Fourth Quarter Flurries & Blocked Kicks: Best Utah Moments In Rivalry History
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Throughout the rivalry between Utah and BYU, their have been some fantastic finishes.
From blocked field goals to three attempts to win the game and snapping winning streaks, this rivalry series has seen it all.
Here are the best moments for Utah against BYU in the rivalry:
1988: Mitchell, Johnson Snap Skid
The Utes secured their first win over BYU since 1978, in a game that came to be known as the “Rice Bowl.”
Utah quarterback Scott Mitchell and the rest of the Utes got the early jump on the Cougars, quickly grabbing a 21-0 lead on heavily favored BYU.
Mitchell had a terrific outing, throwing for three touchdowns and 384 yards in the big win.
Running back Eddie Johnson also played well, turning in a four-touchdown performance.
1993: Yergensen Game-Winning FG
Thanks to the heroics of kicker Chris Yergensen, the Utes won in Provo for the first time in 22 years.
Although he had missed two field goals earlier in the game, Yergensen rallied to boot a career-long 55 yarder with less than a minute remaining to give the Utes a 34-31 win.
Ute fans and players were so excited about the win that they attempted to tear down the goalposts at Cougar Stadium. BYU players returned to the field to protect the goalposts and prevent the further embarrassment.
2004: Steve Savoy 92-Yard Touchdown Run
The Utah wide receiver scored his second touchdown of the game in the third quarter when he broke out a 92-yard touchdown run that gave the Utes a commanding 38-31 win.
Savoy would score one more time in the fourth quarter as Alex Smith threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to him. Utah knocked of BYU 52-21 to win their second straight Mountain West Conference championship.
The Utes finished with a 12-0 record and beat Pittsburgh in the Fiesta Bowl 35-7.
2005: Travis LaTendresse OT Touchdown
In a tale of two halves that saw Utah outscore BYU 24-3 in the first half and the Cougars returning the favor with a 31-10 second half advantage saw the game go into overtime.
The first play of overtime, Utah quarterback Brett Ratliff found LaTendresse for a 25-yard touchdown. When BYU had the ball on the next possession, the Utes forced the Cougars to turn the ball over on downs and Utah won 41-34 at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
This was Kyle Whittingham’s first rivalry game as the head coach of the Utes.
LaTendresse led the team with six receptions for 88 yards to go with his game-winning touchdown.
Utah finished with a 7-5 record (4-4 MWC) and beat No. 24 Georgia Tech 38-10 in the Emerald Bowl.
2010: Brandon Burton Blocked Field Goal
BYU kicker Mitch Payne attempted the game-winning field goal as BYU was trailing 17-16. Utah defensive back Brandon Burton ran around the edge of the lineman and blocked the kick to give the Utes a 17-16 win over BYU at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
This was the final game that the two rivals would face each other as conference opponents.
The Utes finished the season with a 10-3 record (7-1 MWC) and lost to No. 10 Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl 26-3.
2012: Utah Crowd Rushes The Field Three Times
Utah’s 24-21 win over BYU at Rice-Eccles Stadium featured one of the craziest finishes in rivalry history.
The first time, the clock expired on a BYU incomplete pass and the Utes 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.
2015: BYU Allows Five Quick Utah TD’s
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. Utah linebacker Gionni Paul recovered the loose pigskin to give Utah short field position, 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 safety 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 in 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 for the Cougars. Unfortunately for BYU, they 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.
2018: Utes Fourth Quarter Flurry
Having already sealed the Pac-12 South Division and with the conference championship game the next week, Utah faced their rivals BYU at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
The Cougars jumped out to a 20-0 lead at halftime on two touchdown throws by quarterback Zach Wilson to wide receiver Neil Pau’u and tight end Matt Bushman. Running back Matt Hadley scored the third touchdown of the first half.
Utah showed some signs of life with Wilson throwing an interception to defensive back Julian Blackmon, who returned it 27-yards for a touchdown.
But, BYU stopped that momentum quickly with another one-yard touchdown run by Hadley, giving the Cougars a commanding 27-7 lead late in the third.
Before heading to the fourth quarter, Utah quarterback Jason Shelley found wide receiver Samson Nacua for a 10-yard strike to cut the lead to 27-14 to start the final period.
Utes running back Armand Shyne scored the next two touchdowns for Utah from two and five yards out respectively and BYU’s lead was gone as Utah was up 28-27.
Shelley put the nail in the coffin with a 33-yard run to give Utah the 35-27 win over BYU, their eighth straight win in the rivalry.
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