Deseret News Archive

In recent decades, BYU and Utah State have created a unique tradition of scheduling their in-state rivalry game on the Friday preceding October general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which caters generally to both fan bases and eliminates conflict between two high-interest events. This is a quick look at eight memorable BYU-USU games played on LDS general conference weekend.

1922: USU 42, BYU 3
BYU, Harold B. Lee Library

This Aggies' victory marked the first game played between the two teams. Utah State went on to win five of the next six contests, with only a 0-0 tie in 1926 holding them from recording a long winning streak.

LDS Church President Heber J. Grant presided at October general conference in 1922.

1981: BYU 32, USU 26
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The game was Steve Young's first as a starting quarterback at BYU, subbing in for the injured Jim McMahon. The game was tied three times before linebacker Todd Shell returned an intercepted pass for the game-winning score.

That weekend at general conference, Elder Neal A. Maxwell was sustained to the Quorum of the Twelve.

1997: BYU 42, USU 35
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Paul Shoemaker (No. 19) came off the bench in the second half to lead the No. 24 Cougars to two late touchdowns and a dramatic win over Utah State. BYU running back Will Snowden ran the ball in from 2 yards out for the game-winner.

That weekend in general conference, President Gordon B. Hinckley announced the church would build small temples in some remote areas where the membership is small and not likely to grow very much in the near future.

1999: BYU 34, USU 31 (OT)
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The Aggies blew a 20-17 halftime lead before staging a dramatic comeback in the final minute of regulation to tie the score at 31-31. Jeff Crosbie hit Demario Brown with a 4-yard touchdown pass with 14 seconds left and then found Aaron Jones with a pass for the two-point conversion.

But a sold-out Romney Stadium crowd left disappointed after USU kicker Brad Bohn missed from 42 yards and BYU’s Owen Pochman (left) drilled a 33-yard field goal to give BYU the win.

At the close of the Sunday afternoon conference session, President Gordon B. Hinckley bid farewell to the Tabernacle as general conference prepared to move to the Conference Center in April 2000.

2002: BYU 35, USU 34
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Trailing 34-7 at halftime, quarterback Bret Engemann led the Cougars on four touchdown drives in the second half. Senior tight end Gabe Reid hauled in the game-winning reception to cap the largest come-from-behind victory in BYU football history.

Among the announcements made at the 172nd Semiannual General Conference, President Hinckley said temple recommends would now remain valid for two years instead of one and the practice of missionary farewells would be discontinued.

Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve also announced the church was "raising the bar" on qualifications to serve a mission.

2010: USU 31, BYU 16
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The Aggies ended 17 years of football frustration, snapping a 10-game losing streak to BYU with a dominating victory over the Cougars at Romney Stadium. It marked USU’s first win in the series since a 58-56 triumph in October 1993.

Diondre Borel passed for 192 yards and ran for 68 more, throwing for one touchdown and running in another in the victory. Derrvin Speight ran for 91 yards and two touchdowns as the Aggies handed BYU its fourth straight loss and a 1-4 record for the first time since 1973.

In the weekend's 180th Semiannual General Conference, President Thomas S. Monson spoke in four of the five sessions and announced the construction of five new temples.

2011: BYU 27, USU 24
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Utah State seemed poised to beat BYU for the second year in a row and end a 15-game losing streak in Provo until quarterback Riley Nelson trotted onto the field in the fourth quarter.

Nelson, a Logan native and USU transfer, came off the bench to lead an improbable 96-yard drive in the waning minutes and rallied the Cougars from an 11-point fourth quarter deficit. The game-winning TD came with 11 seconds remaining when tight end Marcus Mathews caught a 13-yard tipped pass in the end zone.

The morning after the game, President Thomas S. Monson announced the church's decision to rebuild the burned Provo Tabernacle into the second temple in the city of Provo.

2012: BYU 6, USU 3
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The 2012 game will be remembered as a bruising defensive struggle between two teams usually known for their offense.

In the end, it was BYU's defense that held the Aggies' high-powered duo of Chuckie Keeton and Kerwynn Williams in check most of the game as USU lost its 17th straight game against BYU in Provo.

The morning after the game, President Monson announced a major age change for those wishing to serve missions.