Utah, BYU football: Utes celebrate block party, beat Cougars 17-16 in rivalry thriller
The rivalry, which has been decided by a touchdown or less in 12 of the past 14 years, will continue. The game, however, will be played in September instead of November from now on. Games have already been scheduled for the next two years.
A fitting encore, though, will take some work. Then again, that was the case after BYU's 26-23 win over Utah last year in Provo, when Andrew George scored the game-winning touchdown in overtime.
This one started off slowly with neither team able to muster much offense early.
BYU led 6-0 at halftime after Payne connected on field goals from 43 and 37 yards out. Utah had an opportunity to score in the second quarter, but a 45-yard kick by Phillips was wide right.
The Cougars kept the Utes in check by allowing just 11 yards rushing on 12 carries in the first half. Utah's passing game was also ineffective. Aside from a 60-yard completion to Jereme Brooks, Wynn was just 7-of-17 for 63 yards over the first two quarters.
Backup Terrance Cain started the second half. He was intercepted, however, on consecutive drives before Wynn was reinserted.
Cain's second pick led to the game's first touchdown. BYU middle linebacker Shane Hunter returned it 46 yards deep into Utah territory.
It stayed that way until a 70-second stretch early in the fourth quarter.
Utah climbed back into contention on a 40-yard field goal by Phillips and a 37-yard touchdown pass from Wynn to DeVonte Christopher. Defensive end Junior Tui'one set up the latter by recovering a fumble on a botched handoff by Heaps.
The Cougars responded to the outburst with a 42-yard field goal by Payne to make it 16-10 entering the game's pivotal stretch.
"I challenged my players to play the game from beginning to end, and in the end we weren't able to do it," Mendenhall said.
The Utes and Cougars have now split six meetings since 2005 when Whittingham and Mendenhall became head coaches.
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