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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Flashback: The Best Season for Over 40 Years

The history books don’t mention much for the first 40 years of Brigham Young Cougars football. BYU was labeled as a program mired in mediocrity. Lost in the decades that the Cougars lost more than they won is one season that was clearly the best season in the first 40 years of BYU football history.

The 1932 football season was the fifth for BYU under head coach G. Ott Romney. Through four seasons, he had a respectable win-loss record of 17-12-5. However, he had never won more than five games in a single season.

In this special season 80 years ago, BYU won five conference games. Overall, BYU posted an 8-1 record. The Cougars' conference record was 5-1, which was good enough for second place in the Rocky Mountain Conference. Besides the near perfect record, several other events helped make this season special.

On October 7, BYU took its 2-0 record on the road to play Occidental in the famed Rose Bowl stadium. The Cougars utterly dominated. They limited Occidental to less than 50 yards of total offense. The domination was reflected in the final score: 46-0. It was the second shutout of the season by the Cougar defense.

BYU was dominant on defense. The Cougar D kept five teams scoreless, but the team registered just four shutouts (the most in one season). BYU would have shutout the Colorado State Teachers, except the CST defense got two points for the team on a safety. Only one opponent scored more than seven points. Of course, offensive attacks weren’t as advanced as they are now, but these results are impressive in any era.

The BYU offense wasn’t too shabby, either. After a slow start scoring six points in the season opener, BYU scored 20 points or more in its next five wins.

It takes great players to make a great team. Two Cougars stood out during the year and were duly recognized for their play. Burle Robison and halfback George Bertotti made the all-conference team. Bertotti was also named honorable mention All-American—the first such citation for any BYU Cougar.

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

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