In the second half, Wyoming gained less than 60 yards. Overall, nine days after getting torched by Colorado State, the defense held the conference's leading passer to 140 yards on 20 completions – and picked up two interceptions to boot. 225 yards was the amount of total offense surrendered by the Cougars defense.
Berry took the majority of snaps, but it was obvious he wasn't 100%. He appeared unable to grip the ball firmly, resulting in his having little zip on his throws. A four-week layoff also took their toll as Berry was a bit rusty overall. The receiving corps woke up with several fine diving catches. Third down continue to plague the Cougars.
This was a game in which the Cougars looked "snake-bit." Matt Payne missed a field goal he normally makes. A tipped pass at the end, or BYU at least ties it in regulation. John Beck throws an ill-advised out interception which Wyoming runs back for its only touchdown. Berry, battling back after a broken hand, also has to battle the flu and still goes 21-34 for 225 yards and one touchdown.
Tired of waiting for "brighter days?" Is the coaching staff just making excuses? Is BYU's long and glorious run at an end? This writer has no hesitancy in saying that Coach Gary Crowton is right on the money and the right man for the job. This program will be turned around. The sky is not falling. In fact, this team is not far from being 6-2 and tied for second, instead of being 3-5 and all alone in 6th place.
Everyone remembers 2001. Here are a few things not everybody remembers, however.
In the run to 12-0, the Cougars fumbled the ball 33 times, an average of 2.75 per game. Amazingly, of those 33 fumbles, BYU lost only 12, or 36%. Does it seem like we're fumbling a lot more this year?
We're not. <> Through week eight this year BYU has put the ball on the ground 20 times, an average of only 2.5 times, or 0.25 times less per game than in 2001. But the Cougars have already lost 12 of those 20, or 60%, as many as we lost on our way 12-0 in 2001.
Interceptions? Again, on the way to a 12-0 start, Brandon Doman threw a grand total of eight interceptions, 0.75 per game. This year? Eleven interceptions in 8 games on far fewer attempts, by the way.
Sacks? In 2001 through 12 games, the offensive line gave up only 16 sacks (and 11 in the first 11 games) as compared to 23 in eight outings this year, nearly three per game.
This year alone, take away only one tipped-pass interception against Stanford and chances are we win the game. Take away Marcus Whalen's fumble against Air Force and chances are we at least send the game to overtime. Take away one fumble (Berry non-fumble) or alternatively one interception (either the tipped pass to end the game or the Beck telegraphed pass) and chances are we win it at Wyoming.
No, this is not one of BYU's most powerful teams. But neither is it one of the worst. The breaks will, over time, even out. And, by the way, they did even out in 2001: in the last two games alone of that year, the Cougars had nine fumbles, losing six, and four interceptions, not to mention 10 sacks.
Next up for the Cougars: At UNLV. Wyoming: At SDSU.
CSU 30, AFA 20 (Thursday)
The Rams' physicality took much out of the Falcons. As the game wore on, Air Force wore down. Bradlee Van Pelt ran for 125 yards and passed for another 258. The game was not quite as close at the score might indicate. CSU took a 16-point lead into the fourth quarter and laid 564 yards of offense on the Falcons. Air Force quarterback Chance Harridge completed only 3 of 12 passes and had two intercepted.
Next up for CSU: At Wyoming, November 1. Air Force: At Utah, November 1.
Utah 28, UNLV 10
Utah was in control all the way as their balanced attack overwhelmed the Rebels. The Utes had 23 first downs to UNLV's 16. They also had 220 yards rushing and 221 passing and held the ball for nearly 37 minutes. Ute coach Urban Meyers' team is in the driver's seat with no losses in the conference.
Next up for Utah: New Mexico. UNLV hosts BYU.
New Mexico 30 @ SDSU 7
A big road win for the Lobos. The defense was tenacious; the offense was clicking; and New Mexico evened its conference record at 1-1.
Next up for New Mexico: At Utah. The Aztecs host Wyoming.