Utes extend the streak, win rivalry game 35-27

Utah outscored BYU 21-0 in the fourth quarter.

It’s always going to be memorable. #17 Utah rallied from a 20-0 halftime deficit to beat BYU 35-27 in the rivalry game, extending the Utes streak to eight straight in the head-to-head.

Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham postgame recapped it perfectly: “Another rivalry game for the books. What would you expect different?”

He gave the game ball to the seniors, who “have not lost to these guys in their time at Utah” (a streak dating back to 2010).

It doesn’t matter that these two took different paths. One is the Pac-12 South Champions who will play for a spot in the Rose Bowl next Friday. The other is awaiting its contractually obligated bowl invite. Both came into tonight having achieved their goals. And still, this game mattered.

Should Utah rest their starters? Should Mark Harlan continue to schedule the Cougars?

Credit to the redshirt-freshman quarterback who led the Utes comeback. Jason Shelley passed for 141 yards on 19-28. He punctuated the win with a 33-yard scamper for the final score. A signal caller who was overshadowed when Jack Tuttle arrived on campus, Shelley has done enough in his three full contests as the starter.

Same for Armand Shyne. 2017’s preseason running back no. 1 rushed for 47 yards and two touchdowns.

But when it mattered most, Utah’s defense bottled up BYU offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes’s offense – 51 Cougar yards in the final frame. Most of all, the defense earned a crucial fourth-and-one stop before the Shelley capper.

It’s the recipe that kept Whittingham’s teams competitive for their entirety in the Pac-12. It’s a defensive identity that every coach respects, and Kalani Sitake emulates. It’s perfect for the Rice-Eccles faithful.

And in 2018, it put them over the top.

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