The video of Jaren Hall’s long TD run against Utah from last year started to circulate again on Twitter recently and it got me thinking, what are the best plays in BYU history that didn’t count? I like to think I have a pretty good memory when it comes to this kind of stuff, but I’m sure I’ve forgotten some, especially older ones.
Fans have experienced what feels like way too many highs and lows with explosive plays in big moments that led to scores that were immediately brought back for one reason or another. So here we go, my Top 5 plays that didn’t count.
Just missed the cut: 85-yard kickoff return by Nate Meikle vs Wyoming
I left this one out because BYU won by 48 and it was forever ago. I mean, the game was on CSTV, the network that split broadcasts with the Mtn. Meikle’s return kind of gets overshadowed because McKay Jacobson returned a punt for a touchdown later in the game, but it still gets mentioned because kickoff returns for six are rare and this one actually should’ve counted. It was ruled that he stepped out as he stretched for the pylon, but with it being early in the game, it didn’t make a lot of sense to challenge the ruling. But I’m guessing had Bronco known they’d go on to win by 48, he probably would’ve done it.
5. 2013: 101-yard kickoff return TD by Adam Hine vs Utah
The 2013 Utah game had a few controversial calls, but only one directly resulted in points. Late in the first quarter, down 3-0, Adam Hine ran a kick all the way back, only to be called back by a phantom hold call on Alani Fua. BYU went on to lose the game, 20-13.
4. 2020: 91-yard TD catch on the first play from scrimmage for Neil Pau’u vs Coastal Carolina
I think this one probably hurts the most. Even if BYU had won this game, I feel pretty confident that the CFP Committee would’ve still kept an undefeated BYU out of the NY6. I get it, the schedule sucked, but they just crushed everyone they played. BYU’s two toughest games leading up to the CCU game were also on the road, at Houston and at Boise State. The Cougars took the momentum early in both games, scoring on the first play from scrimmage at Houston and on the second play from scrimmage at Boise. They nearly completed the trifecta when Pau’u caught a short pass from Zach Wilson on the first play and took off 78 yards for a 91-yard TD. However, Isaac Rex was flagged for a hold, and instead of BYU beginning the game with a 7-0 lead, it found itself in a 1st and 15 from inside its own five. The game ended with BYU driving 89 yards when it needed 91, losing 22-17, when Dax Milne was tackled just shy of the endzone. Pain.
3. 2021: 66-yard TD run by Jaren Hall vs Utah
Maybe the most exciting part of the 2022 season is the return of Hall at QB. Hall played lights out last year when healthy and showed speed we haven’t seen from a quarterback since peak Taysom. BYU had controlled the game up to that point, but Utah had just scored a TD to bring the score within six at 23-17. With 8 minutes left on an important 3rd and 1 from just inside the BYU 35, Hall (with three cracked ribs) pulled the ball on a read option and took off down the far sideline. Hall first burned past starting safety Vonte Davis and then continued to outrun starting cornerback Jatravis Broughton. It was beautiful. LES was rocking. But the far official said he stepped out at the 48 and took away the points. The Cougs went on to milk an additional five minutes off the clock before Jake Oldroyd sealed the game with a 21-yard FG.
Watch Jaren outrun the Utah secondary with 3 cracked ribs pic.twitter.com/DBtMQPmjIE— Nate Slack (@nateslack5) June 26, 2022
2. 2014: 66-yard TD run by Taysom Hill vs Texas
We all know what Taysom did against Texas. One year after running for 259 and three scores in Provo,, including a 68-yard TD, Taysom did it again and scored on a 66-yard run. The play was called back for a hold on Jordan Leslie, though the FS1 announcers admitted they hadn’t seen anything from Leslie they’d consider to be a hold. In the end, it didn’t matter as BYU handled Texas, again, 41-7.
1. 2015: One-handed TD catch by Devon Blackmon vs Boise State
Blackmon finished his BYU career with 56 catches for 800 yards but never saw the endzone. The closest he got came during the 2015 Boise State game when he pulled down an incredible one-handed snag in the corner of the endzone over his childhood friend, Donte Deayon. There was quite a bit of hand fighting but I’m not sure it gave either player an advantage over the other. Honestly, if they had to call it on someone, it probably should’ve been called against Deayon. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened, so Blackmon earns the top spot on this list.