PROVO BYU defeated rival Utah 17-10 after falling behind late in the game but managing a comeback when Harvy Unga punched the ball in from 11 yards out with less than a minute to play.
Utah trailed most of the game but late in the fourth quarter drove 69 yards on a 15-play drive that chewed up the clock and recorded the first touchdown of the day. Darrell Mack finished off the drive on a one-yard run that put Utah ahead and seemed to doom the Cougars.
Starting with 94 second left on the clock, BYU faced a fourth-and-18 on its final drive but quarterback Max Hall connected with Austin Collie for a 49-yard gain that gave the Cougars new life and culminated in Unga's touchdown run. He finished with 144 yards on 23 carries.
The win gives 23rd ranked BYU an outright conference championship for its second consecutive year and improves the team to 9-2 on the season and 7-0 in conference play. Utah (8-4, 5-3) keeps its bowl hopes alive but misses out on any hope for winning a co-championship in the Mountain West Conference.
Utah's hopes ran out when quarterback Brian Johnson's pass attempt was knocked down in the end zone while time expired. Each team was held out of the end zone most of the day, with field goals marking the only scoring. Mitch Payne kicked three field goals for BYU with Utah's Louie Sakoda booting one.
Unga, a freshman, totaled an impressive 6.1 yards-per-carry average and added 27 yards receiving. Hall completed 17-of-40 passes for 269 yards and an interception. Collie led all receivers with 5 catches for 126 yards.
After failing to get his offense going for most of the day, Johnson woke up the Utah offense in the final quarter by converting five-of-five third downs after previously only managing two-of-thirteen in the game. Johnson finished with 129 passing yards and scrambled for several first downs on the final drive, totaling 25 rushing yards after losing 24 more on sacks. Mack, who scored what appeared to be the game-winning touchdown, totaled 58 yards on 14 carries. Freshman backup quarterback Corbin Louks was Utah's next biggest contributor with 28 yards on the ground.
After the teams traded turnovers in the first quarter, and the game's first score came in the second quarter on a Payne 17-yard field goal putting BYU ahead 3-0 with 4:47 left before the half.
Utah tied the score with 9:45 in the third quarter on a Louie Sakoda field goal making it 3-3. BYU answered with another Payne kick from 23 yards putting the Cougars ahead 6-3. Payne added another kick at the 13:48 mark in the final quarter and BYU led 9-3. After a Utah punt BYU turned over the ball on downs at the Utah 31 leaving less than nine minutes in the game for the Utes to record its go-ahead touchdown.
BYU faces San Diego State next week in a game that was postponed from earlier in the season when fires in the San Diego area forced the postponement.