BYU battles to Holiday Bowl 'Ty'

The BYU football team closed its season in impressive - if not entirely satisfying - style Dec. 30 with a 13-13 tie of Iowa in the Holiday Bowl.

The game marked the final BYU phase of the remarkable career of quarterback Ty Detmer, winner of the 1990 Heisman Trophy and other awards, too numerous to mention. Or even remember. During his career, he passed for 15,031 yards, the only Division I quarterback to ever pass for more than 12,000 yards."My BYU experience has been everything I could have hoped it would be," said Detmer, moments after he was named the Holiday Bowl's most valuable offensive player.

To earn that honor, he completed 29 of 44 passes for 350 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception.

While that interception, coming in the closing seconds of the game, snuffed BYU's last hopes for a victory over the Hawkeyes, it couldn't diminish the achievements of a team that recovered from an 0-3 start to finish 8-3-2 and win the Western Athletic Conference title.

Even in this game the Cougars were supposedly overmatched, facing the second-place team from the powerful Big 10 Conference, the No. 7-ranked Hawkeyes.

The Iowa defense, best in the Big 10, was supposed to stifle Detmer and the BYU offense while the balanced Hawkeye offense took advantage of a BYU defense that had experienced some ups and downs.

But the BYU defenders, playing their best overall game since last year's upset of then No. 1-ranked University of Miami, dominated the final three quarters, allowing the offense to recover from an early deficit of 13-0.

"Some guys are disappointed (with the tie)," said BYU's Josh Arnold, a senior safety from Mesa, Ariz. "Most of us are happy with the outcome."

The game was the climax to a week-long stay in San Diego that included all the usual team activities, such as visits to Sea World and an aircraft carrier. But there was also a sacrament meeting Dec. 29 for the team and support personnel that swelled into a gathering of 900 people. The sacrament was blessed by, among others, Detmer, who is a recent convert and priest, and passed by 30 brethren, most of whom were football players. Speakers were BYU player Greg Pitts, who served a mission to New Jersey; BYU assistant coach Lance Reynolds, who served a mission to Seattle, Wash.; and Joe Cole, a Sousaphone player in the BYU band.

That evening, a fireside was held at the convention center adjacent to the hotel where the team stayed. A standing-room-only crowd of more than 5,000 heard talks by President Thomas S. Monson, second counselor in the First Presidency; Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Council of the Twelve; BYU President Rex Lee; BYU coach LaVell Edwards; and BYU wide receiver Bryce Doman, who served a mission to Sacramento, Calif. Several of the speakers related stories of how the BYU team has been an example and goodwill ambassador to many people over the years.

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