This week is the first post for this new site and I have to admit, I’m really excited. I’m gonna be a little biased toward college football this week. This is mostly because the whole “Andrew Luck retiring” news is kind of old and because the college football games this weekend that I watched were just amazing.
With this post, I’ll go over a few games that I watched over the weekend including: BYU vs Utah, Utah State vs Wake Forest, SUU vs UNLV, and Nevada vs Purdue. In the future, if there is some big news, then I will go over that as well. But for now, lets get to the action
BYU VS UTAH
Just like the past nine years, this game came away the Utah Utes winning. This year, the score was 30-12. Honestly, the score does not reflect just how close this game was. Take away the two “pick-6” plays that Zach Wilson threw to the Utah defense and a touchdown scored by the Utes offense off of a BYU turnover, and BYU really only gave up nine points.
People always complain that BYU fans rationalize the game by saying that “We beat ourselves” or “We let Utah get that one”. Well…. they’re not wrong, per se. From what I’ve seen in the decade since Max Hall went on a tirade about the Utah program and fan base, BYU takes this game way too serious. Heath Ledger asking these guys “Why. So. Serious?” probably sums it up.
BYU always comes into this game like they have something to prove, or at least everything to lose. They come out sloppy, usually end up committing more personal fouls or unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, and it costs them greatly. I remember a few years ago when the Utes took over on offense with almost the entire fourth quarter to go. They were able to hold onto it until three minutes left because BYU kept committing defensive holding or pass interference. In other words, Utah took advantage of every BYU miscue.
Utah, on the other hand, comes in with nothing to prove and has won the last 10 years. That explains it all. They execute like they should every year, and they win every year.
UTAH STATE VS WAKE FOREST
Man, it was heartbreaking watching Utah State lose 38-35 to the Demon Deacons. The Aggies of Utah State had so much to prove. Between having a “brand new” coach and most of the offense brand new to the starting role, USU played suprisingly well against a Power 5 team. Jordan Love honestly looks like an NFL-level QB. The junior quarterback went 33/48 for 416 yards and three touchdowns.
My take on the new offense, a great QB can make good receivers. Love already has good receivers. He’s making the good ones great, and the OK ones good. His throws are right on point. Having Jordan Nathan, Savon Scarver, and Siaosi Mariner around is really going to boost Love’s stats.
A major concern this year was how good the run game was going to be with the departure of current Kansas City Cheifs running back Darwin Thompson. The answer was very cler, there is no need to worry. Gerold Bright looks like a great combo back with the ability to be a shifty back running and catching out of the backfield, with fomer East High star Jaylen Warren ready to be the power back. Warren is no stranger to running the ball frequently, as he totaled almost 3,100 yards his senior year of high school.
However, their are two big problems from this game. First, three of those incompletions that Love through were interceptions. He still needs to learn where to put the ball and use his teammates around him to make plays. He has the playmakers and talent around him, he just needs to use them. Second, the defense needs to step up. Wake Forest passed for 400 yards and ran for another 178. It’s hard to win a game when your defense gives up almost 600 yards in a game.
Fortunately, the team is full of leaders. DJ Williams is used to having pressure, mostly from his time as a star on Last Chance U. Senior linebacker David Woodward also looks like he is going to have a big year. He had a career-high 24 tackles, one sack, and forced two fumbles. He’s a preseason All-American and the team should look different in the coming weeks because of it.
SUU VS UNLV
This was a doosy to watch. UNLV has been a troubled team for… well always. SUU is coming off one of their worst seasons in school history. In short, UNLV beat SUU 56-23, and really it was 56-7.
SUU quarterback Chirs Helbig played in his first game since the fourth contest last year. His stats didn’t stand out, but I think that was expected. One of the great things about these FBS vs FCS games, other than SUU being payed $500k for the beat down, is that is provides a chance for all players to find a groove. UNLV players get the chance, but so do SUU players.
With Helbig being out of groove with most of his targets, he got a good chance to reconnect with the game. He proved quick that Isaiah Diego-Williams will be his favorite deep threat, while freshman Zach Nelson may be the next consistent slot for the T-Birds.
The run game, however, will need to pick up. Jay Green Jr. was unavailable for the game, while James Feilia couldn’t get away from a stingy Rebel defense. SUU proved early that their trying to keep Helbig’s should healthy by not calling designed runs for him in the first half. Time will tell how long that lasts, but this game shouldn’t be taken too serious
NEVADA VS PURUDE
This was probably my favorite game over the weekend, possibly second to Alabama and Clemson in 2016. Nevada won the game 34-31 after being down 31-14 in the third quarter. A couple of things from this game:
PURDUE LOST BECAUSE OF TURNOVERS
The Boilermakers turned the Ball over 5 TIMES! If any team wins a game with that stat, it’s just impressive. But Purdue didn’t win for this reason.
Three of these were huge momentum swings for Nevada. The first one, Nevada may have gotten away with kick-catching interference, but the latter two are just atrocious. The first turnover is at 8:16 of the third quarter, the second at the 4:30 mark of the third quarter, and the last at the 0:40 mark of the fourth quarter (I can’t upload the video file so here’s the YouTube video from the Mountain West Conference).
NEVADA WANTED IT MORE
It was obvious that Nevada just wanted the game more than Purdue. Their final touchdown drive was all the proof fans needed to see that the Wolfpack was going to win the game. Running Back Toa Taua made an incredible catch when no one thought it was possible. How he was able to keep his foot inbounds is beyone my comprehension of football, but even just keeping his hip inbounds made it even better (look at the 1:15 mark of the fourth quarter).
One play that got me watching intensly is when Nevada ran a corner just after the Taua catch. They had a great man-to-man matchup and took advantage of it. Nevada appeared to have it with a foot down inbounds, but the ball seemed to be moving. The refs made an initial call of incomplete, which seemed right. Then I saw that the Purdue defender may have had it with a toe-drag inbounds. But thats the beauty, and sometimes disadvantage, of replay. Without the indisputable evidence, the call can’t be reversed. Nevada would score two plays later so it didn’t matter, but it was a crazy play that showed what college football is all about (this play is near the end of the video below. Around 9:50 for the video at the one minute mark of the fourth quarter).
The final drive had the two most important plays of the game however. Nevada QB Carson Strong needed to get the ball upfield, and did just that. He threw the ball in the most perfect spot, right on the left sideline where his receiver could catch it, and still get out of bounds (this is at about the ten seond mark in the first video). Then, with three seconds left, this happened…
Keep in mind that the kicker started the game as THE BACKUP! He wasn’t the starter and he hit what may be one of the biggest kicks of his life as a freshman! I didn’t think this game could have gotten better, especially since it had ended after this play, but it did. Nevada made the game even better afterwards while in the locker room with this…
No better way to start off the first week of real football.
See you next week! Be sure to leave a comment on what you think and your takes on the games.