This BYU Football season has been one that will be recorded in the history books.
Not only will it be remembered for Jamaal Williams stellar performances that will make him one of the all-time greats but the narrow margin of victory / loss in every single game has rendered a record number of Cougar fans to experience stress-endued hair loss.
Even with the disappointing losses, you have to agree that this has been quite the entertaining season. Here’s to hoping that we get to experience more stressful wins and a few less excruciating losses.
And with that lovely thought, let’s move onto our power rankings.
WEEK 5 POWER RANKINGS
10) Taysom Hill
Once again, we got to see Good Taysom and Bad Taysom. Fortunately for BYU, Good Taysom won out in the end thanks to some quality play in the second half. His most impressive moments came on the game winning drive thanks to a huge 33 yard completion to Colby Pearson on 2nd-and-10 and a clutch 11-yard run. Sure, the 75-yard bomb to Jonah Trinnaman was a sight for sore eyes but his ability to manage the game in the second half (see: don’t turn the ball over) was what we need to see from Taysom.
Oh, he also bulldozed a defensive back after breaking through an arm tackle from a defensive lineman. The guy has PURE MAN STRENGTH. Taysom might not be running around guys anymore but he can still run through them.
9) Squally Canada
Last week I made a somewhat disparaging remark regarding one Squally Canada and sure enough he came back this week with a strong performance. This happened multiple times last season, with the best example occurring when I sent numerous hate-tweets about Mitch Matthews during the middle of the Nebraska game. If you don’t recall, he had a rather large impact regarding the outcome of that game.
Back to Canada. Unlike games previous when Squally came in on a few drives to give THE RUNNING BACK a quick breather, there was no drop-off in production. Canada ran the ball nine times for 49 yards, including a solid 17-yard touchdown scamper. If called upon I have more faith in his ability to play a more prominent role in the offense. Who knows if that will happen but he’s clearly ready.
8) Kai Nacua
If someone on the defense picks off a pass and it’s not Kai Nacua, I’m genuinely shocked. He is now tied to lead the nation with four interceptions, which is something that shouldn’t surprise anyone. Kai is a certified ball hawk.
7) Dayan Lake
In a game where the defensive backfield (specifically the cornerbacks) had their fair share of struggles, Dayan made some great plays. Not only did he have that great return on his interception to setup the offense for an easy touchdown but he made the great tackles in the open field on tough plays on the edges. With the way that BYU’s defense is structured, the cornerbacks will constantly be challenged to play man coverage. While there might be times they get beat, it’s important that they have a short memory and bounce back on the next play. Dayan has been toasted a few times earlier this season but he doesn’t play afraid which is huge.
6) Ed Lamb
I don’t know that I’ve ever been in a position where I could say that BYU excels at special teams but after this last week I’m very impressed with the work that Ed Lamb has done as special teams coordinator. We’ve been getting solid performances from all of our kickers (Linehan, Oldroyd and now Almond) and even more impressive has been our kickoff coverage team. At least once a week someone on the kickoff team makes an impressive solo tackle to pin the opponent deep in their own territory. There are also other great moments in special teams like the fun fake field goal against Utah and then a blocked kick this week that made major impact on the outcome of the game. I really loved it when BYU hired Ed Lamb and I’m loving it even more five games into the season.
5) Brayden El-Bakri / Algie Brown
If you don’t love a fullback catching a pass and then laying waste to the opposing backfield, then I’m not sure you can call yourself a fan of the game of football. On Friday we got to witness two such joyous occasions when Brayden El-Bakri caught a pass and rumbled his way to a first down and Algie Brown did the same on the first play in the second half. It doesn’t always look natural for humans that large to be carrying the football but they make it look real good. We should also give them credit for helping pave the way for a career day for THE RUNNING BACK.
4) Wide Receivers
This position group didn’t really blow anyone away with their receptions (with the one big catch from Trinnaman being the exception) but they excelled in another aspect of the game. When a running back is able to get a solid 5-10 yard gain, it means that he was able to get a few nice blocks from his offensive lineman. The first line of defense was cleared and someone in the secondary caught them. Now, when you have a running back that is repeatedly busting off 15-20+ yard gains, that means his wide receivers are doing a good job sustaining their downfield blocks.
There was one in particular that really caught my attention. When THE RUNNING BACK busted off his 62-yard touchdown in the second half, a few Toledo defenders started to converge on Jamaal but Nick Kurtz was able to supply enough of a block to shield off the defense and allow Jamaal to stay upright and reach pay dirt. It’s a thankless job but it’s often the difference between a nice gain and a game-breaker.
3) Rhett Almond
Did you know that Rhett Almond was the former president of the Young Ambassadors? You probably didn’t know that because it isn’t true, despite the fact that I really want it to be. If you look up Rhett’s profile on BYUCougars.com there are only three points of information listed, those points being that he 1) is the second of six kids, 2) used to play volleyball in high school and 3) is majoring in engineering. THAT’S IT. When you consider the fact that Rhett was the only player to do his job PERFECTLY and win the game, his resume has to be much more impressive than BYU is leading on. What else has Rhett done that we probably don’t know about? Let’s explore.
- There have only been eight instances in which someone has ever bowled a perfect score of 300 at the Wilkinson Center bowling alley on campus. Seven of those perfect scores belong to Rhett Almond.
- At a very young age Rhett actually came up with BYU’s famous mint brownie recipe.
- Tinder had to delete his profile on the account that over 10,000 users swiped right on Rhett’s profile.
- He was asked to play the lead in BYU’s mainstage perfomance of The Importance of Being Earnest. TMA professor Rodger Sorensen petitioned Kalani Sitake so that he could do both theater and sport (a la Troy Bolton) but coach said no.
- While in the MTC preparing to serve in Argentina, Rhett not only learned Spanish but he picked up French, Italian, Hungarian and four versions of sign language. He put his skills on display during the MTC devotionals where he would translate to French AND use sign language to communicate the message.
2) Offensive Line
As a former offensive lineman, it’s my honor to recognize this group and their work on the battlefield. The rushing record doesn’t happen without them. The final drive in the fourth quarter. The first play of the game. Any of Jamaal’s touchdowns. All of these are brought to us by large men who do physical battle in the trenches.
1) Jamaal Williams
Are we ready to start calling Jamaal the greatest running back in BYU history? He set the single game record and he is bound to set the career rushing record. What else would he need to do? Winning the Doak Walker would be nice but he does’t need a piece of hardware to elevate his status. Jamaal was able to make his mark in a stretch when BYU embarked on independence (facing some of their toughest competition) and shuffled their offensive coaching staff three times. If he keeps up this pace (he’s the second leading rusher in the country) then I don’t have any doubt we’ll be calling him THE RUNNING BACK Y’ALL.
WELL THAT WAS WEIRD
It sure was a delight having Mack Brown come back to BYU to give commentary on ESPN’s broadcast on Friday night. Well it was nice UNTIL HE LEFT DURING THE MIDDLE OF THE BROADCAST. I was going to honor Mack by only publishing two thirds of this column but my editor said something about “not being professional” or whatever.
TWEET (s) OF THE WEEK
Mack Brown leaving the game early to make his flight + BYU having a record setting day on the ground = Twitter Heaven.
FYI: BYU is now 2-0 in games where Mack Brown gives up in the third quarter.— Sean Walker (@bydsean) October 1, 2016
This is the second time in Mack's recent career that he couldn't get out of BYU fast enough.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) October 1, 2016
The best part was when our dear internet friend @FauxPelini started giving Mack live updates from the game.
.@ESPN_CoachMack FYI Adam Amin is imitating your voice and pretending you didn't leave— Fake Bo Pelini (@FauxPelini) October 1, 2016
.@ESPN_CoachMack MACK THEY WENT FOR 2 AND THE QB FUMBLED BUT STILL GOT IT YOU ARE MISSING THE GREATEST FINISH IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL HISTO— Fake Bo Pelini (@FauxPelini) October 1, 2016
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.
Jake Oldroyd is still nursing an injury but that didn’t keep a BYU kicker from winning the game on a field goal. It really was nice of Jake to give the spotlight to one of his fellow kickers like that. He also didn’t want to be the kicker who won all of the games for BYU because things would start to get out of hand. We should also mention that multiple female fans saw Jake on the sidelines Friday night and commented on his new haircut and fresh sideline gear. Even when Jake Oldroyd isn’t winning games, he’s winning at life.
I wish we should say the same for Jake Welch. After the BYU / West Virginia game, he stayed in DC for a few extra days to catch up with friends and enjoy some paintings at the National Gallery of Art. While the artwork itself definitely did not disappoint (special shout out to Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Édouard Manet and Albert Bierstadt for bringing the heat) Jake made a serious blunder by not reading the parking instruction sign properly, which led to a parking ticket. In addition, Jake decided it was a good idea to eat at the Gallery Cafe. It was the opposite of a good idea. It was the worst sandwich he had ever tasted since the time he ate lunch in Wyoming, where fine dinning is spelled K-F-C.
There is no question who the winner is this week. A great haircut beats out a flavorless turkey sandwich every day of the week and twice on Sunday. ADVANTAGE: JAKE OLDROYD
UP NEXT: MICHIGAN STATE
NBA star Draymond Green, who attended Michigan State, played spring football for the Spartans back in 2011. He is best known for kicking people in the nuts and playing for the Golden State Warriors who blew a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Now let’s enjoy a vine of the beautiful scenery of East Lansing!