From 1972 to 1992, the Brigham Young Cougars dominated their arch rival Utah Utes winning 19 of 21 games. Between 1993 and 2005, BYU lost nine of the 13 games. Using throwback royal blue jerseys and winning in thrilling fashion, the Cougars gave this rivalry an old school feel in 2009.
BYU did some damage control with Max Hall leading a 16 play, 67-yard drive that ended with a field goal to cut the lead to 6-3 thirteen seconds into the second quarter. The game really took a turn in BYU's favor a few moments later.
First, Jordan Wynn was introduced to Jordan Pendleton. Pendleton's huge hit knocked Wynn off rhythm. Second, with the score still 6-3, Utah punted the ball to BYU with just under 8:00 to play in the half. O'Neill Chambers fielded the punt at midfield. Forty-three yards later Chambers was brought down. Two plays later, BYU had a 10-7 lead as Harvey Unga took the ball in from two yards out.
Andrew Rich intercepted a pass with a little over three minutes left in the half, and he returned it 52-yards to the Utah 23-yard line. That set up a 37-yard Mitch Payne field goal seconds before the half ended. That gave BYU a 13-7 lead and complete control of the game.
With the two touchdown lead, the BYU defense didn't let up. Utah gained just 41 yards on its first three drives of the second half. However, the Utah defense started tightening up and made some third down stops.
Utah finally put together another scoring drive at the end of the third quarter and start of the fourth. It ended in a field goal to cut the BYU lead to 20-9. A 40-yard punt return set up Utah just 37-yards away from the end zone on its next possession. That drive ended in a touchdown and two point conversion. Now it was a three-point game with 7:16 to play.
BYU failed to pick up a single first down on its next two drives. Although the Cougar D made a stop, the Utes had one more chance with 2:52 to play to tie or win the game. A 40-yard field goal with 34 seconds left sent the game to overtime.
It was just the second time in the history of this rivalry that the game had gone to overtime. Utah got the ball first and added another field goal, its fifth of the game. It was BYU's chance to answer with at least a field goal of its own, otherwise that 14-point second half lead would have been for naught.
Hall ran for 5-yard on first down, but an illegal motion penalty on the next play negated that play. On 2nd and 10, Hall dropped back to pass. He spotted Andrew George over the middle. Hall threaded the needle between two defenders. The Ute defenders collided going for the ball, which left nothing but green grass between George and the end zone. Touchdown!
BYU won 26-23.
Unga had 116 yards on 23 carries. It was his third consecutive 100 yard game against the Utes.
This win gave BYU a 3-1 record against the Utes since 2006. Besides the old royal blue jerseys, it felt like the instate hierarchy had returned to BYU being number one, and would win most of the time in this series.
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