Best: Scared Longhorns
Perhaps the best part of BYU's 41-7 victory over the Texas Longhorns is that the Texas fans knew it was coming.
Famously, "BYU: Believe You're Unbeatable" was posted all over the place in the Texas camp. Credit where it is due, that's a nice acronym affirmation and reminder of who the opponent is. Belief is an interesting phenomena. A notion concerning belief that many BYU fans will be acquainted with speaks to the importance of a trial of faith taking place before one can witness in the affirmative or negative concerning the veracity of their belief.
Texas fans had a few trials of faith before either team took the field Satuday.
The 2013 40-21 BYU dismantling of Texas claimed the jobs of Manny Diaz and, eventually, Mack Brown. The obsession over Taysom Hill and his knee brace leading the Cougars' rushing attack to the tune of 550 yards ran constantly through the minds of those in the Lone Star State. Quote after quote came out of Texas' new coaches and players mouths about the "embarrassment" of losing to BYU. Losing to BYU was and is so prevalent in the minds and culture of the Longhorns that the oval Y may as well be branded onto Bevo. Because of this, Texas circled the BYU game in blood on their schedule. It was the only way to eradicate the 40-21 loss that left the Longhorns program in a pile of rubble.
The belief in Austin was tested further. No David Ash (concussion). No Dominic Espinosa (broken ankle), Desmond Harrison (suspended), or Kennedy Estelle (suspended) on the O-line. Which meant 5 career starts for the Texas offensive line. Not to mention all the other suspensions. Uh oh.
Those seeds of doubt were turning into full grown plants.
It no longer was "BYU: Believe You're Unbeatable," it was "Texas: They'll EXpose Again, Surrender."
So, the Texas fans started to lose interest in the game.
Injuries and suspensions may be impacting Texas-BYU tickets. Via TicketCity, prices down 36% since Monday. Current starting price: $35.
— Chuck Carlton (@ChuckCarltonDMN) September 5, 2014
The Texas belief was that this game wasn't going to go well for the Longhorns.
They were right.
Don't fool yourself. BYU benefitted from all the injuries and suspensions. However, had there been no injuries or suspensions, it wouldn't have made a 34 point difference and besides, isn't the big claim about the "high-end" power 5 conference schools that they have unparalleled depth? Still, it is easier to dominate a game when the opponents are less experienced and savvy. This was clearly the case.
More importantly, BYU benefitted the most from the miasmic frame of mind found in those clad in burnt orange at Darryl K. Royal Stadium pertaining to the Cougars. It didn't really become manifest until the 3rd quarter when Taysom hurdled the Texas defender on his way to scoring the 1st TD of the game, and getting what will likely be his iconic moment as a Cougar.
It was a 30 yards rush that sprung out of nowhere. Texas had done a nice job containing the Cougars in the 1st half, containing them to 6 points on 2 field goals despite BYU reaching Texas territory 4 times. At the half, this game felt like it was going to be a grind all the way to the end. Then suddenly on a broken pass play, boom! Taysom's impressive scramble to the end zone. Taysom's hurdle run was such a huge and pleasant surprise! It was unusually devastating to Texas.
How frail the Longhorns were! All it took was 1 good salvo and they were defeated. Watching their sidelines and fans faces and body language, it was all pounding in their heads over and over, "Here we go again..."
I knew it as soon as Taysom scored. The Cougars were going to get his game.
Locked in #HowellD, 5 starts on UT o-line, Tyrone Swoopes. 13 point lead is enough. Cougars going to get this one! (Barring Texas D/ST TD)
— Keith Shirts (@CougarCast) September 7, 2014
The Longhorns stomach turned upside down. They lost it mentally and the flood gates opened wide!
BYU's 28 third-quarter points in 41-7 win at Texas are the most since BYU scored 30 in the third quarter at Air Force in 1990 (won 54-7).
— Greg Wrubell (@gregwrubell) September 7, 2014
The rout was on.
As BYU fans, we can empathize with the experience Texas fans are having with their team against the Y. It sure was nice to be on the other side of the coin. Causing the meltdown rather than experiencing it.
Belief can be a powerful thing and it was clear the Longhorns believed they were vulnerable.
Best: 3 and outs
Texas had 14 drives. BYU D allowed 7 points, forced 3 turnovers, 8 punts, 5 of which came on the heels of a 3 and out. 3 and outs are awesome. A 3 and out is almost as good as a turnover. 3 and outs are Pippa Middleton. Not quite Princess Kate, but still pretty great. The defense created chance after chance to the offense with their play. They are the overlooked part of the Cougars 3rd quarter explosion.
Best: Robertson Daniel
2 fumble recoveries and a beauty of a strip on John Harris. Beast.
Best: Trevor Sampson
After blasting the kicking game after the UCONN game, Trevor Sampson had a nice night. Both of his field goals were a major comfort to the team and fan base during the first half. It built a lot of confidence for BYU. As I'm sure it did for Sampson personally. Here's hoping he continues to build on that confidence and kicking can be a weapon.
Best: Kickoff and Punt coverage
Texas' field position wasn't great for most of the game. Thanks to a tremendous job on kickoff and punt coverage. Take an inexperienced line and QB, now put them in a position to go 75 plus yards. It is a good formula.
Beyond that, the coverage teams forced and recovered a fumble on the kickoff following BYU's extend the lead to 27-0. This game was already toast at this point, but this moment led the Fox Sports 1 announcer to compare the game to the ultimate in embarrassing sports defeat, the Germany 7 Brazil 1 World Cup Semi-Final. So, kudos.
Best: Bronco Mendenhall during an official review
Bronco is a different dude. This is manifest while officials check the tape to give an official review. Against UCONN he posed stoically with his hands raised above his head in the touchdown signal. He was right, and it was ruled a touchdown. Against Texas, Bronco was sure John Harris hadn't made a catch, so he took a knee and continually patted the ground to indicate that the ball had hit the ground. Bronco was right again. Ball hit the turf, no catch.
I don't know if an official can be worked over with grandstanding (like basketball), especially a replay official. But Bronco's posturing is unique and amusing. During official reviews at home games, the crowd should focus their attention on Bronco, and the stands should just be filled with people mimicking Bronco's appeal to the replay gods. This would be amazing.
Beyond this, Texas should've hired Bronco Mendenhall. Thankfully, they didn't give him a look. Putting the past 2 seasons' results aside, Mendenhall is a far better coach than Charlie Strong. I'm glad that other programs don't seem to think of Mendenhall for their openings and that Bronco is committed to BYU.
Worst, then Best: Tejan Koroma's snaps
Without question the most terrifying guy on the Texas defense is their nose tackle Malcom Brown. He is a monster. So, I don't blame Koroma for getting loose with his snaps early. It was a big game, and he was staring down a big destroyer. I'd want to get my hands up as soon as possible too. The coaching staff did a nice job of calming the freshman down, then reinserting him. It wasn't a problem again. It was a huge development in his progress as the center.
Worst: Missed opportunities
It didn't end up mattering, but BYU really missed their chances to get in the end zone and put a huge snafu into Texas' game plan right in the 1st quarter. Red zone offense improved as the game progressed and it must do so as the season goes along.
The 2011 loss in Austin was hallmarked by missed opportunities, and I wondered if BYU would be driven to madness by feeling like the better team in defeat yet again.
I get the feeling that if BYU is going to lose this year, it will be due to missed opportunities. Texas was unable to take advantage of the openings being offered to them. At some point this year, there will be a team with will make the Cougars pay. Then, we will get a chance to see how this group reacts to adversity. That will be important when it happens.
Best: Being wrong
I wrote a column predicting the Cougars would start 1-2. I am very relieved and elated to be wrong.
Best: BYU -- Crusaders of College Football
College football is so much fun, but it has a major flaw. Unlike most every other sport, it is not a meritocracy.
College football is a rigged game. Who you are and who you know is more important than what you are and what you can do. This is backwards and goes against the entire notion of sports.
BYU's position as the ultimate outsider in college football puts them in a place to give a gigantic headache to the status quo. It is the duty of BYU to make some noise and be college football's Mario Savio. There will be ups and there will be downs in this crusade.
BYU is not playing for a national championship. The system won't allow it. College football is a rigged game.
What BYU is playing for now isn't a bowl birth in Miami, respect, or even a national ranking. BYU plays for a cause. Changing the college football landscape.
In the past, as other teams have made noise and challenged the status quo, the solution for those headaches to the Power 5 Conferences was to simply include them. Throw money and a membership card at Utah and TCU and they will take it and shut up. They joined the machine.
But this is what is interesting for BYU. They aren't as easily silenced. They won't play on Sunday. They aren't solely motivated by money and besides, ESPN provides them with plenty. They don't mind being the peculiar program either, in fact they pride themselves on it. So, inviting them to your club doesn't really concern the Cougars. They know who they are and won't identify themselves solely on your friendship.
Who knows how this story plays out. All that is known is that BYU plays really good football, and on occasion, great football. Despite its tradition, the Cougars are going to continually have to remind the college football world of that fact - and that's the important part of beating Texas. No matter how the remainder of the schedule plays out, BYU went head to head with one of college football marquee programs and not only won, but won with style. That's the best way to make a claim of belonging in the national championship picture.
Perhaps, and hopefully, the Cougars aren't simply out to change their fortune. Maybe BYU can change the entire landscape of college football and make it a real sport again. Where the best team can win it all on the playing field and not based on theoretical evaluations of the quality of their schedule. (By simply looking at schedules, couldn't we make an argument that UCONN was better than Texas? Texas was the easier game if we judge by score.)
BYU and its fans know, this is the joyful part of being an independent. Now onto Houston, time to make our point even more compelling.
What are your best and worsts from the BYU vs. Texas game?
Leave a comment below, or call 512-8BYUWIN and leave a voicemail for the next episode of CougarCast.