After UCLA suffered what my brother Andy and I decided was “the kind of loss that sets a program back 10 years” at the hands of the BYU Cougars, I am flying high on a jet stream of satisfaction.
The feeling stayed with me all Saturday, through Sunday and its effects are still with me today.
All I can say is BYU needed a game like this. They needed a game that would shut up the media, shut up the critics, and even shut up hand-wringing fans like myself.
They needed a game that would send a message. And they got it.
And as one who was honored and privileged enough to see a 59-0 shellacking of UCLA, I would like to thank Bronco Mendenhall and the BYU Cougars from the bottom of my heart. Bronco, if you keep putting up games like this you can take me and everyone else who attended the infamous Cougar Club luncheon the other day, strap us to a telephone pole and horsewhip us till we scream like little babies for all I care.
Here are five valuable lessons I learned on Saturday.
1. Robert Anae is an offensive genius. Anyone who watched this game has to know that Coach Robert Anae must have had UCLA circled on his calendar. After last year’s 17-16 Las Vegas Bowl squeaker, a game in which Anae was responsible for the most bone-headed call I’ve seen in a long time, you know Robbie and the offense wanted to leave no doubt in the minds of the Cougar faithful.
He prepared an offensive game plan that should be framed and put behind glass, because it was a thing of beauty—a piece of art. He did things with BYU’s offense that I have never seen before. He put Fui Vakapuna in the slot, brought Harvey Unga in motion to the outside, ran a triple option with Austin Collie as the pitch man… it was incredible. And the best part is, it worked. Hey UCLA, Real Salt Lake called: they want their final score back.
2. Max Hall is a Heisman candidate. I should have seen it coming, but I’ll admit—I didn’t. I knew Max Hall was good, but I had no idea he was this good. Max Hall is blasting-into-outer-space good. Max Hall is 4X4-animal-style good. Watching him lead the Cougar offense must be like watching Beethoven conduct his Fifth Symphony. Everything is working in concert; every cog is spinning and working in rhythm. And Hall, as the magnificent maestro, distributes the ball with perfection. Seven freaking touchdowns in one game. Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve found our Mormon equivalent to Jim McMahon.
3. BYU can play with anyone. ANYONE. I didn’t say they can beat anyone, but after watching the dream game on Saturday I am convinced that we can hang around with any team in the league. Furthermore, I am no longer afraid of TCU, Utah or anyone else on our schedule. I have seen BYU at its finest, and no MWC team can even hang in our zip code if we play like we did on Saturday. Our offense is that good. I’m hoping we get to prove it on New Year’s Day 2009.
4. BYU special teams are the real deal. No longer a liability, BYU is quickly turning its special teams play into a strength. From blocked kicks to touchbacks, BYU is looking very solid. Move over Air Force!
5. Ohio State is a very bad football team. I know it has nothing to do with BYU, but I had to say it. I’m starting to think Ohio State has done something horrible to upset the football gods, and the gods have sent a decree across the universe that says The Ohio State must be put to shame whenever the spotlight is upon them. State fans in Columbus are weeping, wailing and gnashing their teeth. Meanwhile, at least one BYU fan in Provo is hoping the Cougars meet the Buckeyes in the Fiesta Bowl…
What a weekend. Here’s to the No. 11 BYU Cougars!
Oh yeah- What did you learn on Saturday? What was revealed to you during that epic day? Please share.