Kansas beats BYU in the Aloha Bowl

Brigham Young University's Aloha Bowl experience started badly with a 16-hour flight delay. And, unfortunately for the Cougars, it ended badly with a frustrating 23-20 loss to the Kansas Jayhawks of the Big Eight Conference on Christmas Day.

The Cougars, who were as familiar with hospital wards as football fields during the season, started their fourth quarterback, Tom Young, brother of Steve Young of the San Francisco 49ers and great-great-great-grandson of Brigham Young.Young, a 22-year-old sophomore who is a returned missionary, started the season fourth string but moved up to first string after season-ending injuries to John Walsh, Steve Clements and Ryan Hancock. Hancock's injury was in the fourth quarter of the last game of the regular season, so Young was starting for the first time since his senior year in high school in 1987.

He did very well - so well in fact that the media chose him as BYU's most valuable player. He completed 15 of 31 passes for 262 yards and a touchdown. His performance strengthened his stock for spring practice in March.

BYU scored on the opening play of the game - a 94-yard kickoff return by another returned missionary, Hema Heimuli. Hemuili started up the middle of the field, found an opening and then veered to the right, where he stayed until he crossed the goal line.

Kansas tied the score on a 74-yard pass less than a minute later and took a 9-7 lead on a safety. BYU took a 14-12 halftime lead on a 29-yard run by sophomore Jamal Willis, who gained over 1,000 yards rushing during the regular season.

The Cougars increased their lead to 20-12 early in the third quarter on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Young to Otis Sterling.

They had an opportunity to add to their lead twice more in the quarter, marching deep into Kansas territory. Two missed field goals kept the score the same going into the fourth quarter.

"When you have scoring opportunities like that and don't take advantage of them, they come back to haunt you," said BYU coach LaVell Edwards.

Edwards was right.

The Kansas offense, which sputtered the third quarter, came alive in the fourth behind quarterback Chip Hilleary. He drove the team to the BYU one-yard line where he scored on a quarterback keeper and then kept the ball himself again to score the tying two-point conversion.

Later in the quarter he drove Kansas to the BYU 31. On fourth down, Dana Eichloff kicked a 48-yard field goal with less than three minutes to play to provide the winning margin.

Young marched the Cougars to the Kansas 35 on BYU's last possession, but an interception ended the threat.

Punter Brad Hunter, who served a mission to Hawaii, had an outstanding game, averaging 48 yards per kick.

BYU finished the season 8-5. The loss was the fourth straight year in post-season bowls that the Cougars came away without a victory. Last year, BYU tied favored Iowa in the Holiday Bowl. The Cougars' last bowl win came in the 1988 Freedom Bowl against another Big Eight school, Colorado.

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