Saturday, April 19, 2014

Best and worst of the BYU, Utah and USU college football regular seasons (33 items)

By and , Deseret News

Dec. 11, 2013

The book has been closed on another regular season of college football action.

For the three FBS teams in the state of Utah, it was a year full of bumps and bruises, yet there have been moments of brilliance for BYU, Utah and Utah State.

Those moments of hope can serve as a catalyst to drive for greater success in the future, whether in the upcoming bowl season or in the 2014 season.

Here's a look at the best and the worst moments for the Cougars, Utes and Aggies in 2013.

1 of 33. BYU

Facing arguably its toughest season in school history, BYU encountered plenty of uphill climbs in 2013. Some were expected — Wisconsin and Notre Dame looked formidable heading into the season. Other challenges and triumphs weren't as foreseeable — storms soaked and delayed BYU's first two games, but one turned in favor of the Cougars. And BYU found itself a pair of formidable runners.

Here are 10 of the best and worst moments of the season.

2 of 33. BYU's Best - 1. Taysom Hill runs wild over then-No. 15 Texas



Things looked grim for BYU after its disheartening 19-16 loss to Virginia, and many fans felt pessimistic about the Cougars’ chances against the No. 15 Longhorns.

They were pleasantly surprised.

Quarterback Taysom Hill had a breakout game against Texas as he racked up 259 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Running back Jamaal Williams had a solid day of his own with 182 yards rushing. The Longhorn defense didn’t know what hit it as Texas lost 40-21.

This rout was so convincing, Texas head coach Mack Brown fired defense coordinator Manny Diaz as a result.

This was the high point of BYU’s regular season. BYU would have plenty of opportunities to beat ranked opponents, but Texas was the only one the Cougars could beat in 2013.

3 of 33. BYU's Best - 2. The Cougars beat Houston in an old-fashioned barn burner



For much of the past few years, many wondered if the BYU offense would ever look like it did in the days of LaVell Edwards or even in more recent days of Max Hall. It seemed that BYU wouldn’t be able to win with its offense.

That is, until the Cougars traveled to Houston.

The BYU offense exploded for 681 yards of offense. While far from a flawless game, the Cougars in blue were able to finally win a high-scoring contest, beating the Cougars in scarlet 47-46.

It reminded many longtime BYU fans of the old wild WAC days, and that was a good thing.

4 of 33. BYU's Best - 3. Cody Hoffman's record-breaking performances



It was great to see Cody Hoffman break his way into the BYU record books.

Hoffman passed Dennis Pitta’s career reception record against Houston, Austin Collie’s career touchdown record against Boise State and Collie’s career receiving yards record against Wisconsin. He now has the bowl game to add to his career 248 receptions for 3,445 yards and 33 touchdowns.

It’s particularly remarkable when you think about how many amazing receivers have come to BYU. Furthermore, Hoffman had several quarterbacks throwing to him instead of one big star for all four years. Hoffman caught passes from Jake Heaps, Riley Nelson and even James Lark for two games. He now has Taysom Hill.

Imagine what he might have done if he had Ty Detmer throwing to him.

5 of 33. BYU's Best - 4. Taysom Hill’s passing game emerges as BYU rolls over Utah State



Up until this game, BYU fans had serious questions about Taysom Hill’s passing game. He went the entire month of September without a passing touchdown.

All of that came to an end when BYU traveled to Logan.

Hill threw three touchdown passes against the solid Aggie secondary. No, it wasn’t performance worthy of a Steve Young or Ty Detmer, but it was the first time that Hill showed that he can beat teams with his arm and not just his legs.

Plus, BYU had one of its most solid games of the season against a team with a winning record against Utah State, starting with Kyle Van Noy’s pick-six on USU’s first play from scrimmage.
1. redthunder
Ogden, UT,
Dec. 11, 2013

Good list. I loved watching mu Utes throughout the entire season even if the results weren't stellar. It's painful just how close Utah was to beating OSU, UCLA, and ASU but almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

Go Utes!

Quick question for Cougar fans. I was under the impression that students weren't allowed to grow facial hair and had to be clean cut. Did they change the rules or does that just not apply to football players?

2. J-TX
Allen, TX,
Dec. 11, 2013

I would say that Utah's high was beating Stanford. The Utes would say it was beating BYU for a 4th time in a row. Maybe next year Utah's goals will be PAC-12 related....

3. Cool Cat Cosmo
Payson, UT,
Dec. 11, 2013

@ Redthunder;

If you are referring to Spencer Hadley's 'stache, then yes, that type of facial hair is allowed. A full-on beard is sometimes allowed, in specific circumstances, like you have a skin condition that makes shaving a bad idea, you are in a play, etc. (if you get an exemption, it is proven by a "beard card"). Otherwise, (besides mustaches and beard exceptions) facial hair is not allowed, though some push the rules a bit by not shaving as often as they might, etc.

Hope that answers your question...so yes, the rules ARE applied equally to all, regardless of whether you are an athlete, graduate student, or incoming freshman.

4. UtesBy5
Syracuse, UT,
Dec. 11, 2013

@j-tx

"I would say that Utah's high was beating Stanford. The Utes would say it was beating BYU for a 4th time in a row. Maybe next year Utah's goals will be PAC-12 related...."

Maybe you shouldn't try and speak for University of Utah fans. The Stanford game was unfortunately the only high the Utes had this year. Beating the three mid-majors on our schedule was expected.

FYI, Utah's goals were PAC-12 related. The Utes did improve over last year's team as indicated in the conference games. With the exception of the Oregon game, Utah was competitive in every game. This isn't a 'high", only an indicator that the Utes are heading in the right direction. Coach Whitt will lead the Utes back to bowl eligibility next season as many talented players return.

Go Utes!

5. J-TX
Allen, TX,
Dec. 11, 2013

@Utesby5; What flavor is that Kool-Aid?

Pretty sad when one of your 5 bests of the season is a loss to OSU.
Coach Whit might as well break down and finish and furnish that basement....his team will likely be living there a while.
Hope the Utes' luck is better at fishin'...

- An Oregon Duck Fan