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Are You Kidding Me?

27 November 2010 Brett Richins 42 Comments
To: Utah  From: BYU

To: Utah From: BYU


All I can say is that Kyle Whittingham must be living right on and off the field.

He better make sure to report this gift on his tax returns.

Three wacky fourth-quarter turnovers, combined with a blown call in the replay booth, cost BYU in the 17-16 come from behind win by Utah.

A fumble caused by a mix-up by BYU’s  freshman quarterback and running back led to a Utah touchdown.

It then got ridiculous as a shanked Utah punt hit BYU’s BJ Peterson. The Utes recovered the ball and were in business in BYU territory.

An ensuing interception by the Cougars’ Brandon Bradley should have sealed the deal, but the Utes pulled the ball from Bradley’s hands during the return.

The TV replay clearly showed that Brandon’s knee was down prior to the ball being pried loose from his hands, but the officials in the replay booth failed to overturn the call.

Utah took advantage by striking again to go up 17-16 with just over four minutes left in the game.

Even after all of that craziness, the Cougars had a shot to win it on a field goal as Jake Heaps led the Cougars down the field like a veteran. But BYU blew a blocking assignment and allowed a rusher on the edge to go free and block the attempt.

Credit the Utes with taking advantage of the lucky bounces and converting on the gifts they received, but mistakes late in the game by the Cougars gave this game away.

A decision in the second quarter also came back to bite the Cougars. Instead of taking a chip shot field goal that would have put BYU up 9-0, Bronco Mendenhall decided to go for it on fourth and less than a yard.

Instead if running it on fourth and short, they further gambled by going with a play action pass that was dropped by freshman receiver Cody Hoffman. Had the Cougars taken the three at that point in the game, they would have likely walked out of Rice-Eccles with the win.

The turn of events nullified another terrific effort by the BYU defense. The Cougars dominated the Utes, shutting them out for three quarters and holding them to 89 rushing yards on the day, 296 yards of total offense and allowing just 4-15 on third-down attempts.

We’ll have analysis and follow up stories later, but for right now we are interested in your initial takes and thoughts on this game…

Welcome to the Deep Shades of Blue Community!


  • Craig said:

    No question that fumble on the int should have been overturned.

    What is the point of replay if they don’t get it right? That was the game right there.
    What was the rationale for not overturning the call? Think the Mtn West will do anything about it? Certainly not.
    I am so glad we are going indy

  • Jonathan C said:

    I was really disappointed with the game in general. The thing that made me upset was at the end where Utah people were hacking away with a hatchet on a mock BYU helmet. At the end they were totally taunting and trying to pick fights with BYU. Instead of enjoying the victory, the coaches had to go out and stop fights between the Utah and BYU guys.

    All I have to say is that our true freshmen quarterback showed a lot more promise than Utah’s quarterbacks… I was hoping that they would keep Cain in for longer.

  • Matt said:

    All I can say is amen to this…

    …and it hurts.


    BYU Custom Name Prints

  • Adam said:

    Although disappointing and frustrating, I refuse to let the defeat depress me because BYU played pretty well and either showed that Utah is not a top 25 team or that BYU belongs in the top 25.

    I think Utah has a lot to fear in the next few years as BYU promises to only get significantly better. It’ll take another Christmas miracle for Utah to beat BYU next year.

  • AF Coug said:

    What about the lack of a two point conversion? Tie ball game at best, down by two at worst. Which in this case was exactly the same as being down by 1.

    I’d have gone for it on the 4th down. I wouldn’t have thrown a pass.

    Intercept the pass and take a knee.

    Get the call right if you are going to review it.

    After UCLA in Vegas a couple of years ago I wouldn’t pass the ball at the end of the game either, but come on, don’t play to not lose.

    It still feels good to know that we’re better than the Utes. In a crappy reloading year.

  • Tony said:

    Gifts are right! The punt hitting Peterson in the back was inexcusable, that guy is a Senior and should know better! A couple of key drops also, one by Hoffman on 4th down, and one down the sideline by Ashworth were key I though.

    Even after all that, it was great to see our true Freshman QB outplay both of Utah’s QB’s. The future looks bright for the “Y”!

  • Seasider said:

    This was a tough one to swallow. What irks me is how ridiculously conservative they got when they were in FG range. I get that they were playing for a FG, but come on! Give Heaps a chance to try to win the game before opting for Payne. But in a game like this, there’s always gonna be a lot of coulda, woulda, shoulda moments. Bottom line is we lost they won and we’ll bounce back and get ready for whatever bowl game BYU gets.

  • Kyle M. said:

    Mistakes were made–by the refs, the Utes, and the Cougars. The only unforgiveable mistakes were made by Robert Anae. (Help out your kicker, dude! And trust Heaps to make the smart throws he’d been making the whole game. And next time you have 12 points on the board, don’t kick a PAT.)

    Too bad the season had to end with such a close loss to the Utes, but the players have nothing to hang their heads about. Great game by just about everyone. And the good news is we don’t have to wait 12 months for the rematch.

    Go Cougars.

  • joe said:

    I have to admit, usually I would be so mad right now, but considering we won the game. I just feel cheated and feel like we were given an L when we actually won. i hope Brett you would tell us exactly what happens to the people responsible for the botched review.

  • P Hay said:

    It’s just amazing that Utah barely defeated BYU, SDSU and Air Force. Of course all three had turn-overs that cost them the game. BYU certainly gave it to the Utes; why I am not sure. If I ever made sure an attempted field goal try was properly blocked, it would have been the omne as time ran out today. Utah could have been 6 – 6 if their opponents have taken care of the ball a little better. But they didn’t. It started with Utah’s win over power-house Pitt, who was 6 – 5 after this week, and it took the Utes overtime in SLC. The real Utah team played TCU and Notre Dame and the first 3/4’s against SDSU and BYU. I guess I’d say they followed Lavell Edward’s observation of “I’d rather be lucky than good.” Today they were lucky. And after the TCU debacle, which was billed as the most historic football game in the history of the State of Utah, the Utes were on the ropes. Good luck to them in the PAC 12–they’re goping to need it because if they play like they have this season, they’ll be bottom-feeders.

  • Ralph said:

    I hate it when we take our foot off the gas at the end of games. I don’t see TCU taking their foot off the gas in games, the Yewts either. That seems to be a staple with Anae, get a safe lead and then shift into neutral. What a lousy way to give a game away.

  • Jim C said:

    The replay system doesn’t work. It failed in the SDSU game and it failed in this game.

    Good news is that we have 4 more weeks of practice and a bowl game. Good news is that we’ll be returning most of our offense and defense for next year. Good news is that Heaps et al grew a whole bunch over the last two months. Good news is that eggnog will still be in the stores for 7 more weeks.

    Bad news is that we won’t have anymore Thanksgiving games with Utah. Doesn’t seem right to play them when it is 70+ degrees.

  • oceanographer said:

    The good: Heaps and crew have very bright futures. We almost (and should have) won a game that everyone expected us to lose.

    The bad: We lost to Utah. I really feel bad for Bradley – he’s one of my favorite players.

    Here’s to the bowl game. I don’t see us losing it, because I don’t see us playing anyone as good as Utah.

  • J 2 said:

    Was it just me or did Heaps handle the pressure and make reads in this game better than Hall did in any of his three years? I’m not saying this to knock Hall, but to prop up Heaps and realize what the next 3 years will hopefully be.
    Too bad he wasn’t given the opportunity to pull it out at the end.

  • Seasider said:

    Here’s a video clip of the Brandon Bradley fumble. Wrubell’s reaction says it all.


  • farsurfer said:

    We deserved to lose! Sure there were blown calls, stupid mistakes, lucky bounces, etc. that put us in position to lose the game but poor coaching is the top reason. I told my buddy at the beginning of the drive that I was afraid we were going to get in field goal range and then quit trying. Over a minute to go with a timeout and we get to the 20 with a first down and we quit. All Cougar fans know it’s history of game winning/losing field goals. Starting with the 1979 Holiday Bowl and the shank of all shanks! It’s a joke from the Boise St. Payne shank to the doink at the end of the Boston College game. I’m sure there are more, but we should know you never ever rely on a field goal to win a game unless that is your only option. Didn’t the UCLA Bowl game teach us anything. Somebody must not be living right! Play to win the game!

  • Ryan F said:

    Disappointing. Ah well. Utah won. The most damning scapegoat is indeed the fumble call blown by the replay booth. One has to wonder whether they’re federal employees, they were so incompetent on this one…

    Oh, and Bronco passing on a field go for a 9-0 score. At the time, it seemed fun to go for it, but yeah, not a good decision.

    Overall, I think the future is bright. Especially if we get rid of Robert Anae.

  • Kyle M. said:

    Amen, Farsurfer. The offense shut down as if they think a 43-yarder is a gimme–they spent 3 plays and the final minute of playing time trying to keep the ball centered for Payne.

  • WaybackCougar said:

    Congrats to the Utes. It was another classic and too bad somebody had to lose, but it was probably their turn to win a close one. I was proud of our team. The future looks bright!

  • Ice Cold said:

    I admire some of you guys for being so positive about this. The future does look bright, but I don’t really care about that right now. I’ll care more about the future in the future. Right now, I feel so bad for Brandon Bradley. The best moment of his college career, and the officials turned it into the worst moment of his college career. Just sad.

    In a way, it’s like the Mountain West is waving goodbye to BYU with its middle finger. Screwing the Cougars on a huge play against their rivals – not a bad way to send ‘em off, I guess. No hard feelings, right?

  • Wiley said:

    Is it just me, or is the best part of BYU going independent that we’ll never have to listen to Todd Christensen call another game? I can’t stand the way he second guesses everything the coaches do, and pretends to know what they are saying to their players, or even what they are thinking! Tough loss, but I’m ready over it. Here’s to four more weeks of practice and a hard- earned bowl game.

  • Blue Blooded said:

    I pose two questions:

    How much worse is Utah than we thought they were a month ago?

    How much better is BYU than we thought they were a month ago?

    Even though the Utes get the scoreboard tonight, It’s pretty amazing how well they both matched up.

    BTW, BYU starts their season with a QB controversy and Utah ends theirs with one. I like our trajectory going into independence.

    GO COUGS!!!

  • guitarperry said:

    Looking forward to Heaps to Apo!

  • John said:

    Our third down play calling was weak again today. The play action miss by Hoffman is just one example of several poor play calls on third down. It looked as though we were satisfied to score 16 points on Utah when we could have scored 30+.

    It was awesome to see Jacobson getting some catches.

  • Spence said:

    Did anybody else think that the MTN announcers were completely favoring the Utes? They screamed like giddy schoolgirls every time Utah got a lucky break.

  • Greg said:

    The Cougars played their hearts out, as did the Utes. I cannot place blame on a blown call. That will happen occasionally. I cannot place the blame on the players, because they did their very best. I can and will place the blame on Robert Anae. While I applaud going for it on 4th and inches in the Red Zone when only up by 6 points, I cannot excuse his continued, bungled play calling. We refuse to run trick plays (the travesty that cost the Cougars 15 yards doesn’t count. That wasn’t a trick. It was boneheaded), yet Mr. Anae thinks he can outsmart every defensive coordinator in the country. Unfortunately for him, he has failed against six so far this year.

    BYU needs to mix up its passing/running/play action plays on first down. We should counter or keep going with what works on second. We should NOT be consistently running it up the middle for 2-3 yards on first down. Doing so is undeniably stupid. Further, if BYU is really a running team (which fact Anae has tried to highlight all year), we should have no problem banging it up the middle or calling a QB sneak on 4th and inches. Our play calling in general is suspect, but there were 5-6 examples of mind-numbingly idiotic decisions yesterday afternoon that should earn Anae and invitation to retire early.

  • Yogi said:

    I don’t place blame any where. BYU lost, get over it.
    Go to church, eat some left overs, Kiss your wife,
    and kick the dog really hard.
    Just don’t let any one “Block It”.

  • Hoax said:

    My thoughts on the game:

    BYU was incredibly and amazingly unlucky in the 4th quarter. The deep TD pass was in Logan’s hands, and he bumbled the ball straight into Utah’s receivers hands. Unlucky. The punt that bounced off of our guy’s leg…the player was doing the right thing trying to get out of the way, just a horrible bounce. Unlucky. Then the call that wasn’t reversed on the supposed fumble. Unlucky. (and yes, it was a blown call). I can’t blame the outcome on the game on that call, but would BYU have won if the call was correct? More than likely yes, so it was a huge call.

    BYU outplayed Utah the entire game. BYU’s defense was superior, and their offense was slightly better. utah’s run defense kept them in the game, as we could not get any sort of running game going.

    The whole thing was just incredibly unlucky as it went down the stretch. BYU deserved to win the game. ..Dissapointing…

    The silver lining, is this team will be pretty good next year, and will probably be very good in 2012, possible BCS team. Lots of freshmen out there right now.

    Man, I am in grieving right now….

  • J. Hunter said:

    Thanks for the clip to the fumble/review play. It was good to see this and the reason there was not enough evidence to overturn the call. Regardless of whether you believe there is enough to overturn the call this is not the game as evidenced by what went on in the game. Secondly if actually believe that there was enough to overturn the call could the reply booth have soon the tackle of Asiata (a supposed block) as well as had the missed calls (several) such as the facemask which had injury potential (and did injure)or horsecollar (which would have gone for a touchdown!) I am as disappointed in the Utes showing as you but the final play is really the bottom line. This is big time college football not some little supposed “Holy war”. BYU should welcome Utah for pulling them up with then and the recruiting that results from this. My disappointment extends to the Utes lack of class with the pre-game taunt but this was overshadowed as usual bu the BYU smack talking (yes I was at the game and can bear my tesitmony as to the things said!) low hits, holding, plays to injure Utah players and on field antics that well…..reflect on the school thus the church itself. My disagreement lies with the Utah coach(s) and one has to wonder where the three BYU alum now coaching for Utah learned class or lack there of. TCU, Notre Dame, SMU and more have all come in to both stadiums and exhibited class beyond measure and reflective of their school….BYU is known throughout the league as trash talking cheep shots (as far back as Danny Ainge and beyond!) and maybe this time well God was just not on their side!

  • California Cougar said:

    I hate to see BYU lose this way. However, claiming this win was gift wrapped is very “classless”. Utah had more total yards and fewer turnovers. Both defenses played well, Utah’s defense made the play when it counted. We shouldn’t blame the officials we should blame the player who allowed the ball to be stripped. Good teams find ways to win even when they aren’t playing well. Utah found a way to win this year just like BYU did last year.

    BYU is rebuilding so is Utah, coaching was the difference this year.

  • C said:

    I’ve never liked Anae. My 2 year old son ran into the midst of the Anae family in the bellagio gardens, he was wearing a BYU shirt, and Robert didn’t even crack a smile at us.
    But that’s beside the point.
    The cougars had 4 downs to try and put points on the board, and they only used the last one. It’s frustrating to watch a team run down the clock and essentially beat themselves. The play calling all season has been boring and uninventive. The defensive cordinator wasn’t the only problem in the coaching staff this season.
    At least Heaps has improved. The next couple of seasons should be fun to watch.
    It’ll be fun to watch Utah for the next couple years too, it’s always fun to watch them loose.

  • Voodohound said:

    Where we lost the game:

    * 4th and inches (where’s the QB sneak?).

    * Fumbled hand off in 4th quarter. They’ve done that a thousand times and somehow get mixed up in a big game – poor execution.

    * Unlucky bounce on the punt. That was a crazy play which I can’t fault the player.

    * Interception and consequent fumble by Bradley. Craig Thompson must have been in the replay booth and ordered it not to be overturned. Why have replay if you still don’t get the play right (BRETT PLEASE COMMENT ON THIS ONE). I think the MWC has some of the worst officiating in the land (Next to Pac 10 officials). The MWC also has the lowest overturned rate in the country. Maybe it’s their ego that they believe it’s an admission of guilt if they overturn a call. SDSU is probably laughing about Karma on this one.

    * Blocked punt – poor execution.

    * Questionable Offensive strategy (Anae).

    If any one of these plays went the other way then we win the game. So, yeh I’m bummed about the fumble call and it’s inexcusable. But it’s not the reason we lost the game. We just made way too many mistakes in the 4th quarter.

    Kudos to the Defense. They were awesome!! Coaching and execution held our offense back.

    I agree, I’m optimistic about future.

  • Attu AK said:

    C’mon Cougar Nation. Time to man-up and show our “classy” sportsmanship. We all know that BYU has won their fair share of these games over the years. I thought our team played very well. The defense played great, I loved the game plan and the way it was executed, and Heaps also had a good game. I was a little put out by most of the play calling, but that has already been discussed by other posts.

    The one thing that I hope Cougar fans do not do is to begin to play the blame-game that comes from frustration. It hurts to say, but Utah also played a good game, at least on defense, and the guy who blocked the field goal, made a great play. Give it up to them.

    Now it is our time as Cougar fans to man-up, shake your Ute-neighbor’s hand, be a good sport, and tell them congrats! You can do it, because you know that for the foreseeable future the Cougs are going to dominate this rivalry. :)

  • Trevor said:

    Personally, I thought this was one of the best games Anae called this season. …however, I still didn’t think it was very good.

    Are the utes really in a rebuilding year? I thought they were going to lose quite a bit after this year…I will have to check into that. If wynn is the quarterback of the future there, I don’t like their chances.

    Great heading to the article. I thought the game was a gift as well.

  • joe said:

    Brett someone said the replay officials were punished? have you heard anything?

  • oceanographer said:

    J. Hunter,

    Give me a break!

  • BoomerCougar said:

    No kidding J. Hunter, where are you coming from? BYU is certainly much more classy than any of the other Mt. West schools. Have you ever attended a UNLV basketball game? It gets ugly. Everyone is passionate about their team and I feel like BYU (for the most part) continues to have a classy fanbase and players with a lot of integrity.

    If BYU is independent and playing on ESPN that call gets overturned. Thank goodness the Mt. West is behind us.

  • Mick said:

    My congratulations to Burton of Utah for a great block. That was amazing and he won it for Utah. Other than that, BYU outplayed Utah in the game.

    I’m glad Bronco took over the defense. They played amazingly well over the last half of the season. Our offensive coaching philosophy must change. We cannot play to lose. We have to continue to push the ball and move the chains, just make sure the players hold on tight when the time is winding down. First and ten from the 22 and we end up trying a 42 yard field goal instead of something more like a 32 yarder (with the ball on the 15) is just inexcusable.

    The loss hurts some but the way we lost hurts even more. We should have won. I appreciate Heaps’ comment after the game. “We were in a position to win and we did all that we could, we just didn’t execute on the last play.” That is all that mattered at this point.

  • Crazy said:

    I have to assume that Utah had hometown replay officials in the booth…maybe a history professor of sorts…

  • Robbie M. said:

    Bad calls aside, the thing that bothered me the most was that we kept running the Power I formation when it clearly wasn’t working. It seemed like we wasted Half our first downs running it up the middle for no gain. I know we have more running plays than just the Power I, so why did we almost never use them?

  • Brad said:

    Why not go for two? That’s the big question. That PAT did nothing to keep us in the game! We have no control over the officiating, but we have control over execution and play calling. Bad officiating happens all the time, yet we had plenty of opportunities to win the game in many different ways, but for what ever reason we missed those opportunities. It should never have come down to a field goal in the first place! Eliminating mistakes would have guaranteed a victory, thus not having to rely on the officiating to get it right.

  • Brett Richins said:


    Can’t disagree at all. I was surprised that they went for one. Strategy dictates that you go for two in that situation.

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