Brad Rock: Heated Utah and BYU rivalry started with a brawl in 1895

Published: Wednesday, May 26 2004 6:55 a.m. MDT

In the mid-1980s, during a game in Provo, BYU players began razzing Utah's pitcher. He went into his stretch, then abruptly wheeled and unloaded a fastball directly into the BYU dugout. Both benches emptied.

In the same era, the teams were playing at what is now Franklin Covey Field. With two outs and two on in the bottom of the ninth, a Utah player got a hit that would have scored the winning run. The runner easily could have crossed the plate untouched, but instead, as Pullins recalls, "he decided he couldn't handle the temptation" and went out of his way to bull down BYU's catcher who was on the first-base side of the plate.

He ended up being called out and ejected, as BYU went on to win in extra innings.

"Just a friendly little Utah nudge that was so unnecessary," says Pullins.

So if Utah wins today, after 13 straight losses, it would be a surprise. But if there's a fight?

No surprise.

One-hundred-nine years of tradition is hard to break.


E-mail: rock@desnews.com

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