Sometimes you watch a football game and there’s just one player that jumps through the screen at you. This player simply takes over whatever game it is that you’re watching, seemingly making everyone around him disappear.
Now usually, this person is some sort of skilled-position athlete who has the luxury of having the ball in their hands on a regular basis. Very rarely does a defensive player make you pay attention to him throughout an entire game, commanding that attention from start to finish.
In last year’s edition of the Poinsettia Bowl, BYU LB Kyle Van Noy became the exception to that rule.
With the Cougars going into the game against the San Diego State Aztecs a clear underdog, Van Noy put up one of the single-best performances of any one player in a bowl game. Actually, it’s not a stretch to say that this was one of the best defensive performances in the history of college football.
With all of the damage being mainly in the second half, Van Noy went off–in simple terms. With BYU down 6-3, Van Noy began his charge by sacking San Diego State QB Adam Dingwell in the end zone and recovering the ball for BYU’s first TD. Just a few series following that, the LB intercepted a pass and ran that in for a score. Oh, and not to mention, Van Noy blocked a punt back in the third quarter which the BYU offense unfortunately wasn’t able to convert into any points.
Nonetheless, Van Noy took matters into his own hands, while at the same time making a bowl game that is usually considered bland in comparison to others one of the most exciting of the 2012 postseason.
Van Noy’s greatness wasn’t just on display in that game alone. He exhibited that all season long. Overall in 2012, the junior LB finished the year with 53 tackles, an eye-popping 13 sacks and nine tackles-for-loss. He was a huge part of a BYU defense that was ranked third nationally in the nation.
Although it may be cliche’, simply put, Kyle Van Noy is a football player. It really is as simple as that. He’s smart, tough, instinctual and has that “nose for the ball” that’s so aptly discussed.
If last year’s season-ending performance was any indication, 2013 should bring even more notoriety on the field.
BYU returns just four starters on defense this season, which may force Van Noy to take a lot more into his own hands. If that is the case, then we all win because that seems like a challenge that a player like him welcomes with open arms. The leader of that linebacker unit, Brandon Ogletree, is gone this season and Van Noy knows in his mind that he has a lot to do to fill that void.
There’s no doubt about it, Van Noy can indeed fill that void just as he single-handedly filled the entire San Diego State football team with disappointment in the Poinsettia Bowl.
Jack is a College Football Writer for Rant Sports. Follow Jack on Twitter @JackJ14RS