PROVO — For all of his accomplishments while he was a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback at BYU, Cougar offensive coordinator Ty Detmer has suffered through offensive futility before.
When he was a senior in 1991, BYU, breaking in several new skill position players, opened the season with losses to Florida State, UCLA and Penn State.
As the Cougars get set to host Utah on Saturday, they are coming off a dismal offensive performance in a 27-0 defeat to LSU. In '91, Penn State thumped BYU, 33-7.
Detmer can see some similarities between the two seasons.
“It’s similar to that year because we were struggling scoring points,” Detmer said. “We kind of got going but we were playing in the WAC then so we weren’t playing LSU and Wisconsin every week. We started out that way and it was a struggle. It was because of youth. By the end of the year we were a pretty good football team. We’ve got to stick with it, hang in there and let guys come along. As coaches you want them getting there right now but sometimes that doesn’t happen for you.”
The Cougar offense knows it is facing a big test against the Ute defense.
“Utah’s always had tough defense. It’s something they take a lot of pride in,” said quarterback Tanner Mangum. “They have good D-linemen, good defensive ends, pretty stout up front and some pretty athletic defense backs as well. It’s always a challenge with them."
“They’re fast. They play fast football,” Detmer said of Utah. “LSU will be a great test for us to get us ready for that. Now we understand the speed and that will help us down the road. They play fast and physical … That’s the mindset they have.”
REMEMBERING 4th-AND-18: One of former BYU running back Harvey Unga’s best memories of playing in the Rivalry Game is the famous 4th-and-18 play in 2007.1 comment on this story
“I had my back turned to the field. I don’t know why. I didn’t want to watch,” he remembered. “I was waiting for the crowd’s reaction. I hear everyone cheering as the ball is snapped. Then I hear the roar and I was like, ‘What just happened?’ I turn around and see Austin (Collie) all the way down the field with the ball. I’m going crazy cheering. Robert Anae called for me to come in on the next play and I can’t find my helmet. I booked it to the other side of the field looking for my helmet. I found it and I missed half the series. The play that I got subbed in they called the play and scored the touchdown. I’m glad I found my helmet. It was pretty sweet.”
EXTRA POINTS: Utah coach Kyle Whittingham has posted an all-time 105-50 record while BYU coach Kalani Sitake has a 10-5 record … BYU is 72-124-6 all-time against current members of the Pac-12.