Excitement, anticipation, banter and trash talk are buzzing in the Beehive State. The BYU-Utah rivalry continues Saturday, Sept. 21, at 8:15 p.m. MDT in Provo.
Regardless of past outcomes, no matter what the streaks and stats and records are, each new contest is a fresh chapter in which anything can happen. Since the Utes and Cougars won’t meet again until 2016, bragging rights for the next three years are on the line.
But more than that is at stake. A win for Utah will give it renewed confidence as it resumes Pac-12 play, following a disappointing loss at home to Oregon State on Sept. 14. A win for BYU will likewise increase its confidence as it looks ahead to the remainder of the season. And of course, a win for either team puts it one step closer to qualifying for a bowl game.
Over the years, the faces of coaches and players change, but the rivalry between these two squads remains constantly intense. Here are 10 facts about the rivalry going into Saturday’s showdown.
Michael Chase is a graduate of Dixie State University and Deseret News contributor. He is the owner of Mike's Professional Editing LLC, which provides proofreading and audio transcription services. EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
Before 1972, it was almost a given that Utah would beat BYU. From 1922 to 1971, the Utes and Cougars met 47 times, and Utah dominated the series with a 38-5-4 record. If you want to include the six meetings between Utah and Brigham Young Academy during the 1890s, that series was split (3-3).
The years 1972 and 1993 were turning points in the rivalry. Why? BYU won 19 of the 21 matchups from 1972 to 1992, and Utah won 13 of the 20 contests from 1993 to 2012. LaVell Edwards’ first season as BYU’s head coach was in 1972, which began BYU’s most successful span in the rivalry.
Ron McBride, during his fourth season as Utah’s head coach (1993), turned the tide for the Utes, ushering in their recent dominance over the Cougars.
• The last time BYU shut out Utah was in 1979 (the final score was 27-0).
• The last time Utah shut out BYU was in 2003 (the final score was 3-0). This shutout was significant because it snapped what was at the time for BYU an NCAA record of 361 consecutive games without being shut out.
• In 1922, Utah blanked BYU, 49-0.
• In 1980, BYU clobbered Utah, 56-6.
• In 1928, neither team scored in a 0-0 stalemate.
• In 1989, the Utes and Cougars combined for a single-game series-record 101 points in a 70-31 BYU victory.
• Most points scored by Utah in a game against BYU: 57 in Utah’s 57-28 win in 1988.
• Most points scored by BYU in a game against Utah: 70 in BYU’s 70-31 win in 1989.
• From 1971 to 2012, the road team won half of the contests (21 of 42).
• From 1995 to 2000, the road team won six consecutive games.
• Utah’s longest winning streak in Provo is seven in a row (1923, 1925, 1927, 1935, 1939, 1946 and 1948).
• BYU’s longest winning streak in Salt Lake City is four in a row (1980, 1982, 1984 and 1986).
• BYU was the road team in 54 of the 88 Ute-Cougar games from 1922 to 2012.
Everyone knows a win is a win for a team as long as it has outscored its opponent by the end of a game. But it can be a relief to know your team will win long before the fourth quarter expires.
In BYU’s last six rivalry wins, the average margin of victory was four points. The last time BYU beat Utah by more than seven points was 1996 (the final score was 37-17).
That was a special season for BYU: It finished with a 14-1 record, a WAC championship, a bowl victory over Kansas State and a No. 5 national ranking.
• Ute coach Kyle Whittingham is 5-3 against BYU and has won the last three games in the series.
• In eight rivalry games, Whittingham’s Utes have outscored Bronco Mendenhall’s Cougars, 248-181.
Under coach Mendenhall, BYU has beaten Utah three times (2006, 2007 and 2009). These three seasons were Mendenhall’s most successful in terms of number of wins (BYU won 11 games in each of those seasons).
In the eight rivalry games from 2005 to 2012, Utah won the game whenever it won the turnover battle, and BYU won the game whenever it won or tied in the turnover battle.