With Max Hall already garnering the Walter Camp National Player of the Week honors and other national recognition, the Mountain West Conference has weighed in with its weekly winners:
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Max Hall (BYU), Andrew Rich (BYU) and Austin McCoy (Wyoming) are Mountain West Conference Players of the Week for games through Sept. 6. Hall earns the Offensive Player of the Week honor, while Rich garners the Defensive Player award and McCoy receives Special Teams recognition. Hall collects his fifth career player of the week honor, while Rich and McCoy each capture their first career weekly accolade.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
MAX HALL, BYU
Senior, Quarterback, Mesa, Arizona/Arizona State
Max Hall completed 26-of-38 passes for 329 yards and two touchdowns to lead No. 24 BYU to a 14-13 upset of No. 3 Oklahoma. Down 13-7 with 11:41 left to play, Hall led the Cougars on a 16-play, 78-yard drive that resulted in a 7-yard touchdown pass to McKay Jacobson to tie the game with just 3:03 remaining. Mitch Payne's extra point put BYU on top, 14-13. During what proved to be the game-winning drive, Hall completed 9-of-11 passes for 74 yards, including a 23-yard strike to tight end Dennis Pitta on 4th-and-4 from the Oklahoma 29-yard line. The victory marked the first time BYU defeated a top-10 team since downing No. 1 Miami, 28-21, on Sept. 8, 1990.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
ANDREW RICH, BYU
Junior, Free Safety, Ogden, Utah/Snow College
Andrew Rich recorded five tackles, including four solo stops, one tackle for loss and two forced fumbles to aid the Cougars' upset victory. With Oklahoma holding a 7-0 lead at the 2:15 mark of the first quarter and a 1st-and-10 opportunity on the BYU 16-yardline, Rich caused a Sooner fumble that was recovered by Cougar linebacker Shawn Doman on the BYU 5-yard line. The Odgen, Utah, native forced his second fumble of the game with 4:12 left to play in the second quarter and Oklahoma driving. Cougar defensive lineman Brett Denney recovered the ball on the BYU 37. Five plays later, Max Hall connected with Andrew George on a 5-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 7-7.
It would take me a half hour to link to all of the national press BYU is getting, but one of the more insightful articles can be found here.
Some of you may have encountered some difficulties with certain podcast audio archive elements from the BYU-OU game. We apologize for the technical issues, which have now all been resolved. All of the pregame, in-game and postgame audio is correct and complete.
Andrew Rich's conference Player of the Week award was well-deserved, and only served to underscore how impressive the BYU defense was on Saturday night. Rich was indeed a significant contributor, but he was hardly alone, as practically every other defensive player ended up making plays that had a role in the victory.
I think BYU's defensive renovation will end up being one of the main stories of the Mountain West Football season.
Congrats to Colorado State for making the Mountain West 2-1 versus the Big 12 on the weekend. The Rams win over Colorado (on the road) meant the MWC was 2-2 v. BCS leagues on opening weekend.
The Big Least went 0-1 v. fellow BCS foes, while the ACC went 0-4. Additionally, ACC teams lost to William & Mary (Virginia) and Richmond (Duke). Keep it up, BEC and ACC; the Mountain West will be an automatic qualifier in the BCS before you know it (well, 2012, technically, but it's going to happen).
With BYU facing one of the best combo placekicker/punters in the nation in Tulane's Ross Thevenot, it will be interesting to see how BYU's kicking game performs inside the Superdome.
Despite the fact Mitch Payne made the must-make game-winning PAT v. OU (and that is as pressure-filled a kick as he has had to make as a Cougar!), he mis-hit a 46-yard FG attempt (after a 41-yard make was wiped off due to delay of game), undercut a kickoff that made it only to the 25-yard line, and kicked off out of bounds after BYU's go-ahead touchdown.
Bronco Mendenhall has placed a lot of confidence in Payne's abilities; we will see if that confidence has wavered after a shaky opener.
Punter Riley Stephenson showed a great leg and good distance control (on the punt that was downed at the one-yard line), and he will no doubt look for a tad more consistency on Saturday, but it appears that BYU should have no punting concerns whatsoever until about 2013.
ESPN's Todd McShay, in his weekly dot-com "Stock Up, Stock Down" report:
2. BYU Cougars
Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford's shoulder injury is the headline news coming out of the Sooners' stunning 14-13 loss Saturday. But let's not forget to give BYU credit for its extraordinary effort. Bradford's departure was not the only reason for the upset. Remember, the game was tied at 7 when Bradford hurt his shoulder, and the Cougars were dealing with several injuries of their own, including the hamstring injury that sidelined starting RB Harvey Unga. Coach Bronco Mendenhall exploited the inexperience of Bradford's replacement, Landry Jones, with a myriad of fronts, coverages and blitz packages.
QB Max Hall displayed excellent leadership and toughness throughout the four quarters. Hats off to Hall's offensive line and backup RB Bryan Kariya as well. The battered line was not intimidated by Oklahoma's star-studded defensive front, and Kariya's yards after contact (on 17 carries and four catches) helped keep several drives alive.