I recently made the decision that I was going to train for a marathon. I figured being in my early 30’s, things weren’t going to get any easier for me physically, so now was the time to force myself to run long distances for uh...fun.
A few hours before the BYU vs Utah game I went out for a training run and decided that I was going to push for a blazing (for me) 7:00 minute mile pace. I started off strong posting a quick 6:36 mile and the follow up was also under the seven minute mark at 6:50. My endurance was starting to wane after mile three but I forged ahead. I continued to keep a solid pace until about halfway through my run.
It was then that the sun got a little bit hotter and the big ole stack of tacos I had for lunch started to wreak havoc on my insides. I could start to feel myself slowing down but knew that if I wanted to stay under the fixed pace I still needed to push myself. I charged forward, but no matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t keep the same pace I started with. When I arrived back at my house my overall pace was around 7:23, which was fine but not what I intended to do.
Little did I know that my run was going to mirror the game. Much like I did, BYU came out strong in the first half, keeping pace with Utah but then fell apart in the second half falling well short of the goal. Similarly, we also seemed to share the same lack of talent and overall preparation. The good thing for my marathon and BYU’s football seasons, things won’t be defined by what happened on Thursday.
I still have plenty of time to train for my marathon and BYU has plenty of football left to play to show us what they are made of this season. I’m optimistic that improvement can be made by both parties even after a rough start.
That said, let’s get to the first week of BYU FOOTBALL POWER RANKINGS.
WEEK 1 POWER RANKINGS
10) Skyler Southam
With the return of Jake Oldroyd, our guy Skyler was relieved of the place kicking duties but it all worked out in the end for our guy BIG BOOTS because he was able to focus on his kickoff craft. Three of his four kickoffs went unreturned because homeboy was blasting the ball deep into the end zone. What happened on the fourth? Skyler channeled his inner Brooks Koepka by pulling out his 60 degree wedge and sticking the ball right on the five yard line. Who knows if this was on purpose but man he made it look good.
9) Micah Simon
Did you see the guy who made the beautiful tackle on that flop shot by Skyler? Yeah that was wide receiver Micah Simon. Usually guys on offense get crap from defensive players for being soft but that ain’t the case with Micah. He flew down the field like a bat out of hell to make sure the Utes were pinned deep. Couple that with three catches for 35 yards makes it a decent day for Simon.
8) Zayne Anderson
The linebackers were pretty darn busy on Thursday night as Utah’s ground game was able to push around BYU up front. Blockers were getting their hands on the LBs but even that being the case Zayne was able to have a productive evening as he lead the team with seven tackles (six of which were solo), an assist on a tackle for loss and a pass breakup. BYU will need their inside linebackers to improve quickly for the defense to succeed this year, but we’re lucky we have studs like Zayne and Isaiah to pick up the slack.
7) Ty’son Williams
In all honesty our guy Ty’son should have been bumped up a few more places on this list, but the game plan got a little botched in the second half with all of the turnovers (one of which was a fumble from Williams). It was clear that they coaching staff wanted to attack through the air to spread out Utah’s aggressive defense and then hit them with the run game. When BYU turned the ball over a couple of times and the lead for Utah grew things changed and the Cougars were forced to try and catchup. All of that aside, it was a great opening game for Brother Williams. He showed patience, vision and strength as he averaged 6.4 yards per cary. Look for him to tote the rock a little more against a Tennessee team that got gouged on the ground against George State.
6) Offensive Line
For all of the pub that the Utah defensive line received before the game, they didn’t look quite as dominant as I expected. That was thanks in large part to BYU’s offensive line that did a great job of giving Zach Wilson time to throw and the running backs decent lanes to run through. The video below shows us a perfect example of Brady Christinsen clearing out the way for a pulling James Empey as he lead the way for Ty’son. Matt Bushman did just enough to occupy his defender and before you know it it’s an 18 yard gain. Not every pass protection was perfect and not every run play went for big numbers but the big fellas up front showed us their potential.
There are only two things that can put a stop to the Holy War. The dunce master general Chris Hill and electric bolts of light crashing through the sky. That’s some pretty exclusive company. Way to go lightning, you’re really going places.
4) Matt Bushman
It was a bummer that Moroni Laulu-Pututau didn’t suit up for this game but the top tight end on the roster was great with six catches for 62 yards. The big question mark for the passing game the rest of the year will be if anyone else can make big plays to help draw some attention away from Matt. He’s clearly going to be the go-to target for Wilson and some big plays from the other receivers would help open things up for Bushman. Either way, Matt was able to get his touches on Thursday and make the most of them.
3) Isaiah Kaufusi
My heart will be filled with infinite sadness the day BYU doesn’t have a Kaufusi on the football roster. Like lighting the Y, ringing the victory bell or having the choice be yours at Chuck-a-rama, it’s tradition. Jackson and Devin had decent days but it was Isaiah who really shined. Similar to his running mate Zayne, Isaiah was able to show that he’s back to full health with some ferocious hits and smart play. Let us all pray to the football gods that he can stay healthy all year because we will need him.
2) Dayan Ghanwoloku
When Dayan first came into the program I thought the coachers were making a mistake not putting him at running back. This just happens to be reason number 567 why coaches get paid for what they do and I am sitting at home on a keyboard. Dayan was flying all over the place on Thursday doing what he does best, making open field tackles. One of the biggest plays of the first half was BYU’s stop on 4th down where Tyler Huntley was flushed to his left and was met by a trio of defenders, namely Mr Ghanwoloku. If there’s anything that I’m excited this year it’s seeing him light up fools the rest of this season.
The ONE play (yes... only one) that sticks out in my mind in this game from #BYU came late 1st quarter. Great stop by the BYU D on 4th down. That's the last time I saw any energy from that side of the field.#UTAHvsBYU #kslsports pic.twitter.com/ib4DL9i34Z— Sam Farnsworth (@SFarnsworthKSL) August 30, 2019
1) Jake Oldroyd
Is it telling that the player on the top of this list is the punter / kicker? Probably. Does that make our guy Jake any less deserving of the honor? Nope. Oldroyed was about as good as any of us could have expected and then some. We all knew that he was able to kick the ball through the uprights (which he did with perfection) but he surprised us with his booming punts. The Cougars have lost too many games by a small margin the last couple of years and having a difference maker on special teams can give the added advantage in said close games. It’s good to have you back Jake.
WELL THAT WAS WEIRD
Kyle Whittingham was wearing a black cutoff hoodie but for some reason it looks like he is uh, wearing blue? Granted it probably had to do with the TV contrast but man if it didn’t look like he was sporting a navy hoodie. Very interesting fashion choice.
While we’re on the subject of weird, can we please recognize some of the other amazing things that happened this week in college football? Liberty head coach Hugh Freeze coached his opening game vs Syracuse laid in bed up in the press box. The performing arts students at Rutgers (a very fine institution) did a historical reenactment of the first college football game between RU and Princeton. And to top it all off, the Jackson State mascot was assessed a 15 yard penalty for jumping onto the field of play after a fumble! This sport continues to be the best.
TWEET OF THE WEEK
The only thing Matt forgot to mention was that the whole thing started with a prayer.
BYU and Utah are engaging in a physical, violent and kinda ugly conflict, and just traded three pointers.— Matt Brown (@MattSBN) August 30, 2019
Folks, it's just the world's largest church basketball game.
Usually I reserve this section of the program for player photos but I couldn’t pass up on LaVell’s granddaughter posting a few pics of the late legend. It’s an honest to goodness family album and if there is anything that can cheer me up after a tough loss it’s remembering this man’s impact. If Utah fans want to come and comment about BYU living in the past or whatever they can either 1) come and fight me or 2) tell Keith Van Horn to cool it with the Rick Majerus stories.
JAKE VS JAKE - The triumphant return of Jake Oldroyd means it’s time that we get back to the most infamous portion of POWER RANKINGS, Jake vs Jake. It’s a very insightful discussion where talk about who had the better week, the BYU special teams phenom or me, the writer of a sports blog who’s greatest athletic achievements are of the “sportsmanship” variety.
Jake Oldroyd looked so good on Thursday night that opposing coaches might actually have some evidence that going on a mission is really good for developing your football skills. His kicks were true, his punts were long and his style was flawless.
Jake Welch successfully did the laundry without ruining an article of clothing that belongs to his wife. Ever since being married, Jake has struggled to understand the exact handling instructions of some clothing items as he just assumed that everything could go into the washer and dryer. This lesson was learned the hard way a few times too many, but this week he actually read all of these instructions and washed all of the delicate items with care.
The victory over laundry was a big one for Jake Welch but it pales in comparison to what Jake Oldroyd brought to the kicking game for BYU. ADVANTAGE: Jake Oldroyd
UP NEXT: Tennessee
Let’s check in our next opponent Tennessee and see how things are...oh dear heavens.
How is Tennessee doing to start its season?— Jesse Simonton (@JesseReSimonton) August 31, 2019
A boat caught fire in the Vol Navy this morning and sank, a band member just passed out on the field at halftime and UT is up by a field goal against a team that went 2-10 a year ago.
The saddest / most hilarious part of this tweet? Tennessee ended up losing the game! Poor Jesse was just lamenting that they were only up by a field goal but they decided to really double down on misery and lose. Does this mean that BYU should be able to take care of business? Or will it mean that the Vols will get mad and pound BYU into the dirt? If anything there should be some therapists on-hand to help treat the fanbase of the losing team.