The 66-year-old Edwards remains old-fashioned only in his ideas of what 20-year-old kids consider fun. He thought everybody might enjoy Starlight Express, which is still playing Vegas. The show proved to be an eye-roller for some of the Cougars, who probably wished they were just a little less wholesome this one time.
However, if some from BYU didn't have much fun on the Strip, they had a chance to make up for it on Saturday. A game between teams that each averaged 40 points guaranteed excitement—if not a trip to an alliance bowl.
Wyoming, which came in with the country's No. 1 passing offense (Josh Wallwork to Marcus Harris), was overlooked in ways the Cougars couldn't imagine. Their schedule was even more suspect than BYU's, and it didn't help that their coach, Joe Tiller, had announced that he was departing for Purdue at season's end. But after the Cougars jumped to a 13-0 halftime lead, the Cowboys roared back on two fourth-quarter touchdown catches by senior wideout David Saraf to go up 25-20.
Not even Oliver Stone could have dreamed up what happened next. After stopping a BYU drive on the Wyoming two-yard line with 2:57 to play in regulation, the Cowboys couldn't move on offense and, instead of punting out of the end zone to the dangerous James Dye, took a safety.
"A brilliant call," argued Tiller, and, startlingly enough, it almost was. The Cougars took the ensuing free kick and on seven plays moved 57 yards to the Cowboys' three—but nearly ran out of time. BYU thought a pass to Mark Atuaia had fallen incomplete to stop the clock, when in fact the referee had ruled that Atuaia had caught the ball, and the clock kept running. Senior receiver Kaipo McGuire alertly called timeout with a second left, and senior Ethan Pochman, a walk-on who hadn't played high school football, made a 20-yard field goal to tie the game. Wyoming failed to capitalize on its overtime possession, and four plays later Pochman kicked a 32-yard field goal to give the Cougars the victory.
In the pandemonium that followed (kids flooding the field and some decidedly unwholesome attempts to bring down a goalpost), it was briefly forgotten that Pochman's kick might have been an $8 million boot. Or that betrayal might await BYU the next day by the alliance. Or any of that stuff. For a moment it seemed like nothing more than one of those terrific games that 20-year-old kids sometimes put on for the rest of us. Just for a moment, though.