BYU Football: Ranking Bronco Mendenhall's 5 Biggest Wins as a Cougar
Bronco Mendenhall is entering his ninth year as head coach at BYU and his second as an Independent. With plenty of big-name teams on this year's schedule, what better time is there than now to look at Mendenhall's biggest wins as a Cougar?
What defines a "big win" is the quality of the opponent and the importance of the game. For example, BYU could play Idaho when a win could grant them bowl eligibility (as they did last year), but it wouldn't be a significant win because of the weak team they played.
So, here are the five biggest wins Mendenhall has accounted as a Cougar.
5. Oregon State (2009)
The 2009 Las Vegas Bowl win over 18th-ranked Oregon State is arguably the best bowl game victory in the Mendenhall era. The final game in a Cougar uniform for Max Hall, Jan Jorgensen, Dennis Pitta and Harvey Unga, among others, ended up as an impressive win over the Pac-12 runner-up.
Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the 1984 national championship, the Cougs donned royal blue uniforms, similar to the ones worn by the 20th-century BYU teams. Sporting those jerseys, the Cougars beat nationally ranked Utah and OSU.
Maybe BYU should break out these unis more often.
4. Utah (2006)
BYU entered its annual rivalry game against Utah with a national ranking and an eight-game winning streak, but a win over the Utes did not come easily. Despite a slow start, Utah scored 24 straight points and took a commanding lead over the Cougs.
John Beck answered back by throwing two fourth-quarter touchdowns, along with the famed Beck-to-Jonny Harline score as time expired. The win gave BYU its first victory over Utah since 2001.
3. TCU (2006)
BYU opened its 2006 MWC slate with a road trip to 15th-ranked TCU, and behind John Beck's three touchdowns, they pulled off the upset. The game ended the Horned Frogs' 13-game winning streak and started a nine-game streak for BYU.
Meanwhile, the victory ended a 13-game losing streak against ranked opponents for BYU and marked the first (of few) wins against top-25 teams for Mendenhall.
2. Utah (2009)
BYU and Utah both entered the 2009 rivalry game ranked in the top 25 and had identical 9-2 records. Max Hall led the Cougs to a 14-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, but the Utes stormed back and sent the game into overtime.
Utah scored first in the extra period with a field goal, but Hall found Andrew George up the middle for the game-winning touchdown. The '09 victory marks the last time BYU come out on top of the rivalry, and we can hope for that to change this year.
1. Oklahoma (2009)
The greatest win in the Mendenhall era has to be the season-opening victory over third-ranked Oklahoma at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas. BYU shocked the nation with a huge upset and chalked their first victory over a top-three team since Ty Detmer's upset over Miami in 1990.
There hasn't been a marquee victory quite like the Sooner upset in 2009 for BYU, although a win over Notre Dame last year could have competed with it.