COMMENTARY — Are you not entertained with BYU football?
The 2015 Cougars will go down in BYU history as one of the most unforgettable teams ever. How can I make such a bold prediction? it’s easy, really, for anyone who has watched their last two games or have seen ESPN’s top plays of the week — the 2015 team has already played two of the best games in BYU football history.
In back-to-back weeks, the Cougars went into Lincoln and knocked off a great Nebraska program when most people thought it was impossible, then the Cougars settled the score with a huge win over the No. 20-ranked Boise State Broncos in an emotional 35-24 home opening victory.
Boise State has had BYU’s number over the past few years and led the series 4-1 heading into last Saturday’s contest. The Cougars needed this win in a bad way for many reasons, but most of all to keep the ball rolling with new starting QB Tanner Mangum. Both wins were comebacks that ended in late-game Hail Mary passes, but this week it was the hook-up between Tanner Mangum and Mitchell Juergens that shifted the scoreboard in the last seconds.
Bronco Mendenhall’s solid defense has been great so far in 2015 and has slowed down both opponents offenses enough to give the Cougars all the opportunity they needed to pull out to great roller coaster victories. These two games have truly been a couple of the most entertaining games, not only for BYU fans, but for all college fans across the country!
If you would have asked most BYU fans as well as college football enthusiasts if the Cougars could win after losing both star running back Jamaal Williams and QB Taysom Hill, most if not all would have not only said no, but “Heck No!”
Although these two wins are great memories and now in the past, BYU has gained a lot of momentum in the national media after performing well on both ABC and ESPN. With such great national attention, it can only help their cause for future recruiting as well as their chance of eventually getting into a Power 5 conference (something fans have clearly expressed a desire for).
This year’s Cougars are filled with a a new found spark and new vigor to win. Starting safety Kai Nacua returned after his one-game suspension vs. Nebraska, and I would have to give him the player of the week. Nacua had three interceptions, including one pick-six that sealed the deal for BYU’s comeback win. Without his stellar performance, the Cougars could have gone down easily at home.
Boise State quarterback Ryan Finley seemed to not be able to settle his feet with the beast Bronson Kaufusi collapsing the pocket virtually every snap as well as stuffing the run. Kaufusi has a very bright future in the NFL awaiting him and is a huge part to these two storied wins.
This week Mendenhall and the Cougars look to continue single-handedly shifting the Top 25 rankings as they travel to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena to take on the No. 10-ranked UCLA Bruins. UCLA is a better program now than it has been in years and will prove to be the toughest challenge yet for BYU.
Somehow, if BYU manages to beat UCLA and keep this crazy momentum going, the Cougars could head into a road trip to Ann Arbor, Mich., in the top 15 or maybe even top 10 in the nation.
If BYU can continue to upset opponents and find its way into the minds of college football fans everywhere, this program has finally become elite once again. With all they have been up against this season, I am proud no matter how the rest of this season pans out.
And win or lose, we will surely be entertained.
Scott Young is a sports columnist. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. George News.
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