BYU and Utah have had several memorable moments since facing off for the first time 97 years ago. In light of the recent announcement to extend the rivalry series to 2024, The Universe takes a look back at the rivalry’s top five moments over the last two decades.
#5: “He missed it!” (Nov. 21, 1998)
After a BYU field goal gave the Cougars a 26-17 lead with just under three minutes remaining, Utah’s Daniel Jones returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown to cut the deficit to 2. Utah’s defense forced the Cougars to punt on their following possession, and the Utes’ offense proceeded to drive all the way to the BYU 15-yard line with nine seconds remaining. Utah kicker Ryan Kaneshiro lined up for a potential game-winning 32-yard field goal only to watch the ball bounce off the right upright, preserving a 26-24 win for BYU.
#4: Fourth-and-18 (Nov. 24, 2007)
BYU was down 10-9 with just over a minute remaining in a fourth-and-18 situation when quarterback Max Hall found wide receiver Austin Collie behind the Utah defense for a 49-yard gain to keep the drive alive. BYU running back Harvey Unga finished things off with an 11-yard touchdown run, bowling over Utah defensive back Robert Johnson in the process, to give the Cougars the lead. Following a successful 2-point conversion attempt, the Cougar defense held on for a 17-10 win.
#3: LaVell’s last miracle (Nov. 24, 2000)
Legendary BYU head coach LaVell Edwards took the field one last time to coach the final game of his career against Utah at the end of the 2000 season. Down 1 and facing a fourth-and-13 from BYU’s own 17-yard line with just over a minute remaining, BYU quarterback Brandon Doman found wide receiver Jonathan Pittman for a 34-yard gain to keep the Cougars’ hopes alive. Doman finished off the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run with 23 seconds remaining, which proved to be enough to give the Cougars the win and send LaVell out on top.
#2: “By George, I think he’s caught it!” (Nov. 28, 2009)
BYU was down 3 after Utah kicked a field goal on its first possession of overtime. On the second play of the Cougars’ ensuing possession, quarterback Max Hall threaded the needle to tight end Andrew George who ran untouched into the end zone to give BYU the walk-off win.
#1: Harline’s still open (Nov. 25, 2006)
Jonny Harline’s game-winning catch in 2006 with no time left on the clock is often referred to as one of the top plays in BYU football history. BYU quarterback John Beck led the Cougars on a drive starting from their own 25-yard line with just over a minute remaining in the game. After marching down to the Utah 12-yard line with only three seconds left, Beck kept the final play alive just long enough to find a wide open Harline in the end zone for the dramatic walk-off win.