College football: Groins, grease among most memorable Utah-USU matchups

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 4 2012 9:00 p.m. MDT

Utah State Aggies running back Robert Turbin (6) and Utah State Aggies quarterback Adam Kennedy (2) celebrates a touchdown in Logan  Saturday, Nov. 26, 2011. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Utah State Aggies running back Robert Turbin (6) and Utah State Aggies quarterback Adam Kennedy (2) celebrates a touchdown in Logan Saturday, Nov. 26, 2011. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

From "groin-gate" to greased jerseys to outrageous officiating, the Utah-Utah State football games played in Logan have produced some memorable games over the years.

Here is a look at five memorable games in the history of the Utah-Utah State rivalry played in Logan:


Aug. 31, 1996 — Utah State 20, Utah 17

Utah had won eight straight games against the Ags going back to 1987, tying the longest streak in the rivalry. There was little reason to think the Utes wouldn't win again coming into the season opener off a 7-4 season and a 40-20 thumping of the Aggies in Salt Lake City and as Western Athletic Conference favorites.

The Aggies meanwhile, had gone 4-7 in John L. Smith's first year in Logan.

However, the Aggies were plain tired of losing to the Utes and, behind Abu Wilson's 144 yards rushing, they knocked off the highly-favored Utes, who wouldn't lose again until November.

Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala, who had rushed for 180 yards against the Aggies the year before, gained only 49 yards in the defeat. He later revealed that he was grabbed in the groin by Aggie defenders while on the ground at least five times in the game.

"I couldn't even stand up straight by halftime, it hurt so bad," said Ma'afala.

Smith's reaction to the whole thing?

"This isn't figure skating," he said.

Zebras steal show

Nov. 12, 1983 — Utah State 21, Utah 17

Utah coach Chuck Stobart called this game "the worst rape ever committed in college football history" in a postgame rant about the officiating.

The Utes were whistled for a school-record 21 penalties (still a Ute record) for 171 yards and Stobart felt several penalties killed the Utes' momentum and changed the outcome of the game. In one stretch, Utah had five penalties called in a seven-play stretch and when no penalty was called, the P.A. announcer joked, "There was no penalty on that play." Later Stobart said, "I knew it was bad when the announcer started making fun of the officials."

Late in the game, the Utah defense had apparently held the Aggies deep in their own territory, but the Utes were called for a dead-ball personal foul for piling on. Instead of being faced with a 4th-and-10 and punting, the Aggies had new life and, three plays later, Marc White got loose for a 62-yard run that won the game.

Stobart, who hardly came up for air in his postgame tirade, shouted, "That wasn't even a football game, it was a joke."

Greased jerseys

Oct. 4, 1980 — Utah 23, Utah State 19

This game is remembered as much for the "greased jerseys" as much as the final outcome, which saw Utah eke out a victory after getting bombed the year before at home.

With just 11:26 remaining in the first quarter, the game was halted because Utah's defensive players complained their hands were slipping off the USU players' jerseys. The Utah State linemen had to change their jerseys before the game could continue.

Utah coach Wayne Howard was upset, saying, "They can't do that — it's illegal. That's not how you're supposed to play football. I've never seen anybody use Vaseline on their jerseys before."

Utah State coach Bruce Snyder didn't deny the jersey greasing and said afterwards, "I take full responsibility. It's my program and the bottom line lies with me, even if I didn't know it had snowballed into something like this."

Tony's big day

Nov. 11, 1972 — Utah State 44, Utah 16

USU quarterback Tony Adams came into the game as the nation's third-leading quarterback in front of then-record 19,434 fans. But no one expected what would happen on the autumn afternoon in Logan.

Utah State, an independent at the time, came into the game 6-3 after a loss to Wyoming the week before, while Utah was 5-3 behind quarterback Don Van Galder.

However, Adams shredded the Ute defense, passing for an NCAA-record 561 yards and five touchdowns in the rout of the Utes.

That record lasted for five years until BYU's Marc Wilson broke it with 571 yards, ironically in a game against Utah.

Ute upset

Nov. 23, 1963 — Utah 25, Utah State 23

This game took place while the nation was in mourning, just one day after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. There was talk of not playing the game, and many college games were cancelled that day. However, the Ute-Aggie game went on as scheduled and turned out to be a classic.

The two teams hadn't met in Logan in a decade, since 1953, and a sellout crowd of over 15,520 packed Romney Stadium. USU had won two straight in Salt Lake and was the obvious favorite with an 8-1 record to Utah's 3-6 mark.

Utah trailed 23-19 midway through the fourth quarter, but on 4th-and-21 from their own 38, the Utes ran the ball from punt formation, with Andy Ireland gaining 27 yards. A few minutes later, Gary Hertzfeldt hit Mike Davis for the go-ahead touchdown.

USU still had a chance and drove the length of the field behind future NFL quarterback Bill Munson, but at the one-yard line with time running out, coach Tony Knap elected to go for the touchdown rather than the field goal and the Ute defense held.

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