I need to get this off my chest. It’s been 24 hours since the game against UCLA has finished and I have discovered the one and only reason why BYU lost. A lot of people have been asking questions and demanding changes but the source of BYU’s loss might not come from an expected source.
That’s because BYU’s loss against UCLA was all my fault.
You see, I happen to live in the heart of Bruin Country (about one mile south of UCLA’s campus) and ever since I moved to Los Angeles three years ago I have looked forward to our match-ups against UCLA with much anticipation. Beyond the games themselves, I looked forward to the victories. I couldn’t wait to walk around Westwood in my BYU gear, proudly displaying my school colors and rubbing it in the face of every UCLA student in sight. I wanted to win because I love my team and I want the best for them... but I also wanted to gloat.
It’s plain to see this is where I’m to blame. I wanted the victory a little too much and I wanted it for all the wrong reasons. The sports gods saw my unrighteous desires and made sure that I didn’t get what I wanted. It’s not like the sports gods have treated me kindly in any other respect (the one time my beloved Colorado Rockies made it to the World Series I was serving my mission) but this time they made sure I wasn’t blessed.
Beyond that I also made the critical mistake of watching the game at the same house, sitting in the same seat while wearing the same shirt that I did for the Utah game. I really should have mixed it up but I went with the same losing formula in back-to-back weeks. Huge mistake.
The good news is I won’t be anywhere near that couch this week. After realizing that BYU’s win against Arizona (at a neutral NFL site) was thanks to my attendance, I have decided to fly out to watch BYU face West Virginia (at a neutral NFL site) in Washington DC.
But before we get to next week, it’s time to unveil this week’s power rankings.
WEEK 3 POWER RANKINGS
10) Dayan Lake
Before the start of the season BYU released a depth chart and to the surprise of many devoted BYU fans, Dayan Lake was not listed on the two-deep on defense. Coming out of high school Lake was a highly regarded cornerback and many expected after redshirting a year that he would be listed as a backup. While that wasn’t the case, Lake has still seen the field after an injury to Troy Warner. While he’s had a good showing on defense, it’s his play on special teams that lands him on the list this week. After a failed offensive drive the punt team sent it deep and Dayan flew down the field and made a great tackle to limit UCLA to terrible starting field position on their own 15-yard line. It’s not he most glamorous job, but there are few things I love more than seeing someone give their all on special teams. This isn’t the first time Lake has made an impressive tackle in the open field and I don’t expect it to be his last.
9) Jamaal Williams
In terms of running the football, this was far from Jamaal’s best performance. He gave everything he had in each run but UCLA dedicated themselves to stopping the run and they succeeded. Running game aside, I want to recognize Jamaal for his amazing effort in pass protection. As a running back, it’s about the least glamorous thing asked of a play in that position but it’s absolutely crucial in terms of protecting the quarterback. Overall the pass protection has looked suspect but I’ve Jamaal always sacrifices his body to help protect Taysom. There were multiple times on Saturday that Jamaal was assigned to block a blitzing linebacker flying up the middle and every time Jamaal made sure the linebacker was a non-factor. The guy does so many things well and it’s time we recognize his pass blocking.
8) Danny Ainge
If you’re not familiar with Danny Agine and his work with Boston Celtics as their general manager, just know that he is a freaking wizard. He’s made many a deft trade and somehow lured Brad Stevens away from the college game to coach the rebuilding Celtics. That being said, how he convinced Isiah Thomas and Gerald Green to appear (and wear BYU gear) in the latest jamesthemormon rap / football hype video is beyond me.
Just imagine, if you will, the conversation that had to take place in order for these events to transpire. At some point Danny had to utter the words “will you appear in a rap video with me” and actually mean it. Maybe these two NBA stars lost a bet to their GM but either way, this was some next level sorcery by Brother Ainge. The very best part of the video below is towards the end where Isiah and Danny laugh at each other with this “oh gosh what did we just do” look on their faces.
Did you see Danny, IT and Gerald's cameo in @jamesthemormon's rap vid? This? This is even better. pic.twitter.com/zAv3NEPLwc— Boston Celtics (@celtics) September 17, 2016
7) Jonny Linehan
Our favorite Kiwi wasn’t quite on his A game last week against Utah but he bounced back against UCLA. In a game where he was asked to punt nine times, he was able to flip the field multiple times to give UCLA poor starting field position. In a game that was so low scoring, field position makes a major impact on the outcome. Jonny did a good job of putting our defense in a good position to succeed. UCLA scored their two touchdowns after BYU had punted but both times they had to go 75+ yards.
6) On-Field Proposal Guy
I don’t pretend to be a statistician or any kind of sociological expert but the overwhelming majority of females that I have ever spoken with has expressed their vehement distaste for public proposals, particularly those that happen at live sporting events. Said proposals lack the sentimentality and romantic aura that a proposal requires, or so it has been explained to me. I am not married and have never proposed so I’m not exactly an expert in this field but I would agree with this sentiment.
So why exactly is this guy (seen in the video below) listed at number six in the power rankings? Because even though he proposed to his girlfriend in what many view as the one of the tackiest ways possible, she still said yes. Despite the fact that he forced her to make a decision in front of thousands of people, she still agreed to share the rest of her life with him. That’s like me, Jake Welch, showing up to a job interview naked, knowing full well that it’s probably poor form but I end up getting the job anyway because the company is willing to overlook my mistakes. What this guy pulled was a power move and here on this part of the internet, we’re all about power moves.
Such a great night! Loved helping @nomadcoug get his proposal on the field! Thanks again @criddler21 #BYUFOOTBALL pic.twitter.com/1phP5pTudQ— Steph Odle (@StephOdle88) September 18, 2016
5) Kalani Sitake
Shoutout to our head coach for keeping it real during the press conference after a tough loss. A lot of the time coaches will use tired cliches to describe the team’s performance but from what I hear Kalani was direct and honest. He didn’t mince words when he spoke about the offense and how the need to perform at a higher level. He also didn’t shy away from the QB situation and a was open about their discussion at halftime to keep Taysom in. The more I see and hear from this guy, the more I respect him. I have to imagine the players feel the same way.
4) Nick Kurtz
On BYU’s final offensive drive of the game we saw Nick make a great over-the-shoulder catch for the touchdown. He had a few other catches in addition to this nice play but I Nick impressed me on a play where he didn’t make a catch. In the 3rd quarter BYU desperately needed a score and they were finally starting to put something together. On second and short from the UCLA 25, Taysom dropped back to pass and saw that Nick had a stop on the cornerback who was playing man coverage on him. He made the right read to throw it to Kurtz but Taysom made a terrible throw that turned into what should have been an easy interception. Instead of leading Nick to the back of the end zone Hill left the ball short, forcing Nick to come back and make a play on the ball but as a defender. Nick lost his footing for a bit but then recovered to knock down the would be interception and keep the drive alive. The touchdown catches are great but small plays like that make a big difference.
3) Michael Davis
In the transition from Bronco’s 3-4 defense to Kalani’s 4-3, many assumed that the defensive backs, particularly the cornerbacks, would see their fair share of struggles as they were going to play much more man-to-man defense. There have been a few moments of weakness but the level of play from Michael Davis has been very good. In this last game he recorded two pass breakups in addition to making some great tackles in the open field. I remember watching him get toasted by Notre Dame wide receivers in 2013 and he looks like a completely different player. He’s transformed himself into a very solid cornerback.
2) Fred Warner
Fred is a fighter. He’s a guy who just flat out wants it more and we have some nice video evidence below that demonstrates this point. Every year Fred had improved and so far this season he’s proven himself worth of the hype that preceded him when he first signed with BYU.
BYU's Fred Warner picks it off. Josh Rosen having flashbacks to last year's game. #INT #UCLAvsBYU #BYUFOOTBALL pic.twitter.com/sy51Jx4TnI— Justin Giles (@JustinGiles22) September 18, 2016
1) Butch Pau’u
When Butch makes a tackle, you know. Not just because of the way that the ball carriers fly backwards or the audible gasps from the announcers. You can recognize a signature Butch tackle simply by the sound that is created on impact. When Butch hits someone, it’s LOUD. If I’m a opposing running back or wide receiver that plays BYU in the coming weeks I would purposefully avoid #38 as if my life depended on it. Even then it would be hard to avoid him because the dude is everywhere. He has amazing instincts and his game high 19 tackles prove it.
If anyone is still upset with the performance of the offense, just know that we have a star on defense and he is worth the price of admission. And the best part of all? He’s only a sophomore.
Video: All 19 tackles by @BYUfootball MLB Butch Pau'u against @UCLAFootball pic.twitter.com/3u64hZDw2G— Brandon Judd (@brandonljudd) September 19, 2016
TWEET OF THE WEEK
We’ll go the adorable route this week as we congratulate this BYU fan on taking their first steps. Coincidentally she walked for just as many yards as BYU ran for on Saturday night.
This little Cougar fan is so excited for the @BYUfootball home opener she decided to start walking. #GoCougs #BYU pic.twitter.com/SlusxZfM7Y— Riley Banks (@Riley_Banks) September 17, 2016
WELL THAT WAS WEIRD
This didn’t happen during BYU’s game but it was just too weird not to include . Apparently someone was pointing a green laser pointer on the field during the Rice - Baylor game and refs were not having it.
Please refrain pic.twitter.com/OguWTfyfqQ— Deadspin (@Deadspin) September 17, 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.
The run of good fortune for Jake Oldroyd ended this week. BYU sent him out to kick a 55-yard field goal which was subsequently blocked. We all know that it would have gone through the uprights if not for the block but that’s now how football works. Instead we never got to see if Oldroyd was capable of kicking it from the moon and it sounds like he was injured on the play as well. Let us all keep our fingers and toes crossed that our guy bounces back and makes it onto the field next week.
Jake Welch stumbled through the first half of the week but came on strong towards the end. In addition to the free pizza that he scored for lunch at work, Jake found a delicious taco stand in close proximity to his office. This might be troubling news for Jake’s belt and waistline but those are the kinds of sacrifices you need make on your path to greatness.
We’ll give Jake Oldroyd an A for effort but even that can’t beat out a great taco joint discovery. ADVANTAGE: JAKE WELCH
UP NEXT: WEST VIRGINIA
Country road, take me home.
To the place, where everyone wears overalls.
West Virginia! Mountain mamma. Take me home. Country road.