Utah Utes football: Team had lots of luck on their side

Published: Saturday, Nov. 27 2010 10:06 p.m. MST

Utah's Brandon Burton (lower right) blocks BYU's Mitch Payne's field goal attempt in the final second as the University of Utah defeats Brigham Young University 17-16.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

BYU vs. Utah boxscore

SALT LAKE CITY — Kyle Whittingham wouldn't bite when asked if Utah was "living right," Saturday afternoon. But his Utes certainly had luck — or whatever — on their side in their thrilling 17-16 victory over BYU.

As he was watching BYU line up for a possible game-winning field goal with four seconds left and his team leading 17-16, Whittingham, thought to himself, "Hey what else could you have expected with what has transpired over the past 10 years?"

He had seen his Utes lose on a missed field goal try off the upright in 1998, get burned with a 4th-and-13 pass in 2000, two late touchdowns in 2001, a last-second pass in 2006, a 4th-and-18 play in 2007 and a 25-yard pass in overtime last year.

His team was overdue for some good fortune and the Utes had plenty this day — all of it in the fourth quarter.

One play after recovering a fumble at the BYU 37, Jordan Wynn underthrew a pass to DeVonte Christopher only to have Christopher reach over BYU defender Brian Logan at the goal line and snag the ball before he hit the ground for a Utah touchdown to cut the lead to 13-10.

Down 16-10, Joe Phillips shanked a punt, only to have it bounce off BYU's BJ Peterson and get recovered by Utah's Greg Bird in BYU territory.

Two plays later BYU's Brandon Bradley intercepted a tipped pass from Wynn only to fumble after a hit by Kendrick Moeai, who recovered the fumble.

Finally there was the blocked field goal by Brandon Burton as time ran out that saved the game for the Utes.

Whittingham didn't want to call it luck, but one of his players did.

"We had a couple of lucky plays come our way," said Ute senior center Zane Taylor.

The Ute coach was just glad he came out on the winning side this time.

"It was all right there and came down to that one play," he said.

e-mail: sor@desnews.com

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