Kragthorpe: BYU, Utah, USU give fans weekend to remember
Utah State's offense appeared to be just about unstoppable in the second half Saturday at Air Force, although the Aggies could not come close to matching their record of 136 points against Idaho State.
Even so, USU contributed to the biggest collective scoring day for current Football Bowl Subdivision schools in the state's history. Sadly, the 162-point production required the cooperation/victimization of another state-funded program, but the three-team performance topped the events of that October afternoon in 1919, when the Aggies ransacked ISU, and Utah beat Colorado College 20-0.
That was three years before BYU officially started playing football. In 1972, the Cougars teamed with Utah and USU to produce 138 points against Colorado State, New Mexico and Wyoming, when the offenses were led by quarterbacks Bill August of BYU, Don Van Galder of Utah and Tony Adams of USU.
Until Saturday, that remained the biggest one-day offensive showing for the three schools in victories over outside opponents. That qualifier disregards the day in 1993 when USU's Anthony Calvillo and BYU's John Walsh starred in the Aggies' 58-56 win and Utah's Mike McCoy threw a touchdown pass with nine seconds remaining to beat San Diego State 45-41.
A further look into the latest, greatest production, in order of merit:
As of Saturday evening, this is what I knew about BYU's offense: The Cougars had run for 187 yards at Virginia, which then allowed 350 rushing yards to Oregon. BYU quarterback Taysom Hill recorded 42 yards against the Cavaliers; Oregon's Marcus Mariota needed only four attempts to gain 122 yards.
So, obviously, I should have seen this coming.
BYU's breakout game defied every reasonable forecast, other than the promises of offensive coordinator Robert Anae and line coach Garett Tujague that the Cougars' problems were fixable. Those coaches apparently were correct, judging by BYU's school-record, 550-yard rushing effort including Hill's 259 yards in a 40-21 defeat of Texas.
Texas' defensive strategy was complicit, according to coach Mack Brown, who responded Sunday by firing his coordinator. Manny Diaz's defense held the BYU offense of Brandon Doman and Jake Heaps to 16 points and 235 total yards (43 rushing) in 2011, but was overwhelmed by Anae/Hill.
Who knows what to think of the Cougars now? More evidence would be helpful, but they're off until hosting Utah next week.
This much is clear: Hill is the best quarterback in modern college football history, among passers with a .333 completion percentage.
Air Force is not the same program any of us remember from the old days of the Mountain West like, three years ago. Yet it was still stunning to see any team shred the Falcons' defense the way Chuckie Keeton and the Aggies did in a 52-20 victory.
In the teams' first four possessions of the second half, USU registered 260 yards and 28 points to AFA's 39 yards and zero points.
Logically, Weber State should have been relieved that Utah overcame USU and the Aggies beat Air Force, so those teams would not need to release frustration on the Wildcats. Nice theory. Utah played aggressively throughout the first half in scoring 49 points on the way to a 70-7 victory.
Utah's showing was impressive, considering the Ute offenses of the previous two seasons could have stayed on the field after the other team went home and probably not scored 70 points. Utah's 628-yard production ranked No. 2 in the Kyle Whittingham era.
The Aggies' offense has less to prove, which may work in Weber State's favor Saturday in Logan.
The highest one-day collective point totals in football for BYU, Utah and Utah State:
162 • Saturday: Utah 70, Weber State 7; USU 52, Air Force 20; BYU 40, Texas 21.
159 • Oct. 30, 1993: USU 58, BYU 56; Utah 45, San Diego State 41.
156 • Oct. 11, 1919: USU 136, Idaho State 0; Utah 20, Colorado College 0.
136 • Oct. 28, 1972: Utah 59, New Mexico 14; BYU 44, Colorado State 28; USU 35, Wyoming 23.
Utah • QB Travis Wilson: 14 of 19, 264 yards, 3 TDs; 3 rushes, 93 yards, 2 TDs. Team: 628 total yards.
BYU • QB Taysom Hill: 17 carries, 259 yards, 3 TDs. RB Jamaal Williams: 30 carries, 182 yards. Team: 679 total yards.
USU • QB Chuckie Keeton: 32 of 40, 360 yards, 5 TDs; 8 rushes, 77 yards. Team: 577 total yards.
Keeton • No. 3 in total offense (418.0).
Williams • No. 2 in rushing (163.0).
Hill • Tied for No. 7 in rushing (150.5).
Wilson • No. 6 in passing efficiency (202.2).