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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Top 10 BYU Football Games, #4-Michigan, 1984

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10. BYU 21, Notre Dame 14 (October 15, 1994)
9. BYU 31, TCU 17 (September 28, 2006)
8. BYU 70, Utah 31 (November 18, 1989)
7. BYU 18, Texas A&M 17 (September 8, 1979)
6. BYU 20, Pittsburgh 14 (September 1, 1984)
5. BYU 14, Oklahoma 13 (September 5, 2009)

4. BYU 24, Michigan 17 (December 21, 1984)
Without the national championship being on the line, this game would not get a sniff at the top 10, let alone the top 5. If BYU had won big, or had played a better opponent, this game would make a push for number 1. As it is, the national championship slant to this game elevated the value of this game, but it was not the only thing that gets this game the number four spot.

When the game began, quarterback Robbie Bosco was already suffering from rib and ankle injuries. A late hit in the first quarter sent Bosco out of the game with a knee injury. He was able to return for the next offensive series, but the injury forced BYU to adjust its offense by using the shotgun. Bosco made one of the gutsiest performances ever by a BYU quarterback.

This game was marred by turnovers. BYU turned the ball over six times (three fumbles, three interceptions). One was a Robbie Bosco fumble at the goal line that negated a sure score. While six turnovers is undesirable, it helps to explain why the number one ranked team didn’t blow out a middle of the pack Big 10 team. The turnovers also add to the legacy of the 1984 BYU defense.

Going into the game, LaVell Edwards called the defensive unit his best defense ever, and it showed in this game. A BYU fumble at the BYU 11-yard line resulted in only a field goal. Michigan ended the game with just 202 total yards, less than five yards in the fourth quarter.

Down seven in the fourth quarter, the BYU offense drove the length of the field twice to score touchdowns. Kelly Smith hauled in the winning pass from Bosco with 1:23 to play.

Score (maximum points for each category is in parenthesis):
1. Caliber of Opponent: 15 points (25). Michigan was not ranked, and barely had a winning record (6-5). However, Michigan was ranked number 3 earlier in the year after beating number one ranked Miami. The season turned south for Michigan when quarterback Jim Harbaugh was injured. By season’s end, Michigan was down to their third string QB. The Michigan defense was a typical strong Michigan defense that year (only two teams scored more than 21 points). One Michigan player was drafted in 1985, but he was a first rounder. Four more were drafted in 1986, and Bob Perryman (Michigan’s leading rusher in this game) was drafted in 1987.
2. What was at stake: 20 points (20). A National Championship. Need I say more?
3. What was the impact: 20 points (20). A National Championship. Need I say more?
4. Underdog: 0 points (10). BYU was a heavy favorite.
5. Dramatic win: 0 points (10). As the number one team BYU should not have needed a score with 1:23 left to play to win.
6. Underlying storylines: 5 points (5). The controversy of whether BYU deserved to be national champions: Barry Switzer campaigning for Oklahoma to be number one, Bryant Gumble’s “Bo Diddly Tech” comment. Bosco going down in the first quarter on a late hit. Bo Schembechler’s post game complaints. Holiday Bowl record: one punt. Overcoming six turnovers to still win.
7. Nostalgia: 10 points (10). The end to the one and only perfect season in BYU football history.
8. Total: 70 points

Full game footage: BYU vs. Michigan, 1984

3. BYU 19, Kansas State 15 (January 1, 1997)
2. BYU 46, SMU 45 (December 19, 1980)
1. BYU 28, Miami 21 (September 8, 1990)

Sources:
http://www.drafthistory.com/
www.nfl.com/draft/history/fulldraft?type=school
www.shrpsports.com/cf/
http://www.cougarstats.com/
www.appollarchive.com/football/index.cfm

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