Steve Helber, AP Photo

Great Clips of the Week: Bronco Mendenhall takes hammer to Virginia's 15-year losing skid

By Sean Walker, KSL.com | Posted - Dec 2nd, 2019 @ 11:01am



CELEBRATING SO HARD — There are a lot of reasons to celebrate a big win on the football field.

But here's a warning of caution: don't celebrate too soon — and be cautious.

In other words, be more like former BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall and less like Ole Miss wide receiver Elijah Moore.

We'll explain below.

As always, click the video above for more Great Clips of the Week.

Break the rock, Bronco

After every game Virginia football wins, the players gather in the locker room to break a rock with a sledgehammer, a nod to their team motto to keep pounding as they strive to reach their goals.

After the 22nd-ranked Cavaliers beat Virginia Tech 39-30 last Friday, there was only one option the players believed deserved to break the rock after snapping a 15-year losing streak in the Commonwealth Cup.

Former BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall swung emotionally, then let his hammer do the talking, setting off a celebration that started in the locker room, extended to the field-storming students in the stadium outside, and probably hasn’t quieted down in the streets of Charlottesville ever since.

The Cavs fell behind three times in the second half and came back each time against the rival Hokies.

Four years ago, Mendenhall left BYU to inherit a program that ranked at the bottom of the Atlantic Coast Conference. He took almost his entire staff from Provo to Charlottesville and began chipping away at individual and team goals: win a few games, get to a bowl game, and gradually build up from there.

Friday's victory was just another step in the process that Mendenhall has spoken about since his days as an assistant coach at New Mexico. But it was crucial in his process at UVA.

"It's an essential step," Mendenhall said after the game. "You can't build a consistent conference or national contender unless you own your state. You have to win your division before you can win the conference championship. Those just have to happen to have a quality football program — not just regionally, but nationally.

"It means one that is respect for not only what happens on the field, but also the type of students it produces."

Virginia will play No. 3 Clemson at 4:30 p.m. MST Saturday in the ACC championship. The Cavaliers opened as 24-point underdogs.

Potty Toddy

You've probably seen highlights of Mississippi State's wild 21-20 win over rival Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl on Thanksgiving night.

If you haven't, do yourself a favor and Google it. If you do, you'll probably find the game-defining play, when Ole Miss receiver Elijah Moore scored what looked like the game-tying touchdown and proceeded to celebrate by crawling on all fours like a dog and pretending to urinate on the goal post.

The stadium erupted in laughter, but there was just one problem: Moore was flagged for an excessive celebration, pushing back Mississippi kicker Luke Logan's extra-point attempt to 35 yards. The kicker promptly missed the PAT, and Ole Miss fans around the country were, well, pissed.

Pretty good, right?

But the best part of that play occurred half a world away. The game was being simulcast on Russian state television — and the commentary team was 'tinkled' pink at Moore's celebration.

Here's the full play.

That's a kick

And finally, the best football play we saw all week came from the high school ranks.

Hilo High School won Hawaii's Division I state title over the weekend with a dramatic 55-yard field goal as time expired by Keanu Keolanui.

The kick, which tied the Hawaii state record for the longest field goal in a playoff game, bounced off the front crossbar and trickled through the uprights to give the Vikings a 20-17 win over Iolani and capped an undefeated 14-0 season with their second state title in school history.

Somebody get that kid a scholarship.

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