Three Storylines That Could Determine Winner of BYU vs. Utah

Sep 8, 2021, 10:51 AM
BYU Utah Football...
Utah-BYU football game at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019. (Steve Griffin, Deseret News)
(Steve Griffin, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – You can see it everywhere you go this week; the contrast of red and blue. Utah is a state formed on the idea of community and service to your fellow being, but for one week every year rivalry and the spirit of competition takes the front seat. It’s time again for BYU vs. Utah.

BYU vs. Utah is back


After a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the BYU vs. Utah game is back as the Utes try to extend their win streak to 10 games and the Cougars try to build upon their 11 win season in 2020. Here are the three storylines that could determine the winner of BYU vs. Utah.

Three Storylines for BYU vs. Utah

1. How will both teams build upon Week 1 victories

Utah started off the season with a 40-17 win over Weber State. Baylor transfer Charlie Brewer look solid at quarterback in his Utah debut, the Utes had 188 rushing yards on the day and the defense look as good as the Kyle Whittingham-led defenses we’re accustomed to.

BYU beat Arizona 24-16, with the Cougars never trailing despite a closer game than many expected. Jaren Hall was good in his first full game played as a starter in his BYU career and the Cougar defense was bend-don’t-break against the Wildcats.

Both coaches are surely happy with a win last week, but there is plenty for both teams to improve in Week 2. Whoever can make those adjustments and come prepared on Saturday will have the advantage.

2. Establish the run and control the line of scrimmage

Both BYU and Utah want to establish the run game and control the line of scrimmage. In their last match-up, the Utes outgained the Cougars on the ground 262 yards to 92 yards, due in large part to current Buffalo Bills running back Zach Moss.

There are new faces in the backfield for the Utes, with Cincinnati transfer Tavion Thomas leading the team in yards last week and freshman Micah Bernard contributing both on the ground and through the air. BYU returns their leading rusher from a season ago, Tyler Allgeier, who picked up where he left off last week.

Utah was 39th in rushing offense in 2020, BYU was 44th and both teams averaged over 190 rushing yards per game. Controlling the line of scrimmage, wearing down the defense and opening up the passing game will be the game plan for both the Utes and the Cougars.

3. All things must come to an end, right?


If you haven’t been counting, which if you’re reading this you definitely have, Utah takes a 9 game win streak into this match-up on Saturday. Will the win streak continue for the Utes? Each team has had a 9 game win streak in this rivalry’s history, but neither have been able to reach 10 games.

After the game on Saturday, the teams aren’t scheduled to play until 2024. With rumors swirling around BYU and the Big 12, future rivalry games may be few and far between. If you’re BYU, you can’t let the streak extend and leave yourself waiting years for a chance for redemption. If you’re Utah, a 10 game win streak gives you ultimate bragging rights over the Cougars and little motivation to schedule future meetings.

BYU vs. Utah takes place at LaVell Edwards Stadium on the 20th anniversary of September 11th. Pre-game coverage begins at 6 pm on KSL NewsRadio, 102.7 FM and 1160 AM, with kickoff at 8:15 pm.

Dallen Graff is a KSL Sports Contributor. He is the Producer of Cougar Sports Saturday (SUBSCRIBE) on KSL NewsRadio. Follow him on Twitter.

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Three Storylines That Could Determine Winner of BYU vs. Utah