feterik, who was sacked six times, completed just 16 of 33 passes for 169 yards while under constant pressure. And tailback Ronney Jenkins, who rushed for a career-high 171 yards against ASU, managed just 36 on 12 carries.
"Our defense was dominating," Washington coach Jim Lambright. "This is an example of a game where our defense and special teams stepped up. We need everyone to step up in all three phases for us to become the team we want to be."
Washington broke a scoreless tie with 55 seconds remaining in the first quarter on a 52-yard touchdown pass from Huard to tight end Chris Juer-gens. A third-down pass interference call on BYU two plays earlier kept the drive alive, and the Huskies capitalized. The PAT, however, failed - leaving the score 6-0.
It stayed that way until another BYU miscue - a fumble by Jenkins - late in the second quarter. Washington made it 14-0 when Butler returned the ball 35 yards for a touchdown and Ja'Warren Hooker added a two-point conversion with a catch in the back of the end zone.
Trailing by two touchdowns, BYU went into halftime scoreless for the first time since a loss to Air Force in 1995.
BYU had a chance to get on the scoreboard first, but Pochman's 51-yard field-goal attempt late in the first quarter was no good. He had made seven straight prior to the miss. Ironically, it followed another snapped streak - this one belonging to Washington's Huard. The junior had thrown 91 passes without an interception until Jason Walker put the Cougars in position to score by snapping the streak. BYU's free safety wound up intercepting two of Huard's offerings before the day was over.
"We had some good keys coming into the game. We felt he gave away where he's throwing the ball so I expected to get some picks, but I also missed a couple," Walker said. "He makes a lot of checks when he comes to the line, and once they hike the ball they gave real good run-pass keys. We were able to focus on his eyes, which gave it away, and then when he commits his shoulders he's going to throw where they are going."
Huard, an All-America candidate, was 16 of 33 passing for 178 yards with more interceptions than touchdowns (2-1).
BYU's defense earned the praise of Washington's Lambright. The coach approached Morris after the game and told him so. Defense was the lone bright spot in an otherwise dismal day for the Cougars.
"They never had the rhythm and we got to Huard early," said Morris, who finished with a team-high 14 tackles. "Too bad we couldn't get all three - offense, defense and special teams - going. That's the way it is in football. Until you get all three, you're not going to win."
Fortunately for BYU, help is on the way. Division 1-AA Murray State visits Cougar Stadium Saturday.