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Shep Talk: More questions for the Cougars

Shep Talk: More questions for the Cougars

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The BYU Cougars lost to the Boise State Broncos on Thursday night, 7-6 at Bronco Stadium. This is the second straight time that BYU has lost to Boise State by one point. In a game with so many storylines, the play that every BYU fan is talking about occurred right after the Cougars scored their only touchdown of the game.

After watching the offense finally get things going and score on a 95-yard drive, BYU decided to go for the two-point conversion instead of tying the game at seven with 3:37 left in regulation. The resulting play resulted in an incomplete pass and BYU trailing by one point. At first, the decision to go for two left Cougar Nation scratching their heads; but as fans had more time to think about it, severe frustration started to sink in.

After the game, BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said he had decided to go for the two-point conversion when the Cougars were at the 20-yard line prior to the score. Bronco also said he would do the same thing again if given the chance.

Whether you like the call or not, the fact remains that BYU has now lost two games in a row. It's interesting to note that BYU's offense has outscored the opposing offense in both loses.

Aside from the questionable play call at the end of the game, the play of the offense overall was once again subpar. Riley Nelson was benched in the third quarter after a four turnover performance. It was an interception that led to Boise State's only touchdown.

Bronco Mendenhall told KSL Newsradio that Riley Nelson is still his starter, but that his injury may dictate starting someone else against Hawaii next Friday. Nobody has ever questioned Riley's toughness or leadership; but the fact remains that he isn't playing well right now. If his struggles are a direct result of his injury, he shouldn't be playing.

The biggest travesty of the night is that the BYU defense walked off the field on the short end of the score. The Cougar defense was absolutely spectacular; making things extremely difficult on the Broncos all night. The biggest defensive stand was when BYU held Boise State out of the end zone on four-straight plays from the 1-yard line.

Before the season started, I looked at the first month of the season and said it would set the table for how good or bad this season would be for BYU. I thought that BYU had to at least go 2-2. If BYU could somehow go 3-1 or 4-0, it would really put them in position for a great year. A "special" season in terms of record is no longer attainable. That doesn't mean that the 2012 campaign is a lost cause. The Cougars still have games at Notre Dame and Georgia Tech to prove they can win big games. A road win at either school would be a nice feather in BYU's cap. While a BCS Bowl game is not in the cards, the Cougars will almost assuredly cruise past the six-win mark and play in the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego.

This team has too much talent for it to not figure things out. I fully expect them to right the ship; but it is going to take some time, especially if they have to change things up for a new quarterback. As frustrating as losing is for fans, the players and coaches feel it even more.

All BYU can do is try and get better at all facets of the game. There next opportunity to prove themselves comes next Friday at Lavell Edwards Stadium against the Norm Chow-led Hawaii Warriors.

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Jason Shepherd


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