Utes crush Cougs in worst rivalry loss since 1922

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Five out of the last six games in the Utah-BYU rivarly had been decided on the last play of the game. This was definitely not the case on Saturday night.

Utah trampled the Cougars on Saturday night, 54-10 in front of a sellout crowd in BYU’s first home game of the season. The loss marks the worst defeat to BYU’s in-state rival since 1922, when the Cougars lost 49-0. The loss also snapped the Cougars’ four-game win streak at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

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BYU wide receiver McKay Jacobson shrugs off a tackle from Ute defensive back Keith McGill on Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

“We were out-coached, out-played and basically out-executed from beginning to end,” said BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall.

The Cougars had the worst possible start on their first drive of the game when BYU quarterback Jake Heaps fumbled the ball in its own end zone following a bad snap. Utah recovered the fumble to score a very quick six points. From that point on, turnovers became the story. The Cougars turned the ball over on their first three possessions and ultimately tallied seven turnovers over the course of the game.

“The turnovers were, I think, the critical difference in the game,” Mendenhall said. “You could say there were a lot of critical differences — that was the No. 1 difference I would say.”

Even after losing three fumbles in the first half, the Cougars led Utah 10-7 just minutes before halftime after a touchdown pass to wide receiver Ross Apo. But the Utes scored on a 30-yard pass with 32 seconds left in the second quarter and never looked back. Starting with that touchdown, Utah scored 47 unanswered points to seal the victory.

“Going into the game, I thought for sure especially after the first and second quarter that we were going to come out with a victory,” said senior captain Matt Reynolds. “We were playing extremely well minus a few mistakes. Unfortunately we turned the ball over too many times. It just makes it too hard to keep producing when we can’t keep the ball.”

In addition to turning the ball over, the Cougars made several other mistakes by committing eight penalties for a total of 70 yards. Three of those penalties were pass interference calls on the defense, which bailed out the Utes on third and long and give them automatic first downs. Offensive coordinator Brandon Doman said he recognized his team didn’t execute well enough to win the game.

“We made too many mistakes, too many errors,” Doman said. “I think execution is directly affected by coaching.”

At times, BYU’s passing game was effective at moving down the field. Sophomore quarterback Jake Heaps threw for more than 305 yards and one touchdown. But he also threw an interception and fumbled the football two times. Heaps said the turnovers cost the team the game.

“We have the potential to be great,” Heaps said. ” We take care of the football, this is a different story.”

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