I'm amazed at how quickly the football season has arrived this year. Though considering all of the sports news we've had this summer: the World Cup, LeBron-O-Mania, Jefferson to the Jazz, BYU's independence rumors and quarterback controversy... I haven't had a lot of time to get bored and wish for September to hurry up and arrive already.
Because my time spent thinking about the upcoming season was so short, I'm not quite in the mood for football yet, and I get the feeling a lot of other people are in the same boat.
To remedy that, I'll be posting one BYU highlight every day this week, until gameday.
Today we have BYU at New Mexico in 2005. Prior to this game, BYU football was in a bad place. After a great 2001 season, head coach Gary Crowton pretty much ran the program into the ground from 2002-2004. He was fired before the 2005 season, and defensive coordinator Bronco Mendenhall took over.
The first few games of the 2005 season weren't much to get excited about. The year started with a 20-3 loss to Boston College at home. After shellacking Div-II Eastern Illinois in game two, the Cougars lost to TCU and San Diego State, respectively. A 1-3 record was not what fans were hoping for with this new coach, and it didn't look like the program would get back on its feet any time soon.
The next team on the schedule was New Mexico. The Lobos are usually a decent team in the Mountain West, and while they never really fight for conference championships, you can count on them to finish around .500 in conference. The New Mexico defense is generally pretty good, and the team gives BYU a challenge almost every time they play.
After scoring first on an 11-yard pass from BYU quarterback John Beck to tight end Dan Coats with ten minutes left in the first quarter, the Cougars felt confident that maybe this could be the game where BYU makes its way back to prominence.
However, UNM scored 24 points to BYU's seven over the next two quarters, and the Cougars found themselves down 27-13 with time running out.
Here's the highlight:
Video courtesy Cougcan of cougarboard.com
I watched this game in the office of my college's newspaper, and I must admit my interest was pretty low for most of it. However, during that final touchdown drive I was glued to the screen and jumping up and down after every big play. It's the game that brought me fully back into the BYU football fold.
BYU finished the season winning five of its last eight games... nothing spectacular, but better than we'd seen in the recent past.
Since the 2005 season, BYU has won 43 of its 52 games and the universe is on the correct track again. Many fans look at this New Mexico game as the turning point for the program.
Here's hoping trend continues, and I think it will, assuming this two-quarterback system thing works out.