Utah Football’s History On College GameDay

Oct 26, 2023, 11:30 AM

SALT LAKE CITY – ESPN’s College GameDay will be making their way to Utah football for its fifth appearance in Salt Lake City.

Right now, the Utes’ history with the esteemed college football pregame Saturday show sits at 2-2.

College GameDay first rolled into town nearly 20 years ago in 2004, followed up by 2010, 2015, 2016 and now 2023. Let’s take a closer look at the games and how the Utes have fared each time GameDay has been in town.


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2004: History Made At BYU Vs. Utah

College GameDay made its first appearance in Salt Lake City for the November 20, 2004, BYU versus Utah game as the Utes were on the cusp of becoming the first Group of Five school to “bust” the Bowl Championship Series earning their moniker, “Original BCS Busters“.

This appearance by GameDay might have the most historical significance of any of their visits to Utah due to the Utes accomplishing something that had never been done before.

The Utes would go on to beat the Cougars 52-21, stamping their ticket to the Fiesta Bowl against Pittsburgh.

Utah finished that season with a perfect 12-0 record and No. 4 final AP Top 25 ranking that helped to set them up for their later successes including jumping to the Power Five level of college football with a Pac-12 invite.

2010: The College GameDay Visit Everyone Wants To Forget

College GameDay’s second visit to Salt Lake City on November 6, 2010, was not anywhere near as kind to the Utes. In fact, it ended up being one of the worst losses in Kyle Whittingham’s now 19-season career as head coach.

TCU rolled into Utah with a 9-0 record while the Utes were coming off their first loss of the season on the road to Notre Dame. Utah ended up getting waxed by the Horned Frogs 47-7.

To this day, the names Andy Dalton, Jeremy Kerley, and Tank Carter invoke an unpleasant shudder for Ute fans. This was also the one and only time Utah held a “Dark Mode” game in the middle of the day.

Lessons were certainly learned.

2015: Utah Picks Off The Eventual No. 1 Draft Pick Five Times

October 10, 2015, was much more fun for Utah as GameDay made their third appearance on campus to watch Utah host Cal.

Utah quarterback Travis Wilson was 16 of 26 that day for 170 yards and one touchdown while running back Devontae Booker was a monster carrying the rock 34 times for 222 yards and two touchdowns.


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The stat of the day however belonged to the Utah defense who picked off eventual 2016 No. 1 Draft pick Jared Goff five times.

Utah went on to win this one 30-24.

2016: Something About Purple Teams, Utah, & College GameDay

October 29, 2016, proved to be a very exciting game, but Utah could not ultimately overcome what the Washington Huskies brought to town that day.

It was apparent transfer quarterback Troy Williams wanted to get one over his former team for the Utes and he was close to doing it, but Dante Pettis proved to be a problem the Utes couldn’t solve.

Williams finished his day a respectable 14 of 31 for 163 yards and two touchdowns with running back Joe Williams having another great day on the ground with 35 carries for 172 yards and one more score.

Washington quarterback Jake Browning went 12-20 for 186 yards and two touchdowns but struggled turning the ball over with two interceptions.

Pettis was the one who really made the difference in the game, however.

The Utes tied things up with just over nine minutes left to play at 24, but Pettis put the game away for good in favor of the huskies with a 58-yard punt return for the touchdown.

Purple teams plus College GameDay at Utah have not been a great mix.

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on XInstagram, and Threads: @BodkinKSLsports

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Utah Football’s History On College GameDay