Clearly, the BYU Cougars lost the 2013 season opener to the Virginia Cavaliers because of the interception Taysom Hill threw with less than three minutes to play that was returned to the BYU 13-yard line. The Cougars held a 16-12 lead at that point, and victory was all but assured.
BYU could have still won the game, even with the interception and the touchdown one play later, if three plays had gone differently. These are the game changing plays
On the final play of the first half, Virginia kicked a 53-yard field goal. The final score of the game was 19-16. Simple math tells you that the score would have been 16-16 without that field goal. However, BYU had 16 points because of a failed two-point conversion attempt when the score was 13-12. BYU would have kicked the one-point after touchdown for a 14-9 lead if Virginia did not have this field goal.
Virginia would have been the one trying for two to tie the game at 17 after the touchdown following the interception, if that 53-yard field goal had not been successful. Worst case senario, the game goes to overtime tied 17-17.
Play 2: Blocked punt, 13:51 3rd Quarter
The blocked punt is another obvious play that changed the game, like the interception, It gave Virginia the ball 16 yards away from the end zone, as opposed to 65 or more. Three plays later, the Cavaliers were celebrating a touchdown.
It is highly unlikely Virginia would have scored a touchdown on that drive if the punt was not blocked. For the entire game, Virginia never had a drive longer than 38 yards. Without that touchdown the score would have remained 7-3, and would have trailed 16-5 or 17-5 at the time of the fatal interception. Virginia would have needed two scores to win or tie the game.
A BYU drive stalled late in the third quarter, so, naturally, BYU punted. BYU had a player in perfect position to tackle the Virginia return man inside the Cavaliers' 10-yard line. The Virginia return man slipped out of the tackle and turned the play into a 35 yard return finishing at the BYU 48-yard line.
The BYU defense forced a 3-and-out, but that resulted in Virginia pinning BYU inside its 10-yard line with a punt of its own. On BYU's ensuing drive, a bad shotgun snap resulted in a loss of 14 yards. BYU had only 13 yards to give, so Virginia ended up with two points from a safety.
Those two points were crucial in the decision to go for the two-point after touchdown attempt when the score was 13-12. Had the score been 13-10, BYU would have kicked the nearly automatic one-point try. That would have made the score 17-10 when Virginia intercepted the Hill throw in the fourth quarter.
Virginia likely ties the game and the game goes to overtime.
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