Saturday, October 1, 2011

In a Stunning Turn of Events

Today was full of stunning twists and turns.  First example, my math test I talked about last time?  I scored an 80% on it.  Those of you who think an 80% percent in anything is a "bad score", well I'd have to agree...if the subject wasn't math.  I'd be happy with 80-90 scores because for me that's really good.

But now to the main focus of this post...BYU's rallying to beat USU.  To most of you, this game may not seem like a big deal, but do the die-hard cougar faithful (you know who you are), this game was a stunning (and long awaited) turn of events.  Just like against rival Utah, BYU led 10-7, but then found themselves behind the opponent as the 3rd quarter drew to a close. 

Some background facts before we get into the best part: Jake Heaps was one of the top quarterback recruits in the nation when he graduated from high school.  Riley Nelson transferred from USU to BYU and competed for the starting position with Heaps.  Then Nelson had to undergo shoulder surgery.  Heaps played the rest of the year and performed quite well as a freshman.  Many of us had the thought that he would be a quarterback boss when he reached his Sr. year.  Well, as the first 4 games of this season have proved...Heaps is talented, but unable to make clutch plays and lead the troops.

The USU vs. BYU game was no different.  Like I said before, we were nearing the end of the third quarter with the score looking like another loss.  Then, like a warrior rising up in defense of all he holds dear, Riley Nelson came in to replace Heaps.  Before I discuss his performance let me mention that Riley Nelson transferred form USU in hopes of a better career.  Due to surgery he had to sit out and he's played second fiddle to Heaps ever since.  I've always believed Nelson to be the better quarterback and tonight my beliefs were cemented.

As soon as Nelson hit the field there was a tangible shift in aggression, determination, and sheer will-power.  Nelson had something to prove and this was his chance.  With 15 minutes to rally and overtake USU's lead Nelson got right to work.  He ran the ball, he threw the ball, he MOVED the ball.  No more 3 and outs, no more crazy passes.  Nelson absolutely took control and leadership of the BYU offense.  It's safe to say he took control of the game.  USU has no answer for Nelson's desire to prove himself worthy of the starting position.  It's not very often that you see a quarterback lower his shoulders in an attempt to "truck" a linebacker.  But that's exactly what Nelson did.  Did Nelson give up when DiLuigi fumbled in the Blue Zone?  Not at all.  Driving 96 yards for the win in 2 minutes is what Nelson did tonight.  What makes this game even sweeter is the fact that Nelson busts his backside in practice and has had a good attitude about being second string to Heaps.  But enough was enough and we were happy to see him finally get his chance even though it came a year or so late.  Even if BYU doesn't meet the expectations we had for them this year, we can be certain of one thing...Riley Nelson and what he did tonight will live on in the memories of the BYU faithful for years to come. 

Thanks Riley!  We look forward to seeing you play this year! 

P.S. During the few moments before Nelson's debut in this game I joked with my buddy Jonny and quoted Optimus Prime with a spin of my own:  "Someday, a Cougar will rise from our ranks and light our darkest hour."  I believe that's exactly what happened tonight.

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