BYU, USU football: A look at when the Aggies have beaten the Cougars in the past 35 years

Published: Friday, Oct. 4 2013 11:05 a.m. MDT

USU fans celebrate near the end of the game that ended in a win over BYU. Brigham Young University vs Utah State University in NCAA football played in Logan, Utah, Friday, Oct. 1, 2010. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

Ravell Call, Deseret News

Don’t be deceived.

The past two BYU-Utah State games have gone down to the wire.

If history means much, however, you shouldn’t get used to it.

Overall, BYU leads the series 45-34-3. But those contests have been bridged by eras where one team has routinely handled the other.

Before the Old Wagon Wheel came into play in 1948, USU won 12 of the first 19 contests, with three ties. That included 10 wins in the first 14, with one tie. (In the first matchup on Oct. 7, 1922, Utah Agricultural College beat BYU 42-3.) Then, the Aggies beat the Cougars 18 times in the first 27 battles for the Wheel.

But since 1974 — in 35 contests — BYU’s dominance has been greater. USU has won this rivalry game just four times (1978, 1982, 1993, 2010) since the year Richard Nixon resigned due to the Watergate scandal.

OCT. 7, 1978: UTAH STATE 24, BYU 7

When the former Soviet Union was performing an underground nuclear test, the Aggies were organizing destruction of an innocent kind.

With a second-quarter touchdown run and toss from Eric Hipple, USU jumped to a 21-0 lead by halftime. BYU never made a push after intermission; the Cougars only got on the board in the third quarter with a 4-yard run from Casey Wingard.

Hipple was 18-26 with a quarterback rating of 138.5 in BYU’s homecoming game. Meanwhile, Cougar quarterback Jim McMahon (5-11, 74.6 rating) struggled, and replacement Marc Wilson (7-18, 54.4) didn’t do better. McMahon was at work elsewhere: He was BYU’s punter, with eight kicks for a 37.6 yard average.

The Cougars never gained momentum as Brent Johnson missed both his field goal attempts. Rick Parros led the Aggies with 75 yards rushing on 15 carries. BYU’s Glen Rudd led all tacklers with 12 stops.

The ABC-televised game was USU’s last on the network until it played earlier this season at USC.

It also remains the last time the Aggies won in Provo. USU has since come closest to winning in Utah County in 2011 and 2012. Prior to BYU’s three-point win in 2011, the Aggies lost by an average of 24.8 points since the 1978 victory.

OCT. 30, 1982: UTAH STATE 20, BYU 17

International East-West trade issues were discussed in Washington that day by Lawrence S. Eagleburger, undersecretary of state for political affairs, and the ambassadors from Japan and key Western European countries.

At Romney Stadium, the Aggies and Cougars were having their own tussle.

A stellar day from USU signal-caller Doug Samuels (19-31, 326 yards, three touchdowns) and receiver Eric McPherson (eight catches, 84 yards) lifted the Aggies over BYU and their struggling quarterback, Steve Young (17-38, 223 yards). USU led 14-3 late in the second quarter before Young twice brought the Cougars within one score via touchdown tosses to Mike Eddo and Gordon Hudson. The Aggies found the win despite two turnovers. Thomas Bates led the USU defense with 11 tackles.

The Aggies won after losing by 24 points in two of their previous three games against BYU, both of which were played in Logan. The previous year, USU had lost by just six in Cougar Stadium.

OCT. 30, 1993: UTAH STATE 58, BYU 56

In an effort to get Americans behind the North American Free Trade Agreement, U.S. President Bill Clinton said John F. Kennedy would have supported it.

In their first win over BYU in 15 years, the Aggies invoked some history themselves that day.

“The game itself was remarkable for many reasons,” Deseret News BYU beat writer Jeff Call wrote the day before USU’s 2010 win over the Cougars.

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