Cougars fall to Utes after 5 turnovers in first quarter

298
Francis Bernard runs into the end zone for a touchdown. Bernard had XXX STATS ABOUT FRANCIS AT GAME-END (BYU Photo)
Francis Bernard runs into the end zone for a touchdown. Bernard led BYU rushing with seven attempts for 58 yards. (BYU Photo)

LAS VEGAS — BYU football fell to the Utah Utes 35-28 on Saturday after the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl.

The Cougars struggled to find momentum in the first quarter of the game after losing the coin toss. Their first drive ended with a Utah-recovered fumble, of which the Utes took advantage.

After scoring off of all five turnovers, the Utes left the first quarter with a 35-0 lead. With a total of 35 points scored in the first quarter, the anomaly made Vegas Bowl history for the most points scored by a team in a quarter. BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum also made history with three interceptions thrown, the most by any quarterback in Vegas Bowl history.

“Giving up has never been an option,” BYU tight end Remington Peck said following the game. The Cougars came back to challenge the Utes in the following three quarters, despite the rough start. The team scored four touchdowns, including two in the fourth quarter. BYU lead the yardage battle, nearly doubled Utah’s offensive yardage with 386-197 yards. They also beat out Utah’s 21 first downs with a total of 28.

The Cougars came back to challenge the Utes in the following three quarters, despite the rough start. The team scored four touchdowns, including two in the fourth quarter. BYU lead the yardage battle, nearly doubled Utah’s offensive yardage with 386-197 yards. They also beat out Utah’s 21 first downs with a total of 28.

“The entire body of work wasn’t bad,” Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said. “Even though our numbers were not good at all we took care of the football, and that’s job number one.”

The Utes didn’t score again after the first quarter, although they accumulated a total of five turnovers throughout the game. Disregarding the first quarter, the score was 28-0 with BYU leading. However, the first quarter proved too much to recover from.

“I’m not sure I’ve ever been more proud of my team,” BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “Our team tried really, really hard all the way to the very end.”

This was the first time the Utes and the Cougars played each other in a bowl game and the fifth consecutive time Utah has beat BYU in the “Holy War.” The last time the Cougars beat the Utes was in 2009.

Although this was the last game for Mendenhall and 16 senior players — such as Bronson Kaufusi and Mitch Mathews — freshman Mangum will return next season. Mendenhall accepted an offer as the head coach at the University of Virginia and after the game BYU announced the vacated position will go to Oregon State defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake.

WELCOME HOME COACH!!#BYUFOOTBALL #GoCougs

Posted by BYU Football on Saturday, December 19, 2015

Print Friendly, PDF & Email