It was a closer game than I’d have liked, but BYU has been proven to be very good at winning close games under Bronco Mendenhall. Here’s a look back at the Cougars’ win over the Tulsa Golden Hurricane in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl.
To me, there are three big plays in this game that really stand out. First, the helmetless block by Matt Reynolds. Matt was a monster OL, and he got beat at the beginning of the play. What did he do after that? He got up, sans helmet, and hunted down the guy that beat him. What followed was a freight-train like hit that freed Riley Nelson for just enough time to complete at touchdown pass to Cody Hoffman.
The second big play came on 4th and 9 with under three minutes to go. The Cougars were trailing by 4. Nobody calls a run on 4th and 9 at that point in the game, so my best guess is that this was pure Riley. He sees there is no one open, so he does what he does best: make something up. What he made up was a fried chicken scramble that went for around 16 yards and kept the Cougars alive.
The last big play was the game winning touchdown with 11 seconds remaining. This play has already become well known as the “Red Alert” play. 2nd and goal with under 20 seconds to go, everyone is expecting a spike. A spike is the play that was called in from the sidelines. Riley yells out “red alert” to both sides of the line, and proceeds with a fake spike. Tulsa defenders are caught off-guard, standing around while Riley tosses an easy grab to Hoffman for the game-winning TD. The play was reportedly tried a number of times in practice throughout the season, but without success. Sometimes you just have to take a chance. And right now, we have a quarterback willing to take those chances.
Here are the game highlights from ESPN: