Three Steps Forward, One Step Back

The BYU Cougars gave up the momentum gained by a three game winning streak in a 21-14 loss to the Lobos of New Mexico. Forrest Allred reviews another frustrating performance by the boys in blue. He also wraps up the rest of the weekend's action around the Mountain West Conference.

BYU 14, New Mexico 21. For the second time in as many visits the Lobos came away with the W in Provo. After not winning in Provo for 14 tries, New Mexico now claims to have the Cougars' number. Can any say them nay?

This is not a game BYU should have lost, and it will hurt. The Cougars had only 20 first downs, but held the Lobos to a mere 13, and only 257 total yards. Even playing as sloppily as they did, the Cougars were in position to win, but for themselves. After taking the early lead and establishing momentum, BYU lost no time in giving it back with a critical personal foul penalty that kept alive the Lobos' drive to tie the score at 7-7. The Cougars would never lead again. It was a Payne-full loss, as the BYU kicker, a highly touted pre-season All American candidate, missed not one, not two, but three makeable attempts. Those kicks alone, if converted, give BYU an ugly two-point win. Instead, it's a horrifying, potentially post-season thwarting loss.

Not all the blame can be laid at Payne's feet. Fahu Tahi, a notorious fumbler who should know better by now, hurt his team once more by putting it on the ground, and freshman Antwuan Harris let the Cougars' last chance fall to the ground on a last chance drive to tie the game. Several other BYU receivers shared the shame, letting easy catches bounce off their hands with the game on the line. Leading some observers to question how bad these guys really wanted this game?

BYU coach Gary Crowton could be forgiven were he silently to wonder "with friends like these, who needs enemies?"

Next up: for BYU, November 20 at Utah. For New Mexico, November 20 versus Wyoming.

Colorado State 46, UNLV 10. Ethel Merman would have appreciated it, although it took more than a day. True freshman Caleb Hanie put previous games' errors behind him, leading the Rams to scores on three of their first four possessions. CSU lead 24-0 after one quarter, and the game was over.

UNLV falls to 2-8. Not much of a sendoff for a legendary coach who retires after next week.

Next up: for CSU, November 20 at Air Force. For UNLV, November 20 at SDSU.

SDSU 37, Air Force 31. The error-prone Falcons did it again, giving up a blocked kick for the fourth time in their last three home games, and Aztec linebacker Kirk Morrison intercepted Shaun Carney's pass with only thirteen seconds left to seal the win.

On a frigid night, playing in ice and falling snow, SDSU finally won its first conference game of the year. Air Force fell to 4-6 and will not be bowl eligible.

Next up: for Air Force, November 20, versus CSU. For SDSU, November 20 versus UNLV.

Utah 45, Wyoming 28. After a start delayed by nearly 100 minutes while electricity was being discovered in Laramie, Utah lost no time, leading 17-7 at the end of the first quarter and 31-7 at the half. The Cowboys acquitted themselves reasonably well, putting up 20 first downs to Utah's 27, and 410 yards of offense to the Utes' 494, but three turnovers and seven penalties sealed their fate.

The win, coupled with BYU's loss to New Mexico, clinches Utah's second consecutive outright conference title.

Next up: for Utah, November 20 versus BYU. For Wyoming, November 20 at New Mexico.

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