This week has officially ended the summer drought! With college football starting up it marks the end of summer sports that makes things so boring. The start of the new season is always one of anticipation but at the same time, it also makes me worry a little bit. I was a BYU fan growing up as a kid and followed them until I went on my mission. Gary Crowten had taken over by that time and the program seemed on the decline. When I got back from my mission, it took a while to get back into Sports. I didn't know much about the Cougs and was attending the U of U, which made it even harder to get back into it.
Then I met Ashley, she had season tickets and told me that she could never like someone who wasn't a die-hard fan. Well the rest is history and I started to follow the games more closely. Since I have been attending the games again, the Cougs have only lost 5 games and I'll be honest in the fact that I feel rather spoiled. They have won every home game, and even though they went 10-3 last year, I still felt like the year had been a disappointment even though I knew that this was ridiculous. But when they announced the schedule for this upcoming season, playing both Oklahoma and Florida State in the non-conference schedule, I could help but feel that maybe this would be the year that they slipped a little bit, perhaps only winning 9 games. I worked to not get my hopes up, and then injuries started to poor in.
There were the offensive lineman that were going to be out the full year, one that had a broken hand but should return soon, and then the Harvey Unga went down with a hamstring injury. In the two weeks leading up to the game, they proclaimed that he would be fine for the opener. Right before the game, I was nearly positive that he would not be playing in that game, judging by the grimace on his face when he was trying to warm up. I said that he didn't look good, and Ashley's response was that I should never say that about a BYU player, ever. Then the sideline reporter confirmed it, he more than likely wouldn't start in the game.
By this time, I was convinced that I would be happy if they just didn't get blown out. If they could just stay in this game, that would give me hope for the rest of the season. What we saw in the first part of the game didn't inspire a lot of confidence. Two big fumbles, a lot of penalties, and interception made me wonder if I was in for a long season. But there were a couple of things that stood out. The defense was stout, rarely allowing Oklahoma to move the ball with the exception of the touchdown that came as a result of great field position thanks to a BYU error. They even managed to get pressure on Sam Bradford. On one series, they seemingly hit him on every down. Then I really started to wonder if this was going to happen, could they win it.
Sam Bradford going down with an injury obviously didn't hurt the Cougs chances of winning, but he wasn't having a Heisman like performance before he went out. If anything, I think that it just gave them the confidence that they really did belong on the same field as the highly-touted Sooners. The defense came up big once again on the goal line stand. It was six play stand where Oklahoma looked defeated, ultimately settling for a field goal. That stand was truly the most pivotal moment of the game. The rest came naturally for the Cougs.
A fourth quarter drive that included three third down conversions and one fourth down conversion. After reading today that Max Hall called his own plays on this drive and seeing the Cougars not lose their cool under pressure conjured memories of Johnny Harline and Fourth and 18. But even after taking the lead, it still was up to the defense to make one that last stand. With Bronco's mentality in past years being "Bend, not Break", the only way to put it was that the Cougs didn't break, and they didn't even bend that much. They looked first class and showed that they belonged.
I make no predictions for the rest of the season, but I will say that this team is showing something that simply wasn't there for the majority of last season. They had a hunger and desire that wasn't there before.