During the bye week I had the time to do some deep introspection and ponder my direction in life and how I can better fulfill my purpose as a human being. Instead of watching football I was able to meditate and gain insight into how I can experience growth in my current surroundings and contribute to the progress in others. It was truly a meaningful week of learning.
So what was the most important thing I was I able to discover?
Bye weeks are dumb and going two weeks without BYU Football makes me a miserable person.
I know this isn’t exactly groundbreaking, but the question asked what was the most important thing I was able to discover and I don’t know what’s more important that speaking out against weeks when BYU doesn’t play.
That being said, let’s get to the rankings.
WEEK 9 POWER RANKINGS
10) Taysom Hill
Before we get into an argument about Taysom Hill and his passing accuracy (or lack thereof), it should be known that his placement on this version of power rankings has everything to do with his running ability and very little to do with his throwing. Once it was clear that Taysom wasn’t going to move the ball through the air, Ty Detmer found ways to utilize the QB’s strength in running the football. I’ve been talking about Good Taysom and Bad Taysom for the better part of this season and BYU’s touchdown drive in the second quarter perfectly articulated that point. On 1st-and-10 from the BYU 46, Detmer dialed up a flea-flicker where Jonah Trinnaman was a good seven yards behind the Cincinnati defensive backfield. In what should have been an easy touchdown, Hill’s pass ended up being woefully under thrown and Trinnaman saved his bacon by making a great diving catch to salvage the play. While I was venting about how bad Taysom’s throw was, he used his man strength to break a tackle and scamper eight yards into the end zone. If we take away his below average passing performance, Taysom Hill the running back had a solid day averaging 6.3 yards per carry (75 yards on 12 carries).
9) BYU Fans
Another road trip and another great showing from the Cougar faithful in Ohio. There were a lot of comments from folks on the Cincinnati side that mentioned BYU’s presence in the stands and that it was one of the larger groups from a visiting team in the last 15 years. According to BYU Associate AD Duff Tittle, there were between 7,000-8,000 Cougar fans in attendance. This might come as a shock to some but after seeing the massing turnout in Phoenix and Washington D.C., I expecting nothing less.
8) Rhett Almond
While I was watching the game one of my friends walked into the room and made a snide comment about Rhett and his kicking abilities. He said, “Oh gosh not this guy again. He doesn’t make anything,” to which Rhett responded by drilling his field goal attempt with perfect accuracy, putting my friend in his place. I was really hoping that after making the field goal Rhett would have taken off his helmet, looked straight into the camera and yelled “HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM APPLES ERIK” just so my friend would fully recognize his greatness but Rhett is a good natured human being who doesn’t need to tell people how good he is at kicking. He’ll let his actions speak for him.
7) Austin McChesney
It was a bittersweet day for the cornerback who ended up leaving the game with a non-contact knee injury (thanks artificial turf). Before he left the game Austin made a nice play intercepting a Gunner Kiel pass and retuning it 37 yards to give the offense some nice field position. The pass looked as if it was thrown directly to McChesney, making for an easy pick but we’ve seen many instances in which defensive players looked to have an interception only to see the ball drop to the ground. It was good to see Austin make a nice play after struggling earlier in the season. Troy Warner and Dayan Lake will probably have the cornerback positions on lockdown the next few seasons but I’m glad we’ll have guys like Austin that can provide some depth.
6) Handsome Tanielu
I’ve been patiently waiting all season for a good game from Tanielu because he has the greatest first name in the history of BYU Football and on Saturday he played pretty well! He notched three tackles and made a fantastic play in the second quarter where he knocked down a pass after providing pressure on Cincinnati QB Gunner Kiel. In watching the replay, Handsome did a great job using his hands to throw away the offensive lineman and get upfield to put pressure on Gunner. He realized that he wasn’t going to get the sack and threw his hands up to knock down the ball.
There was a lot of hype for Handsome and his fellow Snow College transfer Jonah Trinnaman and if we’re judging by those pre-season expectations both have underperformed. Over the last two weeks, I think we’ve seen flashes that keep me optimistic that both can make bigger contributions moving forward.
5) Corbin Kaufusi
There were multiple times during the game (and throughout this season) where Corbin would make a great play and I would instinctively jump up and yell, “THAT’S WHAT I LIKE TO SEE BRONSON. GREAT PLAY.” Maybe it’s because Corbin wears number 90 just like his older brother, but more than anything I think I’ve been saying this because Corbin is doing things that we used to see Bronson do on defense. One of those plays was when Corbin forced Gunner Kiel out of the pocket and made a great tackle to take him down for the sack, something that we saw Bronson do multiple times. He still has a way to go to be in the same conversation as his brother but he’s doing a really good job living up to the Kaufusi name.
4) Nick Kurtz
There is an ongoing internet firestorm that’s constantly ablaze on every social media platform regarding BYU’s offense and last week our friend Nick Kurtz was a popular topic of discussion. He had a few bad drops against Boise State and he was starting to catch similar hate to that of his quarterback. Nick decided to block out the haters this week by making a slew of fantastic catches, many of which were significantly off target. The one that stands out the most was on a third down conversion where Taysom sailed a pass that was high even for the 6’6’’ Kurtz. Nick made a great grab and held on even with a safety flying in to take his head off. I think catches like that inspired Mitchell Juergens and Jonah Trinnaman to make some great grabs of their own. Here’s to hoping this “receivers catching passing” thing continues the rest of the season.
3) Troy Warner
We’ve seen Troy make some great plays the last few weeks and he continued to build on those performances with a great game on Saturday. After getting beat on a long pass on the first drive of the game, Troy bounced back with three impressive plays in pass defense. The first was a great pass breakup in the back of the end zone which would have been a touchdown if not for Warners great play on the football. The Bearcat receiver got his hands on the ball but Troy quickly knocked it out. The second play was also in the end zone and could have been a nice interception, but Troy wasn’t able to secure the catch when he hit the ground. Regardless, he made a fantastic play on the ball as he laid out to put himself in a position to make a play. The third play was on double move that didn’t fool Troy and he was in good position to knock the ball away. In each of these plays, I was able to see something, in either his quickness or ball skills, that made me very excited that this guy will be with us a couple more seasons.
2) Jamaal Williams / Squally Canada
There are no rules for the power rankings and even if there were I would change them so I could put these guys together on the second spot in the power rankings. It was great to have Jamaal back, pacing the offense with 25 carries for 92 yards. Things didn’t always come easy for Jamaal but he fought hard against a defense that was clearly keying on the run. Squally made the most of his carries as he continues to look comfortable running the ball in this offense. Both guys got nicked up in the game but both of them fought through and played on. Here’s to hoping that both of these guys will be able to rack up the yards against some cupcake opponents the next couple of weeks.
1) Francis Bernard / Fred Warner
I don’t care who you’re playing. Only giving up three points on the road is an impressive feat and this week it was in large part thanks to Sir Francis and Fred. They paced the team with 15 tackles and two impressive plays in pass defense. The most impressive part of their play was how big these guys game up on third and fourth down. After re-watching the game I noticed that whenever BYU made a big stop on those downs, Fred and Francis were always in the vicinity. It wasn’t always flashy but they made great plays to keep Cincinnati from getting first downs and getting BYU’s defense off the field.
WELL THAT WAS WEIRD
From the perspective of a Cincinnati fan, that was an equally frustrating and depressing football game to watch on Saturday. One fan, in particular, decided to voice his thoughts of displeasure with head coach Tommy Tubberville, who is very much on the hot seat after what looks to be another disappointing season. Knowing that he probably won’t have a job in the coming weeks, Tubberville decided to respond to the heckler with a few thoughts of his own.
I’d love to break down this conversation and discuss how exactly Tubberville knows the employment status of this heckler, but I’ll just say this. After the end of the Boise State game there were a bunch of BSU fans that were giving Kalani Sitake and the team a bunch of lip as they were heading to the locker room. Instead of telling them to go to hell like the gentlemen above, Kalani approached the fans and compliment them on their team and thanked them for attending. I know it might be a little tougher to hear unkind words from your own fans, but I’m glad we have a coach who would never do or say something like this.
TWEET OF THE WEEK
Not a lot of great material from this game as it was a low key snoozer but thanks to this tweet got to see some great sportsmanship from both teams as Harvey Langi and Cincinnati player exchanged cleats after the game.
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.
This last week was Halloween and Jake Oldroyd and the rest of the football team participated in a lovely trunk-or-treat event by the stadium. It looks like Jake and fellow specialist Jonny Linehan decided to dress up as burglars of some type along with their significant others. If they were going for laziest Halloween costume of all time, the definitely would have won because all Jake did was throw on a black sweatshirt and a ski mask. The only way this would have been a great costume is if they made it into performance art and they actually robbed a bank only to use the money to buy Halloween candy for those in need.
Jake Welch is very open with his disdain for Halloween but that didn’t stop him from delivering on the promise to his girlfriend that they would dress up as a couple. After much deliberation, Jake was inspired by the lyrics of a Taylor Swift song in which she declares, “Got a long list of ex-lovers, they’ll tell you I’m insane.” With that, Jake’s girlfriend dressed up as Taylor Swift and Jake represented Taylor’s list of ex-lovers, including a spinning wheel of faces that belong to Taylor Swift’s former beaus. Most everyone who saw the costume was utterly confused, unless they were big fans of Ms. Swift.
If we’re judging this purely based on the costumes, the unbiased panel has to go with Taylor Swift. ADVANTAGE: JAKE WELCH
UP NEXT: Southern Utah
I’ve been thinking for a solid fifteen minutes how I was going to work in a joke about former SUU head coach and current BYU associate head coach Ed Lamb and why his new nickname should be “Ed Lamb-chops” but anything I write would be an embarrassment to me and my family so I’ll refrain.