Watching the Brigham Young Cougars completely dominate the Texas Longhorns a week ago, I couldn't help but think of how fulfilling that win must have been for BYU seniors like Spencer Hadley, Daniel Sorensen, Kyle Van Noy, and Eathyn Manumaleuna who played well two years ago in Austin only to lose in the closing minutes, 17-16. It reminded me of Van Noy's words when he explained why he returned for his senior season.
"I plan to finish what I started and feel like I've still got some unfinished business."
--Kyle Van Noy, December 31, 2012
The Cougars have not beat Utah since 2009. What looked like a sure victory in 2010 slipped away as one blunder after another turned a 13-0 fourth quarter lead into a 17-16 defeat. The 2011 game got away from BYU after turning the ball over far too many times. Just one year ago, a comeback bid fell short, 24-21.
Van Noy and the other seniors listed above, as well as Cody Hoffman, will long be remembered by the Cougar faithful. Many already consider Van Noy to be the best linebacker in BYU history. Hoffman is making a case for the claim to greatest receiver of all time. However, Eathyn Manumaleuna is the only one to play in a game and taste victory over Utah. (Hoffman redshirted in 2009.)
When Manumaleuna was a freshman in 2007, BYU beat the Utes 17-10. However, Manumaleuna didn't play a significant role and finished with no stats. Sorensen and Hadley were part of the 2008 BYU football team, but Utah snapped a two game losing skid to BYU that season. Hoffman and Van Noy began their Cougar playing careers in 2010.
Van Noy, Manumaleuna, Sorensen, and Hadley have combined for 53 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and 9 tackles-for-loss in their games against Utah. Hoffman has 19 receptions for 280 yards and 1 touchdown in his career versus Utah.
Career vs. Utah
Kyle Van Noy (2010-12): 15 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 5 TFL, 1 Int., 1 PBU, 1 FF
Eathyn Manumaleuna (2007, 10-12): 10 tackles, 0.5 sacks, 1.5 TFL
Daniel Sorensen (2008, 11-12): 14 tackles, 0.5 TFL, 1 PBU
Spencer Hadley (2008, 11-12): 14 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 TFL
Even with a win this Saturday, these seniors will still have more "unfinished business" to take care of this season. Getting the first win in school history over Boise State, especially after the tough loss last year, should be high on everybody's list. Coming home from South Bend with a win over the Fighting Irish would resolve some more "unfinished business."
The final game of the season is a trip home for Van Noy to Reno, Nevada. When he was a freshman (2010), the Wolfpack came to Provo and beat the Cougars 27-13. Van Noy did not register any stats that game. Manumaleuna had 6 tackles, and Hoffman made four receptions for 74 yards. Playing well, and getting a win, in their final regular season game would be satisfying for these three.
But, first things first. Bring on the Utes!
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