They believed they’d win every game.

They did.

Many members of BYU’s 1984 national championship football team gathered in the Music Building on BYU’s campus Thursday night as part of the production of a BYUtv documentary to air later this year for the 40th anniversary of the perfect season.

The production is produced by Hema Heimuli, whose father, Lakei Heimuli, made the lead block on the winning touchdown by Kelly Smith against Michigan in the 1984 Holiday Bowl.

Before the taping of a panel discussion comprised of then-offensive coordinator Norm Chow and select players, I polled a few players from the team about their favorite play from the perfect season as they hung out in the lobby getting reacquainted and updated on each others’ lives.

The two leading answers were the game-clinching catch by Adam Haysbert of a Robbie Bosco pass to beat Pittsburgh in ESPN’s first college football broadcast and a goal-line play by safety Kyle Morrell at Hawaii in which the Cougar safety dove over his linemen to tackle Hawaii quarterback Raphel Cherry, ultimately saving a touchdown and game on fourth down.

“Man, that’s hard to pick,” said Bosco. “Without the TD catch by Haysbert, this doesn’t happen. Without the game-winner pass to Kelly Smith against Michigan or Morrell’s defensive play, none of this happens; I don’t know if I could pick out a play, but there were many special moments. Our team just made plays when they needed that made a difference.

“If you go back, a lot of teams could have won all their games but for one or two plays, and that was us. We just made plays we had to that led to wins and 13-0.”

ESPN analyst Trevor Matich, a guard on that team, said many would predict Morrell’s iconic play, but he was going with Haysbert’s touchdown catch on a play called 69 H-option.

“Kyle’s big play was certainly great and one of many, but on Adam’s play against Pitt, they had a hellacious pass rush and we were fighting like crazy to protect Robbie and just before they got to him he got off the pass.

“Adam catches that ball and his body language, his body lines, the way he held the ball up in the air as he went over the goal line is an iconic image etched in my mind.”

Chow remembers so many, but he smiled as he remembered the time they called a pass pattern and receiver Glen Kozlowski made up his own route and Bosco hit him for a touchdown.

“When they came off the field, instead of getting mad at him, I told them to say I called that one,” Chow said.

A freshman on that squad, defensive end Alema Fitisemanu will never forget the first time he was running down on a kickoff and he had yet learned to keep his head on a swivel.

“An Air Force player hit me right on the chin with his helmet and I went flying out of bounds and slid into the bleachers. I’ll always remember that moment, a welcome to Division I football,” he said.

Kozlowski said the game-winning touchdown play to Kelly Smith stands out because it won the game and that was it — a perfect season.

“It was a long year and we got there,” Kozlowski said. “I remember tackling him, kissing him. I might (have) even licked him a little,” laughed Kozlowski.

“We were so competitive with each other. Even when we were making plays, everyone down the line thought they could do it better. Poor Robbie. In the huddle he had five guys yelling at him, “Throw it to me, throw it to me.’ I don’t know how he did it. He was always like, ‘I’m going to throw it to who is open, just run the play.’”

Kozlowski said a play would come in, and because he stayed in all the time and Haysbert and Mark Bellini traded off coming in, he’d beat them to the position in the formation so he’d be primary.

“We were all just trying to win. We didn’t care who made the play but someone better make one,” he said.

As for Haysbert, he went with the game-winner over Pitt.

“I’m trying to think of other plays but that has to be at the top because of what it meant,” he said. “That win against Pitt started it all. It meant everything. It was a 50-yard play and we were at midfield. They didn’t know the heart we had and we were motivated. We were ready for them and it was quite a controversial play anyway because we weren’t ranked and they were. We weren’t treated very well. People were cussing at us and trying to hassle us,” says Haysbert.

“That team was close. We were like a family. Our particular group, we loved each other. We stuck together. We met every challenge. When one guy went down, others stepped up. We had mutual respect for each other.”

Bosco said the called play was supposed to get a first down and was a short pass to Kelly Smith to just keep the drive going.

“But they brought the free safety down to cheat and my instincts, what I was trained to do is hit the post. I trusted Adam and he made a great catch,” Bosco said.

Matich said he didn’t know Smith was primary, he focused on protection.

“Well, I learned something I didn’t know today,” he said.

Louis Wong, an offensive lineman on the squad, said Morrell’s play has remained the most important of the season.

“Without it, we would have lost. It was his instinct, a great play be a great athlete,” Wong said.

Linebacker Jay McDonald said there is no question Morrell’s goal line play jumping over the line of scrimmage was the play of the year. Without it there was no perfect season.

“We had unity on that team,” said McDonald, who was front and center in the last months of Morrell’s life in late 2020, staying at his side and comforting his family. “We looked out for each other.”

Chow said what hit him on this gathering was all those who had passed on, including coaches LaVell Edwards, Dick Felt, Tom Ramage, Roger French, Doug Scovil and Jim Perano.

“What stood out about that team was the culture, the camaraderie,” Chow said. “Bill Walsh always said ‘Culture before Scheme.’ I’ll never forget when he said that and our team had a great ability to get along. They worked at it.”

Mel Olsen, assistant offensive line coach, said the 1984 squad was extremely close, young men who played for each other, a group that played as one.

Kozlowski said the late Edwards preached that the harder they worked in practice, the easier the games would be, and that if they took care of business every day, it would pay off on game day.

“We had great chemistry and we trusted each other,” Kozlowski said. “Nobody doubted we would win every game we played.”


They did. At 13-0.