They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Instead of waxing poetic about BYU’s improbable win on Saturday, I’ll just leave you with these two photos that perfectly summarize how many of us felt.
May these images live on forever in BYU lore.
OK now let’s get to the BYU FOOTBALL POWER RANKINGS.
WEEK 2 POWER RANKINGS
10) 13,000 BYU Fans
I can’t tell you how many people who went to the game who relayed stories about the fan presence at the game. There were multiple stories of Vol fans who would mention that BYU’s fan base was one of the loudest that they’ve ever hosted, including all of their SEC rivals. Look, this is nothing new for the BYU fanbase that is spread across the country but the fact that after a tough loss to Utah the Cougar faithful were still loud and proud was a thing of beauty.
9) Isaiah Kaufusi
While re-watching the game, I noticed that Isaiah was always in the mix. He was in Guarantano’s face providing pressure, forcing receivers to reroute out of the backfield or chasing down a tackle on the opposite side of the field. He’s pure hustle and I love it.
There was also a sequence late in the game that tells me a lot about Kaufusi and his resilient nature. After a holding call forced the Vols into a 1st and 20 situation, Guarantano dumped off a pass to Josh Palmer in the flat and Isaiah had an opportunity to tackle him for a short gain. Palmer used a nice stiff arm to shed Kaufusi and get a nice 15 yard gain. It was a poor tackle attempt by Isaiah even though he eventually caught up for the tackle down the field. Instead of letting that get to him, on the very next play the Vols ran a toss to Isaiah’s side and he blew up the play by quickly shedding his blocker and taking out he ball carrier. Players are never going to be perfect but the guys who don’t dwell on their mistakes and move on are usually the special ones.
One more plug for Isaiah. When Tennessee went for it on 4th and 1 late in the 4th quarter it was Isaiah who flew to the play to make a stop. My guy just makes plays.
8) Defensive Line
If you go by the box score, the defensive line shouldn’t be anywhere near the top ten. The Vols racked up a cool 262 yards on the ground and BYU’s only sack came from Chaz Ah You (who quietly had a great game). Yet here they are because if you watch the game again you’ll see that as the game goes on these guys got stronger. And I’m not talking about one or two guys. Every series in the second half there is a defensive lineman that made big plays. Before the 4th down stop Earl Tuioti-Mariner wrapped up on a great tackle. On Tennessee’s last possession of regulation, Khyris Tonga ended the life of a poor Tennessee offensive lineman. In overtime periods Tennessee ran the ball three times for a grand total of 0 yards. It didn’t look pretty throughout the game but when it was time for the big fellas to step up, they did so in a HUGE way.
WATCH AT YOUR OWN RISK:— Jake Welch (@BYUAllBlue) September 9, 2019
Khyris Tonga devours a lineman on live television and then eliminates the running back.
RIP to the lives lost in this content. pic.twitter.com/p5iUIL5l5m
7) Dayan Ghanwoloku
It wasn’t a particularly flashy game for Dayan, but his ability to make sure tackles in the open field played a massive role in this game. There were two plays in particular that really stand out from the first half. Early in the 2nd quarter, on a 3rd and long Dayan was able to corral Marquez Callaway along the sideline before he was able to get a first down. The play forced Tennessee into a tough 4th down decision, which lead to them going for it and BYU stuffing Eric Gray for no gain. The second tackle also came on a key 3rd and long situation. Eric Gray bounced a run to the outside and looked like he was going to get another first down. Dayan was able to shed his blocker and stop Gray one yard short. This time Tennessee opted for the field goal. Again, these weren’t interceptions or massive hits but key plays that played into the final outcome.
6) Zach Wilson
Do yourself a favor and go watch the last series of regulation for BYU. Watch how Zach deals with the pressure from the Tennessee defensive line and keeps his composure. Watch how he regroups to deliver a perfect strike to Micah Simon to get in field goal range. The first three plays of that drive were an absolute disaster. Holding. Poor pass protection. An ill-advised run by Wilson that kept the clock running. Then the tables turned and it was all on the shoulders of Zach. It was his time to make a play and boy did he deliver.
5) Austin Lee
Two passes to the end zone. Two open receivers. Two times that Austin Lee came flying in to make game-saving plays. My favorite came on BYU crucial goal line stand in the 4th quarter. Tennessee had 3rd and goal to go on the five yard line. Guarantano had three Vol receivers out to his left side and threw to his stud receiver Jauan Jennings (remember his beast mode TD catch in OT?). Austin was in perfect position and made a great play on the ball to break up the potential score. Granted, the pass was under thrown (just like the TD he broke up earlier in the game) but he still made a heckuva play to force a field goal.
And while we’re at it, he made a great play in the third quarter on Tennessee’s second possession of the half that forced the first 3-and-out of the game. It was a great open field tackle and the type of play we’ve come to expect from our stud safety.
There are many unsung heroes of last night’s game, one in particular was Austin Lee.— Jake Welch (@BYUAllBlue) September 9, 2019
Two HUGE game-saving pass breakups in the end zone, this one in the 4th quarter. pic.twitter.com/lpAgwzDCUt
4) Kavika Fonua
How do you overcome a first quarter blunder that gifted the other team a touchdown? You bounce back and play lights out, just like Kavika did on Saturday night. He didn’t let the unfortunate tipped pass that gave Tennessee a touchdown define his night. Kavika came up with the first turnover of BYU’s young season by simply being in position and then followed that up with a couple of key tackles in the second half. He still has some opportunities to grow but what we saw against Tennessee should give us hope that he can entrench himself as THE guy at middle linebacker.
#️⃣1️⃣— BYU FOOTBALL (@BYUfootball) September 8, 2019
Kavika Fonua records his first career interception, returning it 20-yards.#BYUFOOTBALL #GoCougs pic.twitter.com/qWxseA0dNk
3) Jake Oldroyd
Wait what? Only third place for our guy Jake “the make” Oldroyd? Trust me, I really wanted to put him up at the top spot but sometimes you need to share the spotlight. Besides, it wasn’t like Jake went above and beyond the expectation he has set for himself. He did EXACTLY what he has been doing since he stepped on the field for BYU. DRILLING FIELD GOALS. In the four games that he has kicked for BYU he’s a perfect eight for eight on field goals, including one game winner and one to send it into overtime. Was his last one a little bit too close for comfort? Maybe! But guess what, kicking field goals isn’t graded on a percentage. It’s pass / fail, and our guy Jake has a perfect score.
Oh it also turns out that Jake is in the punting business, and cousin, business is a-boomin’. We’re talking 50+ yards boomin’. Flipping field position boomin’. Kicking it so far that the punt returner has to run backwards to field the punt boomin’. If you haven’t invested your life savings in Jake stock, you might want to call your financial advisor.
ICE.— BYU FOOTBALL (@BYUfootball) September 9, 2019
VEINS.#BYUFOOTBALL #GoCougs #SWOLdroyd pic.twitter.com/DATCa9zc5E
2) Ty’Son Williams
BYU has a no-nonsense running back named Williams who works for every yard and doesn’t quit? I feel like I’ve heard this story before. Truth be told Ty’son has a little more patience in his running than Jamaal, who loved hitting the pile with a full head of steam, but both backs find their way get positive yards. Even when the offensive line didn’t clear a massive hole, Ty’Son was able to push forward and make the defense pay. He was doing this all night but the game-winner was the perfect cap to what was the coming out party for Mr. Williams. Welcome to the show, Ty’son. Stay as long as you’d like.
BYU pushes for the win in Knoxville pic.twitter.com/iQc1VA12dn— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) September 8, 2019
1) Micah Simon
Going into this game I had a feeling that Tennessee was going to put an emphasis on covering up star tight end Matt Bushman. He was clearly BYU’s biggest offensive threat in the passing game against Utah and stopping him needed to be a priority. It certainly turned out that way as the Vols doubled and bracketed Matt all night long, leaving him with only two catches (one of which came on a trick play). They wanted to take Matt out of the game and they succeeded. But this opened the door for Micah Simon.
With the secondary focusing in on Matt, Micah was able to work. If it was against soft zone or man press, he was able to find a way to get open and help move the ball down field. Even before his massive 64-yard catch to set up the field goal that pushed the game into over time, Micah was leading the team in catches and yards. Speaking of that 64 yard catch, Simon swiftly avoided a tackle and made a mad dash to put BYU in business. The focus there to catch the ball, quickly avoid a tackle and then get down into range was impressive.
All of that said, I think the play in the video below typifies the type of player we have in Micah Simon. On a 3rd down run Micah is able to stick with his block to help spring Ty’son Williams for the score. Blocking as a receiver is incredibly tough and he was able to stick with it to the end. After the game his former teammate Mitch Juergens praised him on Twitter saying, “I’ve never played with a more positive, hard working, and team first player. He’s the definition of a true leader and example.” Micah has always lead this team with class and this week his play on the field matched his mentality.
Micah Simon played like a champ in all phases of the game last night.— Jake Welch (@BYUAllBlue) September 9, 2019
My personal favorite: BLOCKING pic.twitter.com/yNUW72MM42
WELL THAT WAS WEIRD
This week’s “Marie Kondo - Joyful Player of the Week” award goes to Zac Dawe who displaced some junk that he found on the football field. He noticed that something was out of place and quickly recalled the KonMari Method and asked himself, “does this item bring me joy?” I think it’s safe to say that it did not. If people want to complain about his shoe tossing they can take it up with the de-cluttering queen herself.
If you want a real laugh, go ahead and read some of the replied to this tweet. It will help confirm your own sanity, or it will drive you crazy. Thanks Twitter.
A BYU lineman chucked Tennessee QB Jarrett Guarantano's shoe in the first quarter. pic.twitter.com/Y5u3yRg83w— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) September 8, 2019
TWEET OF THE WEEK
There were so many great contenders for the title of tweet of the week but this one has to go to Jarom Jordan for capturing this perfect moment in BYU sports history. Here we have the blessed image of a dancing Kalani Sitake and his boss Kevin Worthen, PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY, standing behind him with a big awkward grin. Did Kevin jump in on the dance party? Did he ever stop crossing his arms? Did he congratulate the team by giving them all firm handshakes? This is the reporting the people need, Jarom.
Also, let’s not forget about the state trooper who is looking at the BYU locker room as if he has never seen a happy football team. “By guh when them boys from Alabama come to town they walk in here after a big win and just stare straight at the wall for 25 minutes of terrifying silence. Y’all really enjoy this here football game donchya?”
Sitake has moves. pic.twitter.com/krU8Gi28vO— Jarom Jordan (@jaromjordan) September 8, 2019
Former BYU defensive lineman Travis Tuiloma and his loved ones are committed to watching BYU Football, even it means watching it on the phone while on the floor. Don’t pretend that you haven’t watched half of a game on your phone in the bathroom because BYU scored while you were taking care of business. There are certain rituals that exist with sports and you’re never allowed to question them.
#BYUFootball @anatuiloma— Travis Tuiloma (@TravisTuiloma) September 8, 2019
Do anything to watch @byufootball get the W!!! Also we have a full screen in the other room but nobody got time for that! We stay present! #byu #BYUFootball #loyalstrongandtrue #grit #proud #hardfoughtbattle pic.twitter.com/oEn51MvFBd
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 had himself another perfect week of kicking majestic field goals and punting the ball great distances. He’s only kicked in four games in his short career but he already has two of the most memorable field goals in recent memory. Heck if he retired tomorrow he could go down as one of the most beloved kickers in school history. What a guy, what a week.
Jake Welch was also able to help his team to a great triumph in the Beverly Hills Basketball League with a victory on Thursday night. Saying that he helped might be a little generous as he scored zero points and fell down while running up the floor (without being tripped) twice. His two shot attempts did hit the rim and he didn’t foul out so he’s got that going for him. Sure, the reason he’s on the roster might be because his teammates confused him with some other bald guy with a beard but he’s still going to show up and play hard.
Winning a rec league basketball game is a distinguished honor but winning in SEC territory takes the cake. ADVANTAGE: Jake Oldroyd
UP NEXT: USC
Ah yes, what a great opportunity to face off against a private institution that also provides a world class education to worthy stude...
A former assistant coach at USC accused of creating fake sports profiles for Lori Loughlin's daughters pleads guilty. https://t.co/LsGHwFxdnL— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) May 14, 2019