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BYU Football POWER RANKINGS WEEK 6: The Fall of Sparta

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BYU v Michigan State Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

I mean talk about a boring end to a game, AM I RIGHT?

Sure it was a one possession game heading into the fourth quarter but BYU took a commanding lead after scoring 21 points in the final frame which meant no last second field goals or defensive stands. Just your average, run of the mill decided victory.

Then again it was nice that I didn’t have to pay any medical bills for the paramedic crew that would show up to my house on a weekly basis to resuscitate me after multiple heart attacks during the final minutes of a BYU game.

At any rate, it was a great road win for the Cougars. Let’s get to the power rankings.

WEEK 6 POWER RANKINGS

HONORABLE MENTION

I usually don’t include those who barely missed the cut but I had to make room for the dance party that happened in the BYU locker room after win. The video starts off with the terribly camera-shy Jack Dumani breaking it down followed by some dance moves from the boss man Kalani Sitake. There is another video of Ty Detmer doing the Macarena which is hilarious but also understandable because both Ty and awkward dance song were HUGE in the ‘90s. I refuse to show that video because it contains dancing that should only be shown to criminals as some sort of punishment.

This is so cool. Post Cougar victory in the l locker room tonight. Haha check out Kalani's moves!! BYU Football

Posted by Logan Taylor on Saturday, October 8, 2016

OK FINE. I’ll show you the Ty Detmer Macarena dance video only because all the coaches are having so much fun and half the players are like “what is this SONG” because half of them were infants when it was popular.

10) Rhett Almond

Yawn. Just another week of perfect kicking for our fearless special teams master. He didn’t have to kick a game winner because BYU held a comfortable lead toward the end of the fourth quarter (BOOOOOORRRRING) but he did convert on a 35-yard try that was his longest of the season. It’s not the longest field goal by any means but it was a kick into the wind on the road. I’ll celebrate every made field goal with unbridled enthusiasm.

9) Nick Kurtz

Nothing big to report on Nick’s day catching the ball (three catches for 27 yards) but he had a nice impact on the game in other ways. If you have been reading the power rankings each week you will notice that I’m a sucker for good blocking, particularly from the skill position players who seldom excel in that area of expertise. There were a few plays where Nick was able to get a good block but none more important than on Taysom’s 12-yard touchdown run. He was able to stick to the cornerback and hold his block long enough for Taysom to sneak into the end zone. Blocking is a thankless job but it makes all the difference in the end. I’m equally impressed with Nick’s ability to block considering he’s about 160 lbs. soaking wet.

8) Kalesita Langi (Mother of Harvey Langi)

Our guy Harvey Langi had a great performance on the field, bouncing back and forth between his defensive end position and the middle linebacker spot to fill in for Butch Pau’u, but it’s his mom who gets a spot in the power rankings this week. At the start of the 4th quarter, ESPN cut to the stands where a rabid BYU fan was waving a blue flag with such passion and emotion that a Michigan State fan had to stand up and ask her to move back to her seat. While Kalesita’s antics didn’t seem to please the Spartan faithful, she we be remembered as a hero henceforth and forevermore to us BYU fans.

7) Colby Pearson

I hereby call to order the meeting for the Colby Pearson Spin-Move Fan Club. It’s been a few weeks since we’ve been able to witness the sweet spin of our favorite wide receiver from Idaho but it made a triumphant return this week in East Lansing. While the spin was a sight to behold, the most impressive move on the field was on Colby’s touchdown catch. He ran his route to perfection, getting the cornerback to bite hard on the inside slant before cutting back to the outside for the touchdown. We should also call attention to that catch because it was a thing of beauty. The ball was placed pretty low (which is an improvement from the sailed passes from Taysom) but Colby did a great job holding onto the ball for six.

6) Quin Ficklin

I know what you’re thinking and no, this is not the name of a character from The Lord of the Rings. This happens to be the name of the Hipster Player of the Week (“uhh you’ve probably never heard of him”) and VERY large human who caught a pass for a critical fourth down in the second half. According to ESPN it was Troy Hinds who caught the pass for the Cougars which made sense as his move to tight end had been discussed previously and his number on the roster is 44. Little did we know it was Quin, the 280 lbs lineman who would play as a fullback in the heavy-set formation that BYU goes to on short yardage situations. For a converted offensive lineman he looked pretty sift and displayed some sure hands with that catch.

5) Sae Tautu

This week in “Jake Welch says something mean about a player and said player comes back to show that Jake is buffoon”, Sae Tautu came out guns blazing in the second half to lead the BYU defense. It all started last week when Sae was ejected for a targeting call (which is a call that the refs during this last game forgot existed) and I got very upset because this wasn’t the first time Tautu had been flagged for that same reason. He must have read my tweet and made a personal vow to prove me wrong. I know how much these guys care about my opinion so it makes sense why he lead the team in tackles and tallied two sacks while only playing the last 30 minutes. You can thank me but also be sure to thank Sae because he’s the real defensive MVP.

4) Jamaal Williams

You can’t stop Jamaal Williams. You can only hope to contain him. Michigan State did a decent job bottling up the running game for BYU in the first half but Jamaal (and Squally who had another solid game) wore down the Spartans in the second half and started to gash them. One of the more impressive runs was his eight yard touchdown where he made a perfect cutback to find the hole and blow past the MSU defense. It’s not fair how easy he makes it look. Here’s to hoping that Jamaal will break the BYU rushing record in front of the home crowd this week.

3) Michael Davis

There were quite a few BYU fans who were throwing shade in the direction of Michael Davis after last week’s game against Toledo in which the entire secondary was burnt to a crisp. Michael came back with a great performance to show all of the haters what he’s all about. First and foremost he got his first interception of his career, which is surprising when you consider how long he has played and the fact that he was a converted wide receiver. Well, he finally got his pick and made the most of it, returning it 40 yards and setting up an easy TD drive for the offense. Other than his INT, Davis did a great job keeping everything in front of him and not giving up any big plays. He also made a great tackle-for-loss on a quick throw out to a WR.

2) Taysom Hill

If you look at the box score you might not think that there was some major improvement over the last few weeks as Taysom completed 18-27 passes for a 138 yards and he also ran eight times for 47 yards. What the box won’t tell you is that Taysom converted on three third down situations running the ball, as well as seven completions that moved the chains on third down. The offense has evolved to a point where we don’t need to throw the ball 40+ times a game to win. What we need from Taysom is for him to manage the game (aka don’t turn the ball over) and convert on a few key third down situations, which is exactly what he did on Saturday. Throwing accurate passes downfield will never be his strength but making tough runs to get first down yardage and keeping plays alive with his legs is his forte. Case and point, below we have video footage of Taysom introducing teaching the Michigan State defense how a stiff arm works. This should go into a football textbook.

1) Defensive Line

A lot of the credit in this game will go to the offense (and justifiably so) but when I think back on this game I can’t help but recognize the amazing effort by the defensive front four. After an opening drive when it looks like Michigan State was going to be able to walk all over the Cougar defense, they make a few corrections and played lights out the rest of the day. They only gave up one drive of more than 27 yards after the opening drive and the forced four three-and-outs. The defense as a whole played better but the defensive front with Sae Tautu, Travis Tuiloma, Merrill Taliauli, Merrill Taliauli, Harvey Langi, Corbin Kaufusi and others didn’t give up their ground. In addition to their solid play against the run that helped them get off the field on third down, they also provided more of a pass rush and tallied three sacks.

In a game where many people thought that a tough Big 10 opponent was going to have their way, the guys in the defensive trenches for BYU reversed the roles and allowed for the punishing BYU run offense to churn clock in the second half.

WELL THAT WAS WEIRD

I’ve started to notice a growing trend in game of football where bigger, stronger quarterbacks are being subject to vicious hits and referees aren’t as quick to throw the flag for a roughing the passer or targeting call. In the NFL we see bruising quarterbacks like Cam Newton and Ben Roethlisberger get mauled by defenses but seldom get help from the refs when hits come late or close to the head. In yesterday’s game it was even more apparent that Taysom Hill was getting the same treatment. In the second quarter when Taysom went of running and slid a Michigan State defender dove at Taysom head first, which should have been an obvious targeting call. Just because Taysom is a big, strong quarterback who can generally take these hits doesn’t mean the refs should keep the flag in their pockets. The big guys need protection too.

TWEET OF THE WEEK

At the very end of the game Tanner Mangum went in the final series to kneel the ball a few times in the victory formation. At some point in the last few months some bozo (most likely a sports radio host) concocted the idea that Tanner was going to redshirt this season while Taysom played and then have three years of football eligibility left. In a world where BYU Football is the only thing that exists, this would be ideal but when you factor life and the real world, it’s outlandish. At any rate, when Tanner went in for a few plays there were a few people who sent out the obligatory “Tanner just burned his redshirt with those snaps!” a few people were very concerned. Apparently Tanner caught wind of this and set the record straight.

JAKE VS JAKE

There is a football player on the team by the name of Jake Oldroyd (aka the Baby-faced Assassin aka TEX aka The Dragon from Southlake) and my first name also happens to be Jake. Each week we’re going to rate the performance of each Jake and decide who had the better week.

It was a huge week for our guy Jake Oldroyd even though he didn’t make the trip to East Lansing to play against Michigan State. He scored big in another way as he received his mission call to serve in the Chile Osorno Mission. There is no question that Jake is already a hero in the eyes of many BYU Football fans but serving a mission in Chile might up his skills. Just look what happened to Tanner Mangum after he served a mission in Chile. Jake hit a game winner before his mission and hopefully two years of strength trai... I mean proselyting he’ll be ready for more in 2019.

Trying to beat a mission call was tough but Jake Welch did his best with a really strong visit to Target this week. Instead of rummaging through the sale and lower priced items, Jake decided he wasn’t going to hold back and decided to pull the trigger on some more luxurious items. One of the more important purchases was a new pillow that has increased his sleep performance and overall quality of life. In addition to his pillow purchase, Jake also splurged on new pens, a desk organizer and the best dang shaving cream in the entire world, Aveeno Therapeutic Shave Gel.

A great visit to Target would usually put someone over the top but accepting a call to serve a mission is on another level. Congratulations Future Elder Oldroyd, you win this round. ADVANTAGE = JAKE OLDROYD

UP NEXT: THE SAVAGES THAT BROKE LUKE STALEY’S LEG (aka Mississippi State)

The last time these bozos came to Provo our fearless leader Kalani Sitake was on the field (he ran the ball three times for 11 yards and caught one pass for eight yards) and was able to witness the wrath of the cowbell. Mississippi State manhandled BYU 44-28 thanks to three defensive touchdowns. THREE! The following season BYU returned the favor in Starkville but it came at a price.

At any rate this is a very special week because it’s officially STEVEN STINGRAY RAY WEEK. Who exactly is Steven Stingray Ray? Well he happens to be the single most fascinating Mississippi State fan on planet earth that calls into the Paul Finebaum show on a regular basis. Let’s enjoy a quick sampling of his work.

Here’s to hoping that he makes the trip to Provo!