Facebook Twitter

BYU football: Shell-shocked Cougs pondering next move

SHARE BYU football: Shell-shocked Cougs pondering next move
BYU quarterback Max Hall (15) tries to get rid of the ball before TCU defensive lineman D.J. Yendrey (back) and Wayne Daniels (96) can bring him down in the Cougars' loss.

BYU quarterback Max Hall (15) tries to get rid of the ball before TCU defensive lineman D.J. Yendrey (back) and Wayne Daniels (96) can bring him down in the Cougars’ loss.

Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

PROVO — The dust has settled after TCU's 38-7 rout of BYU Saturday night.

The "College GameDay" crew has packed up and left town. The crestfallen Cougars (6-2, 3-1) have plummeted out of the Associated Press and Coaches polls, as well as the Bowl Championship Series standings, all released Sunday. BYU was No. 16 in all three going into Saturday's debacle.

The Horned Frogs, meanwhile, jumped to No. 8 in the Associated Press poll and to No. 6 in the coaches poll.

For the Cougars, October is in the books. With this weekend's bye, BYU won't play again until Nov. 7 at Wyoming.

"It's going to be a long two weeks," said defensive lineman Brett Denney. "Any time you lose, you look forward to getting out there again."

BYU tight end Dennis Pitta said this break is much-needed. "It's a good opportunity for us to heal up, rest our legs a little bit and get healthy again to finish up the conference season."

After visiting Wyoming, the Cougars travel to New Mexico before finishing up at home against Air Force and archrival Utah.

"We've got a lot of football ahead of us and we've got some big games ahead of us," Pitta said. "Our first game back from the bye week is going to be at Wyoming. That's going to be another test. We've got to put this (loss to TCU) behind us, as hard as it's going to be. We've got to put it behind us and move on."

"Physically, our team needs (the bye week)," said quarterback Max Hall. "We've got a lot of guys beat up and sick. We need a week off to kind of regroup a little bit. I think it comes at a good time. It would have been nice to win, but we have a lot of things we can look at and get better at."

The Cougars say they are determined to finish the season strong.

"We can't let this (defeat) define our season," Hall said. "We have four games left, and in every one of those four games (those opponents are) going to give us everything they've got. We've got to keep going."

After last year's demoralizing 32-7 setback at TCU, the Cougars allowed that defeat to linger and affect the remainder of the season. Could that happen again?

"It could. I think we're not going to let it," Hall said. "Hopefully, we do what we need to not let that happen. It's tough when you lose a game like this. But TCU is just a good football team. I think this team is going to bounce back off the bye week. We've got a lot of things to think about and to regroup. I want to win out and win the next four games. We're going to do our best."

After suffering its first Mountain West Conference loss Saturday, BYU's league championship hopes took a major hit. But Cougar running back Harvey Unga isn't conceding the title yet. "It's a little early," he said. "TCU has other teams to play. We have other teams to play."

Denney said his team needs to figure out the lessons that can be applied from this year's loss to TCU.

"The big plays they made let the air out of what we were doing. Something we need to learn as a team is, we can't dwell on those things. There have been times when we've done that. In that Oklahoma game, there were some letdowns, but we didn't let it bug us. We didn't have second thoughts or think that it was over. We've just got to go and play. Those are things we need to learn."

e-mail: jeffc@desnews.com