5. According to my eyes, the number of plays made by BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy that fit the description I established in the BYU-SDSU preview:
No seriously, watch Kyle Van Noy. Three or four times per game, the junior makes a play athletic and interesting enough that you will find yourself saying, "Wow, who was that? Oh right, Van Noy."
I tried to tell you, man, I tried to tell you.
In all, Van Noy made 7.5 disruptive plays in the box score: 3.5 tackles for loss (1.5 sacks), a forced fumble (which he recovered for a touchdown), an interception he returned for a touchdown and a blocked punt.
(That kind of looks like Adam Dingwell's arm was moving forward, doesn't it? No matter: Van Noy would have just done it again on the next play, I'm sure.)
Van Noy single-handedly scored more points than the BYU offense and accounted for two of BYU's five takeaways. It was a fitting season finale for one of my favorite players in 2012.
@sbn_billc what was the more dominant defensive performance: Suh vs. Mizzou in 2009 or Van Noy tonight?— MCalogero (@mcalogero1) December 21, 2012
I'm not sure anything will ever trump Suh's performance to these (scarred) eyes, but wow, was Van Noy even better than I thought he would be ... and I set the bar really high.
Side note: There was some damn good defense played in the state of Utah this year, wasn't there? Utah's Star Lotulelei has long been considered one of the best prospects in this year's draft class, but his Utes defense was easily No. 3 in the state this year, ranking behind both BYU's and Utah State's. USU's may have been the best of the three, but I'll say this: BYU's was a lot more fun to watch. Utah State just strangled you, Alabama-style. BYU, led of course by Van Noy, made plays. Granted, the defense was mostly just making up for the plays the BYU offense wasn't making, but still.
7. Trips made by BYU's offense inside San Diego State's 40-yard line. The Cougars scored nine points on those seven trips. They scored a touchdown (on a 14-yard drive), kicked a field goal, turned the ball over inside the SDSU 5 (that just set up the above Van Noy touchdown, however) ... and punted three times. Playing the field position game clearly worked (see below), but ... the school of Ty Detmer, Jim McMahon, Steve Young and Robbie Bosco has undergone quite the identity change over the last couple of decades.
52.0. BYU's average starting field position in the second half, not including the two defensive touchdowns. San Diego State's: 13.1. Field position was basically even in the first half -- SDSU averaged a start from its 31.3, BYU 26.7 -- but the Cougars tilted the field drastically in their favor, lending an air of inevitability to the proceedings, even during a scoreless third quarter. SDSU running back Adam Muema was running the ball well, but all nine of his second-half carries came on SDSU's side of the 50. SDSU had nine possessions in the second half; two started beyond the Aztecs' 20, and four started inside their 10. You just cannot move the ball that far, that frequently, on the BYU defense.
137. Total yards for Adam Muema in 27 touches. He carried 26 times for 103 yards (a per-carry average of 4.0, which is actually solid against BYU) and caught a pass for 34 jukey yards. (Jukey is now a word.) He was outstanding. In plays involving Muema, SDSU averaged 5.1 yards per snap. In all other plays: 3.1 yards. Clearly Muema should have touched the ball another 30 times (because it's that easy, right?).
559. Total yards in the entire game. Three of the four teams that played in bowls last Saturday surpassed that (Nevada gained 659, Utah State 582, Arizona 578). There are a lot of ways to win a college football game.
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