PROVO — The Bronco Mendenhall era started with a roar.
During the coach’s first five seasons, his teams went 49-15 and churned out unforgettable moments along the way.
"Final play of the game barring a penalty. All the time in the world for Beck. Can anybody get open for him? He’ll roll right. Let’s it go — finds his guy! Touchdown! And BYU swarms the field. They win it!"
Moments that sent chills up spines.
From 2005 to 2009, Mendenhall’s Cougars collected four top-25 finishes, a 7-7 record against teams from Power Five conferences and four wins against ranked opponents, including a 14-13 victory over No. 3 Oklahoma.
Mendenhall’s next five seasons, however, were marked by inconsistency in the win-loss column and watching BYU was sometimes as difficult as taking the school’s infamous Econ 110. Especially when the Cougars faced their rivals from Salt Lake:
Though there was a fake spike to win the Armed Forces Bowl, a come-from-behind triumph against Utah State and a blowout victory over No. 15 Texas, 2010 to 2014 was often a problematic period for Mendenhall.
In addition to going 0-for-4 against Utah, he posted a 1-7 record against ranked opponents.
Fortunately for BYU fans, this season felt — and sounded — more like the beginning of the Bronco era.
Mendenhall is now 9-3 in 2015, and in his 11 years as BYU’s head coach, he’s amassed an overall record of 99-42.
Later this week, he’ll lead the Cougars against No. 22 Utah in the Las Vegas Bowl, a place where his teams have been known to make big-time plays, such as the following from 2007.
The game will be Mendenhall’s last with BYU and a final opportunity to secure his 100th win and produce one more classic Cougar moment.
Perhaps he’ll be able to generate one that sounds similar to this:
A moment like that could close out the Mendenhall era the same way it started — with a roar.
Jared Bray is a contributing writer for the Deseret News. He also reports in English and Tagalog (a language he learned while serving a two-year church mission in the Philippines) for Balitang America, a nightly news program of The Filipino Channel.