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Friday, September 21, 2012

BYU vs. Boise State: Mo Moments

With such little scoring in the Brigham Young Cougars game against Boise State, it felt like the momentum was stagnant most of the night. Nevertheless, there were still seven moments when momentum shifted, swung, or boosted during the game.

Mo Moment 1
After both teams started without gaining a first down on their first offensive series, Boise State started driving the ball on series number two. The Broncos moved the ball to the BYU 16-yard line where the drive stalled with a 4th and 5. Boise State attempted a 33-yard field goal. It missed wide right.

Momentum swing! That miss gave BYU momentum. The defense stopped the Broncos offense cold the next two series. More importantly, Boise State coach Chris Petersen lost all confidence in his place kicker. Boise State would move into field goal range four other times in the game, but would not attempt another field goal. The BYU defense stopped Boise State on all four fourth downs.

Mo Moment 2
Boise State has built a reputation of taking daring risks, and catching opponents off guard with rarely used plays. With about two minutes left in the first quarter and facing a 4th and 2 at their own 22-yard line, Boise State lined up for a punt. The snap went to the up back who tried to run for the first down. Ezekiel Ansah stuffed him for no gain.

Momentum boost! BYU now had the ball just 22 yards away from the end zone. It was still a 0-0 game. BYU was poised to make the first score of the game and force a young Boise State offense play catch up.

Mo Moment 3
BYU had moved the ball to the 2-yard line following the fake punt stop. The Cougars were just about to take a 7-0 lead. A 1-yard rush appeared to give BYU a first down at the 1-yard line. An illegal blocking penalty on the BYU offensive line negated the play and the first down. That gave BYU a 3rd and 16 at the 17-yard line. Riley Nelson dropped back to pass, and threw an interception.

Momentum shift! Boise State had dodged a bullet. The Broncos had gone from defending against a 1st and Goal at the 1-yard line to having possession of the ball at the 8-yard line. BYU had been unable to muster much offense in the game and could not afford to squander such a golden opportunity.

Mo Moment 4
BYU received the ball on the first possession of the second half. The game was still tied 0-0. After Cody Hoffman returned the second half kickoff to the 34-yard line, BYU had 3rd and 6 at the 38. Nelson dropped back to pass and had his pass intercepted by the Boise State defensive end.

Momentum boost! Not only did Boise State get another turnover, the interception was returned for a touchdown to give the Broncos a 7-0 lead.

Mo Moment 5
BYU got the ball back immediately after the pick-6. After gaining 10 yards in three run plays, Nelson threw a pass that was tipped by the intended receiver, and Boise State intercepted it.

Momentum boost! Back-to-back interceptions by the Broncos, and three total for the game. They took possession at their own 43-yard line. Boise State wasn’t able to turn this turnover into points, but the great field position allowed Boise State to pin BYU at the 1-yard line following a punt.

Mo Moment 6
Boise State forced a fumble at the 1-yard line, and recovered it there. They ran the ball in for a touchdown on first down. The officials, however, had stopped the play for an official review of the fumble call. The fumble was confirmed, but Boise State’s touchdown didn’t count. The BYU defense moved Boise State back on first and second downs. Boise State got back to the 1-yard line on third down, and the quarterback sneak was stuffed on fourth down.

Momentum shift! The stalwart Cougar D exerted their dominance on the Boise State offense once again. It was an incredible goal line stand. Boise State would not threaten to score again for the rest of the game.

Mo Moment 7
From 6:27 in the third quarter when BYU made the fourth down stop to 8:03 in the fourth quarter, the two teams battled for field position. Boise State punted the ball 51 yards and out of bounds at the 5-yard line. Although BYU had switched quarterbacks, the offense had still been lackluster. There was no reason to believe that the Cougs could put together a 95-yard drive.

On first down, Taysom Hill found Richard Wilson for 21 yards. Couple that with a 15-yard personal foul penalty on Boise State, and BYU had picked up 36 yards in one play.

Momentum boost! That pass play plus penalty was a breath of life for the BYU offense. Ten plays later, BYU scored to pull within one point 7-6.

As we all know, Bronco Mendenhall chose to win the game with a two-point conversion rather than tie the game and try to win in overtime. Just as a quick reminder, here is what was explained last week about momentum carrying over from the end of regulation into overtime.

From past observations, including the 2009 BYU-Utah game and a game last week between Auburn and Louisians-Monroe, momentum doesn’t carry over very well, or at least not consistently, from the end of regulation into overtime. The break in play to have a coin toss and starting at the 25-yard line are possible contributing factors for momentum being lost.

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

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