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Saturday, September 8, 2012

BYU vs. Weber State: Mo Moments

The momentum in the Brigham Young Cougars win against Weber State wasn’t as perceptible and volatile as in most other games. Still, there were four “mo moments” that led to BYU winning the game as convincingly as they did.

For those new to “mo moments,” this is a form of analysis that BLUE COUGAR FOOTBALL does for each game. It highlights the key plays in the game that gave either team momentum, and led to the game’s final result—both who won and by how much.

Mo Moment 1
Weber State pinned BYU back at the 10-yard line to start its third possession. The score was still 0-0, which was a little surprising considering how well BYU played against Washington State a week ago and how inferior Weber State was perceived to be. With Weber State winning the field position battle, it was important that BYU do something on this drive. Otherwise, Weber State's confidence would build.

A 21-yard pass to Hoffman got BYU out of the hole. Hoffman caught another pass for a first down before he ended the drive with a 37-yard touchdown grab that saw him leap over the defender, reach out his long arms, and bring the ball in for the first score of the game.

Momentum swing! That drive was a break through for the BYU offense. The Cougars totaled 30 yards on their first two drives. Including the 90 yards on this drive, BYU had 282 yards on its other six drives of the first half.

Mo Moment 2
At the end of the first quarter, the Weber State punter shanked it. The ball went out at the Weber State 49-yard line. Two big plays (21-yard run by Michael Alisa; 27-yard catch by Alex Kuresa) and BYU was at the 1-yard line. Two plays later, Taysom Hill fought his way into the end zone to put BYU up 14-0.

Momentum boost! The shanked punt was almost like a turnover. The Weber State punter had been booming his punts up to this point, so for BYU to get the ball already in Weber State territory was huge. Hill’s touchdown was important because it put BYU up two scores. That always gives a team momentum. In this case, the way Hill scored reaching the ball across the goal line while getting his facemask pulled augmented the energy and excitement of the play, which translates into added momentum.

Mo Moment 3
The drive following Mo Moment 2, BYU got two penalties—delay of game and holding. That made it 1st and 25. Normally, that would kill a drive. Cody Hoffman got 20 yards for BYU on first down, and it appeared to be back to business like usual. Except, on 2nd down, BYU had a first down negated by another holding penalty. Facing 3rd and 9, Riley Nelson connected with Richard Wilson for 32 yards. A few plays later, Alisa scored a touchdown to make it 21-0.

Momentum boost! BYU gained momentum by 1) overcoming three penalties (two of which were major yards) to score a touchdown, and 2) scoring a touchdown on back-to-back drives. It loudly sent the message that the BYU offense could dominate the Weber State defense and score whenever necessary.

Mo Moment 4
When BYU changed quarterbacks to start the second half, the Cougars needed to score and reinforce that they had the upper hand on the WSU defense. JD Falslev made sure that would happen.

Weber State punted on its first possession of the second half. Falslev returned that punt 33 yards. An offensive pass interference penalty on first down set up a 1st and 24 for BYU. Falslev got more than double that (53 yards) on a rush around the right end.  Two plays later, BYU scored a touchdown. It was now 28-0.

Momentum boost! Game Over! The stereotypes were true. BYU, an FBS school, was that much better than Weber State, an FCS school. Even the second string quarterback could throw touchdown passes and lead scoring drives.

There were several more plays with the potential to be mo moments. The score of the game or the failure of Weber State/BYU to do anything following those plays quickly neutralized any shift in momentum that may have been possible.

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

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