Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Top Moments of the GP Era: #8

After taking the first meeting with BYU as a member of the Mountain West, the Frogs stubbed their toe against the Cougars in both 2006 and 2007. Before the 2008 season, BYU declared the season as their "Quest for Perfection", as they were dubbed as the main candidate to crash the BCS- ahead of TCU. By the time they came to Fort Worth for a Thursday night game on October 16, 2008, the Cougars had started the season 6-0, including a road win over Washington and an eye-opening 59-0 win over UCLA in Provo, and climbed to #8 in the polls. They also owned the nation's longest winning streak at 16 games. TCU was 6-1 and ranked #24 themselves, but a lopsided loss at Oklahoma had many people thinking their own BCS hopes were shot.

On BYU's fourth play from scrimmage, Cougar QB Max Hall threw a gift-wrapped interception right into the arms of Daryl Washington...who dropped what would've been an easy six points. The near-sellout crowd gasped at the lost opportunity, but two plays later Jerry Hughes sacked Hall, whose ensuing fumble was recovered by Matt Panfil. Two plays after that, Andy Dalton found Jimmy Young for a 25-yard touchdown for an early 7-0 lead.

BYU's next possession ended with TJ Johnson laying a crushing hit on Harvey Unga, stopping the Cougars short on 4th & 1. That's when TCU unleashed the Wild Frog, confusing the defense by having Jeremy Kerley alternate snaps at quarterback with Dalton. It worked, with Kerley's three carries going for 43 yards including a 16-yard touchdown run to make it 14-0 with not even 9 full minutes off the clock.

From there, the rout was on. Dalton found Walter Bryant for a 12-yard scoring pass in the second quarter, which coupled with a 21-yard field goal by Ross Evans to give the Frogs a 23-0 halftime lead. TCU sacked Max Hall six times (including 4 from Hughes in a breakout performance) and picked him off twice, holding the Cougars scoreless until late in the third quarter. Their first score was quickly answered with a touchdown by the Frogs, pushing the score to its eventual final of 32-7 just before the end of the third quarter. Patterson called off the dogs after that, and the crowd (or at least my section) taunted the Cougars throughout the final frame.

In the aftermath of this insanely-entertaining blowout win, the Frogs jumped from #24 up to #15, and at 7-1 suddenly found themselves back in the BCS conversation and in the thick of the MWC title race. It also helped them break the soul-crushing Thursday night losing streak, which spanned 5 games dating back to 2006. It was also prettyyy, prettyyyy, prettyyyyy entertaining to watch those smug, holier-than-thou BYU fans leave the stadium with slumped shoulders and newly-redundant "Quest for Perfection" towels.

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