BYU, Utes football: String of memorable BYU-Utah games began 20 years ago with unlikely kick

Published: Thursday, Sept. 19 2013 6:44 p.m. MDT

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There was little reason to believe that this particular BYU-Utah game was going to be anything special.

Utah was 0-10 in Provo during the LaVell Edwards Era and hadn’t won there since 1971. One local columnist wrote before the game, “Utah’s next win in Provo isn’t due until some time in the next century.’’

The Utes came into the game 6-5 — with bad losses to Arizona State and Wyoming on the road and to Idaho and New Mexico at home. The week before, the Utes had lost to Hawaii in Honolulu. The Utes had a beat-up secondary that was patched up with guys playing out of position and they were going against the No. 9-ranked offense in the country behind quarterback John Walsh.

BYU was 5-4-1 with a porous defense that had given up an average of 52 points in its previous five games. Despite the dreadful defense, the Cougars still had a chance at the WAC title, which they got a piece of with a win over UTEP the following week.

However, the Utes, despite being beaten by scores of 70-31 and 48-17 in their most recent appearances in Provo, were a confident bunch as they arrived at Cougar Stadium.

“When the players got off the bus that day, they didn’t walk off; they ran up to the locker room,’’ recalls Utah coach Ron McBride. “Everybody was anxious that day to get to that stadium and play that game.’’

BYU coach LaVell Edwards was hoping his team could clinch a piece of the WAC title that day, but wasn’t looking past the Utes.

“I always worried about it because we had some close games and the fact that it was Utah,’’ he said. “And a lot of those years the game determined bowl games or championships.’’
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Cottonwood Heights, UT

This is one of my greatest memories of the rivalry. I was sitting in the BYU section at the time with a fellow Ute fan and two other friends that were BYU fans. I sat quietly all game long but when comments started being directed to the two guys in red previous to the kick, I couldn't resist turning around and telling the fans that Yergensen had nothing to lose and they were about to feel extremely stupid when Yergensen nailed the kick ... a lot of laughing and yelling ensued right up until the ball sailed through the uprights. I've gotta say, there's nothing better than a simultaneous serving of humble pie to 65,000 Cougar fans. The silence in that stadium was the greatest non-sound I've ever experienced.
And to think, it's now been what, 13 of the last 20 for the Utes? Thank you Ronnie McBride!

The Solution
Dayton, OH

For most BYU fans the rivalry didn't become a rivalry until after McBride was fired and Urban Meyer was hired in 2003. Before for the most part the game wasn't so hostile. Then Urban came and ruined everything by turning the rivalry into hatred, putting BYU stickers in the urnals, and a BYU jersey as a floormat, with game targeted on the calendars. He's responsible for rallying the fanbase and threatened people if they didn't wear red. He probably had a hand in creating the modern MUSS.

While these things have certainly helped bring Utah where it is today, the feelings between these schools will never be the same. We BYU fans now take the rivalry very personally, which is why all these losses have become excruciating to bear. The arrogance from U fans is becoming less and less tolerable. That is why this break for two years will be good, but it won't dispel all the hard feelings.

Here's to the rematch in San Francisco.

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