BYU first rose to national prominence on the football field in the seventies and eighties by utilizing the west coast offense in a way that revolutionized college football and led for huge point totals for the Cougars. With the exception of a few seasons here and there, defense wasn't exactly a strong point.
BYU won game after game by winning shootouts. The last few seasons, BYU has had a very different modus operandi. The Cougars relied on one of the most dominant defenses in the nation to keep the score low enough for the offense to go out and put up just enough points to win a defensive struggle.
This season, while the offense has been improving, it has still been the defense that BYU relied the most on.
Until the Houston game, that is.
BYU won a wild 47-46 shootout, the type of game not seen from BYU in years.
Consider these statistics: BYU had 681 yards of total offense, 417 yards passing and 264 rushing. BYU ran 115 plays on offense, a school record. Houston had 483 yards of total offense, including 435 yards passing.
After the initial score, there were seven different lead changes.
Nearly every type of score imaginable occurred in this game, from countless passing touchdowns to rushing touchdowns to a kickoff return for a touchdown to a pick-six.
Despite the high score and offensive outburst, there were several big defensive plays as well. Each defense registered three interceptions. Houston linebacker Derrick Mathews returned one for a touchdown. BYU linebacker Alani Fua had an interception with under a minute remaining that arguably clinched the game for his team.
With over 1,300 yards of combined offense, the BYU Cougars and Houston Cougars put on one of the most exciting games of the year. While both Coug (BYU) and Coog (Houston) fans alike had to deal with one of the most nerve-wracking games of their seasons, it was an impressive show of will by both teams.
In the end, BYU came out on top thanks to a high-flying offense, just like the good old days.