BYU’s Best Wins Over Utah In History Of Rivalry Game
Aug 27, 2019, 11:44 AM
(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
PROVO, Utah – Wins for BYU in the rivalry game against Utah have been few and far between.
Last week, I spoke with a man who’s only seen one BYU victory live since 2001. He was serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during the 2006 and 2007 seasons.
Currently, BYU is in an eight-game losing streak against the Utes. But there was a time when BYU was racking up the wins against the Utes.
Some of which stand above the rest.
Here are BYU’s best wins in the rivalry game against Utah.
BYU boasted one of the best teams in the nation in 1996. With Alliance bowl aspirations still intact, BYU went into Rice Stadium and thumped the Utes by 20 points ending a three-game losing streak.
The last time BYU defeated Utah was another classic chapter in the rivalry. In overtime, BYU quarterback Max Hall connected with tight end Andrew George to give the Cougars a 26-23 victory and their third win in four years over Utah.
BYU’s first conference championship in program history came in 1965 and the highlight of that season was a 25-20 victory over Utah. The win was only BYU’s third victory over the Utes since the series began in 1922.
Max Hall’s first start against Utah was not a well-played game but it ended in epic fashion. Down 10-9 late in the fourth quarter, Hall found wide receiver Austin Collie open on 4th & 18 for a first down. A few plays later, BYU’s Harvey Unga scored the game-winning touchdown.
One year after Utah sprung the shocking upset on BYU in 1988, the Cougars were ready for revenge. Led by sophomore quarterback Ty Detmer, BYU scored touchdowns on their first seven drives to build a 49-0 lead. Detmer didn’t play in the second half and the Cougars rolled to a 70-31 win.
After 20 years of losing, BYU pulled off their first victory in the rivalry matchup in 1942 with a 12-7 victory. Both schools were in Mountain States conference at the time.
The regular-season finale for both teams in 1981 had WAC championship implications hanging in the balance. At that time, the 47,163 fans that packed into the Cougar Stadium was the largest crowd for a sporting event in the state of Utah’s history. The record-setting crowd witnessed Jim McMahon on Senior day pass for 565 yards as BYU defeated Utah 56-28.
With BCS hopes alive and well, BYU entered the rivalry game in 2001 undefeated and in the top-10 of the national polls. The Cougars found themselves down 21-10 heading into the fourth quarter. Then “Luuuuuuke” happened. Brandon Doman connected with Domman on option tosses twice that saw Staley run down the sideline for a pair of scores. “Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on the Utes.”
“He lets it go … FINDS HIS GUY!”
Senior quarterback John Beck hooked up with fellow senior Jonny Harline at the end of regulation to defeat Utah 33-31 and complete an undefeated season in the Mountain West Conference. It was BYU’s first win against Utah since the 2001 season.
Legendary head coach LaVell Edwards was entering his final game on the Cougars sideline and for a moment, it looked like his final game would end with a loss. Then quarterback Brandon Doman found wide receiver Jonathan Pittman on 4th & 12 and then again the following play to position BYU with a last-minute touchdown. The win sent Edwards out as a winner.
What would you say are BYU’s top wins against Utah in the history of the rivalry game?
Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.
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