SALT LAKE CITY — It was a sloppy game with an incredulous ending. Make that endings.
As Utah fans stormed the field, officials decided there was one second left on the game clock, which gave BYU a shot at a game-tying field goal.
Utah blocked Justin Sorensen's attempt it to win 24-21. Or so they thought.
Because the Utah fans stormed the field while the ball was still live, officials called a live-ball foul. That gave BYU the ball on the 19-yard line. The Cougars used Riley Stevenson to attempt and he hit the uprights.
No flags, no reviews, no fourth chances.
Fumbles, penalties and kicking woes for both teams marred the 94th meeting between Utah and BYU. A bad snap led BYU's final touchdown when Sean Sellwood was tackled just trying to hold onto the ball. The Cougars took over at the 14-yard line and after three running plays, quarterback Riley Nelson connected with Kaneakua Friel for six points.
Jon Hays completed a big pass to Reggie Dunn to secure the win as the Utes attempted to run down the clock.
Utah scored first in the second half when kicker Coleman Peterson redeemed an earlier miss with a 48-yard field goal to give the Utes a 10-7 lead.
Peterson's kick was made possible by an interception by Ryan Lacy. The bad pass was just one of two turnovers by Nelson.
The Cougars had five fumbles, but luckily only lost the ball one of those times. Unfortunately that one time cost them a touchdown.
That play came on a BYU first and 15 midway through the third quarter. Nelson appeared not to see the snap and it sailed past him. Running back Michael Alisa tried to pick the ball up and it bounced away from him. Utah's Moe Lee raced around a sprawled out Alisa and Nelson, scooped up the ball and ran it 47 yards for a touchdown. That score gave Utah a 17-7 lead.
Utah was slightly more effective offensively than BYU in the first half, earning 142 total yards to the Cougars 119 yards.
Neither team was very effective on the ground game in the first half with the Cougars earning 45 yards on 17 carries, while Utah earned 30 yards on 18 carries in the first half. In the third quarter, BYU earned 61 yards rushing, while Utah managed an abysmal 42 yards on 25 carries.
The kicking game for both teams was shaky with Peterson's field goal attempt being blocked and Sorensen's 44-yard field goal attempt missing wide of the goal posts.
The first quarter was bleakest for BYU as the Cougars' only first downs came from penalties.
While nearly every running back on the Utah roster had a chance to carry the ball except White, the Utes could barely move the ball. Lucky for them Hays proved he's worthy of the starting job. He completed 18 of 27 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns. The second touchdown came in the third quarter when Dres Anderson made a beautiful catch for a 39-yard touchdown and a 24-7 lead.
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company