The BYU Football family experienced a full range of emotions this last week due to a series of unfortunate events.
Through it all it’s clear this team is indeed a family and regardless of the situation they are a unified bunch. I’m sure this can be said about many Division 1 football programs but saying “we are a family” seems much more of a reality at BYU than a tired cliche that gets thrown around at press conferences.
It makes me proud to support a team that doesn’t just provide entertainment on the football field. They’re a great example of unity and compassion.
With that, let’s jump right into the power rankings.
WEEK 12 POWER RANKINGS
10) Jonny Linehan
AND THE AWARD FOR BEST PERFORMANCE WITH A RIVALRY TROPHY IN THE SHAPE OF A WHEEL GOES TO...
I should also mention that Jonny contributed on the field as he drilled a punt that pinned Utah State on the one yard line. It’s Jonny’s antics on social media (see above) and photobombing of Kalani Sitake during his post-game interviews that endear fans to the charming Kiwi but we shouldn’t forget that he’s been a pretty decent punter. We’ll be lucky to have him back next season.
9) Mitchell Juergens
This game wasn’t a showcase of prolific passing offenses (the two teams combined for 209 yards through the air) but we did get to see an amazing effort by one Mitchell Juergens. When Taysom threw a laser to the far side of the field in the direction of #87 I thought there was no way that 1) he was going to catch the ball and 2) he would be able to fight his way into the end zone. As is usually the case, I was quite wrong and couldn’t have been happier. We’ll miss Mitchell because he was the receiver who always flew under the radar of other players that were much taller or faster but still found ways to outshine them all.
8) Hunter Marshall
Our guy Hunter Marshall makes the list this week not because he put up spectacular numbers (as he only had one catch for five yards) but he’s here for his ability to do what every BYU fan wanted to see happen. You see, there was a certain player in Utah State’s secondary by the name of Dallin Leavitt who intercepted a Taysom Hill pass and decided to do the honorable thing by running to the sideline and posing for everyone in the west stands. It was a nice play but someone needed to put the chatty defensive back in his place. ENTER HUNTER MARSHALL. On what looked to be a busted coverage, Taysom Hill completed a pass to a WIDE OPEN Nick Kurtz near the sideline. Nick made his way down the field and Hunter went out ahead of him to lay waste to anyone in his way and he didn’t disappoint. Leavitt came over to make a play and well…just watch the video because words don’t do it justice.
7) Harvey Langi
In the final drive of the game BYU basically looked at the Utah State defense and said, “Hey, you see that guy back there? Number 16? That’s Harvey Langi. We’re going to line up the same formation and give him the ball every single play. Good luck stopping him.” And you know what happened? They didn’t stop him. Sure it was the very end of a game that was clearly out of hand but nothing makes me happier than watching a tough football player do tough football things.
6) BYU Secondary
Kai Nacua, Micah Hanneman, Troy Warner, Dayan Lake and the rest of the BYU secondary played masterfully as they only gave up one play of 20+ yards and held Utah State quarterback Kent Myers to 103 yards passing on the day. In addition to doing a great job defending the pass I’ve noticed that one of the strong characteristics of this unit is their ability to come up and stuff the run. There were a couple of times where I was convinced the Aggies were going to bust off a nice gain but then Kai Nacua would come flying out of nowhere to make a play. We’re going to miss Kai but we can be comforted by the fact that the Lake / Warner cornerback duo will be here for a few more years.
5) Tanner Mangum’s Mustache
Did Tanner Mangum throw another touchdown pass this week with pressure from the opposing defense? Yes. Did he make this great pass thanks to a powerful mustache that could cure diabetes, convince Donald Trump to stop tweeting and record 100% home teaching every month for seventeen consecutive years? ALSO YES.
People have been giving Tanner boatloads of grief for his mouth brow but we should be glad that we have a quarterback who has supreme confidence in himself, even with a mustache that should make the BYU administration rethink their stance on approved facial hair.
4) Michael Shelton
In honor of this magnificent scoop-and-score by North Carolina native Michael Shelton, I’ll be listening to Petey Pablo’s “Raise Up” (aka the unofficial anthem of Tarheel State) for the next hour on repeat. Will I be talking my shirt off and spinning it around my head like a helicopter while listening to the song? Most definitely.
There are so many things about this play that are immaculate but Shelton’s ability to snatch the football off the bounce and break an open field tackle for the score make it a masterpiece. Here’s to hoping that Shelton will follow in the footsteps of many undersized cornerbacks before him (Brian Logan, Brandon Howard, Justin Robinson) that played much bigger than their stature.
3) Fred Warner
When Fred Warner signed with BYU there were many fans and experts that wanted to compare him to Cougar legend Kyle Van Noy. He would be playing the same position and from the look of it, he had a similar skill set to the now New England Patriot. Now that we’ve seen Fred play the last three seasons I think it’s safe to say that he’s followed in KVN’s footsteps quite nicely. It’s hard to compare the two this season because they play completely different positions but there is no doubt that both have big-play ability. Kyle was a significantly better pass-rusher but Fred is stout against the run and tackling in the open field. I don’t know of any metric that measures “tackles that prevent teams from converting 3rd or 4th down” but if there were Fred would be at the top of the category.
This interception by Fred shows us a small fraction of what he is able to do on the field. It was a bad pass by Myers but if you watch closely you’ll see Fred do a great job of stepping up to the ball and in front of the USU receiver for the INT. This clip alone tells me next year is going to be a special one for Fred.
2) Jamaal Williams
No one has ever run the football at BYU quite like Jamaal Williams. Is it his leg drive that allows him to break all those tackles? Or what about his vision that lets him to see the running lanes before they’re even open? Maybe it’s his speed and fearlessness that intimidate defenses and opposing coordinators?
Either way, I don’t need an explanation to know he’s the greatest running back to ever run the rock in Provo.
1) Logan Taele
The big defensive lineman might have saved his very best performance for Senior Night as he did it all in his virtuoso performance against the Aggies. He tallied four tackles, one of which was a huge sack on the first drive of the game that forced Utah State for settle for a field goal. We should also mention his two pass deflections at the line of scrimmage, nearly doubling his previous career total of three.
But the single most impressive thing that I’ve seen Logan do all season came on his forced fumble that lead to a defensive touchdown. If you watch this video closely you’ll see Taele break through the Aggie line, making quick work of the right guard. He then lunges forward to make a play on Kent Myers but he’s a fraction of a second too late. Myers is already beyond the line of scrimmage and most likely has the first down. Instead of giving up on the play and conceding the first down, Logan jumps back to his feet and rips the ball always from the quarterback. It’s the perfect example of something very small and seemingly insignificant that ends up paying huge dividends. I have no doubt that coaches will be showing this clip as an example of playing until the whistle blows for years to come.
Let us never forget that when Logan Taele gets knocked down, he gets up again. You’re never gonna keep him down.
WELL THAT WAS WEIRD
Does anyone here know Utah State linebacker Brock Carmen? I ask because it appears as if he has some serious unresolved anger issues that need to be addressed. After the play is over he decides to stand over top of KJ Hall (who seems like a really nice guy if you ask me) and greets him with some pleasantries worthy of an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Hopefully someone can console Brock and tell him it’s not his fault.
TWEET OF THE WEEK
Former BYU tight end Andrew George was a great football player but who knew he could bring the heat on Twitter!
Dallin Leavitt picks it off, races to sideline, stands on bench, pulls off helmet, looks at BYU fans... and no one remembers who he is. Nice— Andrew George (@AGeorg88) November 27, 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.
We’ve been following our guy Jake Oldroyd for twelve weeks now and for the first time this season we don’t have the slightest idea as to what Jake is doing with his life. Logic tells us that he was in Provo this week to support the team as they faced off against Utah State but the rest is a mystery. Where did he eat Thanksgiving dinner? Is Jake more of a dark meat or light meat kind of guy? We know he’s from Texas and general assumptions would tell us that deep-fried turkeys are probably pretty popular there but who knows. Maybe Jake prefers a good ole Thanksgiving ham? And let’s not even get started on pies. Jake is actually less than one month away from embarking on his missionary service to Chile so odds are he’s preparing for his farewell talk. We haven’t received an invite to the sacrament service where he’ll be speaking but here’s to hoping it’s in the mail.
Jake Welch had a great week as he turned the ripe old age of 30 last Monday and used it to his advantage. Bright and early on Thursday morning Jake ran in the Erda Turkey Trot and won first place in his new age group of 30-39 with a time of 21:21. Had he ran in the younger 20-29 division he would have come in...well he wouldn’t have been in first place but that doesn’t really matter. It also doesn’t matter how many people ran in the race. Erda is a thriving metropolis in Tooele County, Utah with tens of thou...I mean tens of hundre...nah that’s probably a stretch unless you count the cows. ANYWAY, first place is first place. For his grand victory Jake took home a giant Symphony candy bar and a cinnamon roll.
So who comes out on top this week? Nothing beats a victory cinnamon roll fresh out of the oven. ADVANTAGE: JAKE WELCH
UP NEXT: Poinsettia Bowl
The last time BYU played in the bowl game at Qualcomm Stadium, Kyle Van Noy did everything short of kicking the extra points to lead BYU to a win. I remember this well because I was flying home to New Jersey and was listening to Greg Wrubell call the game via internet. Anyone on that plane can tell you that I let out one too many outbursts mid-flight. I’m used to people staring at me but this time it was different because usually they look at me with a “oh man this guy is crazy” but this time it was more of a “yeah we need to punch this guy in the face.”
This year I will be in San Diego for the game. Here’s to hoping no one punches me in the face.