You have to be honest if you sat through this game, the Las Vegas Bowl between Oregon State and BYU was the worst bowl game thus far. Why couldn't Oregon State fight their way out of a wet paper bag last night? Well, the Rodgers bros. had something to do with it, observe (embed video)
The grace they display in the Cirque de Soleil was sadly missing on the field. Here's the respective stat lines: Jacquizz Rodgers: 18 carries, 63 yards (29 of which came on one pinball type run), 1 rush TD; 4 catches, 13 yards and the first lost fumble of his career (in 622 touches) which led to a 34 yard fumble recovery and momentum solidifying TD for BYU near the end of the 1st quarter.
James Rodgers: 4 carries, 14 yards, 4 catches, 30 yards--that's about 3 catches and 53 yards off his season average. Part of the blame for the team leading WR, James Rodgers, not getting his is that the Beaver starting QB Sean Canfield hit less than 50% of his passes (far less than his 70% regular season average) due to high winds (43 mph winds with 55 mph gusts, more on this below) and a game BYU defense.
An ongoing feature of One-Handed Grab is the less than stellar kicking game on display this season. I didn't plan on this but in every game I watch kickers are providing the goods. In Sam Boyd Stadium the wind was whipping around so bad it made the Allstate FG nets inoperable and punts into said wind were a questionable proposition. "Dr." Lou Holtz was incredulous that Oregon State Coach Mike Riley did not have the rugby style punt "in his repertoire." The Beaver punter had not one but two (2) regular style punts go straight up and then come straight back down six (6) yards downfield. OSU would have been better off going for those two conversions. The first 6 yard blast in the 2nd quarter occurred after an incomplete pass on 3rd and 7. BYU went 41 yards in 4 plays for a TD and blocked XP to extend their lead to 23-7. The second 6 yard punt followed a 1 yard run by Jacquizz Rodgers to set up...4th and 7. Maybe Mike Riley should get something "in his repertoire" for the unlucky 7, 4th and 7 (it took this long for a gambling reference?). Luckily, BYU took themselves out of FG range with a personal foul and the half ended 23-7. Early in the 3rd quarter, OSU decided to fake the punt and throw a 3 yard pass on 4th and 10. This play of course would have been wiped out by an illegal shift, but BYU was not feeling gracious and took the ball. Nine plays later, BYU pushed the lead to 30-7. Once the game was 37-7 in the 4th quarter, Oregon State finally found the end zone again, then had an XP go off the upright. In a couple decades of watching college and pro football I don't recall as many uprights struck on FGs and XPs in any season as I have seen this year.
The good: BYU QB Max Hall was largely immune to the wind and completed 63% of his passes and had 3 TDs and more importantly, no INTs. Harvey Unga and Manase Tonga ran for a TD apiece and punished tacklers as power backs ought to.
The Asinine: The official sponsor commercial. I lost count how many times it came on, but I nearly lost my mind and added a complaint to this list. The singer's voice is so grating that you will prefer the original matchmaker song. Hey Maaco, leave that song in Fiddler on the Roof where it belongs.
Final Score: BYU 44, Oregon State 20 (Hey that's 17 more than last year! Unfortunately, I also watched that OSU WIN last year in the Sun Bowl).
BYU claims that the Las Vegas Bowl is theirs but that is clearly a rationalization as they improved to 3-2 in the game and have gone to Las Vegas 5 years running now despite winning 9.8 games a season (and 10.75 wins over the last 4 years). Mike Riley lost his first bowl game as Oregon State's coach. He was 5-0 overall and 1-0 in the Las Vegas Bowl before this game. The 44 points allowed in a bowl game is a record for OSU.
Bowl Entertainment factor: Not worth the price of admission. What's that? I watched the game for free?
Way TOO Early Bowl Challenge Standings (style points matter ladies and gentlemen)
MWC 2-0 1.000 Pt differential: 31
Sun Belt 1-0 1.000 (Dwight Dasher swagger boost override) Pt differential: 10
Big East 1-0 1.000 Pt differential: 21
WAC 0-1 .000 Pt differential: -7
Pac 10 0-1 .000 Pt differential:-24
C-USA 0-2 .000 Pt differential: -31 (ouch!)