Utah and BYU faced off this past weekend for the 97th Holy War, and let me tell ya, it was a good one! There were 9 total turnovers, 2 disqualifications for targeting, and a very interesting call at the end of the game to go for two with 18 seconds left. BYU’s attempt to go for 2 was unsuccessful, and Utah won the game 20-19.
This game was a defensive battle, and an ugly display of each teams offenses. Both starting QB’s threw 3 INT’s and less than 200 yards. But we expected that. What we didn’t expect was the 9 total turnovers. Both defenses were impressive, but the majority of these turnovers were a result of poor offensive execution, and miscommunications.
So what went wrong with the Offense in this game?
BYU’s QB Taysom Hill was pressured the whole game by Utah’s defense, and he was unable to get into a rhythm for the majority of the night. The run game was dismal with Jamaal Williams. Possibly the highlight of the night for BYU was Taysom’s ability to scramble and make plays with his feet. He finished the night with 87 yards rushing and 2 TD’s.
Utah’s offense was very inconsistent, and nobody could hang on to the ball. The Utes had 5 total fumbles, and were only able to recover 2 of them. First year starting QB Troy Williams made some big mistakes when throwing the ball, especially in the red zone where he threw an interception on 3rd down rather than just throwing the ball away. The running back situation is also a big question mark. Joe Williams fumbled at the start of the game, so Troy McCormick and Zack Moss saw more carries than expected, and they both played equally well.
2 Minute Drill
BYU was down 13-20 with about 2 minutes left in the game and Taysom was able to connect with a few different receivers, and ended up scoring a rushing touchdown to put the Cougars an extra point away from tying the game up and sending it into overtime.
But right when you expected to see the kicking team go on the field, Coach Sitake makes a bold decision to go for 2 and try to win the game. The Cougars lined up in the gun, and Hill ran to the left in a QB draw but was met by the defensive wall of the Utes. The Cougars then attempted an onside kick, but failed to recover it and Utah won the game.
So here’s the big question. Was going for 2 the right call by Coach Sitake?
My answer – Yes.
BYU had all the momentum and they were finally moving the ball down the field. Plus, Utah’s defense was starting to look very tired. This was a gutsy move by Sitake, but it was the right call. The Cougars had been so conservative since Bronco Mendenhall took over as head coach in 2005, and Sitake breaking that conservative streak showed that this team is ready to start playing to win, rather than playing to not lose.
However, this was not the right play call. I was hoping for a bootleg to the right to give Hill the opportunity to run the ball or throw the ball. But instead they call a QB draw, which Utah was expecting because Hill had just scored a TD on a QB run.
Overall this was a very fun game to watch, and fans from both sides should be excited for what their teams can accomplish this year.
– Jesse Thayne