BYU-Utah: Cardiac Cougars Strike Again
Somebody needs to confront the BYU football team about their medical bill.
After two years of tearing out the hearts of Ute fans and giving the Cougar faithful more ulcers than you can count, it’s time they pay the bill.
Ah, forget it—we’ll just take the 17-10 W.
Saturday saw the 88th edition of the “Holy War,” and the BYU-Utah rivalry lived up to the hype.
Just when you thought last year’s last-second, game-winning touchdown was enough to get your pacemaker rocking—BYU decided to do it again.
A defensive purist would have loved the first 50 minutes on Saturday. Several BYU drives stalled near the red zone, and three times the Cougars had to settle for field goals from kicker Mitch Payne.
Trailing 9-3 midway through the fourth quarter, Utah marched methodically down the field against a defense that had shut them down all game long. The Utes ran 15 plays in 7:11, and finally scored on a Darrell Mack one-yard touchdown run.
Louie Sakoda’s PAT put the Utes up 10-9, leaving BYU 1:34 to work with and 80 yards to go.
Hey—if BYU drove for the game-winning score in 1:09 last year, why not in 1:34 this year?
After losing eight yards on a fumble, the Cougars found themselves facing 4th-and-18 on their own 12.
And then Max Hall worked a little magic.
The Cougar QB dodged the Utah pass rush, rolled to his right, and found WR Austin Collie wide open for a 49-yard completion, sending the home crowd into a frenzy.
With the help of two costly Utah penalties, BYU proceeded to march down the field in a hurry, capping the game-winning drive with an 11-yard run by freshman RB Harvey Unga with 34 ticks left on the clock.
Unga had a sensational day against the Utes, running for 141 yards on 23 attempts en route to becoming the first BYU frosh to ever break the 1,000-yard barrier. Unga now sits at 1,050 yards on the year.
The Cougars improved to 9-2 (7-0) with the win, and ran their unbeaten conference streak to 15 games. BYU also jumped to No. 19 in the BCS standings.
Utah, meanwhile, fell to 8-4, ending a streak of seven straight wins. This one no doubt stings just a little bit more than the typical loss.
Now that the dust has cleared, my heart rate has returned to normal, and my voice is on the mend...you still can’t quite get the smile off my face.
Ah, beating Utah—how sweet it is.
As gut-wrenching as it was, a win is a win. But boy—I know a whole lot of people who might need to start taking out life insurance against these BYU-Utah games.
No wonder we only play this one once every 365 days.
BYU still have business to take care of. Although the Cougars secured their second straight outright MWC championship this weekend, they hit the road to take on San Diego State on Saturday Dec. 1st.
The game was postponed from earlier in the season due to the San Diego wildfires.
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