Saturday, November 24, 2007

Utes Lose By 7

I usually wait a few days after Utah loses before posting about the game. This allows me to clear my head and get rid of my anger before spouting off and embarrassing myself. This time, I'm going to allow my anger to flow freely...

Neither team played spectacularly. Utah was down 3-0 going into halftime. Utah had major problems stopping Harvey Unga. They always seems to struggle with backs like him. He also dropped a couple balls in the second half that should have been easy catches. In short, Utah was extremely lucky to not be down by 3 touchdowns early in the game. Brian Johnson struggled against the other teams defense. He had a hard time reading the defense and making plays. When he finally began making plays with his legs, the Utes were able to convert on a few key third downs.

The worst part about games like this (including last years game in this generalization) is that you (i.e. Ute fans) think that they've got the game in the bag. This incredible thrill followed a couple minutes later by the realization that your defense choked and the game is actually lost has got to be dangerous on your heart.

Much of the talk after the game centered on two late calls made against the Utes by the officials. While these hurt, the game-winning play was converting on 4th and 18 inside your own 15-yard line on a 49 yard pass play. Why Utah's defense let Austin Collie past them at such a crucial time will never be answered. That should simply never happen.

I will not blame the officials for this loss (I blame the aforementioned play) but I think that "questionable", "iffy" or "game-changing" calls should be made with great care at the end of the game. I thought the officiating wasn't too bad until the last minute. Here's a closer look at the calls in question (you've got to look closely to see my written commentary):

I don't think that Utah would have won even if the officials hadn't made the calls shown above (or lack thereof). However, how can the Utes ever win when the officials are even allowing the other team to run the infamous, yet exclusive, 3-point conversion play?

The Utes were dominated in this game and certainly didn't deserve the win. The fact that they were as close as they were speaks volumes. As Austin Collie said after the game, when you're doing what's right, "The Lord steps in and makes good things happen". I'm not sure how I feel about the Lord meddling in football games, but I'll leave that for another post.

Poinsettia Bowl here we come!


Sam said...

I agree that the play that lost the game was the 4th and 18 play. That makes me sick just thinking about it. And I also agree that after that the play TDS would have gone down the field and scored regardless of the awful calls. My brother, a TDS grad(they have those???), said he felt dirty after the game. Like they had won, but not without too much help. Oh well, San Diego is pretty this time of year anyway. Yeah for a bowl game there.
And, did Collie really say that? RIDICULOUS!

Clark said...

Well, if it makes you feel better, the refs stiffed BYU, too! They only gave us 2 points for our 3-point conversion!

As for your comparison of the two big hits, I'll agree with you. I didn't see a whole lot of difference, and I think both could have gone as no calls. It is sometimes good to remember that officials aren't (or at least shouldn't be) comparing one hit to another when making calls. But again, both were big hits that could have been left alone.

As for the pass interference, it looks to me like the U defender runs through the receiver. The DB has the inside position, and the ball is thrown inside, but by the time the ball hits the ground, both players are outside the ball. He's leaning into the receiver, running both of them off the ball.

Spencer said...

That's a tough loss if you're a Ute fan. As a Cougar fan, I was certainly prepared to accept defeat when the Utes took the lead. A Cougar loss seemed inevitable and would have stunk considering the fact that BYU had created far more scoring opportunities than the Utes throughout the game. (I know, I know; scoring opportunities don't mean much if you don't convert them.)

I'm not going to make any judgments about the officials. What's done is done. Questionable calls are just that: I don't see how anyone can definitively say that they were correct or incorrect calls (and I'm talking about all the penalties that were called in the game). Good arguments can be made both to justify and refute the two particular calls that went against the Utes down the stretch. The refs made the calls, and there's nothing anybody can do about it (although admittedly those particular calls probably would have stuck in my craw if they'd gone against my team).

And yet... The Utes still had the opportunity to keep BYU out of the end zone. They could have held the Cougars to a field goal, which would have dramatically affected their own last drive. I mean, if they had prevented the touchdown from Unga--which they'd done such a great job of all day until the last minute--and Derrek Richards had just caught the ball on the 25, there's little doubt the Utes would have won with a Sakoda field goal.

The simple fact (and I know that nobody here has blamed the loss on the refs) is that the Utes didn't execute when they had to. They didn't stop Collie, which was a huge play, but in my opinion not the biggest, and they didn't keep Unga out of the end zone, which was the biggest play considering the scenario above.

The Utes have no one to point a finger at but themselves. The Cougars made plays; the Utes didn't. Any and all issues involving the refs are moot.

I cringed when I heard Collie's remarks, but I'm willing to cut the kid (and he is a kid) some slack. I think others should too. It's an emotional game. He's young and just off a mission. (I can't help but wonder if I didn't make a few ill-conceived remarks when I was 21, and I'm certainly not saying I'm exempt from such things now at 32). And he's passionate--just like all the players on both sides are. Anyway, who ever said these guys were supposed to be orators, philosophers or theologians? They catch footballs and beat the snot out of each other! At the end of the day, it was an innocuous remark made by a young man who was caught up in a moment of elation. It wasn't mean spirited, and it didn't--and doesn't--hurt anybody. I say let it go. Who cares, you know?

(And, for the record, I don't believe that God exerts His will to affect the outcome of football games or any other sporting event.)

brett said...

I think that both defenses played great for most of the game. BYU happened to convert when Utah blew their coverage, Utah didn't convert when BYU blew their coverage.

So, the refs made some questionable calls. Sucks, doesn't it? Attending the game, I didn't even realize until afterwards that they'd called a personal foul on the first questionable penalty. I thought it had been a pass-interference. (The stadium was loud enough it was hard to hear the officials). I will just say that MWC officials are notoriously bad. But they're also notoriously bad both ways. If BYU had lost, I would be complaining about Utah holding Collie before he pushed off on his touchdown pass that was called back. Heck, Utah's secondary was grabbing and holding BYU's receivers all game. I'm sure someone can/will point out that there was holding on this or that or PF on this or that. It goes both ways, it's just we remember the ones at the end of the game.

This was a great game. Glad BYU won. Until next year,,,

tysqui said...

I'm not asking everybody (ok, all you BYU fans) to justify the officials' calls at the end of the game. The unnecessary roughness call and pass interference call are both judgment calls and the only people who know the exact reasoning for the calls are the ones who made them. I just felt it necessary to plead my case and clear my conscience...

As for the botched delay of game call, I was under the impression that those only depended on the play clock (and aren't judgment calls like the others). At the rate the Utes were giving up yardage, they could certainly have used an extra 5 yards.

Salt H2O said...

Only in Utah when a football player gives credit to the Lord for helping him play well, do people take offense!

He gave credit for his success to the God in which he believes. It's not like he said, "well we proved today that God is a BYU fan"-

Alison Squire said...

I also cringed at the Collie comment, but now that I think about it, I agree with salt h2o. You hear NFL players credit God all the time. Only when it comes from a BYU player do people freak out. Was it the way he said it?

Sam said...

We do hear people thank the God that they believe in all the time. The thing about Collie was that he talked about his own personal righteousness before thanking God. So I think that it was the way he said it.

Sabrina said...

The way Collie said it, crediting his personal righteousness wasn't the best thing to do, but I think even if he had made a general comment thanking God he would have been jumped all over. It really does happen most with BYU because there are unfortunately those that do profess that because BYU is owned by the LDS Church and is affectionately known by some as the "Lord's University" God actually does care if the football team wins. I think most BYU football fans don't think the Lord is calling the shots of the game, but the minority that really think that ruin it for everyone else.

brett said...

Well, Collie made it easy to decide what he meant. He told us:,5143,695231106,00.html

I think he did a great job of clarifying remarks.

brett said...

That's supposed to be a .html at the end of the link.

tysqui said...

I think its true that the reactions here (i.e. in Utah) are more than you would get anywhere else. This is simply because of the nature of the rivalry. One school is off-referred to as the Lord's University (as Sabrina mentioned) while the other school is full of people not righteous or smart enough to get into BYU (for the record, I applied to USU and the U - never to the Y). I think where the comment rubbed many the wrong way is that it implied that the other team is not as righteous (which is obviously not what he meant at all - I mean Collie used the term B.S. in the DesNews article. Obviously he's not righteous...).

From the DesNews article posted by Brett, Collie does a fine job explaining himself. But as Cary Clack said: "Having to explain it means you probably shouldn't have said it."