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BYU Football POWER RANKINGS WEEK 3: Trojans Manhandled in Overtime

USC v BYU Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images

If you watch sports long enough, you come to understand the abundant truth in the following statement.

“Bad teams blame adversity and use it as an excuses in a loss. Good teams overcome adversity and find ways to win.”

A bad bounce. A blown call. An uncommon error that seems to be brought on by some kind of cosmic curse or voodoo. All of these things can happen of the course of a game because that’s how it works. And just like every TED Talk and LinkedIn influencer will tell you, it’s not the struggle but how you face it.

BYU faced their share of adversity on Saturday afternoon against USC. A fourth down conversion attempt that came up short. A penalty (or lack there of) that disrupted a drive. A missed field goal. There were plenty of opportunities for BYU to pack it in and claim that they just faced too much adversity against the Trojans and that they did their best.

Thankfully this BYU squad doesn’t seem content to rely on the blame game.

In what was one of the most complete team wins that I’ve seen in quite some time, the Cougars quickly moved past their follies and found the windows of opportunity that led to a big win over a team with a lot of hype. Time will tell just how good the Trojans are, but for now BYU should embrace the fact that they saw a win within their reach and held on for dear life.

That said, let’s get to the POWER RANKINGS.

WEEK 3 POWER RANKINGS

10) Jake Oldroyd

Some people might chalk this game up as a downer for Jake because he missed a field goal (the second of his career) but he more than made up for it by drilling a 43 yarder in overtime that ended up being the difference in the game. So for those keeping score at home he now has two game-winning kicks (Arizona and USC) and a FG with time expiring to force overtime. That’s a heck of a career for most college kickers. JAKE HAS ONLY PLAYED IN FIVE GAMES.

And did we mention his punting? He did an amazing job getting off massive punts that flipped the field, including a huge 56 yarder that went unreturned thanks to excellent coverage. The special teams unit in general (particularly the kick coverage) was sublime.

9) Payton Wilgar

We’ll get to the wide receivers in a minute but sweet mercy can we talk about Payton’s FULL EXTENSION interception? The Trojans were moving the ball at will on the first drive and it looked like it was going to be a long day for the Cougars. Then out of nowhere we get this wild interception from Wilgar and the tides turn. The defense would have made a stop eventually but forcing an early turnover helped check the confidence of Kedon Slovis and give BYU great field position.

And I should be clear, the interception was just the tip of the iceberg for Payton. He finished with nine tackles and a pass deflection.

8) Max Tooley

At about the eight-minute mark in the second quarter Isaiah Kaufusi took some friendly fire from Austin Lee and didn’t look like himself the rest of the half. There hasn’t been an official update on his health status but as we saw with the Utah game last year, losing him is a big blow to our defense. That wasn’t the case yesterday as we saw Payton Wilgar and Max Tooley step up in a BIG way. In his first two games Max let the adrenaline take over, getting lost in coverage and missing a couple of tackles in over pursuit. Yesterday, he was still flying around the field but this time he was making plays. Even on special teams he was in on some crucial tackles.

One of his best moments came on the first offensive play in the second half for USC. The Trojans lined up to run the ball with Stephan Carr but before he could even make a read, Max was stuffing him in the backfield for a loss. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that Isaiah will be OK but it’s good to know Tooley and Wilgar are ready to answer the call if needed.

7) Ilaisa Tuiaki

The ABC broadcast was hyping USC’s offensive coordinator Graham Harrell but the real assistant they should have been discussing was Coach Tuiaki. He devised a masterful game plan in which they dared USC to run the ball or have a freshman quarterback throw into a mess of eight defenders. Things were looking dire on the first drive but after a couple of Kedon Slovis interceptions the Trojans locomotive stalled. Slovis wasn’t as quick to release the ball, allowing the pass rush to make an impact. There were open lanes for USC to run the ball but stops were made as the crucial points in the game.

Another potent offense will come rolling into town next week along with an offensive-minded head coach that will present a challenge. I have a lot more faith in Tuiaki after the game he called this last week.

6) Kavika Fonua

If we were looking for the football equivalent of the stat sheet stuffing Kyle Collinsworth, I think he might have surfaced. Kavika balled out with 13 tackles (9 solo) and one pass breakup (led to the game-ending interception). Of course there are lots of other ways that he impacted the game beyond what you see in the box score but I don’t need to tell you that. You saw him in the mix on every play, just making life miserable for any ball carrier that came his way.

5) Zach Wilson

When people start to compare your game to that of a Heisman trophy winner, I think you’re in good company. His ability to escape pressure and create offense on the fly is probably infuriating for the opposition but a delight for Cougar faithful. And the very best part about his game on Saturday? No turnovers.

His talents were on full display as a passer (that DIME to Dax Milne) a runner (I’ve watched the TD scamper 28 times) and A RECEIVER. Part of me wants to believe that Zach would have scored a touchdown if Jaren Hall would have led him a little bit more towards the end zone, but that’s speculation we’ll gladly leave behind.

It’s crazy to think that there is a lot of room for improvement for a player that already looks pretty polished and I’m sure he’s the first one to admit it. He’s going to have a very special game this season and it’s not going to be pretty for the defense gets his very best.

4) Khyris Tonga and Lorenzo Fauatea

Imagine being the center for any of BYU’s future opponents and having to watch film of Khyris and Zo. Imagine sitting there with your offensive line coach as he points out Kyhris’s powerful bull rush and Fauatea’s swim move that’s so good the Boy Scouts of America have contacted Zo to see if he would be willing to instruct on the swimming merit badge. Imagine trying to hype yourself up for a four-hour tour of duty in which two large men dispose of your body so quickly that you need to change your permanent address.

3) Wide Receivers

Going in to this season I felt like the biggest weakness of BYU’s offense was the WR group. They under achieved the last few years and there wasn’t a lot of talent that was going to produce explosive plays. The running backs were getting some solid transfer help and the tight ends were perfectly capable of making an impact but the receivers still had lots of room for improvement. They sure showed me on Saturday.

These guys came out and put on a pass-catching clinic. It wasn’t as if they were beating USC with speed or pure athleticism. They beat them with good route running, positioning and AMAZING catch technique. I could go into detail how every receiver made a big play but you don’t have time to read 40,000 words on Gunner Romney’s catch on the sideline.

2) Ty’Son Williams

Do me a quick favor and take a look at the picture below. If you have a photographic memory you might recall exactly how this play ends but if not, it doesn’t look all that promising. It might be a little hard to see but Ty’Son has the ball and a USC defender has his arms around Williams and another Trojan is on his ways to help. With many other running backs this looks like a two, maybe three yard gain. Ty’Son, being the special running back that he is, turns this thing into a gosh dang nine-yard rumble. His perfect combination of patience and pure strength allow him to find the holes in the defense and then power through.

The crazy thing is there are four other runs similar to this one and each time something else stands out. On one he shakes a couple of linebackers with some slight hesitation and on another he lowers his shoulder and buried a DB six feet deep. He’s been a treasure to watch and I can’t wait to see what else he can do.

1) Dayan Ghanwoloku

When was the last time that a college football player had a rushing touchdown and a game-ending interception in the same game? All in a day’s work for Dayan, who was impressive in every facet of the game.

On defense he was tasked with taking on USC’s dangerously talented receivers in Michael Pittman Jr and Tyler Vaughns. If you look at the box score you might question his standing here but in re-watching the game Dayan did about as good a job as you can against such stiff competition. Also, BYU’s game plan allowed both wideouts to rack up catches so long as they didn’t make big plays. Aside from a 30-yard touchdown catch that required a perfect throw in blanket coverage and a 60-yard gain where a tight end got loose, most of the plays in the passing game were of the short variety. The DB’s played a great game and Dayan led the charge.

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WELL THAT WAS WEIRD

This moment isn’t weird but I needed a place to put this magnificent locker room line dancing video. If you weren’t a BYU fan and didn’t recognize the uniforms or logos you might think this could be any football program in the country. But then the diverse mix of players and coaches gives way as the camera pans over to Spencer Romney and then it’s ABUNDANTLY CLEAR that we are in Provo, Utah.

Never change Spencer, never change.

TWEET OF THE WEEK

BYU fans got to hear all of the lame polygamy humor from USC fans this week so it’s only fair that we retort with some classic condom jokes.

FAMILY ALBUM

The official BYU Football family of the week honor goes to the Saleapaga clan. Just look at the energy and excitement that they’re bringing pre-game. The jumping, fist-pumping and hollering has me ready for anything. Their hype is so contagious that un-official fan captain Marty Hoge can’t help but get in on the fun. Well done Saleapaga family, the next round of Kneaders french toast is on us.

JAKE VS JAKE

There is a football player on the team by the name of Jake Oldroyd (I think you guys might know him now) 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 tried his best to even things out with Jake Welch after winning the first two matchups of Jake vs Jake with ease. He missed a 44-yard field goal in the first half only to come back with the game winner in overtime. His perfect field goal kicking percentage is long gone but his swagger remains.

Jake Welch dusted off his old road bike as part of an on-going effort to lose 15 lbs of mission weight (he returned home in 2008) that have taken permanent residence on his waist. The ride was going well until Jake had to slow to a stop, upon which he forgot that his shoes were clipped into the bike pedals. Before he could unclip his shoes Jake toppled over onto the cement, providing a hearty laugh for all those who could see.

Jake Oldroyd might have missed a kick but I’m sure he can ride a bike without looking like a buffoon. ADVANTAGE: Oldroyd

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UP NEXT: Washington

At first I thought this post from the University of Washington instagram said “Crows remember human feces” because my brain hasn’t developed since sophomore year of high school but the fact that birds can remember my face is not something I needed to know.