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Mike Sorensen: Utah-BYU game was a thriller

SHARE Mike Sorensen: Utah-BYU game was a thriller

Wow. Just when you thought the annual Utah-BYU game couldn't get any better than last year's overtime thriller, this year's game comes along and tops it. Whether John Beck's last pass was completed or not, it was still a classic game that may go down as the best Utah-BYU game ever ... at least until next year ...

Some fans are blaming Utah defensive coordinator Gary Andersen for playing a "prevent" defense during the Cougars' final drive. It's often said all that defense does is "prevent" you from winning. I kind of agree, but if you just play it straight up and one of your DBs falls down playing one-on-one and gets burned for a touchdown, it's hard to justify afterwards. Sometimes you have to have confidence that your defense can hold off your opponent for one minute, even in a prevent ...

Beck deserves a ton of credit for finally winning a big game in the clutch. But don't forget Ute quarterback Brett Ratliff, who has suffered a lot of criticism all year. His numbers were almost identical to Beck's and except for Beck's last-minute heroics, he would have won the game with a clutch length-of-the-field drive ...

It seems like the state of Utah never gets any attention on ESPN these days, but SportsCenter did make the final play of the Utah-BYU game its No. 1 play of the day Saturday ...

Have you noticed how, even though the Jazz have the best record in the NBA, they are still way down the list for stories on ESPN? You can bet the top three NBA stories will always be Kobe, LeBron and Dwayne, no matter who their teams played or who won. The other night they kept showing Kobe's block of Deron Williams and then almost as an afterthought, saying the Jazz won the game ...

So the Jazz finally lost a game the next night. It had to happen sooner or later, although we expected someone better than Golden State. While the Jazz may not win the title this year, they've shown they have enough talent on the roster to survive injuries such as the recent ones to Andrei Kirilenko and Gordan Giricek ...

It's nice to have Kirilenko back, but the big Russian needs to stop worrying about how many touches he gets in the offense. When he gets off 11 shots (and makes just two), while Carlos Boozer only gets seven shots, something's wrong. Kirilenko should concentrate on doing what he does best, blocking shots, making steals and generally disrupting the opponent's offense. The points will come, but he may have to be content to only be the fifth or sixth leading scorer this year ...

Rookie Paul Millsap is my favorite Jazz player ...

The EnergySolutions Arena? Yuck. Aside from the fact that the Jazz arena is being named after a nuclear waste dump, it's quite a mouthful to say with its nine syllables, not to mention the nine extra letters more than "Delta Center" for us writers to type. Some have suggested shortening it to the ESA or ES Arena, but I'm sure the folks at EnergySolutions wouldn't be happy if that caught on after the millions they spent trying to make a good name for themselves ...

Did you see where a couple of former Aggies got the best of ex-Utes in NFL games Sunday afternoon? Chris Cooley caught a 66-yard pass from Jason Campbell to give Washington a victory over Carolina, a few minutes after Ute Steve Smith had put Carolina ahead with a touchdown pass. In St. Louis, former Ag Kevin Curtis caught the winning touchdown pass with 27 seconds left, after former Ute Alex Smith had led the 49ers to a four-point lead ...

Speaking of local connections, don't look now but former BYU player/Utah State assistant Brian Billick may have the best team in the NFL. The Baltimore Ravens' coach has led his team to a surprising 9-2 record after blanking defending Super Bowl champ Pittsburgh Sunday and sacking Ben Roethlisberger nine times.