BYU-Utah football: The ninth meeting between Bronco Mendenhall and Kyle Whittingham
Certain that Whittingham would take the job, Mendenhall and his wife, Holly, sat down with their three young sons and told them that they were getting ready to move. Mendenhall was close to accepting a job as defensive coordinator at UNLV under former Utah offensive coordinator Mike Sanford.
But, in the end, Whittingham turned down the BYU offer to stay at Utah and Mendenhall was hired days later — paving the way for several classic matchups between Mendenhall and Whittingham.
After serving as head coach for eight BYU-Utah games, Mendenhall said he appreciates the rivalry.
“I’ve always cared about it. It’s a great game,” he said. “But every game is great opportunity to learn and grow. This one just because of proximity and how much people care about it in the state. It becomes more personal because it affects more people that you know.”
In that first meeting in 2005, Utah outlasted BYU, 41-34, in OT.
“It’s the sweetest victory I’ve ever been a part of,” Whittingham said after his team’s dramatic 41-34 victory in Provo.
“This was a hard-fought game that came down to one play,” Mendenhall said at the time. “Two teams fought. Two teams competed. Two teams laid it on the line. What else can you want from an in-state rivalry?”
Thanks in large part to Mendenhall and Whittingham, over the past eight seasons, there have been memorable battles, dramatic finishes and epic plays.
What else could anyone want from an in-state rivalry?
Dirk Facer contributed to this report.
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