The BYU football team picked up a win over the Wyoming Cowboys in the Poinsettia Bowl. Here are three things we learned from the Cougars’ final game of the 2016 season. BYU football’s 2016 season has come to a close. There were ups, there were downs, but one thing is certain: the future is bright for the Cougars. BYU will lose 20+ seniors, so next year’s team will look differently. But, there were still some worthwhile takeaways from BYU football’s Poinsettia Bowl win. For one thing, who knows about the passing game? I don’t think it’s fair to judge Tanner Mangum considering he was throwing in a torrential downpour, but still, throwing for fewer than 100 yards is not good. There’s so little to go on it’s not one of our main points, but I wanted to throw that out there. Reports were that he held on to the ball too long. We saw that. Reports were that he’d just chuck it deep if he was in trouble. We saw that too. But there were also some great flashes of well-placed balls. With the rain playing such a factor, it’s tough to tell what Mangum we’ll get in 2017, We saw that too. But there were also some great flashes of well-placed balls. With the rain playing such a factor, it’s tough to tell what Mangum we’ll get in 2017, This is the first BYU football bowl win since 2012, when the Cougars knocked off San Diego State in the Poinsettia Bowl. The Cougars lost in each of the last three seasons to Utah, Memphis and Washington. Each of those losses stung for their own reasons. The Utah game was disappointing because of the disastrous start. Memphis left a sour taste because of the brawl. Washington ended up capping off Taysom Hill’s only fully-healthy season. It might have been sloppy and ugly and wet and slippery and muddy and nasty. But a win is a win. And that’s what BYU football got. Kalani Sitake is now the first BYU football head coach to win his first bowl game. I know BYU likes to tout its ‘consecutive bowl appearances,’ but hopefully for the Cougars this is the start of a bowl winning streak. We all know about the Cougars’ four losses this season and how they came by eight total points. But some of the wins were close calls too. BYU won three of its games by a combined 11 points. BYU fans were hoping the team would take care of business against Wyoming.
It didn’t happen. The Cougars took a 24-7 lead in the fourth quarter, and it seemed like it was all but over. Then Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen found Tanner Gentry for a 9-yard touchdown with about seven minutes left. The score was 24-14, but BYU’s lead felt relatively safe. Then the offense stalled. And Wyoming answered. Allen found Gentry again with just over two minutes left and the Cowboys were down 24-21. The BYU offense stalled again. Wyoming had about two minutes to tie or win the game and started driving. But then BYU football’s biggest defensive playmaker did what he does best. Kai Nacua secured an interception, ending the Cowboys’ drive and sealing the Cougar win. Was it fun? Sure. Was it stressful? You bet. On the off chance anyone thought that maybe Jamaal Williams didn’t have all the tools to be a NFL running back, let the Poinsettia Bowl be a lesson. The J-Swag Daddy is a pro football player. Williams carved Wyoming to the tune of 210 yards and a touchdown while averaging 8.1 yards per carry. Plus, Williams did everything you look for in a pro running back. He was shifty, he was always churning his legs, he was always falling forward, Plus, Williams did everything you look for in a pro running back. He was shifty, he was always churning his legs, he was always falling forward, Now, I’m not saying that he’ll be a first (or second or third) round NFL draft selection. But I am saying he’ll find some way to contribute in the NFL next season. Everything about his game is smooth and explosive. He was a special player to watch in Provo and Cougar fans will sorely miss him next season.