Top 10 Ty Detmer Moments: #8-Down, But Never Out

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When the Brigham Young Cougars played the Washington State Cougars on September 15, 1990, one team was 2-0, and the other wasn’t. One team was ranked number 5 in the nation and the other wasn’t ranked in the top 25. One team was playing with the Heisman Trophy frontrunner; the other team wasn’t even playing with a Heisman Trophy candidate. BYU was the team that “was.” Washington State was the team that “wasn’t.”

With such a mismatch on paper, a 29-7 halftime score wouldn’t be surprising. Except Washington State was the team with the 22-point halftime lead.

Ty Detmer and his Cougar teammates were suffering a major letdown after beating the previously number 1 ranked Miami Hurricanes. One week earlier, Detmer had the Heisman in the bag, and media outlets from coast to coast had propped BYU up on a pedestal as high as Mount Timpanogos. Half a game later, the same media was ready to burry BYU at the bottom of Timpanogos Cave, and you could hear the bag carrying Detmer’s Heisman Trophy ripping.

Clearly, the BYU defense had gotten its wake up call at the half, and shut out Washington State in the third quarter. The offense was a different story. Detmer did throw his second touchdown pass of the game in the third, but it appeared to be too little, too late. BYU still trailed 29-14 with only 1 quarter to play.

Too little? Too late? Detmer disagreed. In the fourth quarter, Detmer threw three more touchdown passes and converted a two-point-after-touchdown attempt. It was all part of the most explosive scoring quarter in BYU history. Under Detmer’s direction, BYU scored 36 points in the game’s final period, which is still an NCAA record for most points scored in one quarter to comeback and tie or win a game. In just 30 minutes, Detmer changed the game from one of the most embarrassing games in BYU history to a comfortable 50-36 triumph. BYU’s lofty national ranking was protected. Detmer’s Heisman was firmly in tow.

Ty Detmer sent a message that day: Never count me out. He might be down, but he was never out. No lead was safe if Detmer was on the other side of the field.

Ty’s Take
We were coming off the big Miami win. You never want to go out and beat number one and then fall on your face. Sure enough, at halftime, that is what we were doing. That was one of the few times LaVell Edwards got pretty fired up at halftime. He let us know we were not playing very well. I think that is the job of the head coach to light a fire under your team when they need it. We definitely needed it at that point. I think everybody going in at halftime was pretty disappointed with the way we played.

We came out flat, even the fans were a little flat that night. You know, when you are warming up and you had the electricity of the Miami game those stands were full for warm ups. Then you come back for Washington State, which was a good football team, people were coming into the game late, and it just didn’t have the same energy. As players we kind of let that get to us, and we didn’t have the same energy. We really dug a hole for ourselves at halftime.

10. The Essence of Ty Detmer
9. BYU Retires Ty Detmer's Jersey
8. Down, But Never Out
7. Unstoppable and Unprecedented
6. First Career Start
5. Final Home Game
4. Winning The Starting Quarterback Job
3. Joining the BYU Quarterback Club
2. Beating the Best--#1 Miami
1. Winning the Heisman Trophy

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