How Many Games Did Max Hall Win?

This is about a year late, but the idea didn’t come to me until a few months ago. Given the dearth of other topics to discuss, it still finds a place.  

I, for one, am surprised at the negative criticism of Max Hall and his status as a great BYU quarterback. He bested all former Cougar QBs in career passing yards and touchdown passes, except Ty Detmer. He did, however, surpass Detmer in the wins column. Detmer won 29 games. Hall won 32. Nevertheless, some find reason to keep Hall off of their personal list of BYU greats.

The title question, “How many games did Max Hall win?” is not referring to the 32 total wins that Hall had. Hall’s critics like to discredit him and attribute the 32 wins from 2007-2009 to his supporting cast. Therefore, I took a look back at all 39 games that Hall played and asked, “Did Max Hall provide late game heroics or do something out of the ordinary to win this game?”

Example of a game Max Hall did not win: 2007 vs. Eastern Washington.
BYU won this game 42-7, and Hall was merely 15-30 passing for 156 yards. Clearly, the supporting cast won this game. Cosmo the Cougar could have gotten under center in this game and BYU would have come out with a win.

How many games did Max Hall win? By my count, there were six.

1. Utah 2007. Hall’s numbers for the game were not pretty, but with less than 1:30 to play BYU faced 4th and 18 at their own 12-yard line. Hall connected with Austin Collie for 49 yards to keep the drive alive. BYU won 17-10.

2. UNLV 2008. The Rebels took a 35-34 lead with 6:49 left in the game. That is when Hall engineered a 74-yard touchdown drive. He was 5 for 5 passing on the drive that culminated in his 6-yard touchdown pass to Dennis Pitta with under two minutes to play. Hall also completed a pass to Harvey Unga for the 2-point conversion. BYU won 42-35.

3. Colorado State 2008. Colorado State went up 42-38 with just 1:44 to play. Hall drove BYU 76 yards in six plays. He was 5 of 6 passing this time. His 17-yard touchdown to Dennis Pitta with 22 seconds to play won the game. BYU won 45-42.

4. Oklahoma 2009. Max Hall guided BYU on a classic fourth quarter, game-winning touchdown drive. It was 16 plays; it covered 78 yards; it chewed up 8:44. Not only did Hall throw the game winning touchdown pass, he converted a critical 4th and 4 to keep the drive alive. BYU won 14-13.

5. San Diego State 2009. Hall led BYU on a 14 play, 80-yard drive to end the first half that ended on a 1-yard Max Hall keeper. This touchdown went a long way to BYU winning this game. Hall’s touchdown gave BYU a 21-14 advantage at halftime, and gave BYU the momentum. Hall scored the touchdown with no time on the clock. Coaches were trying to get him to spike the ball and stop the clock, but, in a split second decision, he chose to run to the sideline and go for the touchdown. Without this score at the end of the half, BYU might not have won. Final score: 38-28.

6. Utah 2009. Trailing Utah by three points in overtime, Max Hall took the field. On 2nd and 10, Hall dropped back to pass. He threw the ball between two Utah defenders to Andrew George, who caught the ball and raced the rest of the way into the end zone. BYU won 26-23.

What does this mean? If Max Hall was not worthy of the label “Great BYU Quarterback,” then he would have ended up with 26 wins, and his success could be attributed to a great supporting cast. The 32 wins by Hall does not mean to say that he was better than Detmer, but Hall did earn that record. He also earned the right to be respected as one of BYU’s great quarterbacks.

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