Over at SB Nation’s BYU blog, Vanquish the Foe, Cougar fans are feeling pretty good about last night’s showing:
The 2009 Las Vegas Bowl proved to be a tremendous bookend to another tremendous year for BYU football, a season that started with a miracle win against Oklahoma, a regular season that ended with a super-sweet overtime win over Utah, and another 11-2 season.
Thanks seniors for four incredible years, unmatched by any period at BYU. We’ll miss you.
On a breezy night (sarcastic understatement), BYU proved to be the better, more aggressive team from the get-go. And how sweet is it to beat up on Pac-10 schools? Considering this team was ranked in the top 20 and one quarter away from the Rose Bowl, this is real sweet. Probably more impressive than that win in Dallas in early September…
Speaking of that win against the Sooners, as I was watching the Cougar D stifle OSU, it was almost a carbon copy in terms of effort, speed and aggression. Say what you will about the defense, but when they have a month to focus and prepare on one opponent they play extremely well. They held arguably the best player on the field, Jacquizz Rodgers, to 63 yards on 18 carries—the same guy who averaged 115 yards per game this season. This was the guy who was supposed to blow the game wide open for the Beavers. His brother, James Rodgers, had over 1,000 receiving yards this season: tonight (against a small, slow BYU secondary) he managed only 30 yards.
Almost as a side note, they held OSU QB, Sean Canfield, to 19-40 for 168 yards and forced him to throw a costly interception—a ball that was hawked by Scott Johnson. This is a guy who had completed 70% of his passes all year.
And if anybody’s thinking the BYU defense was this productive only because OSU was disappointed to be playing in Las Vegas and not Pasadena, think again. Oregon St. guard, Gree Peat said, “Emotionally we were ready for this game. We came in here and expected to win. It didn’t work out that way. That’s a credit to BYU. They came ready to play. There are no excuses for the loss.”
As for the Cougar offense, though it wasn’t his best night, Max Hall was, again, good enough. Given the conditions, he was excellent. We knew going into the game he would have a big advantage against OSU’s inexperienced and patchy secondary, and he delivered by throwing three TDs and no interceptions. Once again, the leading receivers the Dennis Pitta and Andrew George, combining for 9 receptions, 91 yards and 1 touchdown. When BYU absolutely had to have a first down, Hall found those guys—just like he’s done all year. Throw in the production of Harvey Unga and Manase Tonga and the Cougars proved why their offense is so hard to stop.
For their complete reactions, check out their full post here.