BYU’s rough night at AT&T Park a microcosm of the challenges facing the school as a big-time independent

BYU-UW

By Morris Phillips

A step slow, a play short: it was a pattern that played out to BYU’s detriment throughout the Fight Hunger Bowl Friday night.   While the Cougars acquitted themselves well, riding the spirit and running of quarterback Taysom Hill, when it came time to make a critical play, the Cougars didn’t while Washington did.

In the first half alone, the Cougars amassed 297 yards in offense, but never led.  Four offensive trips inside the UW 30-yard line produced three field goals and one touchdown on the initial push.  In the second half, a big interception had BYU poised to get back in it, but an incomplete pass and a sack preceded Justin Sorenson’s 44-yard missed field goal.

ESPN commentator Dave Pasch called BYU’s offense in the first half that enjoyed huge advantage in plays and yardage “dominant.”  In truth, the Hill-led attack was relevant, but ultimately ineffective.

“That to me was two even matched teams,” an upbeat BYU coach Bronco Mendehall recounted.  “I thought we had time of possession.  I thought we had ball control, et cetera.  We weren’t able to put it into the end zone, maybe on a couple of occasions.”

“When we get down there, we have to execute at a really high level, and we didn’t do that.  We had a couple of penalties that really killed us.”

And special teams were clearly no help.  After the Cougars drove 88 yards in 12 plays—including a gutsy fourth down run and conversion out of punt formation at their own 20—to tie it, 7-7, Washington got a 100-yard kickoff return from ultra speedy John Ross that put BYU behind once again.  After the Cougars narrowed the gap to 14-13, Jessie Callier’s 47-yard kickoff return set up the Huskies for another touchdown.

The BYU offense that moved the ball so effectively in the first half, bogged down after halftime.  Hill’s favored slant route to receivers Cody Hoffman and Skyler Ridley was effectively taken away by the Huskies crowding the box.  While Hill continued to find running holes—he would amass a career-high 31 rush attempts—UW dared the athletic quarterback to throw, and more often than not, Hill couldn’t connect.

The Cougars offense that amassed all the yardage in the first half went without a major push into Washington territory after halftime.  Washington’s touchdown on the initial drive of the half effectively put the game away.

Even more humbling for BYU were the marquee individual matchups that left many of BYU stars humbled.  All-American linebacker Kyle Van Noy played well in his final game as a Cougar, but when UW back Bishop Sankey was in his sights at the 11-yard line in the second quarter, Van Noy was left grasping for air as Sankey sidestepped the Cougar and then raced into the end zone for a 21-13 Washington lead.

In the third quarter stand out linebacker Uani Unga was matched up with UW’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins near the goal line, but the massive 6’6”, 280-pound tight end had the clear size and reach advantage when quarterback Keith Price whizzed a pass to Seferian-Jenkins in the end zone that put UW up 28-16 and left Unga an arm’s length short.

Hoffman, an NFL prospect at wide receiver, made plays in the middle of field, hauling in 12 catches for 167 yards, but his turn as passer didn’t fare well.  Hoffman received a pitch and threw a short out to Hill, but Hoffman took a shot to the ribs as he threw and was limited for the entire second half.

In all, a tough night for the Cougars, but also a reminder of what challenges life as a big-time independent will entail.  BYU left the Mountain West conference after 2012 for greater television exposure and the opportunity to play a national schedule and better pursue an opportunity at an elusive national championship.

But while a hand-picked schedule may garner exposure, the Cougars will have to recruit the best players to compete at such a lofty level.  On Friday night, the best athletes on the field wore purple and gold. A humbling loss to a middle-of-the-pack Pac-12 team in Washington could not provide a better illustration of the Cougars’ conundrum: the Cougars need to win big to gain national acclaim, but those wins will clearly be more difficult to grasp outside the Mountain West and squarely on top of the national stage.

A’s proposed move to San Jose

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

 

OAKLAND–Commissioner Bud Selig’s letter denies the A’s move from Oakland to San José, but…But Selig’s June 17 letter addressed only the details of the stadium relocation proposal – not the principle of relocation, the sources say. MLB questioned the feasibility of that project and felt that insufficient financial information and attendance projections had been provided about a downtown San Jose site. Again: “not the principle of relocation”.

 

To question San Jose’s financial and attendance projections is interesting, because at least on the financial side of the equation the South Bay city is listed as the wealthiest metro area in the United States of America in recent surveys. As far as the attendance is concerned? I do not buy it. San José’s weather is much baseball-like (warmer) than most other Bay Area cities; located inland, not close to the ocean or very close to the bay, it provides perfect baseball weather from April to October. During these days of a very bad economy, there is one industry thriving; the high technology industry, Silicon Valley. Are the Giants afraid of Silicon Valley?

 

Income for most of the 366 metropolitan areas measured by the U.S. Census Bureau are flat in the last year, and many are still down significantly compared to 2008. According to the Census Bureau, Brownsville, Texas replaced McAllen, Texas as the country’s poorest metro area. San Jose, Calif. took the top spot as the wealthiest metro area, replacing Washington, D.C. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the metropolitan areas with the highest and lowest median incomes in the U.S.

Again: “San José, California, took the top spot as the wealthiest metro area, replacing Washington, D.C”.

 

Obviously (and I have said this for years now) the San Francisco Giants opposition is the biggest hurdle. I do not believe that most Major League teams owners would oppose the move of the Athletics from Oakland to San José. Oakland doesn’t have the resources while San José has an abundance of resources. The Athletics need three-quarters approval of the owners for the proposed move to the south bay.

 

Although they do not say it publicly, what counts are actions not words, and the Giants ownership like to see themselves as “The Bay Area’s Baseball Team”. They have not won the big trophy until 2010, when they won the World Series for the first time in San Francisco in 52 years.

 

Are the Giants afraid that the Athletics with a new park in San José would lose at the gate? Are the Giants afraid that some of their great fans in the south bay, just might not travel to San Francisco to see the Giants, if the A’s have a beautiful brand new facility in San José? Are the Giants living these days with that much insecurity?

 

We are within days of 2014. This is not the Bay Area of 1969, this is a completely different Bay Area, in population, demographics and lifestyle. In 1969 San José was a huge tomato field and a truck stop with a sign:  340 miles to Los Angeles. The only thing that remain from those years is the sign.

 

Maybe the Giants are right to worry…

 

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Spanish radio voice for the Oakland A’s and does News and Commentary each week for Sports talk radio 

                                                               
 

 

Gaels’ Dellavedova earns training camp spot with the Cavaliers

Days after his 23rd birthday, Matthew Dellavedova came one step closer to achieving his dream.

Yesterday, September 30th, former Saint Mary’s Gael shooting guard Dellavedova was officially named to the Cleveland Cavaliers 20-man training camp roster. After graduation last year, Delly entered the NBA draft, and went undrafted. He was invited to attend the Cav’s Summer League in Las Vegas, and now has a strong shot to make the Cavaliers’ roster. Reports have said Delly is a strong candidate for the third point guard spot.

Dellavedova hails from Maryborough, Victoria, Australia, and was just one of many Aussies brought to SMC by head coach Randy Bennett. A stand out on the Gaels, Delly padded his resume as the all-time leader in scoring, 3-point field goals, free throw percentage, assists, appearances and starts. As a senior, he averaged 15.8 points and 6.4 assists per game. Seemingly always a standout, he was named the WCC Player of the Year as a junior, and then as a senior, and went on to earn the Mike Gilleran Scholar-Athlete of the Year award.

Delly has also shined at the national level. In 2012, he was selected alongside another former Gael and Aussie, Patrick Mills, to represent his country at the London Olympics. The Aussies advanced to the Quarterfinals before being eliminated by the United States 119-86. Delly played 26 minutes, posting just 3 points, but earning 7 rebounds, all defensive, and 4 assists.

Dellavedova still has to make the team out of training camp. The Cavs first preseason game is scheduled for October 8th, the entire contintinent of Australian will be waiting to see if their WCC favorite has made the squad.

GAEL FORCE PRIDE!

Wondolowski shines in his return, nets two in Quakes victory

By Ivan S. Makarov

August 3, 2013

 
After being gone for almost a month on the U.S. National Men’s team call up, Quakes captain Chris Wondolowski made his return count in the very big way against Chivas USA in the Saturday night contest at Buck Shaw Stadium. The team’s top goalscorer of the past few seasons showed he’s in top shape as he scored both goals for the team in 2-0 home victory.

“Tonight was great for Wondo,” said Quakes interim head coach Mike Watson after the game. “He’s been away for a while with the [U.S.] National Team, but I know he wanted to come back and make a contribution for us and he did that very well for us.”

Wondo’s presence was felt by the home side since the beginning. After successful run with US National Team that saw San Jose’s forward play a key role in CONCACAF Gold Cup championship, it seemed as though Wondolowski had an extra quickness and confidence to his game. It was something he might have lacked in the first half of the season, which saw him struggle to score goals at his usual pace. This time Wondo was focused and often ahead of defense by a step or few during many attacks by the Quakes. It really was the same Wondo that won the title of the top goalscorer in the league in the last regular season.

That confidence translated into two goals for Wondolowski.

The first one came at the very end of the even first half that saw both team exchange a few good, but not great chances on goal. Steven Beitashour delivered a long but accurate pass to the edge of the box for Victor Bernandez, who headed it towards open Wondolowski. The header fell straight into Wondo’s head who directed into the top corner for a nice finish.

The second goal by Wondolowski came towards the end of the second half, when Chivas USA were already playing with the man down after Carlos Bocanedra was sent off with the red card for two footed challenge on Shea Salinas. Wondolowski picked up a rebound inside the box after Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy made a difficult save on a great shot by Shea Salinas. With Kennedy down, Wondolowski put the ball just over him and into the net, scoring his seventh goal of the season.

Chivas USA had their share of chances during the game, but another great night in goal by Jon Busch, and his third clean sheet denied them any points in San Jose this time.

With the win, the Quakes improved their playoff chances, as this was their third straight victory in MLS action.

“I think the way we’ve been playing can carry us into the post-season,” said Chris Wondolowski. “That’s the great thing about this team: It’s not just one player who carries the team; it’s all 11 men out there working for each other. We have to fight for every ball, capitalize on our chances and play solid defense. I feel we’ve been doing that as of late and that’s a great recipe to make a playoff push.”

The Quakes are still out of the playoffs in the MLS standings, but are now only three points out of the fifth playoff spot in the West. Their next game is against Montreal in CONCACAF Champions League on Wednesday. After that, the Quakes are playing Vancouver Whitecaps in MLS action on Saturday, a team they’re chasing for that playoffs spot.

SaberCats streak stops at six, crushed by Soul 65-43

July 20th, 2013

By Emily Zahner and Kahlil Najar

SAN JOSE, CA – In the second-to-last game of the regular season, two
of the hottest teams in the AFL met at the newly named SAP Arena in
San Jose, and were destined to put on a high scoring battle. The San
Jose SaberCats (12-5), currently ranked fourth in points per game,
played host to the Philadelphia Soul (12-5), currently ranked third.
The SaberCats and the Soul were both on win streaks of four and six
respectively coming in to the game Saturday night, and the night
wouldn’t be over without a streak snapped. The Soul, the reigning
American Conference Champions, have also won six consecutive road
games. History had favored the home team in the season series, but the
Soul were in it to snap streaks tonight, coming away with a 65-43 win.
The win tonight extended their current win streak and consecutive road
win streak to seven games.

On the 44th anniversary of the lunar landing, the Soul’s play was out
of this world as they left their footprint on the SaberCats undefeated
record against American Conference teams. The SaberCats looked out of
sorts in the first quarter, as the Soul took an all-too-easy 21-0 lead
after multiple miscues from the kickoff return. The Soul continued to
surge, going up 27-0, but a strong second period by the Cats brought
the score back to 27-21 heading into the half. It looked like the Cats
were building momentum, but a last second field goal at the end of the
second silenced the crowd and halted the Cats attack. The Soul
continued their dominant play, shutting out the Cats in the third,
increasing their commanding lead to 44-21. The Cats tried to give
their fans something to cheer for on fan appreciation night tallying
22 points in the fourth quarter, but would ultimately fall short to a
score of 65-43.

Russ Michna had an impressive game, despite the loss, by completing 15
of 37 passes, good for five touchdowns. The majority of Michna’s
throws were hauled in by James Roe, for three touchdowns on 70 yards
receiving. Huey Whittaker had 106 all-purpose yards, of which 81 yards
were receiving, and the other 25 were an interception return for a
touchdown, San Jose’s last score of the night.

The SaberCats conclude the regular season next weekend, Saturday July
27th at 7:30PM, against the Chicago Rush.