Be careful what you wish for, as the old saying goes—it just might come to pass.
So it was for me on Thursday night, as I stood in the stands watching BYU take on TCU.
Days prior, I'd hoped for a close game, because I was tired of BYU posting blowout after blowout at home.
Well, wish granted. There was no need for milking the clock with our backups in this one.
BYU opened the scoring on its first drive with a 15-yard run by RB Harvey Unga. TCU's vaunted speed wasn't a factor on the TD, as Unga beat safety Brian Bonner to the corner en route to the end zone.
The halftime whistle found BYU more or less in control of the game with a 17-9 lead. As the teams opened the second half, though, it was obvious that TCU coach Gary Patterson had motivated his Horned Frogs during the break.
Maybe he promised the team new uniforms if they won (the all-white must go)—but in any event the Frogs defense confused BYU QB Max Hall with a slew of blitzes out of its 4-2-5 scheme.
Though the BYU O-line acquitted itself well, Hall was still pressured on just about every down.
In regards to TCU’s defense, I'd also add that never in my life have I seen so many ankle tackles. The Frogs wouldn't wrap up for the life of them.
Then again, neither would I if I had one of BYU’s three 230-pound running backs coming at me.
Late in the fourth quarter, BYU “decided to make it fun” by giving up a 94-yard touchdown drive.
I made the wish, didn’t I?
After the TCU score, the Cougars took over up 27-22 with 3:30 to play. On 3rd-and-10, Hall launched a pass to a diving receiver which seemed to get deflected on the fly into the hands of BYU's Austin Collie, who picked up another 30 yards.
Unfortunately for the Cougars, the refs ruled the ball had hit the ground after a replay—and promptly drew appreciative boos from the 65,000 BYU fans in attendance.
BYU punted the ball back to TCU with 2:39 on the clock. All night, the Cougars' D had employed a bend-but-don't break approach. That changed on the final drive.
BYU brought the heat on both third and fourth down, with LBs David Nixon and Brian Kehl pouncing on TCU QB Andy Dalton to seal the deal.
All told, the game was almost too much of what I wished for—but boy was it great. LaVell Edwards Stadium was absolutely rocking. My voice is still in recovery mode.
And that's what football is all about.
Granted, you love to see your team wail on an opponent, but isn’t it so much sweeter when you pull of the close one?
The win leaves BYU atop the Mountain West Conference, with a 13-game conference winning streak and a 7-2 (5-0) overall record. The only question is whether it will be enough to bump the Cougars into the Top 25.
Most of the country doesn't get to watch BYU play, butt the team is legit. Look for the Cougs to finally get the recognition they deserve—and not a moment too soon.
And by the way—I had the foresight to peg the final score on our office score prediction white board, turning what could have been a dull day into a chance for me to tout myself as the country' next great sports analyst.
That's football—you just gotta love it.