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BYU Cougars vs. Utah Utes: Statistical Analysis

Published: Saturday, Sept. 5 2015 9:15 a.m. MDT

Utah Utes wide receiver Reggie Dunn (14) runs by Brigham Young Cougars linebacker Spencer Hadley (2)   in Salt Lake City  Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012.  (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Utah Utes wide receiver Reggie Dunn (14) runs by Brigham Young Cougars linebacker Spencer Hadley (2) in Salt Lake City Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

The Utah-BYU rivalry game may be taking a two-year hiatus, but fans and commentators in the state will be talking about this game for generations. For University of Utah Fans, Saturday night's contest looked more like a zombie apocalypse thriller than a football game at the end.

Each time the Utes thought they had put the final nail in the Cougars' coffin, BYU would come back from the dead and make another final charge. Facing a 24-7 deficit heading into the final quarter, the Cougars mounted an eight-play, 75-yard drive and did it in 2:14. The drive was capped off by a seven-yard Jamaal Williams touchdown run with 13:43 left to play.

Riley Nelson finished 17-35 for 206 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, and the second TD was a one-yarder to Kanekua Friel with just less than four minutes to play. The score cut the lead to 24-21 in favor of the Utes, but there was still life in BYU’s offense.

Utah fans storm the field after the Utes beat BYU in Salt Lake City  Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012.  (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Utah fans storm the field after the Utes beat BYU in Salt Lake City Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

BYU would opt to kick deep and not go for the onside attempt, eventually forcing Utah to punt. The Cougars faced a daunting 94-yard stretch of real estate in front of them and quickly found themselves in a hole on down and distance. On fourth and long, Nelson found Cody Hoffman on a post-corner route for 47 yards that was reminiscent of “fourth and nineteen” a few years back.

The final few minutes consisted of a tipped ball that ended the game and fans rushing the field, a blocked field goal attempt to end the game with fans rushing the field, and finally a missed field goal bouncing off the upright and, at first, one fan rushing the field followed quickly by all the rest.

BYU had more passing yards (206-196), more than double the yards rushing (106-49) and 11 more first downs (25-14) than the Utes, but came up short in the only stat that matters – points.

Fans as the University of Utah defeats BYU 24-21 in football Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Salt Lake City, Utah.    (Tom Smart, Deseret News) Fans as the University of Utah defeats BYU 24-21 in football Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

Jonathan Boldt is the Editor-in-Chief of the UVU Review at Utah Valley University, and can be reached at jonboldt@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @jboldt24. www.uvureview.com

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