BYU football at Utah State

BYU freshman running back Sione Finau gets his jersey pulled while running downfield during the 42-14 Cougar win at Utah State on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2019.

Here’s what’s going on inside Darnell’s head.

If anybody tells you they knew that BYU would beat Utah State by four touchdowns, they’re lying. Don’t back down. Make them show you some proof in writing.

That’s more like it

Putting together back-to-back really strong offensive performances against Boise State and Utah State has gotten my attention.

The BYU defense is still a mixed bag. The Cougars surrendered 472 yards but made up for it with three interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

The BYU offense? They have definitely discovered something that works.

Remember, this team was originally built around Zach Wilson at quarterback, Ty’Son Williams at running back and a whole lot of RPO’s (run-pass option plays). Now we’re seeing freshmen Jaren Hall and Baylor Romney running a completely different offense that has been breaking big plays by spreading the ball around. The play calling is never predictable. Think about this: BYU most dangerous offensive weapon this year has been tight end Matt Bushman. Against Utah State he was only targeted a couple of times and didn’t have a catch. But eight other receivers accounted for 23 catches, 418 yards and two touchdowns. That included a devastating screen game that absolutely destroyed the Aggie defense.

For an offensive coaching staff that has taken some heat, those are spectacular results.

Hall left the game late in the first half after taken a helmet-to-helmet contact that was stunningly not observed by game officials. It’s a shame, because he was terrific in that first half. Romney was pretty awesome himself in the second and even threw the first brother-to-brother touchdown pass in school history.

The Cougars are now 4-4 overall and will be heavily favored to win the next three games against Liberty, UMass and Idaho State. That would put BYU at 7-4 heading to San Diego State to close the regular-season.

A pretty good recovery by this coaching staff after bad losses to Toledo and South Florida, don’t you think?

Keep ‘em

I think BYU should extend Kalani Sitake’s contract right now.

There are plenty of arguments from both sides all over social media, but I think he and his coaching staff have proved their worth over the past couple of weeks. They lost Wilson and Williams but managed to adapt and produce. It was painful for BYU fans, but worth it. Sitake is now 2-1 against rival teams this season and the loss was the Utah, ranked No. 8 in the country. That is a huge positive step.

Give them the peace of mind they need and extend.

Let’s get emotional

Worst thing ever in sports: Watching our opponent celebrate a huge win on your home court.

Best thing ever in sports: Celebrating with your teammates after winning a state championship.

Actually, that second one I’ll have to take your word for it. I never won a state championship in anything when I was in high school and was super jealous watching others celebrate when they did. I did get to celebrate two state championships in girls basketball won by my wife when she was the head coach at Timpview in the mid-90’s.

It was everything I dreamed of and more.

Way to ruin my day

I asked about a flu shot at a local pharmacy this week.

The 20-something at the counter said, “Are you over 65?” because they had run out of the other vaccination.

Geez, you really know how to hurt a guy.

Rise up

There are some incredible venues to watch sports at BYU: LaVell Edwards Stadium, the Marriott Center, the Smith Fieldhouse, South Field and Larry Miller Park.

The home field advantage is real. Obviously, the numbers in all sports bear that out. But what I’ve observed is that a good team will raise their level of play when the take on BYU in these venues, creating a much more competitive game. To quote former Cougar football coach Bronco Mendenhall, the games are often played at a “higher level.”

That’s a pretty extraordinary bonus for the fans.

Let’s get frosty

One of our neighbors forgot to turn off their sprinklers during the recent cold snap. I drove by early in the morning and saw their entire lawn frozen in the most spectacular ice formations.

Mother Nature has a great sense of humor, doesn’t she?

It’s starting

Here are some quick observations from the BYU men’s basketball scrimmage last week.

I liked the pace at which the Cougars played, especially in the second half. In the first half, it looked like everyone was trying to make a play at the rim and BYU didn’t make a single 3-pointer.

Things changed in the second half when the Cougars started to make plays for each other. It was pretty cool to see the smile on freshman Trevin Knell’s face when he started raining in triples in the second half.

It’s not always going to be that easy, Trev.

I thought Jake Toolson and Connor Harding were really good on both ends of the floor. Kolby “Big Kolb” Lee was a load inside and scored on pretty much the same jump hook over smaller defenders, but he looked a lot better than last season. Senior guard T.J. Haws didn’t play because he was sick, but he should be good to go for the opener on Tuesday.

Defense, as you might expect, is still a work in progress.

Bad reaction

BYU coach Mark Pope said senior walk-on Evan Troy scored a basket late in the game then ran over to the bench requesting a sub. He ran right from the sideline to the locker room, where he promptly threw up.

A flu bug has been running through the team, so hopefully that’s the end of that.

That’s it for now, but for this: There is an awkward moment when you leave a store without buying anything and all you can think is "act natural, you're innocent."

Believe in yourself and have a great week.

Follow Darnell Dickson on Twitter @darnellwrites or e-mail him at

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