Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Season-defining plays: The year 2000

Have you ever sat back during the long summer days, agonizing through the latest Brett Favre controversy, and wondered "how can I boil down a whole football season into one single play?"

I have. In fact I'm doing it right now.

I think about it so much, actually, that I decided I will write a series of posts that will look back at all the BYU football played in this millennium and define each season by its most meaningful/symbolic play.

Every day, over the next 8 days, I will describe each season starting with the year 2000 and pinpoint its precise season-defining play. You can disagree with me if you want, but I don't recommend it.

If you do, though, feel free to mix it up a little bit in the comments section. Just try to refrain from calling me an idiot. Here we go.

The season: 2000.

The first season in the new millennium was also the last season for BYU's legendary coach, LaVell Edwards. He gathered his team around him during fall camp and announced his retirement effective immediately following the final game of the season.

LaVell pioneered the game of football. He mentored legends, produced powerhouse teams and even brought a National Championship to the people of Provo. His long and illustrious career had to come to an end, though, and everyone knew his time had come.

I can clearly remember seeing Coach Edwards on the sidelines keeled over with his head down and his hands on his knees. He looked like an old man who was suffering.

His team turned out to be one of the most disappointing BYU teams in recent memory. This talent-laden team included the likes of Bret Engemann, Kalani Sitake, Justin Ena, Chris Hoke, Margin Hooks, Tevita Ofahengaue, Hans Olsen, Brian McDonald-Ashford and a young Luke Staley, to name a few. These names may not mean much to the casual BYU fan, but these were good players. And yet they lacked the killer instinct; they couldn't put games away like they should have.

That, combined with a tired coaching staff and a brutal football schedule, took its toll on the Cougs. Three trips to the east coast (Florida State, Virginia and Syracuse) and a lackluster MWC performance put the Cougars at 4-6 heading into their last game at Cougar Stadium against New Mexico.

It was at this game that then President of the BYU Board of Directors Gordon B. Hinckley announced that Cougar Stadium would from then on be known as LaVell Edwards Stadium. BYU beat New Mexico to preserve a win in Edwards' final home game.

Next up was Utah, and there we find the 2000 season-defining play.

2000 SDP: With only seconds left in the fourth quarter of LaVell's last game, the third-string quarterback Brandon Doman captained a full-on frontal assault to break through the Utah Utes' defenses on a QB keeper into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown over Utah.

Doman's heroics came after the Cougars let a 26-10 lead slip away in the fourth quarter. The Utes' comeback looked like it would spoil LaVell's season, but Doman simply would not lose, ending an up-and-down season on a high note.

This bittersweet play is a perfect example of the Cougars' ability to rally behind their beloved coach, but is also a sad reminder of the wasted talent/opportunities of what should have been a top-25 team. This play, more than any other, defined the 2000 season as a disappointing one, with occasional moments of brilliance.

Click here to watch highlights of the 2000 BYU/Utah game.

For a closer look at the 2000 season, check out the DVD Last Miracle for LaVell.

The 2000 BYU Cougars ended the season 6-6.

Tomorrow: Season-defining play(s) for the 2001 BYU Cougars.


Bryce said...

This was the season that Trevor, Cory, Kent, Jake and I convinced Adrian Call that there was a 5th quarter for all the seniors.

It might have been the next year though. I had just moved here that year. I could be wrong.

There. A comment.

ManicBlue said...

Sorry ... have to disagree. The defining play, IMO, was the 4th and 13 from our own 17 yd line to start the final series when Doman hit Pittman for a 34 yd bomb to get us a first down. The 36 yd bomb to Pittman on the very next play is a close 2nd. After that, it seemed BYU scoring to win the game was a foregone conclusion.

Andy & Jessica said...

I was sitting in a pizza shop in Kauaii HI on my honeymoon waiting for the time to pass before my flight home and this game happened to be on. I agonized as BYU gave up a sure lead in the fourth quarter and it looked for sure like BYU would lose to Utah.

I agree though, fourth and 13 was the play. That play was preceded by absolute despair and followed by pure elation.

Adam said...

See, I disagree. That play was thrilling, and maybe defined the game, but the actual game-winning touchdown was the season-defining moment.

Rock said...

That final drive by Doman may be my favorite drive in BYU Football's history. Even better than the '06 drive by Beck. I think LaVell would have died shortly after that game if Doman hadn't of made that Teeder.

Jennifer said...

Spot on assessment. The team had the talent but they weren't closers. From the fumble late in the game at Air Force to kicking field goals the entire first half against Utah instead of running away with it and letting LaVell relax for once. I wouldn't trade the ending now, but I was in Rice Eccles when it looked like all was lost. It should never have come to that.


PS the Prophet's directive to the team in the locker room prior to the New Mexico game "Don't muff it!" could be the next ad campaign that Nike steals from the Lord's mouthpiece after lifting "Do it." from President Kimball back in the 80's.