BYU/Utah Rivalry: Top Performances Of The 1990s
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Not only were the games between Utah and BYU competitive in the 1990s, but they included some amazing individual performances. KSL Sports looked at the top performers from both sides in every game since during the 1990s.
It was the last decade that coaching legends LaVell Edwards and Ron McBride would face each other as Edwards was set to retire in 2000.
BYU quarterback Ty Detmer won the Heisman Trophy, as well as many familiar names putting up some big numbers in the rivalry game.
1990: Ty Detmer, BYU Junior Quarterback
Honorable Mention: Utah quarterback Mike Richmond
Detmer was dominate in No. 5 BYU’s 45-22 over the Utes at Rice Stadium. He threw for 451 yards and five touchdowns. Four of the five touchdown passes were scored in the first half including three in the second quarter.
Three of the five touchdown passes were 21 yards or longer including a 55-yard strike to Brent Nyberg to give the Cougars a 28-10 lead in the second quarter. Later that season, Detmer won the Heisman Trophy.
Utes quarterback Mike Richmond had 326 passing yards and two touchdowns. His only downfall was that he threw three interceptions. His 56-yard score to wide receiver Bryan Rowley gave the Utes a 10-7 lead in the first quarter before BYU would rattle off 28 unanswered.
BYU won their second straight game against Utah.
The Cougars finished with a 10-3 record (7-1 WAC) and lost to Texas A&M in the Holiday Bowl 65-14.
Utah ended with a 4-7 record (2-6 WAC) and did not qualify for a bowl game.
BYU sent three players into the NFL after the 1990 season. Offensive tackle Neal Fort joined the Los Angeles Rams in the sixth round, defensive back Brian Mitchell was taken by the Atlanta Falcons in the seventh round and tight end Chris Smith was picked by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 11th round.
1991: Ty Detmer, BYU Senior Quarterback
Honorable Mention: Utah wide receiver Bryan Rowley
The reigning Heisman Trophy winner continued his dominance in his final game against the Utes. Detmer threw five touchdown passes on 18-of-29 attempts for 378 yards. He had to dig BYU out of a 10-0 hole and did so by connecting with wide receiver Eric Drage on a 97-yard touchdown. Detmer answered again on a 14-yard run to the end zone.
He threw four of his five touchdown passes in the second half as BYU held the Utes scoreless. Drage finished with six receptions for 188 yards and three touchdowns.
Utes wide receiver Bryan Rowley had five catches for 121 yards and two touchdowns. His second touchdown was an 84-yard score from quarterback Mike Richmond in the first quarter to bring the Utes within three points.
BYU beat Utah 48-17 at Cougar Stadium for their third straight win against their rival.
The Cougars ended with an 8-3-2 record (7-0-1 WAC) and tied No. 7 Iowa 13-13 in the Holiday Bowl.
Utah finished with a 7-5 mark (4-4 WAC) and did not qualify for a bowl game.
Detmer was the only BYU player to get drafted as he was selected in the ninth round by the Green Bay Packers.
Utes linebacker Anthony Davis was selected in the 11th round to the Houston Oilers.
1992: Jamal Willis, BYU Sophomore Running Back
Honorable Mention: Utah quarterback Frank Dolce
Willis scored his only touchdown of the game in the first quarter with a four-yard touchdown run as he racked up 148 yards on the ground. BYU scored all 31 points in the first three quarters and held a 31-0 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Frank Dolce led a big comeback in the fourth quarter as he threw two touchdowns including one for 34-yards to Greg Hooks. He found the end zone with his legs once to put the Utes within nine points but BYU prevailed. Dolce finished with 347 passing yards and 3 total touchdowns.
BYU knocked off the Utes 31-22 at Rice Stadium to win their fourth straight game in the rivalry.
The Cougars finished with an 8-5 record (6-2 WAC) and lost to Kansas in the Aloha Bowl 23-20.
Utah ended with a 6-6 record (4-4 WAC) and lost to No. 18 Washington State 31-28 in the Copper Bowl.
BYU safety Derwin Gray was the only player selected in the NFL draft, going to the Indianapolis Colts in the fourth round.
1993: Jamal Anderson, Utah Senior Quarterback
Honorable Mention: Utah quarterback Mike McCoy
Anderson hobbled into the locker room with an ankle injury but later returned after heavily taping his ankle and played in the second half. He willed the Utes to a 34-31 thrilling win over BYU at Cougar Stadium to snap their 4-game losing streak to the Cougars.
“The Dirty Bird” scored his second rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter to help Utah retake the lead late in the game. BYU tied the game at 31 when quarterback John Walsh ran in a one yard touchdown. Utes kicker Chris Yergensen hit a 55-yard field goal with 25 seconds left to give Utah the win.
Anderson finished with 146 rushing yards and one touchdown. He added three catches for 21 yards and another score.
Mike McCoy had a fantastic performance as well, throwing for 434 yards and three touchdowns, including an 84-yard touchdown pass to Curtis Marsh to break the tie early in the fourth quarter. The 434 yards thrown against BYU is a Holy War record for most yards in a game. The record still stands today.
The Utes finished with a 7-6 record (5-3 WAC) and lost to USC in the Freedom Bowl 28-21 despite their 21-point second half comeback came up short.
BYU ended with a 6-6 record (6-2 WAC) and were defeated by No. 11 Ohio State in the Holiday Bowl.
Utah had two players go into the NFL as tight end Kurt Haws was selected in the fourth round by the Washington Redskins and Jamal Anderson was taken by the Atlanta Falcons in the seventh round.
1994: Mike McCoy, Utah Senior Quarterback
Honorable Mention: BYU linebacker Stan Raass
No. 21 Utah was down by four points in the fourth quarter when Mike McCoy found running back Charlie Brown for a 20-yard touchdown that gave the Utes their second straight win over No. 20 BYU at Rice Stadium. It was the exact same final score as 1993, 34-31.
McCoy finished with 247 yards passing and four touchdowns on 18-of-29 attempts. Two of his touchdowns came in the fourth quarter.
BYU linebacker Stan Raass was all over the field as he collected 14 total tackles, including six solo takedowns and two tackles-for-loss.
Utah finished with a 10-2 record (6-2 WAC) and was ranked No. 10 in the country at the end of the season. They beat No. 15 Arizona 16-13 in the Freedom Bowl.
The Cougars ended with a 10-3 mark (6-2 WAC) and a No. 18 ranking in the country. They dominated Oklahoma in the Copper Bowl 31-6.
Utah had four players selected in the NFL draft that included defensive tackle Luther Elliss in the first round (20 overall) to the Detroit Lions. Center Lance Scott went in the fifth round to the Arizona Cardinals. Wide receiver Curtis Marsh and defensive end Bronzell Miller both went in the seventh round to the Jacksonville Jaguars and St. Louis Rams respectively.
BYU sent five players in to the NFL with guard Evan Pilgrim going to the Chicago Bears in the third round and tight end Tim Hanshaw getting selected to the San Francisco 49ers in the fourth round. Defensive tackle Travis Hall and offensive tackle Eli Herring went in the sixth round to the Atlanta Falcons and Oakland Raiders respectively. Quarterback John Walsh was selected in the seventh round by the Cincinnati Bengals.
1995: Chris Fuamatu-Ma’afala, Utah Sophomore Fullback
Honorable Mention: BYU linebacker Stan Raass
The Utes scored 34 points against BYU for the third straight season and won all three games. Fuamatu-Ma’afala started the Utes off with a 34-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and scored Utah’s final touchdown in the fourth quarter on a 6-yard run. The Utes defense picked off BYU quarterback Steve Sarkisian four times. Utah quarterback Mike Fouts threw for 275 yards and two touchdowns to help Fuamatu-Ma’afala.
BYU linebacker Stan Raass had double-digit tackles for the second straight rivalry game with 11, including 8 solo tackles, one sack and four tackles-for-loss.
The Utes beat BYU at Cougar stadium 34-17.
Both teams finished with identical records at 7-4 (6-2 WAC).
1996: Ronney Jenkins, BYU Running Back
Honorable Mention: BYU running back Brian McKenzie
Jenkins wasn’t the leading rusher for the eighth ranked Cougars when they snapped their three game losing streak to the Utes with a 37-17 win at Rice Stadium. But he did have 156 yards and three touchdowns. He scored a touchdown in each of the last three quarters.
His backfield mate, Brian McKenzie led the team in rushing against Utah with 176 yards and one touchdown. The duo combined for 332 of BYU’s 366 yards on the ground. Quarterback Steve Sarkisian wasn’t needed as he only threw for 70 passing yards.
BYU finished with a 14-1 record (9-0 WAC), they knocked off No. 20 Wyoming in overtime 28-25 in the first WAC championship game. The Cougars went on to beat No. 14 Kansas State 19-15 in the Cotton Bowl Classic and finished the season ranked No. 5 in the country.
Utah ended their season with an 8-4 record (6-2 WAC) and lost to Wisconsin 38-10 in the Copper Bowl.
Cougar’s tight end Itula Mili was taken in the sixth round of the NFL draft to the Seattle Seahawks.
1997: John Frank, Utah Sophomore Defensive End
Honorable Mention: Utah quarterback Darnell Arceneaux
The rivalry game was dominated by the defense in 1997 that saw John Frank create havoc in the BYU backfield. He tallied 8 total tackles, including 7 solo, 1.5 sacks and one tackle-for-loss.
Darnell Arceneaux scored the Utes two touchdowns, both on the ground. He helped Utah jump out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter before BYU answered with two touchdowns to lead 14-10 at halftime. Arceneaux’s second touchdown and a field goal by Cletus Tommy Truhe in the fourth quarter gave the Utes the 20-14 win.
The Utes finished with a 6-5 record (5-3 WAC).
BYU ended their season with a 6-5 record (4-4 WAC).
Utah had two players get drafted in the NFL as wide receiver Kevin Dyson was selected in the first round (16th overall) to the Tennessee Oilers and fullback Chris Fuamatu-Ma’afala joined the Pittsburgh Steelers in the sixth round.
The Cougars sent offensive tackle Eric Bateman to the NFL as he was selected in the fifth round by the New York Jets. Fullback Dustin Johnson joined Bateman in New York as the Jets selected him in the sixth round. Center Jason Andersen went in the seventh round to the New England Patriots.
1998: Ronney Jenkins, BYU Running Back
Honorable Mention: Utah quarterback Jonathan Crosswhite
Jenkins led the Cougars rushing attack as he tallied 128 yards and one touchdown on the ground. The score came in the third quarter to give BYU a 20-10 lead. Utah threw a touchdown pass to pull within three points.
Kicker owen Pochman hit two field goals in the fourth quarter to give the Cougars a comfortable 26-17 lead before Daniel Jones ran a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to bring Utah within two points, but BYU prevailed 26-24 at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
BYU linebacker Rob Morris collected 12 total tackles, including five solo and a pass-breakup to lead the Cougars defense.
The Cougars finished with a 9-5 record (7-1 WAC), they lost to No. 17 Air Force 20-13 in the WAC championship game and were defeated by No. 10 Tulane in the Liberty Bowl 41-27.
Utah ended with a 7-4 record (5-3 WAC) and did not play in a bowl game.
BYU offensive tackle John Tait was selected in the first round (14 overall) to the Kansas City Chiefs. Defensive tackle Daren Yancey went in the sixth round to the Oakland Raiders.
Utes linebacker Phil Glover was picked in the seventh round of the NFL draft by the Tennessee Titans.
1999: Cliff Russell, Utah Freshman Wide Receiver
Honorable Mention: BYU wide receiver Margin Hooks
Each team scored two touchdowns in the tightly contested game. The difference was that Utah made one more field goal than No. 19 BYU. It was the first time that these two teams faced each other as members of the Mountain West Conference.
Utah quarterback TD Croshaw found Cliff Russell for a 70-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter to give the Utes a 13-10 lead. Russell finished with four catches for 95 yards and one touchdown.
Before that score by Russell, BYU quarterback Kevin Feterik connected with Margin Hooks for a 77-yard touchdown in the third quarter that gave the Cougars a 10-6 advantage. Hooks ended up with seven receptions for 139 yards and one touchdown.
The Utes held off BYU to win 20-17 at Cougar Stadium.
Utah finished with a 9-3 record (5-2 MWC), they won a share of the Mountain West Conference with BYU and Colorado State. The Utes beat Fresno State 17-16 in the Las Vegas Bowl.
The Cougars ended with an 8-4 record (5-2 MWC) and lost to No. 11 Marshall 21-3 in the Motor City Bowl.
Utah defensive end John Frank was drafted in the sixth round to the Philadelphia Eagles. Running back Mike Anderson went to the Denver Broncos in the same round. Defensive tackle Richard Seals was selected in the seventh round by the New York Jets.
BYU linebacker Rob Morris was taken in the first round (28th overall) by the Indianapolis Colts. Defensive end Byron Frisch was chosen by the Tennessee Titans in the third round. Center Matt Johnson joined the Morris and the Colts in the fifth round.