by Scott Funk (@scottfunk0)
Provo, UT – In a game full of ups and downs on both sides of the ball, the Utes (2-0,0-0) found themselves on the winning side after a 19-13 victory over their rival BYU (1-2) on Saturday night.
The game started out slow for both teams. The first quarter was one that you could say created excitement, frustration, then more frustration for both Ute and Cougar fans. Both teams would show signs of life, only to have their drives stalled by either penalties or mental errors. The Utes saw several drives change because of penalties, ending the half with seven for 80 yards.
The Cougars struggled to get drives going. They had one good drive in the first quarter, but it ended with a missed 28-yard FG. They would finish the half with 102 total yards, with 26 on the ground.
BYU continued to struggle in the beginning of the second half, throwing interceptions on each of their first two drives to open up the half. The Utes would capitalize on the first with a touchdown, but would turn the ball over on the second resulting in a BYU touchdown. BYU failed on the two-point try giving the Utes a 16-6 lead with 9:47 to play in the third quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter Utah was putting together a drive that seemed like it was going to be the final nail in the coffin. But the drive came to a halt with a Troy McCormick fumble at the BYU 31. Utah’s defense however, would continue to come up strong for the Utes forcing a three and out on the Cougars following drive leading to fans heading for the exits with 9:21 left in the game.
On the following possession the Utes were putting together yet another drive to put BYU away, but the Cougars would stop the Utes on a fourth down try at their own 19 keeping their hopes of a victory alive.
In their following possession, BYU would score a touchdown making the score 19-13 with 2:38 to play in the game. Next possession for the Utes would result in a quick three and out and punt. BYU would get the ball with 1:34 to play needing to go 91 yards to tie the game with a touchdown and win it with a PAT.
BYU would get six of those 91 yards, turning the ball over on downs; sealing the victory and number seven in-a-row for the Utes.
“We still have a lot to work on,” said head coach Kyle Whittingham. “We’re relying way too much on Tyler Huntley. We just don’t seem to be quite in sync on offense yet. Defensively I thought we played well. But anytime we play down here its gonna be tough. Like I’ve said before, I don’t care what has happened previously, that’s just how this series has been. Its been very hard fought.”
Matt Gay, originally denied to opportune to play for BYU, was the star of the night for Utah. He was 4-4 on FGs, with his long being 38.
Tyler Huntley finished the night 27-36 for 300 yards. He also ran for 98 yards and a touchdown. Tanner Mangum would finish the game 21-39 for 170 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.
Darren Carrington again led the way for the receiving unit for the Utes tallying seven catches for 129 yards with a long of 41.
In the end, it was a true rivalry game. It was a slug fest. It seemed like it was over the whole game. Utah’s defense came up big time and time again, holding BYU to 233 total yards on the game and forcing three turnovers. But the turnovers, penalties, and inability to score a touchdown in the red-zone are what kept BYU in the game.
Once again, the game came down to one possession with everyone on their feet. In the end chants of “SE-VEN!!” came raining down from Ute fans across LaVell Edwards Stadium as the streak lived on.
The Utes will close out their non-conference schedule next week when they take on the San Jose State Spartans at Rice Eccles Stadium next Saturday night. Kick-off is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. MDT. The game will be on ESPN2 and can be heard on ESPN700.
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