'Deceiving' call baffles Cougars

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The Cougars had two touchdowns called back in their 38-21 win over the Air Force Academy on Saturday, including one in which officials called quarterback Max Hall for unsportsmanlike conduct as running back Harvey Unga was scoring from 2 yards out in the third quarter.

Lined up in the shotgun formation, Hall started walking toward the referee and waving his arms as if he was going to call a timeout. Instead, center R.J. Willing snapped the ball to Unga, who carried it into the end zone.

The Cougars used the play to score against Utah last year.

Asked after the game for an official interpretation after referee Land Clark announced it as an "attempt to deceive" when explaining the call to the crowd, the officials said: "Unsportsmanlike conduct was called for an unfair act to deceive the opponent. A 15-yard penalty for a live ball foul was imposed at the previous spot and the down [was] repeated by rule."

Backed to the 17, Hall threw a 15-yard pass to Dennis Pitta on third down. The Cougars then chose to go for the touchdown, rather than a field goal, but Hall was intercepted by Anthony Wright .

BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall responded to a question about having two TDs called back by saying it was "hard to understand."

Hall of Fame

Having guided the Cougars to an 11-2 record as a sophomore, a 10-3 mark last year and a 9-2 record this year, Hall now has the most wins as a starting quarterback in BYU history, 30. He passed Ty Detmer .

Hall called the milestone "special" and "significant" in his postgame address, and said he feels "blessed to have been a part of some very good teams."

Mendenhall said the greatness of the accomplishment might not be fully recognized by BYU fans until after Hall graduates.


"What he's accomplished hasn't been easy," Mendenhall said. "I think, and hope, he is appreciated more when he's gone, but right now I think he's doing an amazing job."

Injury update

Linebacker Shawn Doman left the game twice, once after taking a hard shot to his right shin, and the second time after cramping up. He said after the game that he was fine.

The senior was actually playing against the Air Force option attack for the first time, having missed last year's game with appendicitis.

"It was pretty interesting," he said. "You never feel safe, your legs and all."


There were no bowl representatives at the game. ... Former BYU linebacker Marv Allen carried the alumni flag onto the field before the game and current linebacker Shawn Doman carried the team flag. ... The four-jet flyover before the game included two pilots who are BYU graduates and two who are AFA alumni.