ARLINGTON, Texas — The Cougars created another one for the DVD library.

In a game of colossal ramifications for college football, No. 20 BYU

used a gutsy goal-line stand and late fourth-quarter 78-yard scoring

drive to knock off No. 3-ranked Oklahoma 14-13 in the new Dallas

Cowboys Stadium on Saturday.

Bronco Mendenhall, who showed rare unbridled emotion all game long,

led the celebration on the sideline as Oklahoma kicker Tress Way's

54-yard field goal fell short and the Cougars took the field for a

token possession as the clock wound down.

Then BYU's sideline went crazy.

"If I were to use words to describe the win, I'd say grit and determination," said Mendenhall afterward.

It marked the first BYU win over a top-10 team since Miami in 1990.

The Cougar win will surely add to the debate over the controversial

BCS system on the heels of Utah's win over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl

nine months ago.

At the least, it is the first major upset of the college football season.

After a summer of congressional hearings, a rejected Mountain West

BCS proposal and heated debate over the fairness of the college

football system, BYU's unlikely upset of the Sooners should pour gas on

a debate already aflame.

The BYU win will likely affect the BCS rankings and strength of

schedule for teams like Oklahoma's rival, Texas. It will place pressure

on AP and USA Today poll voters who will judge how to rank

non-automatic qualifiers TCU, Utah and the Cougars, who started the

game ranked behind Boise State of the non-BCS Western Athletic

Conference.

When BYU senior linebacker Colby Clawson delivered that crushing hit

and takedown of Oklahoma's Heisman Trophy winner, Sam Bradford, it may

have changed the 2009 Heisman Trophy race, not to mention Oklahoma's

ability to challenge for the Big 12 title if Bradford misses league

games.

BYU's offense outperformed the nation's No. 1 scoring machine in

2008 (357 to 265 total yards). And the oft-maligned Cougar defense, led

by a defensive coordinator Jaimie Hill making all the calls for the

first time in his three years, overshadowed a Sooner defense considered

one of the best in the nation.

And finally, Max Hall, fresh off two season-ending losses, including

a turnover-filled loss at rival Utah ofwhich he accepted the blame,

might have elevated his national stature and certainly etched his name

among BYU's most storied quarterbacks.

At the end of the game, BYU's sideline erupted in hugs, tears and

elation as a contingent of some 15,000 Cougar fans roared approval, and

the stunned Oklahoma faithful, who outnumbered those in blue 6-to-1,

headed for the exits.

One of those with a BYU sideline pass was New York Giants linebacker

Bryan Kehl, who jumped and hopped around like a gushing freshman.

"It's as good as it gets," said Kehl. "It was unreal.

"This goes down in the annals of history as one of the best games

ever. Oklahoma? They were the No. 3-ranked team in the country. This

wasn't a mid-level BCS team, this was Oklahoma and this was their home

game, basically, and we came in here and beat them.

"BYU marched up and down the field on them and the defense held them

out on the goal line for six plays and the offense then goes 78 yards?

"I haven't felt like this since BYU-Utah my senior year," Kehl said.

"The electricity on that sideline was unbelievable. This has to rank

right up right up there. No. 3 in the country and all the mistakes BYU

made and they still beat them? It is unreal."

Former All-Pro NFL tight end Chad Lewis agreed. A volunteer helper

in the offseason, Lewis said the upset win was an antidote to the

painful end to last season, which left a bitter taste in the mouths of

players.

"They lost to TCU, Utah and Arizona and that pushed them to work

hard since that time. I saw it and I noticed the chemistry this team

developed," said Lewis.

"This win is similar to Miami. BYU has done a very good job in early

season games against top-ranked opponents. That goal-line stand at the

end of the game? That only happens with teams that are special. This

one believes."

BYU defensive line coach Steve Kaufusi, who was part of BYU's early

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success and run of championships in the early '80s, said that one

ingredient is what he'll take from Saturday's win over the Sooners.

"It just shows what believing can do," he said.


E-mail: dharmon@desnews.com

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