The Brigham Young Cougars paid a visit to the 24th-ranked Boise State Broncos to battle for regional supremacy on Thursday. The game had the makings of a high-paced battle but withered into an anti-climactic 7-6 win for Boise State.
Boise State showed no faith in its field-goal kicker, Michael Frisina, after he missed a 33-yard attempt in the first quarter. The Broncos opted against a 42-yard field goal late in the first half and were unsuccessful on a 4th-and-7, turning the ball over on downs.
The play-calling for both teams was questionable at best in the first half and went downhill from there.
There was an ugly fake punt attempt, turnovers and a low-percentage post route on fourth down. Head coach Chris Peterson didn't have any answers for a struggling Boise State offense.
BYU wanted to run the ball but had little success. Quarterback Riley Nelson completed just four of six passes in the first half for 19 yards—not enough to spark the offense.
The Cougars opened the second half with the ball, and Nelson's first pass resulted in a touchdown. Defensive lineman Michael Atkinson plucked the ball out of the air at the line of scrimmage and returned it 36 yards for six points for Boise State.
Nelson's next pass would also be his last—an interception by Broncos safety Jeremy Ioane.
Riley Nelson wearing a hat backwards. Hill coming in— Jason Franchuk (@HarkTheFranchuk) September 21, 2012
The Cougars didn't fare any better with Taysom Hill in the game. BYU fumbled on his first play from scrimmage at its own 1-yard line. Four plays netted Boise State zero yards, and one of the worst football games of the young season was being solidified.
This Thursday night prime-time matchup was a game marred by untimely penalties and missed opportunities.
It seemed as though most of the miscues would fall on the shoulders of the Broncos, but BYU didn't want to be left out. It drove down the field, converting a 4th-and-3 from the Boise State 18-yard-line. BYU scored two plays later and appeared ready to tie the game.
Despite the Broncos not having a trustworthy kicker, the Cougars went for a two-point conversion. It failed, leaving time for one more mistake.
BYU kicked deep instead of attempting the onside kick. For perhaps the first time all night, a team executed, as Boise State ran out the clock.
Most will view the two-point conversion attempt as a terrible decision. BYU would have had the advantage by virtue of having a kicker.
Some of us will look at it as a mercy killing of a poorly played game.