By Stephenson Beck
SALT LAKE CITY — LaVell Edwards couldn’t have written a better script himself.
Quarterback Brandon Doman scored a four-yard touchdown run with seconds left, lifting BYU to a 34-27 victory over Utah on Friday at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Utah entered the fourth quarter trailing 26-10. But the Utes score of 17 straight points, capped by Darnell Arceneaux’s 20-yard touchdown pass to receiver Matt Nickel that gave Utah a one-point lead with 2:16 left in the game.
Three plays later the Cougars faced 4th and 13 from their own 17-yard line.
Doman rolled to his left and threw up a prayer that receiver Jonathan Pittman caught for a 34-yard gain. Pittman caught the next pass for 36 yards, moving the
Cougars into scoring position.
Instead of calling on kicker Owen Pochman to kick his fifth field goal of the game, Doman ran the ball in for the score.
“I was watching the game this afternoon and I thought, wouldn’t that be something if it came down (to the end) and we threw it down and Owen kicked a field goal,” Edwards said. “That’s what we were trying to do there — just run
some time off and then we were going to call a time out and let the clock go down to (a few) seconds — then kick the field goal.
“Then of course he scored and we went for two. That was an unbelievable game all night long.”
“I couldn’t have written a better script for myself or LaVell,” Pittman said.
“That was BYU fashion right there — air the ball out and get a quick touchdown.”
Doman completed a pass to receiver Soren Halladay for the two-point conversion.
Utah had one last chance, but Arceneaux’s pass into the end zone was knocked down as time expired.
“They never should have had that opportunity to win,” said Utah head coach Ron McBride. “BYU deserves the credit. We had the momentum and had them pinned on fourth and fourteen, and they made a play.”
Early on it didn’t look like the Cougars would have to rely on last second heroics to win the game.
Pochman’s four field goals and running back Brian McDonald’s three-yard touchdown run gave the Cougars a 19-10 halftime lead. Safety Jared Lee’s interception and linebacker Justin Ena’s fumble recovery led to 10 of BYU’s
The Cougar defense held Utah to just 3 total yards and no first downs in the first quarter.
BYU extended that lead to 16 when Doman found receiver Mike Rigell for a 36-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter.
Doman completed 16 of 29 passes for 284 yards and a touchdown. His first pass was intercepted by defensive back Andre Dyson and returned 24 yards for a touchdown just 52 second into the game.
Doman also led the team in rushing with 64 yards on 18 carries.
“It means everything to me to be a part of this,” Doman said. “To be able to end against Utah and beat Utah in such a dramatic experience in LaVell’s last game. We just had a unbelievable experience in the locker room and it’s gonna be
long lived for a long time.
“He sat there and got teary eyed. We did three cheers for Patti, three cheers for him and he gave a prayer that was pretty inspirational.”
Edwards finished his career with a 257-101-3 record, including a 22-7 mark against the Utes.
“I can’t think of a more fitting ending for us and to have a dramatic ending and win like that … this may be the best win ever,” Edwards said.
BYU won back-to-back games for the first time this season and finished with a 6-6 record. Utah fell to 4-7.