BYU football: Cougars fall short against Notre Dame, Nelson haunted from missing key pass

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  • Y-Ask-Y? Provo, UT
    Oct. 23, 2012 6:16 p.m.

    "Not bad for playing the toughest schedule in school history."

    What are you talking about? "Not bad" indeed! Bronco gave the same excuse in an interview. I disagree.

    In just the past 5 years, BYU has had schedules ranked by the NCAA as "tougher" or close to as "tough" as this year's schedule.

    2010 is the toughest ranked schedule BYU has had so far, ranked just above TCU and Utah. Record: 7-6

    After that dismal season, the Cougs went Indy: SOS wasn't even ranked in the top 100, below Utah St. and barely above Idaho! Record: 10-3.

    This year, BYU's SOS is way below Idaho's, and just above UNLV's. Record so far: 4-4

    SOS for 2009 and 2008 were pretty close to the same as this year. Record: 11-2, 10-3 respectively.

    "Not bad" -- Ha!

  • SammFan Sammamish, WA
    Oct. 22, 2012 3:35 p.m.

    Opportunities missed. The season's over. A bust. The rest of the games are almost auto "W's". Riley will be gone next year. Hopefully, Bronco learns and Doman gets an offer to become the OC at "Big Conf program". At some point, you play the best players and avoid the critical mistakes that Riley is legendary for. That didn't happpen. We got a lead then Doman "turtled" up hoping the final gun would sound. You can't win like that. The first time a critical play came along, Nelson made like the energetic puppy we've come to know - and that excites his coaches - and he wet on the carpet.

    We all just have to take a deep breath, think about what could have been and fade quietly into the night. Root for Taysom's knee recovery.

  • jarka-rus Layton, Utah
    Oct. 22, 2012 3:28 p.m.

    I don't watch the present games anymore, I watch the reruns of when the Y was for real with Young, Boscoe, Detmer etc. At least I can relish in the days I was present at several of those holiday bowls watching a team that could actually score on offense.

  • Kouger Lehi, UT
    Oct. 22, 2012 11:10 a.m.

    Why do I think that there's politics, favoritism - if not corruption - in BYU football? Bronco should never say he "loves" a particular player - Riley, that is. Riley has never shown any promise since I've seen him in a BYU uniform, Jake Heaps may have made some mistakes but he showed promise especially with some good training and coaching (not necessarily from the present staff, esp, Doman). But BYU has always seemed to FAVOR Riley for apparently some other reason besides quarterback skills - cause he never showed or proven any...well except for his propensity and penchant for running the ball, in which case Bronco should have let him be a running - not a quarter (pun intended) - back. Anyway I hope BYU Athletics Dept and football coaching staff will DO THINGS RIGHT - on and off the field - for next year, otherwise BYU is starting to see glimpses of doom and gloom for its football program. A haunting thought indeed, Bronco!

  • Y Ask Y Provo, UT
    Oct. 21, 2012 9:03 p.m.

    Would Gary Crowton consider coming back as Offensive Coordinator?

    Just wondering...

  • SoCalChris Riverside, CA
    Oct. 21, 2012 6:09 p.m.

    People forget how much trouble BYU had with PAC 10 and Big 10 teams during the Lavell years. We held our own well with 2 top ten teams these past 2 weeks. Disappointing we couldn't come up with a win.

  • Meadow Lark Mark IDAHO FALLS, ID
    Oct. 21, 2012 4:13 p.m.

    Honestly the only way to get respect is to win games. Even Utah fans with their poor win loss record so far this year still stick it to the BYU football program and why because they (again) beat BYU this year. The only way that BYU is going to start getting respect again is to start winning games. Perhaps the Notre Dame game was a game that could have been won. But until the team does win another game it doesn't mean a thing. Look at the recent Nebraska game vs Northwestern, Nebraska refused to give up and found a way to win the game and won it by one point. Until BYU starts winning their games against ANY OPPONENT it doesn't mean anything. Talk is cheap. We are all judged by our actions PERIOD.

  • I'll call it Ogden, UT
    Oct. 21, 2012 3:55 p.m.

    Play like you did Saturday the rest of the season and the Cougars go 8-4.

    Not bad for playing the toughest schedule in school history. Loses to two undefeated top ten teams, Boise St (6-1), your rival Utah (2-5), and a signature win over the Aggies (6-2).

    The Yellow Jackets could be tough so prepare well and keep your heads up.

    Finish strong

    Go Cougars!

  • Alpine Blue Alpine, UT
    Oct. 21, 2012 3:55 p.m.

    It is not just Riley. Bless his heart, he is a true gamer and you got to love him for his heart and grit.

    In my opinion it is the coaching. Imagine a 14 yard net punt with 6:38 left. Sure it was 4th and long, but it would've been better to go for it. Same as not going for the on-side kick against Boise with 3:30 to play.

    You have nothing to lose against the #5 team in the nation and you punt it to them and let them run out the clock.

    Oh well, maybe next year! Two years in a row of disappointments. Hope Van Noy doesn't leave for the draft.

  • Y-Ask-Y? Provo, UT
    Oct. 21, 2012 3:48 p.m.

    The Irish had an off game,
    And BYU played above themselves...

    And still lost.

    Face it, Cougars, the era of Edward's is over, and a new era of sub-mediocrity is being pressed into the history books by Bronco, Doman, and Riley.

    All the excuse-making in the world will never change the score, nor the 4-4 (.500) record so far this season.

    Is anyone ready to admit that going Indy was a bad idea?

  • mightymite DRAPER, UT
    Oct. 21, 2012 2:52 p.m.

    This is about bad coaching. Granted Riley is not a D-1 QB but the coaches for some reason keep with him. Bad coaching decisions and a QB who cannot play even close to the level of elite competition. Changes need to be made in the off season with.

  • 61Cougar Seattle, Wa
    Oct. 21, 2012 2:03 p.m.

    Re: idablu

    When Jake Heaps had an offense and an offensive coordinator, he set BYU freshman passing records as a true freshman. He won a bowl game going away, was named MVP of that bowl game, and helped make Cody Hoffman a breakout star. He got better as the season wore on.

    So what shot are you referring to? His chance with a passing offense, or his chance with a new offense and a rookie OC who prizes running QBs over pocket passers? Let's be fair here. Neither Mendenhall nor Doman know how to coach a player like Heaps, and they failed miserably where Heaps is concerned.

    By the way, Heaps beat the same teams Nelson beat last year--(WAC teams). Just saying . . . .

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Oct. 21, 2012 1:55 p.m.

    I makes me feel bad to criticize Nelson, I think I understand what it is Bronco see's in him. He is a tough kid, a competitor, a fighter, he wants to win, badly, you can see it when he speaks. He suffers over the losses. All those things are great qualities.

    Unfortunately he just isn't physically talented enough to be the starting qb at BYU. I wish he was. I've pulled for him. I've wanted him to do well. I've hoped he could get it done. He can't.

    Now the schedule is going to get much easier and he'll do fine. They'll probably get 8 wins and they'll definately get in their bowl game. He is good enough against the competition that remains. Sadly he was not good enough for the competition they have already played. Despite his desire and fight he just wasn't good enough. That's his legacy.

  • Cinci Man FT MITCHELL, KY
    Oct. 21, 2012 1:52 p.m.

    NeilT " Yes Riley made one bad throw."

    I think you missed the game, sir. If you go back and look at EVERY incomplete pass and some of the completed passes, you will see that Riley threw very poorly and had lots of bad passes, some of which were made great completions by the talented receivers who had to catch passes on their shoe strings or over their heads or too far in front or a yard behind them on a dead run. Replays of every incomplete pass showed this. I've been joking that either Riley is aiming for the shoe strings and is an accurate poor passer, or he is aiming at the numbers (leading the receiver) and is also a poor passer. In either case, Riley needs to improve if BYU wants to make a bowl and have a decent showing in their bowl game.

  • aunt lucy Looneyville, UT
    Oct. 21, 2012 11:24 a.m.

    No surprise to me. Nelson has been missing passes since the day he got his first D-1 start. I'm just perplexed that he has a coach who seems completely committed to him. Oh we'll there are always better days ahead.

  • Wildcat O-town, UT
    Oct. 21, 2012 10:18 a.m.

    I thought BYU did really well. Notre Dame is ranked fifth in the nation. It might have been a trap game where the Irish did not come out focused and had the backup QB in, but ND's defense is really good.

    Riley was throwing the ball behind or too high for his receivers, but I don't think Hill or Lark would be much better passing the ball. Doman's style of offense requires a "wildcat" type QB, which is why Heaps didn't do well under Doman. If you want a true passer, BYU might need to hire a new OC (Detmer?) and have a different scheme and recruit passing QBs. I think Sorenson would have done well under that type of system, but instead he transferred to SUU and is getting some NFL scouts looking at him.

    I am surprised at some of the comments from fans of a religious institution. Riley did fracture vertebra and is doing his best--pretty poor form from some of BYU's fans--pull yourselves together! GA Tech is very beatable (future opponent MTSU beat them), and then the green-light games, so all should be well very soon.

  • idablu Idaho Falls, ID
    Oct. 21, 2012 10:13 a.m.

    Riley scored 2 touchdowns against a defense that had allowed only 3 TD's all season. The offensive game plan and QB play (except for the early interception) was pretty darn good the first half. The second half, drives were killed by inopportune penalties and sacks (the O-line started wearing down, just like the D-line). I would have to agree with Bronco that this was Nelson's best game this year. The problem is, his best game is not good enough to take us over that hump in the big games.

    All this vitriol and personal attacks agains Nelson, and a call to starting chanting "Lark, Lark" by some of the fans here is really childish. BYU's coming up short in these big games is multifactorial--not just on the QB. The O-line shares a big part of the responsibility. Riley is not a great QB, but he is not as bad as many are making him out to be.

    And for those who say Heaps would do better are delusional. He had his shot and he clearly showed he was not up to the task.

  • Aggielove Cache county, USA
    Oct. 21, 2012 9:28 a.m.

    I have to say, they tried there best.

  • dbrbmw Orem, UT
    Oct. 21, 2012 8:04 a.m.

    Riley, you will haunt every Cougar fan for the rest of our lives....Lesson learned.

  • CougFaninTX Frisco, TX
    Oct. 21, 2012 8:03 a.m.

    This was Nelson's last opportunity to have a statement game. His leadership, charisma and grittiness will be overshadowed by turnovers and poor passes. I can only imagine how frustrated Hoffman and Apo are. Last years Utah State game is the only real bright spot in his career.

    All well, basketball starts on Friday.

  • DC Alexandria, VA
    Oct. 21, 2012 7:11 a.m.

    That one play will haunt you Riley, but your senior season will haunt BYU for years to come. The way these coaches have completely mismanaged personnel and specifically the QB position for the last three years now is unheard of.

    This loss is squarely on the coaches. When you play someone at QB who really shouldn't be playing QB, it's not the QB's fault.

  • J-TX Allen, TX
    Oct. 21, 2012 7:08 a.m.

    The Cougs did better than I think any of us thought they would, thanks to good defense.

    I will admit that my score prediction was off at 38-6. But really, not by much. And an L is an L.

    Take solace in the fact that you are not as sorry as Utah.

  • NeilT Clearfield, UT
    Oct. 21, 2012 6:58 a.m.

    I thought BYU played as well if not better than anyone expected. Did anyone notice how quiet the ND fans were for most of the game. Yes Riley made one bad throw. What Quarterback hasn't. Fans are way to crtical of Riley and Doman. BYU gave ND all they could handle and nearly pulled off a huge upset. My concern is not Riley it is the kicking game. What is with all the missed field goal attempts. It is not just BYU it is USU. The Aggies missed a chance to pull of a huge win against Wisconsin due to a missed field goal. And BYU missed an easy FG that could have tied ND and put the game in OT. Even ND missed a 28 yard FG. A top five team with a kicker that make a 28 yard FG. Unbelievable.

  • Cinci Man FT MITCHELL, KY
    Oct. 21, 2012 6:54 a.m.

    There were several passes that were either behind the receiver or in the case of the pass to Falslev, short by 90% of the target. Surprisingly, this was a winnable game. Ah well, such is the life of a fan this year; remorse, regret, and disappointment.

  • Real Bass Idaho Falls, ID
    Oct. 21, 2012 6:54 a.m.

    Another back up quarterback beats BYU. We have been haunted by quarterback issues since Riley's mission. BYU has no offense and no direction. So much for Bronco's ad about winning the close ones. Isn't it about time for Holmoe to intervene. If not, lets clear house at the end of this miserable season. Beating Idaho by 40 will not salvage this train wreck!

  • hedgelog Idaho Falls, ID
    Oct. 21, 2012 6:46 a.m.

    I predict Riley will haunt Bronco and Brandon for the rest of their lives as well. What a collosial and painful mistake.

  • Mortoon Idaho Falls, ID
    Oct. 21, 2012 6:42 a.m.

    Riley is Utah States revenge. We beat them only by not playing him, but when he plays all we get are gritty losses. He will do great against WAC teams, where he should have been playing all along. Oh well, at least there's next year, maybe.

  • Veritas Aequitas Fruit Heights, UT
    Oct. 21, 2012 5:49 a.m.

    Bronco is not a coach. Doman is not an OC. Riley is not a QB.

    In pee wee football they woupld probably go undereadted.

    not here, not now,

  • Terry Sandy, UT
    Oct. 21, 2012 1:16 a.m.

    Nelson could not hit the broad side of a barn in the 2nd half even with wide open receivers that had for sure touchdowns open that would have won the game! Lark could have hit receivers that wide open without warming up and with his eyes closed! Are the coaches so caught up to Riley's blind loyalty that they are willing to lose every big and winnable game in a season so they don't look bad for going with the wrong quarterback all this time and getting rid of Heaps? I Love Riley's toughness and leadership, his arm is OK when he is healthy, but he is obviously not healthy, most of his passes were off by 10 yards in the 2nd half and a healthy Lark would have won that game for them in the 2nd!!! Bronco and Doman are losing their fans with their unexplicable coaching decisions and stuborness! I am beginning to think a coaching change might be required for BYU to take a step forward from the same old mediocre rut!

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 21, 2012 12:52 a.m.

    In fairness those are back to back top 10 teams that happened to lose their starting quarterback the game before they faced BYU.

  • wer South Jordan, UT
    Oct. 21, 2012 12:49 a.m.

    For those who are more than willing to lay the blame on one or two players or coaches, just look at a replay of the game with your emotions in control. You will clearly see that Riley was harassed, chased, hit, sacked, etc. throughout the game. A repeat of the games that BYU has lost.

    In the first quarter, most of BYU's drives ended with QB sacks. On the promising drive in the 2nd half that resulted with a missed field goal attempt on 4th down, Riley, on the previous play, was supposed to fake a hand off, keep his back to the line, turn and deliver a pass. Unfortunately, when he turned to throw, all he could see were ND players on him. It's hard to execute a successful offense when blocking is in short supply. No matter what players and coaches say, a defense will only produce at a successful level when they believe their efforts will be rewarded with scoring by the offense.

    It is easy to speculate that the defense believes that if more than a TD is scored against the team, the offense won't be able to pull it out.

  • samuel h wiscomb Sun Lakes, AZ
    Oct. 21, 2012 12:09 a.m.

    Dear Jeff Call,

    Riley Nelson did not miss just one key pass. He missed a truck load of them. Make him a fullback and bring in a QB who can throw the ball rather than hold onto it like it was the last one on earth. Give Lark a shot. He can't do any worse than Riley.

  • Scandrus Cedar Hills, Utah
    Oct. 21, 2012 12:08 a.m.

    "In my time here, I've been a part of some blowouts against some good teams," Correction, Riley Nelson you have not blown out or even beating any good teams. His best victory was against an average (7-6) Utah State team last year and they barely squeaked that game out on a lucky bounce. I would love to hear what good teams he thinks he has "blown out"!

  • OC Fan Orange County, CA
    Oct. 20, 2012 11:53 p.m.

    Nelson is haunting BYU!

  • Pa. Reader Harrisburg, PA
    Oct. 20, 2012 11:37 p.m.

    The Riley/Bronco/Doman bromance continues.
    Next Saturday could also be a very grim day, and San Jose State no longer looks like a gimme.
    Spare us the "We came really close to beating the #5 team" talk. At some point just avoiding a blowout isn't enough. You actually have to beat a quality opponent.
    This a talent laden BYU team being led on the field by a guy who can't make the throws to run a complete and effective offense.
    But he is gritty, scrappy, plucky and he tries really hard, and that makes him Bronco & Brandon's kind of player.
    With more talented players sitting on the bench and chased from the program, why would any other top prospect consider BYU?
    Unfortunately, the most likely scenario has BYU destroying inferior teams to end this year and heading into next season without addressing fundamental flaws.
    Is mediocrity an acceptable outcome for an independent BYU? Tom Holmoe should be asked that question.

  • Barry Obamo Orem, UT
    Oct. 20, 2012 11:33 p.m.

    To Jonathan Eddy - most of us do not care what you think or that you are apathetic. And no, BYU football is not at an impasse with you. BYU football doesn't even know who you are. And for those of you constantly calling for Lark, you have ZERO clue. I suppose you are the same SO-called fans who we're chanting, RiLEY, RILEY, RILEY, at LES last year.

  • Lightening Lad Austin , TX
    Oct. 20, 2012 11:02 p.m.

    "In my time here, I've been a part of some blowouts against some good teams," he said.

    Riley has a 60 QB rating vs winning teams. This season he gave Boise all their points, Utah 14 and Oregon St 14, while denying BYU a chance to score with each INT, He has 12 INT's and at least 4 fumbles lost, and in the first three losses it was his 10 INT's vs ZERO, zip, nada, for the opponents. I charted each of his passes in this game, and several before, he tosses a wobbly ball, too low, too high, behind the WR, and on long throws, its RAINBOW time. A gutsy, gritty competitor that Bronco loves because it reminds him of the player he was in college, but not a guy who can pass well enough to stretch the defense or to play error free. It seems that every one gets it but Bronco. I don't want to be negative but it will be a great day when Brandon Doman no longer has the key to the offense. Alums (Detmer, Heimuli) visiting claim the BYU offensive DNA is gone, let's get it back.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Oct. 20, 2012 10:51 p.m.

    I think what many are missing here is this years team is playing one of the hardest regular season schedules BYU has had to play - back to back top 10 teams, heading east more than most years. Yes, they have their issues. No, I never believed they could be ND - anyone who did was fooling themselves. But BYU rose to the occasion - and did better than most gave them a chance to.

    Remember, the old glory days teams when they got to bowls had come through cream puff WAC and MWC schedules, with only a couple of challenging games all year - so they stayed healthy longer. Now they are play a real schedule, they are playing tougher teams, that has a lot more wear and tear on the teams.

    So, don't get down too much. This is what the top 20 teams in the rest of the country have had to endure year in and year out. Get used to it - your not playing in the MWC or WAC anymore. Expectations need to be set accordingly.

  • Jonathan Eddy Payson, UT
    Oct. 20, 2012 10:44 p.m.

    I hate to say it but,.... Bronco, Doman,..... I have now become apathetic. I don't really care how this season plays out anymore and frankly it appears that neither do you. I'm not upset that you lost. It's the way that you lose that has turned aggravation into apathy. You know you need a QB change but you won't. So, if you don't care enough to try something different like seeing if Lark can hit targets that the other QB obviously can't, what am I supposed to cheer for? Nothing. We are at an impasse.

  • flatlander Omaha, NE
    Oct. 20, 2012 10:40 p.m.

    ND had just as bad a QB but did you see the holes the line opened up. Defense can't be on the field all day and stay in the game

  • golsen7 Bonneville, ID
    Oct. 20, 2012 10:10 p.m.

    We won't see Lark unless Riley is hurt. If Lark came in and did well it would make the coaches look bad for sticking with Riley. They one game away from winning with any QB for the rest of the season. We probably will never know how good Lark would have been.

  • southpride56 Saint George, UT
    Oct. 20, 2012 9:48 p.m.

    Where is Lark
    This is getting ridiculous

  • CWEB Orem, UT
    Oct. 20, 2012 9:24 p.m.

    oh, one more thing...that interception that will be called a "tip" and not your fault? Well, as all your balls are, it was too high, and behind of course it got tipped...and that was all on your arm and lack of arm. Sad for us fans.

  • Vernal Mom Vernal, UT
    Oct. 20, 2012 9:07 p.m.

    Please, please.....a quarterback that can throw a decent pass. Is that too much to ask? So frustrating to watch!!

  • golsen7 Bonneville, ID
    Oct. 20, 2012 9:03 p.m.

    Riley has no confidence in throwing the long ball and is not all that accurate on short passes, high low or behind receivers. I don't know if the play calling is conservative because they don't trust Riley not to make mistakes or bad passes or if we are play not to lose.
    The BYU of old would have done the two minute drill when they got the ball right before the end of the first half. They should have tried it just to show they are hungry and really believe they can win. One more score would have taken the heat off of the defense.

  • Winglish Lehi, UT
    Oct. 20, 2012 8:55 p.m.

    Ernest T. Bass is on his game tonight. I really want to hear from Mildred in Fillmore!

    The good news for Cougars fans is that BYU will win the rest of its games and Bronco will never have to admit that he was wrong in being such a toad to Jake Heaps. The local media is too soft to burn him for not playing fifth year senior James Lark, a player who was recruited ahead of Nelson. People forget that Lark was one of the top 25 recruits in the country when he came out of high school. Lark has a cannon for an arm and could have been hitting Hoffman and Apo in stride with deep balls all year long. But who cares about accuracy and ball control from the quarterback position, right? After all, we have Scrappy Doo at quarterback!