Ahhh the Memories

I’ve given myself the ‘Post traumatic-Life without College Football’ cleanse over the last couple of weeks.  Now I’m back, vowing to keep college football or at least BYU football alive and well through the otherwise bitter and mundane offseason.  To all of you other BYU die-hards out there, I have something I’d like your feedback on.  For those of you who may not know my background, I moved to Sandy Utah in 1987.  It wasn’t until the end of 1988 that my friends began asking me if I was a BYU or a Utah fan.  I had no idea what they were even talking about.  But it was the first year in 10 tries that Utah actually beat the Cougars.  So I made a resolution to watch the ’89 season unbiased and weighed in on the decision after that.  The 70-31 smoking was all I needed to easily choose the mighty Cougars.  I say all that to show that I was not a fan before that time.  Which leads me to my question; what are your top 5 most memorable BYU games? Not most important, not best wins over Utah (although you can choose them), program-changing, or even best performances.  Just most memorable wins in your mind.  To show you where I’m at here’s my top 5:

 5. 1980 Holiday Bowl– Mcmahon to Brown for the win after being down 20 with just over 4 minutes to go.  Thank goodness for BYU Classics on BYUTV.  Seriously, I still don’t think BYU is going to win when I watch the replay.

4.  1984- BYU beats Hawaii on famous goal line stand.  Kyle Morrell had no business timing the leap over the Hawaii O-line on that famous goal line stand.  He also had no idea it preserved the Cougars only National Championship.

3.  2001- BYU beats Utah in dramatic fashion. I was in LES for this one.  Loved hearing the Utah fans Shout ‘OVERRATED’ all….night….long….But it wasn’t the go-ahead touchdown that drove the Cougar fans in to a frenzy; we knew we hadn’t stopped offenses all season.  It was Jenaro Gilford’s interception that made the stadium sway back and forth for upwards of 3 minutes.  Then it was even sweeter showering the stadium with tortillas while pulling out our keys for the Utah fans.

2. 2009- BYU lays wood to Sooners in Texas Stadium opener.  College football can thank Coleby Clawson for blowing up Oklahoma’s season with his monster hit on Sam Bradford, virtually destroying his season.  We all know what happened the rest of that season, but it brought BYU to the forefront of mid-majors competing at a high level with BCS schools.  And a HUGE thanks for Max Hall keeping his promise as he pranced in to the locker room; ‘We’re gonna win!  We’re gonna win!’

1.  2006- Harline is still open Utah! Has to be the best game that is permanently etched in my memory.  The bitter disappointment of the previous 4 seasons of losses to the Utes just couldn’t happen for a 5 time.  I was dreading going to church the next day after Utah scored that last TD.  And I will admit, when Harline caught the pass heard round Provo, I shed exactly 1 tear!  I talk about this game often to those who don’t know the Holy War.  My son, Brady, has a book titled “The Answered Prayer” that describes that game.  On the last page it opens to the recorded audio of the last play as announced by the Greg Wrubell.  Brady pretty well has it memorized and can even do his own, creative version of the final play.  A Cougar lifer, as it should be.

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2 Responses to Ahhh the Memories

  1. Justin Butterfield says:

    My most memorable five games, in no particular order:

    Miami 1990 – I was there, and I don’t know that the energy level at LES has ever been higher. It was loud, we were proud, and we claimed victory. I watch replays of that game and will forever be amazed at the abilities of Ty Detmer to make plays.

    Oklahoma 2009 – I was at that game. In 25 years I have never seen a better defensive effort. I have also never treated by opposing fans the same. The OU fans are by far the kindest I have ever encountered. My wife and I were invited to at least 15 different tailgate parties before the game.
    After the game, it took us over an hour to walk from the stadium to our car because so many OU fans came up to us to talk about the game and congratulate us on the win. We were parked at the stadium, it would have otherwise been a five minute walk.

    Michigan 1984 – I was 8 at the time. My family had season tickets, so it was my first exposure to football. I knew nothing about football. I don’t remember much about those games, other than we always won. After the Holiday Bowl, I remember how we were the “National Champions”, but I had no clue that it was special. I had no idea how unique and abnormal it was to have season where you are undefeated. But I loved it anyway.

    Utah 2006 – I was defeated as the last play started, elated as it ended. Is there anything left to say after the words “Beck to Harline”? Those three words stir up so many memories. I have replayed that play on youtube and in my head at least a thousand times.

    Utah 2001 – I sat next to a “BYU fan” in the stands who was disgusted (as were the rest of us) for most of the game. With about five minutes remaining in the 4th he left. I turned to my brother in law and said to him, “I know it just isn’t possible, but I hope we come back to win this thing, just so that jerk will not be here to see it happen.” I will never forget Luke Staley breaking around the right side and turning on the afterburners to score the go ahead touchdown. Out of nowhere he doubles his speed and high-steps into the end zone. I will also never forget how loud it was when Jernaro Glford intercepted the final Utah pass to seal the deal. My ears were literally ringing that night.

  2. Matt says:

    Here’s my top list.
    5. Penn State
    1992. This may just seem like a throw away now as a tribute to Joe Pa, but it isn’t. I don’t recall much of this game. I remember it was Halloween. And I was there. It was one of the earliest memories I have of attending a game in person. I was with my dad. I just remember that it was significant that we won because it was Penn State. I didn’t know much more than that, but it was significant enough to me.

    4. Armed Forces Bowl
    2011. It’s fresh in the memory. It means so much more to this 2011 squad than just a bowl win. It was a vindication over the way the season unfolded. The entire Riley v. Jake drama. The inability to put together a win vs. a team with a winning record. And then the change that culminated in the Matt Reynolds helmetless block at the end of the first half, embodying the team mentality the team had adopted. And punctuated by the Dan Marino-esque fake spike for the game winning touchdown from Nelson to Cody Hoffman.

    3. Harline is Open
    2006. It’s already been mentioned here, but this game was so epic and the back and forth was incredible. As Justin mentioned I had resigned myself to losing this game. John Beck was scrambling all over the place and that usually means the team has nothing left since the play has broken down, but he ran back to his right and Johnny Harline followed across the endzone, unwatched, unchecked and then Beck got folded in half as he jump-passed across his body, across the field back to the other side of the field where Harline cradled the ball to his chest on his knees.

    2. UCLA
    2008. This game was a blow out. 52-0. In the scope of things, it’s pretty irrelevant. But I was there. It was the first game after we had won at Washington the week before in the midst of the really lame celebration call against Jake Locker that probably had everything to do with BYU blocking the extra point. But I digress. In the week that followed, national pundits (and local) were spouting off about BYU being undeserving and overrated. As BYU was pummeling the Bruins on national TV, the crowd got into a B-Y-U chant unlike anything I had ever heard before trying to emphasize that we did in fact belong in the conversation. The feeling was electric.

    1. Andrew George
    2009. This was my first live attendance in the BYU-Utah series and it didn’t disappoint. BYU had dominated the game from the beginning, but managed to allow Utah back into the game in the 4th quarter with 14 unanswered points. OT ensued and Utah scored on a field goal on their first possession. During the game, tight end Dennis Pitta set the all-time receptions record at BYU, forever cementing his legacy. But it wasn’t Pitta who came through in the end. Max Hall threw an ill-advised pass into double coverage and “By George” somehow Andrew George caught the ball and slipped past both Utah defenders on his way into the endzone some 15 yards later for the win. The stadium went nuts. I was jumping up and down like a fool, screaming my head off like nothing else mattered. Just awesome.

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