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BYU Football Video Rewind: Oregon 2006

Back when I wrote sparingly with Adam and Matt Mangum at their site Loyal Cougars, this is a piece I wrote. I wish to resurrect my hope of continuing this series here on VTF. Here is a repost to kick off the series of BYU Football Video Rewind.

First up is the 2006 Las Vegas Bowl. Why this game? Aside from BYUtv's website being packed full of historical games, I had never seen this game. I was serving a mission in Indiana during the time, and didn't see one snap live of the 2006 season, on TV or in person.

In fact, 2006 snapped my 10-year streak of attending at least 1 BYU football game. My streak would now stand at 18 seasons of attending at least 1 BYU game - no small feat, considering through much of the time I was a junior high, high school, or college student with little money of my own and lived well outside of Utah County.

Anyway, as I watched this game for the first time, I put down my thoughts. Only a nerd could like this sort of stuff, so I hope you are as much of a nerd as I am. (For simultaneous viewing/reading purposes, I would recommend opening this post twice in separate windows.)

#19 BYU (10-2) vs Oregon (7-5)


Despite having gone two full seasons with the new-old-school uniforms, and switching back to the stretch-Y logo, ESPN is still using the 1998-2004 logo in graphics packages. Yuck.

Story lines: Brady Leaf is getting the start over Dennis Dixon for Oregon. Oregon is debuting a horrific shiny gold helmet, but it's a way more yellow gold than say Notre Dame, Navy etc. Absolutely terrible. BYU has just finished going undefeated in the MWC. Oregon is on a three-game losing streak. BYU's head coach from 2001-2004, Gary Crowton, is now offensive coordinator for Oregon. Before the game, to my understanding, Mike Bellotti said something to the effect that BYU couldn't stand a chance of even being a middle-of-the-road team in the Pac 10.

Brent Musburger, Bob Davie, and Craig James are on the call. Yes, we were robbed of Musburger/Herbstreit to give ol Craig James a shot. If we only knew.

Craig James says if Oregon thinks they can go single coverage man on BYU, John Beck will likely exploit it.


After kickoff, a quick spotlight on John Beck, including a wedding photo. His wife is ballin.

13:36 After BYU posts a lackluster 3-and-out, Oregon returns the punt to BYU's 45. UH OH.

13:14 Crowton calls a 1st-down flea-flicker, and the cement-footed Leaf gets swarmed by Cameron Jensen and crew. 10-yard loss. Likely a sign of things to come, as Leaf is recovering from an ankle injury.

12:22 That didn't take long. David Nixon sacks Leaf again on 3rd down. As bad as BYU's possession looked, the Ducks look like they haven't practiced offense all season.

11:10 A good look at John Beck's ridiculous "Jo. Beck" jersey moniker. Embarrassing.

9:45 A sideline close up of Ryan Leaf. Musberger points out Leaf is an unpaid assistant coach at West Texas A&M. Way more embarrassing for a #1 draft pick than what BYU made Beck wear on the back of his uni. (Since the time of original writing, Leaf was arrested on drug charges twice in two weeks in Montana.)

8:12 Another 3-and-out for Oregon. At this point, if I bought a ticket for this game, I'm re-thinking my decision.

7:31 BYU receivers dropping everything. Commentators discussing Beck's NFL prospects, just in time for him to greatly overthrow Harline. Musberger keeps game-dropping the Utah game, wants to make sure viewers know he watched it. (He likely had money on it.) BYU punts again.

6:30 Dennis Dixon shown on the sidelines, who started 11 games this season. But benched at the moment ... odd, as he would be a Heisman contender the very next season.

4:50 Crowton calls an option play. Leaf ain't Brandon Doman, Gary. Or Dennis Dixon, who is sitting on your bench.

3:45 BYU starts at the 2 yard line, so naturally, you call a shotgun pass. Beck delivers to Harline for a 16-yard gain. The legend LaVell is shown in the stands, surly over the shotgun pass at the 2. (We think.)

2:29 A 3rd-and-9 fade to Harline, who makes a nice grab while being interfered with. It makes Beck only 3-11 in the quarter, suffering from 4 bad receiver drops.

1:10 Pass efficiency leaders: Colt Brennan (Hawaii), Beck, JeHamburglar Russell (LSU), Troy Smith (Ohio State). Beck looks nothing of the sort so far, due to said drops.

0:59 Dead-ball offsides penalty. Oregon DT continues through the whistle and tosses Beck down. Players mix it up. Oregon players retreat, afraid of BYU's offensive linemen, whose average age is probably around like 32 years old (that's what they've read about them, at least). Oregon eventually assessed with a personal foul.

0:00 A quarter to forget ends with BYU on a roll, as Beck finds a streaking Manase Tonga. BYU down to Oregon's 14.


14:08 Beck scrambles away from pressure on 3rd down, stopped 2 yards short of the 1st down. BYU puts through a field goal.

Oregon should feel pretty good about keeping BYU's offense down like this so far.

13:13 Dennis Dixon takes over at QB for the Ducks. Has room to scramble on first down, but trips up on his own O-lineman.

12:00 BYU does a great job pursuing the outside run of Oregon. I hope BYU fans realized how good BYU's defense was in 2006 and 2007. The best overall defenses of the Mendenhall era (this was written pre-2011). (Florida State used similar runs to plow over BYU in 2009, if you recall.)

9:02 Another 3rd-and-long converted on a pass to Curtis Brown. Almost the same play as Tonga's reception to end the 1st quarter.

8:40 McKay Jacobsen with his first grab of the day. Those were the days.

8:04 ESPN misses a chunk of yardage gained by Harline to get BYU in the red zone as they show Ryan Leaf Rose Bowl highlights. I can see why he was the #1 draft pick. Looked like Ryan Mallett.

6:57 Curtis Brown punches in the first TD of the day for BYU, then proceeds to do the whitest 1970′s celebration known to man.

Musberger awkwardly tells Ryan Leaf to try and go see Bobby Hauck at his hometown Montana to get a job.

6:44 Johnathan Stewart returns the kickoff close to the 50 yard line, kick returns accounting for most of Oregon's field position so far on the night. However, Stewart gets up and pushes down a BYU player, who was probably using racial slurs against him, being bigoted Mormons and all. Oregon moved back to the 32.

6:24 Oregon's band plays the closing fanfare from Star Wars episode 1, as Bob Davie cuts off Musberger, who is trying to give props to Oregon's basketball team and Ernie Kent, whose son just caught a pass. Fun sequence.

6:01 Leaf scrambles around for about 3 years, and gets sacked on a 3 man rush by Russell Tiealevayay (according to Musberger). Yes, the same Russell Tialavea who will be playing his senior season this year, in 2012.

4:00 Davie tells the story of Mendenhall taking his players into the mountains in 2005, airing out losing issues, and burning the current jersey and helmet designs. Hallelujah. Even if BYU didn't get any better, at least they were bringing back the classic unis.

3:02 Curtis Brown seemed to never get taken down on first contact. 4.4 yds per carry on the day.

2:38 Walter Thurman breaks up a fantastic deep ball from Beck, intended for Reed. Great throw, fabulous defensive play.

1:50 Beck manipulates the pocket very well, and hits Harline with a 41-yard strike down the sideline for a touchdown. Penalty is roughing the passer, TD stands. Crowd breaks out into BYU chant. Given the pre-game comments of Bellotti, the crowd is ready to pounce.
BYU 17, Oregon 0

1:29 Just as I start typing about it, Musberger poses the question about rotating QBs. Apparently Crowton learned nothing from 2002-03 at BYU.

1:01 Dixon scrambles for a first down and close to another, but stonewalled on 3rd-and-1. Booth crew discusses the dynamic of Crowton calling a game against the players he recruited (those that weren't kicked off the team, that is.)

0:00 BYU adds some extra yards before Beck ruins his efficiency numbers with a Hail Joseph interception.


Approximate halftime numbers:

Total offense: BYU 270, Oregon 73

John Beck 15-28, 205 yards, 1 TD 1 INT

Craig James says Oregon needs to get the running backs involved to get into the game. Well, Craig, when Gary Crowton is your offensive coordinator, you just don't run the ball even when it could win games for you. Passing is way more fun! (copyright: Mike Martz)


12:45 Leaf sacked again on only a 4-man rush. No way receivers can't be open after that long, right?

11:54 Nate Miekle hit hard on the punt reception. Oregon's Harper does my all-time favorite thing: taunting the other team or celebrating demonstrably after making a good play when you are down by 3 scores. (Saw UTEP do this in person several times in 2010 New Mexico Bowl.)

11:42 Harline makes a beautiful one-handed grab on another fade.

10:42 Harline draws a pass interference on Patrick Chung. So far, BYU has 0 penalties and essentially 0 turnovers, the only turnover the end-of-the-half interception.

9:37 Davie says that BYU is "truly back to their original offense." Well ... kind of, Bob. What Anae did was join one part Texas Tech air raid, and one part classic BYU offense - especially in 2006. As the years went on for Anae, he incorporated more of a traditional run game.

7:43 Obligatory discussion on older BYU players, missions, languages spoken, married with kids. DRINK.

7:33 Chung returns a Beck INT about 40 yards close to the 50 yard line after BYU was moving down the field again.

7:02 Davie: "Oregon hasn't run I-formation all night, and now they go to it." Welcome to the world of Crowton. The only team who has ever grasped this type of offense was 2001 BYU, with Doman and Staley. Part of the reason was they had a senior-laden, experienced offensive line, a very smart QB, and a world-class athlete in Staley. And even they had to overcome Crowton (see playcalling in the Utah game that year -- maybe that will be my next Video Rewind).

6:52 Leaf makes a terrible decision and returns the pick to BYU.

6:32 Musberger makes a veiled statement about how he thought they'd be up into the 60′s in total points. What he really means is the over/under is in the 60′s and he has money on the over.

4:53 BYU on the move again. Jerry Tarkanian, guest in the booth, says BYU wants to be here and win, Oregon doesn't look like they care. Curtis Brown is fired up by a big run.

4:25 Tarkanian blasts college basketball teams who play "Johnny Junior High" schools so they can pump up their records. Love it.

3:43 Curtis Brown with another score, and another interesting leap of a celebration. This game is over. BYU won't be though.
BYU 24 Oregon 0

2:18 Glimpses of what Oregon will do next season without Crowton: Dixon runs a 2-back read-option, and gives to Stewart for close to a 15-yard run.

0:43 Dixon showing signs of play-making ability. I know they benched him for turnovers late in the year (8 INTs in 3 games), but he's moved Oregon's offense much better than Leaf. Dixon almost throws a TD, which is broken up near the goal line.


14:52 Just as I praise him, Dixon throws an interception. Overthrows his receiver. Glimpse of a BYU player raising his hands in an O, mocking Oregon.

14:00 Musberger going through possible end-of-year voting scenarios, mentions "If Florida can somehow upset Ohio State." I wasn't around, but apparently Ohio State was pretty good. If I recall, weren't Michigan and Ohio State both undefeated when they played?

12:45 Curtis Brown breaks a huge run and becomes BYU's all-time rushing leader, according to Musberger.

11:29 Jo. Beck with a good scramble and score. Musberger: "This has become an old-fashioned butt-kicking."
BYU 31 Oregon 0

10:51 Dixon runs for 12 yards. Gee, looks like he can run pretty well.

10:27 Dixon connects for a 48-yard TD pass to Paysinger. Oregon going for two, they want as many points as they can get since they haven't even smelled the goal line all night.
BYU 31 Oregon 8

10:24 Oregon tries an onside kick. Andrew George rises up to nab it, but is undercut and fumbles. BYU gets it anyway, but George is hurt. It's okay young man. You'll go on to a great senior year in 2009. You'll fly to New Mexico only to fly back home to see your wife through the birth of your first child, then fly back to Albuquerque to score a touchdown. You'll also score the game-winning TD in OT against Utah. Chin up.

9:48 Matt Allen finally joins the fun after his drops in the first quarter. About a 30-yard gain on the catch and run.

9:21 Stat graphic shows that Johnny Harline has more receiving yards than Oregon has total yards. If I read that correctly.

9:14 BYU pouring it on with a TD pass from Beck to Tonga. Replay shows Tonga making a nice one-handed stab to corral the pass.
BYU 38 Oregon 8

8:15 Bob Davie educates the world on what really happens for missionaries. "Beck threw the football a total of 10 times in 2 years. They weren't allowed to lift weights, so he woke up early to do situps and pushups." WAIT, WHAT? I thought BYU sent its players to secret football camps around the world, where they got yoked and refined their route-running skills.

6:37 Dixon moving the Ducks well, throws a great strike to Jason Williams, who lets the ball careen off his pads. Players crash into portable, metal fence. What is that doing there? Another dropped pass at 6:33. Dixon is young, but you can see the flashes here of what will make him great next year.

Booth crew discussing Alabama coaching rumors for Nick Saban ... they're bored, I'm bored, I'm shutting it off.


Beck finishes 28-46 for 375 yards. 2 TDs, 2 INTs.

Brown: 17 carries for 120 yards.

Harline: 9 receptions for 181 yards.

It was BYU's first bowl win since the 1996 season Cotton Bowl (which happened in 1997).