The journey from WAC-also-ran to BCS buster and finally to a member of the Pac-12 has been a long and arduous one for the University of Utah football team. The roller-coaster ride the Utes have endured over the last 35 years includes six coaches and a lot of tough seasons.
It has also included a few great teams and a number of very talented quarterbacks. This list ranks the best of those quarterbacks — the ones who were a huge part of the Utes finding their way to the top of the national rankings and a home in one of the most prestigious conferences in the country.
The rankings are based solely on what each quarterback did while at the University of Utah and not what they did in the NFL.
Here are the 10 greatest quarterbacks for the Utes over the last 35 years.
Note: Each player's stats include bowl games
Years at Utah: 1977-78
Gomez was the starting quarterback at Utah for two years and had vastly different results in each season. In his first year as a starter, Gomez led the Utes to a 3-8 record, throwing 10 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. His second season as the Utah starter was much more impressive.
Gomez led the University of Utah to an eight-win season while leading the WAC in touchdown passes (19). During his time on the hill, Gomez finished with 4,042 yards passing and 29 touchdowns.
Years at Utah: 1983-84
Stevens spent two seasons as the Utes' starting quarterback and found the end zone with his legs as often as he did with his arm. In fact, Stevens is tied for fourth on the Utes' leader board for rushing touchdowns since 1977.
Stevens wasn't a bad passer either, amassing 3,875 yards and 23 touchdowns. In each of his two years as a starter, Stevens finished in the top 10 nationally in total touchdowns, ending his career with 46.
Years at Utah: 1985-86
Like many of the quarterbacks on this list, Egger spent two seasons as the University of Utah starter. He won eight of his first 10 starts before the wheels fell off, with the Utes losing 11 of their next 13 games over two years.
Even though the Utes struggled, Egger continued to put up huge numbers. He finished in the top 10 nationally in each of his two seasons in both passing yards and passing touchdowns. Egger finished his Utah career throwing for 5,749 yards and 39 touchdowns.
Years at Utah: 1991-92
Like many others, Dolce spent two seasons as the Utes' starting quarterback and led the University of Utah to 13 victories and a trip to the Copper Bowl in 1992.
As a senior, Dolce completed 58.4 percent of his passes to lead the WAC. He also accounted for 22 touchdowns, which was good for second in the conference and seventh nationally. Dolce finished his Utah career throwing for 4,813 yards and 30 touchdowns.
Years at Utah: 2005-06
Ratliff only started 15 games in his career at the U. after replacing an injured Brian Johnson late in the 2005 season.
In his first start against arch-rival BYU, Ratliff was unstoppable. He led the Utes to a 41-34 overtime win, throwing for 240 yards and four touchdowns while adding 112 yards rushing and another score.
Start number two might have been even more impressive, as Ratliff and the Utes crushed the 24th-ranked Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 38-10 in the Emerald Bowl. On that day, Ratliff completed 30 of 41 passes for 381 yards and four touchdowns.
Ratliff would go on to start every game his senior year and led the University of Utah to an 8-5 record and another bowl win. That season, Ratliff was second in the MWC in passing yards with 2,796 and finished second in touchdown passes with 23.
Years at Utah: 1995-96
Fouts spent two very successful years as the starter at Utah. As a junior, Fouts won seven of his last nine starts after starting the season with two losses. Included in that stretch, was a 34 to 17 drubbing of BYU in Provo, in the last game of the season to clinch a share of the WAC title.
Fouts had an even better season as a senior, leading the Utes to eight wins, including seven in a row and a spot in the Copper Bowl. For his career, Fouts threw for 5,434 yards and 39 touchdowns.
Years at Utah: 1992-94
McCoy’s name littered the national leader board for quarterbacks during his two seasons as the Utes' starter. Utah also found great team success during McCoy’s time under center, including the two famous 34-31 victories over the BYU Cougars and the Utes' first bowl win in 30 years.
As a junior, McCoy led the WAC in yards and was second in completion percentage. His 4,146 passing yards also finished second nationally. As a senior, McCoy finished in the top 10 nationally in both completion percentage and yards while leading the country in passing touchdowns. For his career, McCoy finished with 7,759 passing yards and 51 touchdowns.
Years at Utah: 2004-05, 07-08
Johnson was a part of the best two teams in Utah history. He was a backup to Alex Smith during the first time the Utes made a BCS game in 2004 and was the starting quarterback when Utah beat Alabama in the 2009 Sugar Bowl. His stats reflect the huge amount of success Johnson had with the Utes.
Johnson's best season came as a senior, when he was the MWC Offensive Player of the Year. He finished sixth nationally in completion percentage that year. For his career, Johnson threw for 7,853 yards and 57 touchdowns as well as running for 848 yards and 12 scores.
Johnson’s career numbers still place him in the top seven in MWC history in completion percentage, passing yards, touchdowns and passing touchdowns.
Years at Utah: 1987-89
Even though Mitchell never played on any great teams at the University of Utah, he was a great quarterback. He threw for more yards and more touchdowns than any other quarterback in Ute history, ending his career with 8,981 yards and 69 touchdowns.
Mitchell’s best season came in 1988 when he led the nation in passing yards, total yards and passing touchdowns.
Not bad for a quarterback on a team that finished with six wins and five losses.
Years at Utah: 2003-04
Smith left his mark in just two years as the Utah starter before leaving early for the NFL. Smith won 21 of his 22 starts as a Ute after replacing an injured Brett Elliott, to start game three of the 2003 season.
Smith led the Utes to a Mountain West Conference championship with a 10-2 record that year and a victory in the Liberty Bowl while leading the MWC in completion percentage.
While Smith was truly impressive as a sophomore, what he accomplished as a junior is what Ute fans will never forget. Smith led the Utes to a 12-0 record as the Utes became the first non-automatic qualifying school to make a BCS game. Smith led the MWC in just about every major statistical category for quarterbacks as well as being named 2004 MWC Offensive Player of the Year. Smith amassed 32 passing and 10 rushing touchdowns while only throwing four interceptions. He finished fourth in the Heisman voting.
Smith ended his Utah career throwing for 5,203 yards and 47 touchdowns with only eight interceptions while rushing for 1,094 yards and 15 more scores.