Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Chris Ello's Opening Shot: 2/25

PROVO, Utah -- I the place I despise most....The home of the Cougars....the school that always breaks our hearts...

Really....if you're a San Diego State always comes down to BYU....and even though you hope the story might for once have a different never does.

Blame Lorrenzo Wade and Kyle Spain and Richie Williams for gagging a 14-point lead in the second half....or blame Steve Fisher for watching his troops surrender a 20-4 run to close out the game's final six minutes....Blame the fact that -- maybe in the end -- it was just the Aztecs being the Aztecs.

The one game they just have to always the one they just can't win. Really, we should be used to it by now.

But how different might things be if it weren't for the school I'll visit later on this evening -- to see if Beth Burns' women's team can't finally conquer the Cougs??

A lot different.

Let's zap our way back nearly 30 years ago to (then) San Diego Stadium to watch a pair of 8-and-2 football teams battle for the (then) WAC Championship....On one side, BYU....on the home side, San Diego the stands, me just finishing out my first semester as a freshman....on TV's across the country, the game being telecast nationally by ABC.

On that day, there was no Aztec-BYU chapters had been yet written....the pages were blank....and so were the stares on the Aztecs' faces after they allowed BYU quarterback Mark Wilson to throw five touchdown passes in the first half en route to a 63-14 demolition.

How might have things been different?? Well....a different outcome that day would have put San Diego State in the first-ever Holiday Bowl....Instead, of course, it was BYU that wound up making that game its annual December home.

A different outcome may have changed the entire course of San Diego State's football history....mostly because of the embarrassment of that 1979 defeat, successful Coach Claude Gilbert was fired a year later.

The Aztecs still, to this day, haven't found a suitable replacement....

In 1981, things might have been different as well. Under first-year Coach Doug Scovill (brought in, ironically, from BYU), SDSU opened the season 4-and-0, the fourth win being a 52-31 thrashing of then 7th-ranked Iowa State.

The following week, of course, BYU came to town....and led by Jim McMahon, the Cougs scored three quick touchdowns to put the game away early and went on to win, 27-7. That was the year that BYU would gain national fame by beating SMU, 46-45, in what people still to this day call one of the greatest football games ever played.

What if San Diego State had played SMU that year?? Because of the Cougars, we'll never know.

Because of BYU, we'll never know how far Marshall Faulk and Darnay Scott could have taken the Aztecs in '92....because it was the Cougars who erased a 45-17 deficit in the third quarter and eventually forced a conference-winning 52-52 tie.

It's always BYU. Just as was -- once again -- last night.

Years from now, folks hereabouts will wonder how a team with Wade and Spain and Williams all in their senior seasons.....a team with Coach Fisher.....a team with a roster full of young talent.....Shelton and White and Gay and Amoroso and Cheriet....could have come up short in their bid to reach the NCAA Tournament....

They'll look for reasons and excuses....and for explanations why.

But the answer will be the same as it always has just came down to BYU...

1 comment:

  1. That 52-52 game is legend. I still wonder what the final score would have been were it played with today's overtime rules.