PROVO — Former BYU All-American tight end Gordon Hudson said the rivalry with Utah has changed over the years since he played in it.
"Probably one of the fiercest rivalries in the country, as far as animosity — maybe not players but the fan base," he said prior to Saturday's game. "And today, it's just gotten so much more vicious. I don't mean to be disrespectful to the Utes, but they were just a bump in a road back when we were playing them and won 17 in a row, 21 of 22 or whatever or something like that every game was a blowout, so I really never had those feelings, but now it's serious. It's like families."
Hudson, who played from 1981-83, was one of several former BYU All-American tight ends the school honored at halftime, along with Clay Brown. Brown caught the game-winning touchdown pass against Southern Methodist in the 1980 "Miracle Bowl."
Starting with Brown in 1980, 10 BYU tight ends have received All-American status. Since 1976, 12 Cougar tight ends have received 20 first-team All-Conference honors. In the past 10 years alone, nine former BYU tight ends have landed on an NFL roster.
When it comes to the rivalry, perhaps the most famous Cougar tight end is Jonny Harline, who caught the last second game-winning TD on his knees in 2006 at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Hudson said it was indeed strange for the Cougars and Utes to be playing in September.
"I was in the elevator (Friday) night and Utes are staying where we're staying and riding up with a couple Utah fans and one of us finally said, 'You know this feels weird doesn't it?' And I said, 'Yeah, it is weird.'"
FLAG BEARERS: Brown carried out the Alumni Flag prior to the game Saturday. Wide receiver J.D. Falslev carried out the team flag white and defensive back Carter Mees carried out the special teams flag.
EXTRA POINTS: Former BYU basketball star Jimmer Fredette was honored prior to kickoff and participated in the "Lighting the Y" ceremony … A 100-yard American flag was unfurled for the pregame playing of the National Anthem … Both BYU and Utah wore their home uniforms Saturday as part of the celebration of the fifth year of the Deseret Duel. The two schools will wear home uniforms every time they compete against each other in all sports throughout the 2011-12 season … President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was presented with an honorary game ball during the first quarter.
CONTRIBUTING: Brad Rock