BYU vs. Boise State: A low-tech preview

<b>Game 4 in a series</b> <p> After blowing out Georgia Tech (3-1), slipping past 3rd-ranked USC (1-1) on the road and handling New Mexico (2-1), 18th-ranked BYU now boasts a 3-0 record and a glowing glimmer of a chance to break into the BCS bowl series if they remain undefeated this season.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: This is an exclusive COMPUTER vs. COMPUTER PS2 simulation with exact scores and stats for ANYONE that replicates these games with updated team rosters -- Cougar fan or not. In reality, this game has been moved to Friday, October 31, as a nationally televised ESPN game, but the game is already programmed into PS2 software based on BYU's original schedule. We have pre-played BYU's upcoming season for Cougar fans waiting out the post-spring football doldrums. This article is part of a fantasy game-by-game summary and analysis with actual player names and stats provided.)

The Cougars now face 13th-ranked Boise State, also undefeated after two games, as the Broncos take on the Cougars in Provo. This game is an obvious "lose-lose situation" for the Cougars. Pollsters have given the Bronco's more respect despite the fact BYU's record so far includes wins against higher profile BCS schools -- and New Mexico on the road.

BSU's surprising poll-ranking comes from a great 2002 finish and bowl win against Iowa State. The Broncos off to a great start with a #20 pre-season poll ranking. Coming of a 60-14 blowout at Idaho (0-2) and a 42-14 upset at Oregon State (0-2), the Broncos boast the nation's #1 ranked defense, holding each offense they faced to an average of 135 yards per game. Their offense is also ranked #6 among all NCAA Division 1 teams.

BYU's undefeated record is being carried on the shoulders of the Cougar defense -- and a few lucky breaks and bounces.

The Cougars forced three turnovers against USC, which could have easily amounted to 21 points in the Trojans' favor. Against New Mexico, BYU did not sustain a single scoring drive where they were not aided by a turnover. The Cougars forced five turnovers, and converted all 5 UNM mistakes into 34 BYU points.

It's game time.

The setting is another beautiful and majestic one beneath the Wasatch mountains with temperatures around 70 degrees. BYU takes the field as the sold out stadium rises to their feet. Boise State wins the coin toss. Showing early confidence in their defense, they elect to kick off.

BYU starts the drive at the Cougar 20 yard line. On the first play of the game, Crowton calls a play action pass, faking out the Boise State defense as Matt Berry finds a wide open Breyon Jones at the 45 of BSU. Jones, shaking off and eluding defenders, is finally brought down at the Bronco 32.

BYU, with building momentum after the 58-yard pass, runs a reverse play with Whalen running to the right and handing the ball off to running back Thomas Stancil, who lined up on the Z-WR position. He takes the play to the 2 yard line. Topping off the 37-second drive, Marcus Whalen dives over the pile of linemen for a BYU touchdown.

After the successful extra point by Matt Payne, BYU kicks the ball just short of the end zone, where it is brought out and stopped immediately at the BSU 14. BYU allows one first down, but forces the Broncos to punt at the 32.

The Cougars start their second offensive series at their own 35. They run three straight plays with Marcus Whalen, and then another two with Fahu Tahi going for around 5-yards per carry. The drive stalls at the Boise State 30, and the Cougars add another three points after a 47 yard field goal by Matt Payne.

1st Quarter - BYU 10 - Boise State 0

BYU is moving the ball with ease and Boise State cannot move the football to save their lives. This may appear to be another easy and satisfying win for the Cougars.

Not so fast.

BYU fails to complete a single first down in the second quarter. The BSU defense applies constant pressure on Berry, forcing him into two sacks and 7 hurries during the period. Late in the quarter, Berry is forced to throw under pressure, causing a turnover at the BYU 31.

Up until this point, the BYU defense has had their way with the opposing BSU offense throughout the first half. Boise State, however, converts on a 25-yard field goal, cutting the BYU lead to 7 at the half.

Halftime - BYU 10 - Boise State 3

In the second half, Boise State takes the kick off 65 yards and starts off with great field position at the BYU 40. BSU runs three straight pass plays, going for 5, 14 and 7 yards. Starting first and goal from the 5 yard line, the Broncos run three straight runs up the middle, picking up around 1 yard per rush and is faced with a 4th and 1 situation.

After the time out, Boise State's offensive unit runs on to the field as the sellout crowd rises again to their feet. The noise is deafening. The ball is hiked, Boise State drops back, finds a wide open receiver in the end zone for their first touch down of the game.

But hold everything; there's a penalty flag.

"Holding on the offense, 10 yard penalty, remains fourth down," announces the referee.

BSU pulls one out of the hat for a critical touchdown and successful PAT. BYU drives the length of the field and quickly adds a field goal of their own. The two teams exchange punts as the 3rd quarter ends.

3rd Quarter - BYU 13 - Boise State 10

Boise State starts the 4th and final quarter at their own 44. Later in the drive, the Cougars blitz all their linebackers, leaving the tight end wide open, for a huge 60-yard touchdown pass. The extra point is blocked by John Denney.

The Cougars then drive down to the BSU 30 on the next drive to add another 47-yard field goal, tying the score at 16.

After a few exchanged punts, BYU give the Broncos the chance to take the game, and pin a nail in the Cougar coffin, as Boise State would line up to kick a 22 yard field goal to win the game with just 1:19 remaining.

The crowd rises to its feet as the pigskin hits the right goal post. No good.

With 58 seconds remaining in the game, it's time for the Cougars to work their magic, once again.

Berry takes his offense from the 20 to the 38 with a pass to Daniel Coats. After the ball is spiked, BYU runs a half back screen to Whalen, which goes no where, running the clock down to 35 seconds.

After an incomplete pass to Chris Hale, BYU is faced with 3rd and 10 at their own 41 yard line. Berry drops back, throws the ball in the direction of Bristol Olomua and well over his head for an incompletion. Just as the crowd begins to boo the poor pass, a flag flares in the air and pass interference is called on the defense.

After the flag, the Cougars start the new set of downs at the Boise State 44 with just 26-seconds remaining. Call Crowton crazy, but after a half back draw to Stancil goes to the Boise State 31 with just 19-seconds remaining in the game, he's crazy like a fox.

BYU runs two plays up the middle, calls a time out and lines up for the game winning field goal at the Boise State 25 with just 3-seconds remaining in the game. The ball is up and the kick is good. BYU wins yet another thriller.

Final Score - BYU 19 - BSU 16

BYU 4-0 (1-0) moves up to No. 14 in the AP Poll and No. 15 in the coaches polls and now faces 20th-ranked Stanford (3-1) next week.

Stats: BYU ~ BSU 1st Downs 18 17 Total Off. 297 310 Rushes - Yds. 26-147 32-88 Comp-Att-TD 17-31-0 15-25-1 Pass Yds. 115 222 Sacked 3 1 Redzone-TD-FG 3-1-3 3-1-2 Turnovers 2 1 Penalties-Yds 1-10 4-45 T.O.P 28:37 31:23 Berry 17-31 115 ~ 0 Td ~ 63% ~ 3 sack ~ 1 Int. Whalen 18/110 yards ~ 1 TD Aaron Francisco 1 Sack ~ 3 TFL

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