BYU football at USF 8

BYU quarterback Baylor Romney runs the ball during the 27-23 USF win over the Cougars in Tampa on Oct. 12, 2019.

Here’s what’s going on inside Darnell’s head after a weekend in St. George. I could live here if it wasn’t a billion degrees nine months out of the year. October is quite pleasant.

A bright spot

Most games, the media is allowed to leave the press box and go down the sideline at about the four minute mark of BYU football games. I’ve seen some pretty amazing things at field level in those final minutes — the Mangum Miracle at Nebraska in 2015, John Beck to Jonny Harline to beat Utah in 2006, Luke Staley’s run down the sideline to beat the Utes in 2001.

For those who haven’t been on the field for a college football game, it’s chaos, especially down the stretch. The crowd is so loud you can’t hear anything as the athletes on both sides dig way down deep to finish off a game.

I was reminded of this while watching — for the second straight week — a backup BYU quarterback attempt to lead the Cougars to a game-winning score in the final minute.

Neither Jaren Hall (against Toledo) nor Baylor Romney (against South Florida) could pull it off, but both quarterbacks handled the situation pretty well considering the circumstances.

While there is a lot of doom and gloom around the BYU football program right now, the quarterbacks have been a glimmer of hope.

We’re still not sure how long Zach Wilson will be out, but I thought Hall looked pretty good in his first start. He showed an excellent feel for the option game and broke some big plays, and I thought he made some nice throws. When the run game was working, the Cougar offense looked good — except for the mind-numbing issues in the red zone.

Hall got knocked out of the game when two South Florida defenders basically came untouched on the blitz. Not his fault, but it really points out the issues on the offensive line.

As for Romney, I’d only ever seen his high school highlight reel and a few reps during fall camp. Considering the circumstances he performed admirably. He got the Cougars down to the 13-yard line in the final moments and the sack that followed wasn’t his fault.

My point is, whatever BYU’s shortcomings, quarterback ain’t one of them.

A big investment

Nebraska has announced plans to build a $155 million, 350,000-square foot football facility with groundbreaking next summer and a completion target for the 2022 season. The football facilities will include a new locker room, strength and conditioning center, athletic medicine facility, equipment room, meeting rooms and coaches’ offices with an addition outdoor practice facility.

I worked at the Lincoln Journal Star for three years and was constantly in awe at Nebraska’s amazing athletic facilities.

Just here to point out the kind of money floating around Power Five programs. This is what BYU is competing against and every year the gap gets bigger.

Coming of age

The University of Washington has brought former Orem High star Puka Nacua along slowly. He played against Hawaii and caught a touchdown pass but didn’t get a chance against BYU in Provo. In Saturday’s 51-27 victory against Arizona, Nacua caught three passes for 97 yards. He’s really going to be special for the Huskies, sooner rather than later.

Another shot

The Utah Jazz announced on Saturday that the organization has signed former BYU standout Kyle Collinsworth.

It’s likely Collinsworth will play for the Salt Lake City Stars of the G League but could earn an opportunity to play for the big club down the line. The NBA is a shooter’s league, and consistent outside shooting Collinsworth’s biggest deficiency. But he’s an elite rebounder and a good defender, so he can help a team with those specific needs.

Say what?

When I was at BYU, I was in the communications program and trained as a TV newscaster on KBYU. I loved doing the sports report and one day I learned a valuable lesson about reading my copy thoroughly before going on air. The Cougar golf team was participating in a fall tournament and I completely mangled the name: “The Edean Ihlanfeldt Golf Tournament.” So when I hear some TV broadcaster say “Salani Kitake” instead of “Kalani Sitake,”I can feel his pain.

Channel surfing

It was another great week for BYU’s Olympic sports teams.

Women’s soccer beat Pepperdine and Pacific by a combined score of 11-1 and Makayla Colohan continues to be one of the most exciting players on campus. The women’s volleyball team swept both San Francisco and Santa Clara for the program’s 10th straight win. If you haven’t watched freshman setter Whitney Bower, you’re missing out.

The men’s and women’s cross country teams are both ranked No. 2 in the country for the first time ever and Peter Kuest is the next great Cougar golfer. He’s tearing it up this fall.

Actually, a lot of BYU fans are missing out on watching the women’s soccer and volleyball programs because BYUtv has opted not to show as many games as they have in previous years. Most of the games are available to stream on BYUtv Digital or the WCC Network, in case you were wondering. I’ll see if I can get to the bottom of this, but my feeling is BYUtv is trying to expand its programming to other family-friendly fare.

That’s all I’ve got, but for this: I had a great time at the Huntsman Senior Games in St. George. It’s amazing to see so many 50-year-olds and above still competing hard and having fun. Reminds me of this old joke: Regular naps prevent old age, especially if you take them while driving.

Think about it.

Be safe and have a great week.

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

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