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Friday, November 30, 2012

BYU coaches fortunate that Lark is a senior

For the better part of three seasons, the quarterback position has been unsettled for the Brigham Young Cougars. Quarterback play has often been inconsistent, which caused Bronco Mendenhall and the BYU offensive coaching staff to face a lot of heat from fans and in the media. These problems are expected to end next year with Taysom Hill as the heir apparent to the quarterback position.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

BYU Football: Did you know? (6 TD passes in one game)

After Brigham Young Cougars quarterback James Lark threw six touchdowns against New Mexico State, it was quickly pointed out that he was just the tenth BYU player to do so. What about among his contemporaries--the other quarterbacks playing college football in 2012?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

BYU vs. New Mexico State: Post Game Thoughts and Analysis

Sure the Brigham Young Cougars were playing "just" New Mexico State, but this was an exciting game that true football fans would appreciate.

Flashback: Unga's four touchdowns leads BYU over San Diego State

Interesting fact: the Brigham Young Cougars have never won a football game on November 28. Only once in the all the years since 1922 when BYU started playing football have the Cougars even played on today’s date. That was in 1936 against Colorado College. BYU lost that game 6-0. This site doesn’t feature losses in the weekly flashback. Therefore, in honor of the announcement this week that San Diego State will be BYU’s bowl opponent, let’s look back on how BYU thumped the Aztecs five years ago.

In Lark's shadow, the BYU defense played another great game

Brigham Young Cougars quarterback James Lark has received most of the attention after the 50-14 win over New Mexico State. That is understandable. Six touchdown passes and the most passing yards by any BYU quarterback in four years casts a long shadow. Hidden in that shadow was an equally strong defensive performance by the Cougar defense.

Pardon me, for a moment, while I shine a little bit of light on how well Kyle Van Noy, Ezekiel Ansah, Brandon Ogletree, and the boys played.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Brigham Young Cougars fans still strongly support head coach Bronco Mendenhall

After four consecutive 10-win seasons from 2006-09, the Brigham Young Cougars have won just 24 games the last three seasons. During the last three seasons, BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall has made several decisions that have caused some fans to question him, and even put him on the proverbial hot seat.

Has Mendenhall lost the support of the BYU fan base, or is this just a vocal minority that is really out numbered by the silent majority?

BYU in NFL, Week 12: Pitta scores a TD, Keisel gets an assist, Poppinga pops up in Dallas

Former Brigham Young Cougars Dennis Pitta and Brett Keisel made big plays, again, to set up another big clash of former Cougars as the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers meet again next week. For the second week in a row, a NFL team adds a former BYU player to its roster.

Football Opponent Tracker: Week 13 Results for BYU's 2012 Opponents

It was another 7-4 week for the Brigham Young Cougars opponents. With the news that BYU will play San Diego State in the Poinsettia Bowl, the Aztecs have been added at the bottom of the list. A couple of teams got big rivalry wins, while a couple had big rivalry losses. Two WAC teams won their tenth game of the season. Five BYU opponents are now ranked in the BCS Standings.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Lark leaves a mark in BYU record books and beyond

The Brigham Young Cougars turned to fifth-year senior James Lark to make his first career start against the New Mexico State Aggies. Three and a half quarters later, Lark had left his mark on the BYU record books. He also ensured a lasting legacy made of more than what the record books will remember.

BYU vs. New Mexico State: Mo Moments

The New Mexico State Aggies seized the momentum early against the Brigham Young Cougars. The Aggies also gained some momentum in the second half. The rest of the game, BYU had the momentum distinctly on its side.

BYU vs. New Mexico State: 5 Game Observations

Thanks to the Brigham Young Cougars tandem of Cody “Clutch” Hoffman and James “Lights out” Lark, there was a lot more to see against New Mexico State than just the “5 Things to Watch for” that BLUE COUGAR FOOTBALL listed. While the 5 Game Observations will only revisit the five things, you can visit the Game Analysis page for links to the rest of BLUE COUGAR FOOTBALL’s comprehensive coverage of the New Mexico State game.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Last Shall be First

Although senior quarterback James Lark was playing in his last regular season game, it was his very first start; but you wouldn’t have guessed as much just watching the game. Lark threw for 384 yards on 34 of 50  passing (68% completion rate), with 6 TDs in the Cougars 50-14 rout of the New Mexico State Aggies.

BYU vs. New Mexico State: 5 Things to Watch for

In the regular season finale for the Brigham Young Cougars, fans of the team can look for many things besides a win for the Cougars. Here are five.

BYU needs to come out sharp, put New Mexico State away early

The Brigham Young Cougars (6-5) will take on the New Mexico State Aggies (1-9) today. On the surface, there is nothing about this Aggies team that would appear to give BYU any kind of challenge. If BYU doesn't come out sharp and put the Aggies away early, then this game could get interesting in the second half.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

BYU Football: Did you know? (Leading Tackler Brandon Ogletree)

Brandon Ogletree has been the leading tackler for the Brigham Young Cougars each of the last two seasons. Therefore, it was surprising to see Ogletree had the 9th most tackles in last Saturday's game at San Jose State.

BYU Football: 5 Things to be Thankful for

The 2012 football season has been trying for Brigham Young Cougars fans. This makes it a little hard to feel thankful on this special holiday. There are, however, several reasons for BYU football fans to give thanks. Here are five.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Flashback: BYU rushes for 337 yards in upset of Colorado State

Exactly 53 years ago, the Brigham Young Cougars took on the Colorado State Rams in the season finale. Colorado State was 6-3 and second place in the Skyline Conference. BYU was having a disappointing season. After back-to-back winning seasons in 1957 and 1958, BYU was just 2-7 in head coach Tally Stevens’ first season.

BYU coaches should have played the backup quarterback against San Jose State

Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Riley Nelson passed for 335 yards and came close to rallying his team to victory after trailing the San Jose State Spartans by 13 points in the fourth quarter. Nelson also turned the ball over three times in scoring position, made several errant throws, and suffered a painful injury.

The BYU coaching staff kept Nelson in the game for every offensive play. Was that the right thing to do?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The irony of fan desperation for BYU to join a conference

The Brigham Young Cougars have been involved in the conference expansion hysteria ever since it started in 2010. BYU bucked the trend by leaving the Mountain West Conference and becoming independent. Ever since that time, BYU fans have been divided over how long the Cougars should continue the independent course.

Recent events have started a while new chorus of “the time is now” for BYU to join a conference from the fan base. First, it was the new BCS rules for the champions of the “mid-major” conferences. Just this week, it was the news that the Big Ten conference was expanding again to welcome in Maryland and Rutgers. This time, the chorus has a feeling of panic and desperation.

Ironically, when the desperation seems the highest, BYU has never had more reason to remain independent.

BYU quarterback may miss regular season finale

In the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game at San Jose State, Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Riley Nelson was visibly in a lot of pain. BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall explained Monday that Nelson may miss the Cougars’ final regular season game Saturday, November 24 at New Mexico State.

Football Opponent Tracker: Week 11 Results for BYU's 2012 Opponents

The good teams on the Brigham Young Cougars schedule made some big statements this week. The bad teams just continued to be bad, except for Weber State. The Wildcats closed out their season with a win. All in all, BYU's opponents finished the week 7-4.

Monday, November 19, 2012

BYU vs. San Jose State Post Game Thoughts and Analysis

The Brigham Young Cougars made a furious rally to get within striking distance of San Jose State only to come up empty handed in the end. The final score and box score doesn't tell the whole story in this game.

BYU vs. San Jose State: 5 Game Observations

San Jose State came flying out of the gates against the Brigham Young Cougars Saturday night. They jumped out to an early lead and held out until the end. The Spartans did everything right in the first half and left BYU trying to keep up. The BYU defense kicked in for the second half, effectively holding back the San Jose State offense that was dominant in the first half. The BYU offense couldn’t kick start in time to overtake the Spartans and San Jose State won their fifth straight game.

BYU in NFL, Week 11: Pitta concussed, Keisel strong in loss, So’oto back with the Packers

The big head-to-head showdown of former Brigham Young Cougars in the Baltimore Ravens-Pittsburgh Steelers game was cut short when Baltimore TE Dennis Pitta left the game with a concussion. Brett Keisel played the whole game on the other side for the Steelers. A week after being cut by the Oakland Raiders, Vic So'oto was back on an NFL roster.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Rough Start, Tough Finish for Brigham Young Cougars versus San Jose State

In San Jose, things didn’t start well, and they didn’t end well for the Brigham Young Cougars (6-5) in their 20-14 loss to the San Jose State Spartans (9-2).

BYU vs. San Jose State: Mo Moments

The momentum shifted early and often in the Brigham Young Cougars game against San Jose State. Things settled down in the middle of the game, but momentum made the game exciting down the stretch.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Boise State is preferred opponent for BYU in the Poinsettia Bowl

The Brigham Young Cougars accepted an invitation to play in the Poinsettia Bowl last Saturday following their win over Idaho. The Bowl has a contract with the Mountain West Conference to select one of its schools to play BYU, so the question becomes who?

Hometown San Diego State? Fresno State, another California based school? A rematch with Boise State? How about Nevada--the only other MWC school that is currently bowl eligible?

BYU Game Preview: Don’t let the opponent fool you, this game’s got intrigue

The Brigham Young Cougars will play the San Jose State Spartans this Saturday. The Spartans haven’t beaten BYU since 1968. They have just one winning season since 2000. Don’t let San Jose State’s name or lack of football prominence fool you. This year, this game is intriguing.

BYU vs. San Jose State: 5 Things to Watch For

The Brigham Young University Cougars will head for the coast and warmer weather at Spartan Stadium to face San Jose State on Saturday. Both BYU and San Jose St. are coming into this game with big momentum. San Jose State has four straight victories and are tied for first in the WAC, while BYU is coming off two blowout victories and the assurance of a Poinsettia Bowl appearance.

There is much to watch for in this mid-November showdown, here are just a few.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Brigham Young Cougars make another scheduling announcement

The Brigham Young Cougars continue to plug holes in future schedules. BYU made its fourth scheduling announcement this month today by announcing a two-game series with the UNLV Rebels. These games will be played in 2014 and 2015.

"Big picture” perspective helps BYU wide receiver Dylan Collie benefit while redshirting

As a wide receiver, Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Dylan Collie knows how important it is to run a route correctly. Sometimes, however, a receiver needs to adjust his route. A defensive back may bump him at the line of scrimmage, or the safety may cheat to one side of the field. In that case, properly adjusting the route becomes just as important as running the route the way it was drawn on paper.

Although he has been at BYU just a few months, Collie has already had to adjust his route. Keeping a “big picture” perspective of the situation has helped him benefit and improve during his freshman season. Even if he didn’t meet the initial expectations he had for his college career.

BYU Football: Did you know? (Jamaal Williams Rushing Touchdowns)

Brigham Young Cougars running back Jamaal Williams is scoring touchdowns at an impressive rate. He is surging up the charts for rushing touchdowns scored in a season, and not just for freshmen.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Flashback: BYU pulls away from UTEP in the fourth quarter

On this day, 14 years ago, the Brigham Young Cougars saw the UTEP Miners play evenly with them for three quarters before pulling away in the fourth quarter for a comfortable 31-14 win.

Poll Results: Which BYU senior had the best night on Senior Night?

A massive groundswell of support for Robbie Buckner came in the final hours of this poll, which led to the Brigham Young Cougars cornerback finishing with 59 percent of the vote. Quarterback Riley Nelson was second with 30 percent. Three year starter Brandon Ogletree was a distant third with five percent followed by David Foote and “other” with three percent each.

My vote also goes to Buckner.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Perseverance pays off for BYU cornerback Robbie Buckner

Robbie Buckner isn’t your typical Brigham Young Cougars football player. He is the only BYU player on the current roster from Arkansas. He is also a cancer survivor.

Through perseverance, Bucker was able to win his fight against cancer. He then resumed another fight he started years before.

BYU in NFL, Week 10: Two former Cougars have big roles in their teams' victories

Two former Brigham Young Cougars had big games to help lead their teams to victory. Ironically, their teams will play each other next week. Another former Cougar saw his season cut short.  

Monday, November 12, 2012

BYU vs. Idaho Post Game Thoughts and Analysis

There is a lot to talk about after the Brigham Young Cougars beat the Idaho Vandals 52-13. Great win for the seniors, and a historic game from a scoring standpoint.

Football Opponent Tracker: Week 11 Results for BYU's 2012 Opponents

The only good thing for the Brigham Young Cougars opponents this week was that Notre Dame stayed undefeated, and Georgia Tech is one win away from bowl eligibility. Former BYU quarterback Steve Sarkisian avenged the Cougars' earlier loss to the Utes by leading his Washington Huskies to a win. Washington State almost pulled out a huge upset. Oregon State fumbled away its chance to beat Stanford. 

BYU vs. Idaho: Five Game Observations

The Brigham Young Cougars seniors made their last home game an offensive rout and put on a show for senior night beating the Vandals 52-13. As anticipated, BYU came out with a lot of ferocity and scored 28 points by the end of the first quarter alone. With Nelson alternating between pounding the running game via Jamaal Williams and going airborne with Cody Hoffman, the Cougars outplayed Idaho in almost every way.

BYU vs. Idaho: Mo Moments

For a game as one sided as the Brigham Young Cougars' 52-13 win over the Idaho Vandals was, it had a surprisingly high number of momentum swings, shifts, and boosts. Just as the Cougars came out the clear victors on the scoreboard, BYU was an overwhelming winner in mo moments.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

BYU buries Idaho with a scoring avalanche

The second quarter was barely half over and the Brigham Young Cougars had already scored 42 points. That was more than enough to gain bowl eligibility with a 52-13 win over the Idaho Vandals.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

After bye week and turmoil, Brigham Young Cougars face Idaho

The Brigham Young Cougars (5-4) will play football again. BYU had a bye last week, but it felt much longer than a one week break in the schedule. In light of recent events, nothing could be better for the team than to play a game. Even if the game is against Idaho (1-8).

Poll Results: Will BYU's final 2012 home game be a sellout?

When the Brigham Young Cougars play the Idaho Vandals tonight at LaVell Edwards Stadium, a crowd less than the 63,470 capacity will be in attendance, according to 85% of poll voters. Just 14 percent of voters thought the game that will kickoff at 8:15 p.m. Mountain Time will be a sellout. One percent of voters was undecided.

I feel very confident that the game will not be a sellout, which is rather disappointing.

Friday, November 9, 2012

BYU vs. Idaho: 5 Things to Watch for

The Brigham Young Cougars play the Idaho Vandals Saturday night in Provo. Whether you are watching the game bundled up in the stands or on television in the comfort of your own home, here are 5 things to watch for, even if the score gets out of hand.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Brigham Young Cougars suspend two defensive players

Brigham Young Cougars head coach Bronco Mendenhall announced that senior free safety Joe Sampson and sophomore linebacker Zac Stout were suspended from the football team for an undisclosed violation of team rules.

Doctor is astonished with Austin Collie's recovery from knee surgery

Two weeks after having surgery on his right knee to repair a ruptured patellar tendon, Indianapolis Colts’ wide receiver Austin Collie had his doctor astonished with how fast he was recovering. Two more weeks later, Collie’s father Scott was on his way to Los Angeles to meet with Austin and the doctor for a follow up appointment.

Bronson Kaufusi, Basketball, and the 800 pound Gorilla in the room

Brigham Young Cougars freshman defensive lineman Bronson Kaufusi confirmed this week the rumors that started leaking this weekend about him and the BYU basketball team. BYU basketball head coach Dave Rose contacted Kaufusi about playing basketball after the football season ended. Kaufusi says he is interest in exploring Coach Rose’s offer.

Former BYU football players to conduct receiver skills training in Colorado

Former BYU wide receiver Scott Collie has put together a special skills training program for receivers. His sons Austin and Zac, who also played for BYU are also expected to be there and assist in the training. Collie will bring his program, Receiver Tech, to Colorado on Saturday, November 17, 2012.

BYU Football: Did you know? (Final record after starting 5-4)

The Brigham Young Cougars have played nine games and have a 5-4 win-loss record. BYU is hoping to win the final four games on the schedule and finish 9-4.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

BYU makes third schedule announcement in the last week

The Brigham Young Cougars have made their third football schedule announcement since November 1. Today, BYU announced it would play the Virginia Cavaliers in 2013 and 2014.

BYU Football: Poor placekicking is a two-way street

The Brigham Young Cougars have struggled with placekicking this season, but so have their opponents—at least when they play BYU. Surprisingly, BYU has made a greater percentage of attempted field goals than opponents, and the extra point percentage is pretty close as well.

Flashback: Jim McMahon breaks BYU and NCAA records as Cougars route Colorado State

Exactly 31 years ago today, Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Jim McMahon made the Colorado State Rams suffer a bad case of deja-vu.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

BYU and Michigan announce 2015 game

The Brigham Young Cougars and the Michigan Wolverines have scheduled a game in Ann Arbor for September 26, 2015.

BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall answers questions covering the whole gamut

Brigham Young Cougars head coach Bronco Mendenhall fielded questions about the offense, defense, the bye week, this week’s opponent, injuries, recruiting, Senior Day, and individual players after the team’s practice on Monday.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Football Opponent Tracker: Week 10 Results for BYU's 2012 Opponents

The Brigham Young Cougars may have had a bye, but all 12 of their opponents were in action. Three 100-yard kickoff returns for touchdowns and two touchdowns on the final play of the game highlighted these games. It also took a triple overtime squeaker to have BYU’s twelve opponents finished the week 6-6.    

BYU in NFL, Week 9: Keisel continues to carry the torch

Once again, the Pittsburgh Steelers' Brett Keisel carried the torch for former Brigham Young Cougars in the NFL this weekend. Dennis Pitta had a few good plays as the Baltimore Ravens were back in action. Next weekend is a former Cougars face-off weekend. Four of the six former Cougars will play in two games as their teams go head-to-head: Ravens-Raiders, Steelers-Chiefs.   

Ten reasons to stay fully invested in BYU football 2012

It is November again, and the Brigham Young Cougars football schedule has nothing but WAC opponents. BYU’s bowl destination is already known. For these two reasons, many fans find their interest waning. Despite BYU being out of the running for a BCS bowl and no big name opponents left on the schedule, there are still several reasons to stay “fully invested” in the 2012 football season.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Stay or go: Should Kyle Van Noy and Cody Hoffman leave BYU early?

The Brigham Young Cougars have a bye this week, so it seems like an appropriate time to look at whether linebacker Kyle Van Noy and wide receiver Cody Hoffman are having junior campaigns that would make it wise to leave BYU early for the NFL.   

Poll Results: Who impressed you the most against Georgia Tech?

In a landslide, the most impressive player for the Brigham Young Cougars in the Georgia Tech game was running back Jamaal Williams. He was selected by 58 percent of the voters. In a close race for second, Ezekiel Ansah (20%) edged out JD Falslev (19%). Kyle Van Noy was last with just 3 percent of the votes.

While each of these players had big plays, I was most impressed with Falslev.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Brandon Doman deserves one more year

About a month ago, I argued that the Brigham Young Cougars should part ways with offensive coordinator Brandon Doman at the end of 2012. I no longer feel that way. What I have seen the last four games has convinced me Doman deserves, at least, one more year.

Brigham Young Cougars and Cincinnati Bearcats to play in 2015 and 2016

The Brigham Young Cougars announced a two game football series with the Cincinnati Bearcats today The series will be played in consecutive years starting in 2015.

BYU Football: Did you know? (Rushing Yards by Air Force)

The Brigham Young Cougars held the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets to 117 yards rushing last week. Under normal circumstances, that total would be a little disappointing for BYU. With Georgia Tech being an option offense, this rushing total is phenomenal.