Flashback: Beck To The Future (2006)

Five years ago, and a little more than 20 years after the first Back To The Future blockbuster, the Brigham Young Cougars went Beck to the future. Quarterback John Beck solidified his place as one of the great BYU quarterbacks by guiding the 2006 team to a season reminiscent of the glory days of LaVell Edwards’ tenure.

Beck proved to be the first great quarterback in the Bronco Mendenhall era, and he did it wearing the same number 12 jersey that Gary Sheide did—the first great quarterback in the Edwards era.

The great BYU quarterbacks of the past brought home conference championships and conference player of the year honors on a regular basis. John Beck did the same. He helped give BYU its first Mountain West Conference (MWC) title in five years, and he did it most impressively. BYU was 8-0 in conference play with a 25.5 points average margin of victory. In the conference opener, Beck played hurt. His gutsy leadership was good enough to earn BYU a 31-17 win over number 17 TCU in Fort Worth. This kind of outstanding play, week in and week out, resulted in Beck being unanimously voted the MWC Offensive Player of the Year.

Statistically, Beck had one of the best seasons, ever, for a BYU signal caller. His season stats ranked in the top 10 in all of the important categories:
  • Passing Yards: 3,885 (8th most in BYU history);
  • Touchdown Passes: 32 (8th);
  • Interceptions: 8 (3rd—Tied, minimum 300 attempts);
  • TD to Int. Ratio: 4:1 (3rd);
  • Completion Percentage: 69.3% (2nd);
  • Pass Efficiency: 169.05 (4th).
Beck beat Utah, marking BYU’s first win over the Utes since 2001. The great BYU quarterbacks almost never lost to Utah, and you had to go back to 1968-71 for the last time BYU lost four in a row to Utah. Not only did Beck beat Utah, but his touchdown pass to Jonny Harline with no time remaining to win the game has come to define Beck’s legacy much like Jim McMahon’s hail Mary to win the 1980 Holiday Bowl and Steve Young’s touchdown catch to win the 1983 Holiday Bowl has defined their legacies.

To punctuate his superb season, Beck assaulted the Oregon Ducks and gave BYU its first bowl win in 10 seasons. Only six other quarterbacks had won a bowl game at BYU.

BYU finished 2006 with 11 wins and 2 losses and ranked numbers 15 and 16 in the coaches and media polls, respectively. Once again, these results were on par with teams in the glory days of BYU football. However, they were also indicative of what the future held. In 2006, BYU football truly was Beck to the future.

More Flashbacks can be found on the Flashbacks page

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