The Utes hadn't beaten the Cougars in seven years and weren't expected to win this one, especially after falling behind 16-0 at halftime. But they clawed back in the second half and on fourth-and-15 with just three minutes left, Randy Gomez hit Frank Henry with a 19-yard touchdown pass to give the Utes the win over the Jim McMahon-led Cougars.
The Cougars had won just one of the previous 28 meetings between the two rivals and were five-touchdown underdogs in this nationally televised game on Thanksgiving Day. The 2-6-1 Cougars hung with Utah all day and pulled within one when Phil Oyler caught a 32-yard touchdown pass with two minutes left. However, the PAT try failed due to a bad snap, leaving the Cougars losers again.
In a defensive struggle, the Utes appeared to be in position to win after Brian Johnson led the Utes on a 15-play drive that chewed up more than seven minutes off the clock. That put the Utes up 10-9 with 1:34 left and things looked hopeless for the Cougars at fourth-and-18 from their 12-yard line. However, Max Hall found Austin Collie behind the Ute defense for a magical 49-yard completion and several plays later Harvey Unga scored the winning touchdown.
Although they were heavy underdogs, the Utes jumped out to a surprising 24-3 halftime lead behind backup quarterback Brett Ratliff, only to see the Cougars come roaring back to tie the score at 34-34 by the fourth quarter. Then in overtime, Ratliff hit Travis LaTendresse with a 25-yard touchdown pass and BYU couldn't answer as John Beck's fourth-down pass floated harmlessly into the end zone.
The Cougars had come into the game at 10-0 and ranked No. 8 in the nation under first-year coach Gary Crowton. But late in the fourth quarter they found themselves trailing the underdog Utes 21-10. BYU drove 92 yards and scored with 3:22 left and made a 2-point conversion to pull within three. Then after forcing a Ute punt, they moved downfield quickly and scored on Luke Staley's 30-yard run down sideline with 1:16 left.
This game featured the best combined records for the two teams of any game in the long series with Utah at 11-0 and BYU at 10-1. The game lived up to its hype for three quarters as the Utes clung to a 27-24 lead. Then the floodgates opened as the Utes added three more touchdowns thanks to interceptions by future NFL players Sean Smith and Paul Kruger, two of five picks on the day against quarterback Max Hall.
The Utes hadn't won in Provo in 21 years and were underdogs with a 6-5 record and eight defensive starters out with injuries. But they hung around all day, intercepted John Walsh five times and got 146 yards from future NFL star Jamal Anderson. Chris Yergensen had already missed two field goals and a PAT, but nailed an improbable 55-yard field goal with 25 seconds left to give Utah the win.
In this classic, the two rivals played as ranked teams for the first time. The lead went back and forth with six lead changes, four in the final quarter alone. John Walsh hit Mike Johnston with 27-yard touchdown pass with 2:15 left to put BYU up 31-27. However, Cal Beck returned the ensuing kickoff 67 yards, setting up a 20-yard touchdown pass from Mike McCoy to Charlie Brown with 56 seconds left. The Cougars moved to the Utah 34, but Bronzell Miller sacked John Walsh to seal the win, by a second straight 34-31 score.
Down 27-26 and facing fourth-and-13 with 1:04 left in the game, Brandon Doman found Jonathan Pittman with a 34-yard gain. Then Doman hit Pittman again with a 36-yard pass and two plays later Doman scored on a four-yard run, giving coach LaVell Edwards a miraculous win in the final game and avoiding his first losing season in 27 years. The Cougars had led 26-10 late in third quarter before Ute backup quarterback Darnell Arceneuax led a spirited comeback, only to be outdone by Doman and Co.
This well-played, back-and-forth game that featured no turnovers on either side, ended with John Beck's pass to Jonny Harline after time had expired. Before that, the Cougars had looked dominant in taking a 14-0 lead, before Utah rallied with 24 straight points behind quarterback Brett Ratliff. The Cougars came back to go ahead 27-24, but Utah scored with just 1:19 left on a pass from Ratliff to Brent Casteel. However, the Cougars marched 75 yards and scored on what may be the most famous play in the long history of the rivalry as Beck danced around for more than 10 seconds before finding Harline alone in the end zone.