Sunday, November 23, 2008

Utah 48, BYU 24

The only reason this game was so close was because the Utes left a lot of points out on the field. Their defense should have intercepted four more balls than they did, a couple of which would have obviously been returned for touchdowns.

This turned out to be a great game... for Utah fans. Just as we expected, when Max Hall bleeds, his blood is as red as any true Ute fan. He showed last night why the team voted him the MVP of the game (even with the $10 payoff they had to give him to throw the game). The game started out strongly in Utah's favor as they took a quick 17-3 lead. BYU smartly used their runningbacks to get to the outside and were able to rack up quite a few yards on the ground, tying the game at 17. This was the closest that they would be.

It wasn't long after this that Max Hall started imploding. Utah's defense mixed it up a bit and used a couple of defensive schemes that they have never used before and that Hall had never seen before. Their defensive ends started switching sides off and on and a couple of times they even dropped back into coverage rather than blitz the QB. Each of BYU's last five drives ended with a Max Hall turnover. The Utes turned three of these turnovers into 21 points in the fourth quarter, making a close game not look that close by the final score.

Most of Hall's interceptions came when Utah was blitzing. They didn't record a single sack all night, but when they blitzed 5, 6 or 7 Max Hall couldn't make a play. Out of Hall's 41 pass attempts, 6 ball were batted down at the line, 5 ended in interceptions and 4 hit Utah's defenders in the chest or hands but they couldn't bring them in. Johnson, on the other hand, only had 6 incompletions, over 300 yards and 0 interceotions.

In my opinion, the player of the game award goes to Paul Kruger. He had one of Max Hall's interceptions, lots of tackles and was a big part of the pressure that gave Max Hall fits. On the offensive side of the ball, Utah quarterback Brian Johnson had one of his best games ever.

Now, Utah gets a second chance to play in a BCS bowl game, but us Utah fans shouldn't be satisfied with that. Once again, the Utes will be left out of the battle for the national championship game - even though that have yet to lose. With a playoff, Utah would at least have a chance to play for a national championship - if they continue to win. The BCS is, and always will be, a joke. (I'm not saying that I think the Utes are a championship caliber team, just that I think that until a team loses, it shouldn't be out of the title hunt. This includes you Boise State and Ball State!).

Go Utes!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Rivalry Week

Just a few thoughts on tomorrow's big game.

Most of the experts are picking Utah (Just look at all the bowl predictions - a large majority have the Utes in a BCS bowl). They seem to be the easy choice. This makes me a little nervous. I think that BYU relishes and finds motivation from the fact that they are the underdog. I would almost prefer Utah being the underdog, but I don't think it really matters either way.

Utah and BYU always match up pretty evenly. This year will be no different. Here's my opinion on how the teams match up:

Quarterbacks - BYU:
I don't think that I would switch Johnson for Hall, but I admire Hall's consistency and accuracy. He has played solidly almost every game. Both quarterbacks have the ability to lead a game-winning drive at the end of a game. Johnson probably does this best.

Runningbacks - Utah:
Utah effectively uses two backs that would start on almost every team in the conference. Utah's yards per carry average is almost 1/2 yard. Another difference maker here is that Utah's 3rd and 4th string backs have the speed to get to the outside. They are often used on end-arounds and when the Utes want to get the ball outside the tackles.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends - BYU:
This is BYU's strongest position. Utah will give up a big pass play here and there, but they have pretty solid coverage overall. I don't see Collie destroying the Utes (because he will mainly be defended by Utah's speediest player). Pitta, if he's healthy, could probably walk all over Utah though. They just don't have anybody that can match up with him size-wise. The Utes will give up a couple of big plays to these guys, but hold them in check otherwise.

Offensive Line - Even:
Before the TCU game (for both teams) I would have given this one to BYU hands down. But, BYU gave up a bunch of sacks to TCU and Utah's line played its best game of the season against TCU. Jerry Hughes (one of the best defensive linemen in the country) was held in check all game by the Utes. The more time either Johnson or Hall has to make a play, the more the defense is going to pay for it.

Defensive Line - Utah:
This is one position where Utah really shines. You don't become a top-10 team against the run without a strong defensive line. For the first-half of the year, Paul Kruger led the nation in tackles for loss (and Koa Misi wasn't far behind). Jorgenson is good - but he would be playing behind either one of these guys.

Linebackers - Even:
I think it's hard to compare the linebacking ranks between the two teams because they both play different defensive schemes. The linebackers are more involved for BYU with their 3-4 scheme while they play a big part of Utah's run defense in Utah's 4-3 scheme.

Cornerbacks/Safeties - Utah:
Utah wins this one in a landslide. If they're smart, Johnson will try and test the corners early. Sean Smith has as many interceptions as the whole Cougar secondary. Every team that BYU has played from TCU on has tried to exploit BYU's secondary because they rarely match up with speed and athleticism. If Utah gets the long ball going it could be a long night for the Cougars (but don't worry, Johnson stinks at throwing the long ball).

Special Teams - Utah:
Utah leads the nation in touchbacks (and I realize that BYU is 3rd). Neither team has been very consistent on punt returns, but the real key here is All-American punter/kicker Louie Sakoda. Utah has the best kicking duo in the country.

Coaches - Even:
You won't convince me otherwise on this one. Bronco's an awesome coach with 3 more wins than Kyle. Kyle, has a better record against BCS schools while Bronco has conference championships. Both coaches are the top 2 first-job hires from 2005. This year, Kyle Whittingham wins coach-of-the-year.

I'm excited for the game. On paper the Utes win, but I only give them 3:2 odds of winning. I expect that the difference in the game will be Utah's speed on defense. TCU exploited BYU and almost every team since that game has been able to keep it close. If this wasn't a rivalry game these things would matter. As it is, I expect the game to be decided by less than 1 score - and possibly by whichever team has the ball as time expires.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Utah 63, SDSU 14

There is nothing like a game against San Diego State to lift a team's confidence. I think that BYU benefited from the same confidence boost going into their game against Air Force. The Utes were able to get into a groove and hopefully gained some offensive momentum that will stay with them going into their next game.

Utah's biggest weakness in this game was probably their pass defense. They usually do a pretty good job at keeping the plays in front of them, but every once in a while they let a receiver get past them. More often than not, they are saved by a bad throw rather than good defense it seems.

Offensively, Utah was clicking on all cylinders. Brian Johnson was hitting his receivers and had 5 nice touchdown passes in the first half. Utah played far more conservatively in the second half but was still able to score a few touchdowns - two of which came in the last couple minutes on interceptions returned for touchdowns. In fact, Utah's backup safety, DeShawn Richards now has the most yards on interception returns in a single game this year.

Utah is now 11-0 and shares the nation's longest win streak. They have won 19 of their last 20 games and are looking for their second BCS bowl invitation in five years. More on this weeks game later...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Monday Photo

I'm not one to let Ada beat me in the games that we play, but this is one that she never seems to lose.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I totally won the pictured Wiimote charging station today. There was a contest on Crunchgear for these babies but you had to send them a picture of your Halloween costume. I didn't do that and they saved one prize for just anybody that e-mailed them. This morning I received the following e-mails:

My entry
On Thu, Nov 6, 2008 at 4:32 PM, Tyler <> wrote:
pretty please.

His first reply (this morning):
On Tue, Nov 11, 2008 at 12:43 PM, Peter <> wrote:
Send over your address, Tyler.

His second reply:
On Tue, Nov 11, 2008 at 12:44 PM, Peter <> wrote:
Wait a second. You didn't win, Tyler.

Ouch. His third (and hopefully final) reply:
On Tue, Nov 11, 2008 at 12:45 PM, Peter <> wrote:
Oh no. You did! Oops.

Hopefully, I'll see those babies on my doorstop in a few days.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Favorite Thing

We had Stake Conference at the Bountiful Regional Center this weekend and it was fantastic. Elder Bednar was the presiding authority and spoke for 1 hour on Saturday and 35-40 minutes on Sunday. Our stake presidency (of 9 years) was reorganized and it was standing room only. We ended up sitting in an overflow room in the back trying to watch the speaker on a little 20" TV. We expect our stake to be split soon as well. There are 15 wards and we're going to be holding our stake conferences at the Tabernacle if we keep growing...

As I mentioned, a new stake presidency was sustained. One of my very favorite things is gaining a testimony that a newly called leader has been called by prophecy and is the person that the Lord wants in a particular calling. In the last year, I have sustained a new Prophet, 2 new Stake Presidents, a new Bishop and a new Elder's Quorum President (among other leaders, but these are the leaders with Priesthood keys). Each time a new leader is called and sustained, I love to hear them speak for the first time. This is usually when the Spirit will testify to me that they have been called of God. It is an incredible experience, one that uplifts, strengthens and motivates. This is the experience that I had yesterday as newly-called President Coleman bore his testimony. I urge everybody to gain that same testimony of all your religious leaders. It is one you will not forget.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Yes We Can!

The Utes' attempt for a BCS bid continues. They squeaked by TCU tonight 13-10, in a cold, blacked-out stadium full of gothic-looking fans. Of course, Utah required a last-minute drive to come up with a win - they seem to thrive under pressure. I don't think I would take any other quarterback in the nation over Johnson when the game is on the line (except maybe Graham Harrell). I'm not sure my heart can take much more of this...

Helluva game.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Big, Beautiful 'O'

I voted for Barack Obama for one reason only. Watch the video (and pay attention at about the 90 second mark).

I showed up at our polls (about 2.5 miles from our house) at 6:45 AM. There were already around 40 people in line and when the polls opened at 7:00 AM, only 4 voting machines were working (out of 12). Shouldn't these sort of problems been figured out last night, yesterday or last week? Arrggh. By the time I got to the front of the line, there were 6 machines working. By 7:30 I was out of there - quicker than I expected.

Monday, November 03, 2008


If you are still undecided, you can always vote for my personal favorite candidate. It's not Obama or McCain, but he's definitely got his head on straight. See the campaign ad:

Lurp for Pres!

If anything, be sure not to let the following happen to you. Get out and Vote!

Utah 13, New Mexico 10

This was an ugly game. Once again, Utah's defense kept Utah in the game and the special teams play of Louie Sakoda and others was the difference in the ball game. I was pretty nervous of this game, simply because Utah has always struggled in Albuquerque, but more so when they are highly ranked.

Brian Johnson struggled once again. He's not a very good 'long-ball' thrower. I think they tried going over the top 6 or 7 times on Saturday and Johnson failed to connect on any of them. He did a pretty good job of getting rid of the ball quickly against New Mexico's potent pass-rush though. That gave the Utes some good practice for their next game against TCU.

While Utah was narrowly jumped by Boise State in the AP poll, the Utes increased their lead in the BCS standings. They now sit at #8. I believe that the winner of the Utah-TCU game will have the inside track to a BCS bowl this year. If TCU wins, I predict they jump the Broncos for the top ranking of non-BCS teams. This would be some consolation for Utah's impending loss. I'm just hoping the Utes have some surprises up their sleeves.