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Cougars win war vs. Utes despite gridiron meltdown

Published: Friday, June 8 2012 9:18 p.m. MDT

PROVO — For the fourth time in five years, BYU won the Deseret First Duel — a full year-long competition between the University of Utah and BYU in all sports.

The Cougars won this year's overall point competition by a convincing 31-16 margin.

The Cougars got off to an early lead in the duel with victories in women's soccer and a 3-0 sweep in women's volleyball. The competition wrapped up early with the men's tennis team earning a 5-2 victory on Feb. 15 to give BYU 28 total points.

"It's a great day for BYU athletics to be able to celebrate another victory in the Deseret Duel," said BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe. "It's a great competition against the University of Utah and it's always well-fought. Our coaches and our student-athletes really look forward to that Utah game every year."

While BYU largely won the award based on its performance in the Olympic sports, most fans of the two schools base the rivalry on one particular sport — football — and the Utes clobbered the Cougars in last year's game, 54-10, at Provo.

A football game between BYU and Utah still isn't scheduled for 2013 and beyond, with recent comments by Utah head football coach Kyle Whittingham casting a pall upon the rivalry's future. With Utah's membership in the Pac-12, scheduling out-of-conference opponents such as BYU becomes much more difficult.

New Deseret First Credit Union CEO Shane London is fully aware of the significance of the football game and how it's regarded by fans and media.

"Football is the big rivalry, so (sponsorship) is something we'll have to re-evaluate and assess with both universities," said London. "There are a lot of great sports played in the Deseret Duel and we'll continue to talk with both parties to assess how much both are committed to the rivalry."

So how likely is a BYU vs. Utah football game for 2013?

"I feel good about it," Holmoe said. "Chris (Dr. Chris Hill) and I have been talking and the talks are always continuing. It's important now that in the weeks and months to come that we do something for 2013 because it's right around the corner. … Chris is working on it very hard and there has never been a point where he's thrown in the towel."

email: bgurney@desnews.com

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