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Clearing the Cranium: Thoughts on the OSU loss and a Quick Take on Notre Dame

Licking the Wounds of an OSU loss and Turning Attention to Touchdown Jesus

George Frey - Getty Images

A Look Back at Oregon State

  • It is frustrating to know that BYU's offense is absolutely incapable of a big play. The ceiling, it seems, is about 40 yards. I'd like to see a stat on this because I can't remember a pass play this season beyond this distance. Compare that to Oregon State, who with two great receivers and an accurate quarterback, consistently stretched the BYU defense not only horizontally, but vertically as well. Maybe that's BYU's problem...
  • Riley Nelson is what would have happened had Rudy Ruettiger played more than 2 plays. Riley is a genuinely inspiring individual, and yesterday's loss was not on his shoulders, but I would be lying if I said I am not looking forward to the Taysom Hill era in 2013.
  • Oregon State was impressive, especially at the line of scrimmage. Sure, Wheaton and Cooks are wonderful receivers who make plays, but the offensive and defensive lines got the best of BYU all day long. No pass rush from the BYU front seven, and few if any run lanes for the BYU rush game. The BYU lines of scrimmage have struggled in the past against speed. On Saturday at Lavell Edwards Stadium, it was a struggle against toughness. Credit to the Beavs for beating BYU at its own game.
  • Bronco Mendenhall fell to 4-12 against ranked opponents. Mendenhall runs the BYU program as the folks on 50 East North Temple, Salt Lake City UT would like. He wins more games than he loses. He can have the job as long as he wants. And he should, but Bronco's deficiencies as a head coach have been pretty conspicuous in the past three seasons.
  • A Cougar win would have been the third in four years over the Beavers. Exquisite execution on both sides of the ball by the Beavs prevented that from becoming a reality.
  • I can't begin to say enough about Mike Riley's offensive gameplan. For one of the first times I can remember, Bronco Mendenhall was genuinely flustered by what was being thrown his way. The Beavers came out throwing, almost exclusively. By my count, the Beavers ran just six rushing plays in the first half. Saying Riley had confidence in his back-up quarterback would be a gross understatement. And boy did it pay off. Cody Vaz was tremendous all afternoon long. On a few of the long pass plays, Vaz stood in the pocket and delivered a terrifically accurate pass down the field. BYU fans have forgotten just how beautiful a long completed pass can be. The offensive gameplan was pointed squarely at Jordan Johnson, who after a shaky opening half, played better in the second, but by that time, other avenues of the BYU defense were vulnerable.
  • Kyle Van Noy, who was a terror last year against Oregon State in Corvallis, was relatively quiet yesterday. And when he did show up, the play did not end as we would have thought. On the second play of the fourth quarter, with the game tied at 21 and the Beavers facing a 3rd-and-goal from the five yard line, Van Noy deflected Vaz's pass at the line, only to have it fall into the hands of tight end Colby Prince for gut-wrenching touchdown. The missed FG's at Utah, the missed 2-point conversion at Boise, and now, the deflected 3rd down pass against Oregon State; tough breaks all for the Cougars. The ball will start bouncing BYU's way again soon, but I'd rather save all those breaks for next season.
  • Jordan Poyer has played two games against starting quarterback Riley Nelson. He has returned an interception for a touchdown in each of them.

A Look Forward to Notre Dame

  • If BYU thought Oregon State's defense was tough and physical, it better put some extra preparation into next week Notre Dame has an elite defensive unit, led by former BYU recruit and now Irish All-American Manti Te'o. Cougar fans will also see former BYU verbal Kona Schwenke, who plays defensive line. The Irish defensive backfield is young, and BYU's of yesteryear may have had a chance to exploit that. Not this year.
  • The Irish are ranked #5 in the latest AP Poll and will be a significant challenge for a Cougar team who can't seem to put a full 60 minutes together against an opponent not named Hawaii or Weber State.
  • Notre Dame's offense has struggled at times this season, and BYU's defense will be ready to bounce-back after a subpar performance against Oregon State. Hopefully the Cougars can get in to a slugfest with the Irish. BYU has absolutely nothing to lose in this one. The Irish have BCS National Title hopes on the line. And any day you play at Notre Dame Stadium is a good one.
  • The game will be televised to a national audience on NBC. Kickoff is set for 1:30 MT.