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Cougars play tough led by Nelson, but fall

Cougars play tough led by Nelson, but fall

By Andrew Devey, KSL.com Contributor | Posted - Nov. 1, 2011 at 9:45 p.m.



This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

PROVO -- The BYU Cougars may have outplayed TCU on paper but gave last Friday's game away with sloppy play and timely turnovers and penalties. BYU fans around the nation are disappointed by the outcome of the game, however some are choosing find positives while others are distressed by another loss to the Horned Frogs.

Brett Richins of DeepShadesofBlue.com argues that BYU missed their chance for a successful season and may have tarnished the BYU football brand. By losing to Utah and TCU, the same Mountain West Conference rivals as last year, BYU's opportunity to establish itself as an independent has been a dud.

In a season with the most exposure in school history the Cougars aren't playing at the level needed to garner national attention. Head coach Bronco Mendenhall has set the standard for his team, but they didn't measure up last Friday and the nation saw it.

However, the BYU Sports Guy wants to remind Cougar fans that the loss to TCU doesn't define the season, and chooses to focus on the resiliency that the team showed when down.

"They wanted to keep playing football," Mendenhall said. "They realized and were frustrated by the mistakes we made, but they were having fun, and they were supporting each other, and they believe in one another, and I believe in them."

BYU played hard, and well, at times, but early mistakes had the Cougars playing from behind. The extra effort BYU showed didn't go unnoticed by TCU head coach Gary Patterson, but it wasn't enough to overcome its mistakes.

Patterson told Stefan Stevenson of the Star-Telegram that he was just glad to come away with a win against the energetic Cougars.

"They wanted that ballgame very badly," Patterson said. "They put a lot into that game. It's one of those games when you're just glad we won, especially when we didn't think we played that well."

Viewers of the game could tell that the Cougars wanted that game. None more than Riley Nelson who continued to lower his head for yards late in the game, and even took a moment to celebrate with the referee following a successful two-point conversion.

Alan Black of the Bleacher Report enjoyed seeing Nelson lead BYU in the second half even when the game seemed out of reach.

The BYU Sports Guy agrees and believes that Nelson's positives outweigh the negatives that come with his style of play.

"His greatest strength, his competitiveness, is also his greatest weakness sometimes Ultimately, though, Nelson's feet and his leadership skills make up for his lack of arm strength, and he will learn when to bail out of a play with a little more experience.

Adam from LoyalCougars.com looks a little deeper into the comparison between Nelson and Jake Heaps in hopes to solve the problem.

Have you ever wondered what Nelson thinks of all the talk going around? It sounds like he doesn't care what you say about him. ESPN's Andrea Adelson highlighted Nelson's rise as starter and what his secret is to playing well.

"I was so worried about whatever everybody else was saying it was affecting my play on the field. I'm one more year older and wiser. With another year of experience, I feel I can be me -- whether or not it's what people like."

Email: onlinesports@ksl.com.

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Andrew Devey

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