Best Moments From The Modern Era Of BYU/Utah
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – From the 2011 season on, it’s been an interesting chapter for the BYU-Utah rivalry. While the teams are no longer conference foes, it’s still been competitive with bragging rights on the line.
Here are some of the top moments from the current era of the rivalry:
2011: BYU Fumbles On Third Play Of The Game
It wasn’t long into the first BYU-Utah game since 1898 with the two as nonconference opponents that the Cougars made a major miscue. The ball was snapped over the head of BYU quarterback Jake Heaps and was quickly recovered by Utah defensive lineman for touchdown.
BYU briefly led 10-7 in the first half, but Utah rolled to 47 unanswered points to coast to a big victory over the Cougars.
It was a long day for BYU as they were held to just 11 yards rushing the ball while also fumbling six times.
2012: Utah Crowd Rushes The Field Three Times In Crazy Finish
Celebrating and rushing the field is fun, which probably explains why Utah fans did it three times after Utah beat BYU 24-21. Just kidding, they did it because of mistakes by the clock operator and the fans themselves.
The first time, the clock expired on a BYU incomplete pass and the crimson-clad fans took the field to celebrate the win. After a review, however, it was determined that there was one second left on the clock.
The fans were cleared off the field and the Cougars lined up for a game-tying 51-yard field goal. The kick was blocked by the Utes and the fans stormed the field again.
Unfortunately, they were a bit too early, entering the field before the play was blown dead. The referees issued a 15-yard penalty to the Utes and gave BYU another shot at the field goal, this time from 36 yards. In a stroke of good luck, Riley Stephenson clanked it off the upright, allowing the fans to rush the field again. This time, nothing was stopping them from celebrating the victory in one of the craziest college football endings of all-time.
2013: Hill’s Interception Seals Win For Utah
After scoring a touchdown to bring the score to 20-13, BYU had another chance to tie the game on a drive led by quarterback Taysom Hill.
Unfortunately for the Cougars, Hill was picked off by Utah defensive back Michael Walker on fourth-and-13 with 1:37 to close the door on BYU’s comeback attempt.
It was the only turnover for either team in the fourth-straight rivalry game loss for the Cougars.
2015: BYU Allows Five Quick Utah TDs.
After a one-year hiatus, the two teams met in Sin City for the 2015 Las Vegas Bowl. Unfortunately for BYU, the game started much like it did in 2011. In fact, the game seemed to be over quickly for the Cougars.
On the third play of the game, BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum took off on a run, gaining four yards before the ball was knocked out by Ute defensive end Kylie Fitts. Gionni Paul recovered the loose pigskin to give Utah a short field, setting the Utes up for their first touchdown of the day.
On the next play of the next drive, Mangum threw an interception that was returned for a TD by Tevin Carter.
Five plays into the next drive, Mangum tossed another pick to put Utah on the one-yard line. The Utes quickly punched it to go up 21-0.
Just four plays into the Cougars’ next possession, Mangum threw another pick-six, this time to Utah defensive back Dominique Hatfield.
Already behind 28-0, BYU fumbled again two plays later to give Utah another short field. The Utes scored five plays later to take a huge 35-0 first quarter lead.
BYU would make it interesting by scoring 28 straight points, but were unable to overcome their early miscues in the final game of Bronco Mendenhall’s tenure at the head of the program.
2016: Hill Stopped Short Of Two-Point Conversion
In Kalani Sitake’s first game as BYU head coach, he made a gutsy call that nearly paid off big time for the Cougars. Unfortunately for BYU, the Cougars came up just short.
After scoring with 18 seconds remaining in the game, BYU quarterback Taysom Hill was denied by the Utah defense while running the ball towards the end zone in what would have been a go-ahead two point conversion. Instead of putting the Cougars up 21-20, he was stopped with little time remaining to seal the win for Utah.
Although the decision to go for the win rather than tying the game with a point after attempt was controversial, BYU head coach Kalani Sitake stood by his decision, saying that he’d do it again if he had the chance.
2017: Mangum Goes Four-And-Out After Big Punt By Wishnowsky
After scoring a touchdown to cut the lead to 19-13, BYU forced Utah into a three-and-out punt, giving the Cougars a shot at scoring with 1:29 remaining in the game.
The previous season’s Ray Guy Award winner Mitch Wishnowsky knocked a beautiful 47-yard punt to pin the Cougars at their own nine yard line.
Tanner Mangum quickly completed just one of four attempts to turn the ball over on downs and seal the win for Utah.