SALT LAKE -- In the final game of legendary coach LaVell Edwards' career the Cougars pulled of another come-from-behind miracle, defeating Utah, 34-27, with a last-minute touchdown in Rice-Eccles Stadium on Friday evening.
The Utes honored Edwards before the game when Utah head coach Ron McBride and his wife presented Edwards and his wife, Patti, with gifts from the University, including a trip to the 2001 U.S. Golf Open.
After Utah came back from 16 points down in the fourth quarter to go ahead 27-26 with just over two minutes left in the game, the BYU offense had one last chance for the come-from-behind victory. After an incomplete pass, a sack and a short gain, the Cougars faced fourth down and 13 from their own 17-yard line. But, in what seemed like a fairy-tale ending, fitting for Edwards' final game, the Cougars found a way to defeat rival Utah one last time.
On fourth down, Doman scrambled and hit Jonathan Pittman on a 34-yard bomb for the first down. On the very next play Doman hit Pittman once again down the sideline for a 36-yard gain to bring the Cougars to the Utah 13-yard line. After a nine-yard run by sophomore Luke Staley, Doman added a four-yard touchdown rush to put BYU up by five. A pass to Soren Halladay for the two-point conversion extended the lead to seven, forcing Utah to drive the field on their next drive.
"It was a great ball game on both sides," said Edwards. "I couldn't ask for a better way out. I've been blessed and I'm proud of what we have been able to get done over the years."
The BYU offense got off to a rough start when Cougar quarterback Brandon Doman threw his first pass of the game for an interception, which was returned for a touchdown by Andre Dyson, to put the Utes up 7-0. But Doman came back and led the BYU offense to 13 first-quarter points, the most first-quarter points scored by the Cougar offense this year, to jump out to a 13-7 lead.
"Doman is a good leader," said Edwards, "He still has some time left. He has not been picture perfect, but somehow he has managed to get the job done. He can always make the plays when we need them. He's been amazing."
BYU extended the lead to 19-10 at the half, due in part to a BYU record four field goals in the first half by Owen Pochman. The Cougars extended the lead to 26-10 in the second half when Doman hit Mike Rigell on a 36-yard touchdown pass with 4:36 left in the third quarter. But, in the fourth quarter, Utah came back by scoring 17 unanswered points to take the lead at 27-26, with 2:11 left to play in the game before the heroics of Doman and Pittman helped BYU to the win.
"They should have never have had that opportunity to win," said McBride. "BYU deserves the credit. LaVell is a great guy. After the game, I told him I loved him, wished him the best and that it was a fumble. I guess if you're going to get beat by someone, it may as well be a guy like that."
Doman ended the game with 284 yards passing on 16-of-29 completions. He also rushed 18 times for a team-leading 39 yards while Staley added 30 yards on the ground. Doman's 284 yards gives him 782 on the season, marking the first time in BYU history three different quarterbacks have thrown for more than 500 yards in the same season.
With the win in Edwards' career finale, the Cougars improve to 6-6 and keep the legendary coach from retiring with a losing season. During the 29-year LaVell Edwards' career, BYU has had only one losing campaign (1973).
Box Score (Final)
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
----------------- -- -- -- -- -----
Brigham Young....... 13 6 7 8 - 34 Record: (6-6,4-3)
Utah................ 7 3 0 17 - 27 Record: (4-7,3-4)
1st 14:08 UU - DYSON, Andre 24 yd interception return (KANESHIRO, Ryan kick),
BYU 0 - UU 7
07:50 BYU - POCHMAN, Owen 45 yd field goal,
8 plays, 43 yards, TOP 3:01, BYU 3 - UU 7
04:42 BYU - MCDONALD, Brian 3 yd run (POCHMAN, Owen kick),
5 plays, 31 yards, TOP 1:39, BYU 10 - UU 7
00:11 BYU - POCHMAN, Owen 38 yd field goal,
6 plays, 44 yards, TOP 2:17, BYU 13 - UU 7
2nd 14:07 BYU - POCHMAN, Owen 35 yd field goal,
4 plays, 3 yards, TOP 0:53, BYU 16 - UU 7
04:42 BYU - POCHMAN, Owen 22 yd field goal,
14 plays, 75 yards, TOP 7:16, BYU 19 - UU 7
01:36 UU - KANESHIRO, Ryan 40 yd field goal,
7 plays, 61 yards, TOP 3:06, BYU 19 - UU 10
3rd 04:36 BYU - RIGELL, Mike 36 yd pass from DOMAN, Brandon (POCHMAN, Owen kick),
5 plays, 77 yards, TOP 1:16, BYU 26 - UU 10
4th 13:53 UU - KANESHIRO, Ryan 33 yd field goal,
7 plays, 54 yards, TOP 2:22, BYU 26 - UU 13
07:51 UU - FORTUNE, Thomas 2 yd run (KANESHIRO, Ryan kick),
10 plays, 64 yards, TOP 4:06, BYU 26 - UU 20
02:16 UU - NICKEL, Matt 20 yd pass from ARCENEAUX, Darn (KANESHIRO, Ryan kick),
5 plays, 29 yards, TOP 2:44, BYU 26 - UU 27
00:23 BYU - DOMAN, Brandon 4 yd run (HALLADAY, Soren pass),
7 plays, 80 yards, TOP 1:53, BYU 34 - UU 27
FIRST DOWNS................... 21 14
RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............ 42-100 30-70
PASSING YDS (NET)............. 284 252
Passes Att-Comp-Int........... 29-16-1 34-16-1
TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS..... 71-384 64-322
Fumble Returns-Yards.......... 0-0 0-0
Punt Returns-Yards............ 1-2 4-47
Kickoff Returns-Yards......... 2-40 3-56
Interception Returns-Yards.... 1-0 1-24
Punts (Number-Avg)............ 5-43.4 6-38.5
Fumbles-Lost.................. 3-0 2-1
Penalties-Yards............... 7-69 7-84
Possession Time............... 31:37 28:21
Sacks By: Number-Yards........ 4-14 4-24
RUSHING: Brigham Young-DOMAN, Brandon 18-39; STALEY, Luke 17-30; SITAKE,
Kalani 4-16; MCDONALD, Brian 3-15. Utah-HUNTER, Dameon 13-37; ARCENEAUX,
Darn 4-23; TATE, Adam 5-15; FORTUNE, Thomas 3-9; RICE, Lance 5-minus 14.
PASSING: Brigham Young-DOMAN, Brandon 16-29-1-284. Utah-RICE, Lance
9-20-1-137; ARCENEAUX, Darn 7-14-0-115.
RECEIVING: Brigham Young-PITTMAN, Jonath 4-117; SITAKE, Kalani 4-54; HOOKS,
Margin 3-25; OFAHENGAUE, Tev 2-38; STALEY, Luke 2-14; RIGELL, Mike 1-36.
Utah-CHRISTENSEN, Ch 7-147; SMITH, Steve 3-28; RUSSELL, Cliff 2-50; NICKEL,
Matt 2-20; LYMAN, Josh 1-11; HUNTER, Dameon 1-minus 4.
INTERCEPTIONS: Brigham Young-LEE, Jared 1-0. Utah-DYSON, Andre 1-24.
Stadium: Rice-Eccles Attendance: 45064
Kickoff time: 4:07 End of Game: 7:40 Total elapsed time: 3:33
Officials: Referee: ROBINSON, Tom; Umpire: CRUM, Gary; Linesman: PODRAZA, Tim;
Line judge: MCNANNA, Gary; Back judge: COLLINS, Bob; Field judge: LINDSAY, Steve;
Side judge: PAYNE, Kent;
Temperature: 36 Wind: NE @ 4 Weather: Partly Cloudy
SACKS (UA-A): Brigham Young-KELLEY, Isaac 1-0; OLSEN, Hans 1-0; EDWARDS,
Elan 1-0; DENNEY, Ryan 1-0. Utah-KEMOEATU, Maake 0-1; DECKART, Sheldo 0-1;
BOWERS, Andy 1-0; PARKER, Arnold 1-0; OLEVAO, Kautai 1-0.
TACKLES (UA-A): Brigham Young-WALKENHORST, Pa 4-6; ENA, Justin 3-6; KELLEY,
Isaac 4-3; OLSEN, Hans 2-5; LEE, Jared 2-4; LAFITTE, Michae 3-2; SMITH,
Tyson 0-5; HOKE, Chris 1-3; DENNEY, Ryan 1-3; STALEY, Dustin 2-0; WRIGHT,
Bill 1-1; EDWARDS, Elan 1-1; FALES, Andrew 1-1; WARD, Anthony 0-2; KEISEL,
Brett 0-2; CARLSON, Brent 0-2; BOCKWOLDT, Colb 1-0; ORD, Andy 0-1; GALI,
Setema 0-1. Utah-TUFAGA, Wes 5-5; DART, Brandon 4-3; RAY, Jeff 4-3; DECKART,
Sheldo 3-4; CHRISTIANSON, K 2-5; BOWERS, Andy 2-4; OLEVAO, Kautai 1-5;
DYSON, Andre 4-1; SMITH, Garrett 4-1; KEMOEATU, Maake 2-2; PARKER, Arnold
3-0; KAUFUSI, Jason 0-3; FORTUNE, Thomas 0-2; BAHR, Brooks 1-0; JOHNSON, Al
1-0; POTTER, Jason 0-1; WHITE, Anthony 0-1; JONES, Marcus 0-1; DWINELL, CR
PROVO -- It all started on October 14, 1922. Well, according to BYU, anyway. Utah claims the first meeting between the schools was on April 6, 1896, when BYU was still Brigham Young Academy. BYA did in fact play football with mostly high-school aged pupils from 1896 to 1898. Following the death of a player, the Academy suspended play from 1899 until 1919.
It's just one of many things the two schools don't agree on. The Academy played Utah six times between 1896 and 1898, before Provo could officially boast its own full-fledged university. Each team won three games.
When the Academy began playing football again in 1919, head coach Eugene L. Roberts played against high school teams through the 1920 season. In 1921, nearly ready for collegiate competition, BYU played home-and-home series with the Ogden Athletic Club and the freshmen teams from Utah and Utah State. In 1922, BYU official began competition as a University-sanctioned sport.
The Cougars and the Utes have built a strong tradition of intense competition in the 75 years of the rivalry. With the exception of the war years from 1943-45, the two schools have faced each other every year since 1922.
The Utes dominated the series early on, avoiding defeat until 1942, when the Cougars finally won, 12-7, in Salt Lake City behind Coach Floyd Millet. The success was short-lived, however, as it took BYU another 16 years to win another contest, 14-7, again in Salt Lake City in 1958. In all, Utah won 32 of the first 40 contests, four of which were ties.
In 1965, the momentum began to turn in BYU's favor. The Cougars took three in a row from the Utes from 1965-67, and although Utah won the next four, the competition had become much more interesting.
In 1972, the series took on an entirely different feeling with the arrival of LaVell Edwards as BYU's new head coach. He took on a program that had gone 5-38-4 (.149) against its fiercest rival and proceeded to post a 21-7 (.750) record against Utah in 28 years, including wins in 15 of his first 16 meetings with the Utes. In the Edwards' era, the Cougars outscored the Utes an average of 35.6 to 20.7 per contest. Coach Edwards' career has included winning streaks of nine (1979-87) and six (1972-77) games against Utah.
The annual showdown generates considerable interest throughout the state, making it a virtual certainty that whatever stadium the teams play in will be sold out well in advance. In all, seven of Utah's top-ten home crowds before the expansion of Rice Stadium were for games against BYU. Meanwhile, 45 miles south in Provo, the grudge match has accounted for five of the 20 largest crowds in the history of Cougar Stadium.
One of the more memorable moments in the rivalry was the 1989 contest in which the Cougars pasted the Utes, 70-31, in Provo. It was a game in which the home team scored touchdowns in each of its first seven possessions and in all eight with Ty Detmer as quarterback. In a move of mercy, Detmer was replaced by backup Sean Covey late in the second quarter.
Then there were the infamous back-to-back, 34-31, losses at the hands of the Utes in 1993 and '94, giving rebirth to a rivalry that had become ridiculously lopsided in the 80s and early 90s. In all, the Utes won three in a row (1993-95) under coach Ron McBride.
The Cougars responded to the new aggression in 1996 with a dominating, 37-17, victory in Salt Lake City. BYU employed an extremely unconventional approach, gaining 376 yards in 63 attempts on the ground and attempting only 12 passes.
In 1998, a well-placed ESPN microphone picked up an audible "clank" as the potentially game-winning kick bounced off the right goal post, allowing BYU to escape with a, 26-24, victory -- despite Ron McBride's sideline prayer, as captured on national television.
BYU let the Utes back into the game after having seemingly put the game away in the fourth quarter, allowing Utah to set up a 32-yard field goal to win the game. BYU fans gave credit to divine intervention as the chip shot mysteriously hooked to the right at the last possible moment.
Provo has been much more friendly to the Cougars over the years, as BYU has posted a 12-14-1 record overall at home but has only managed a 14-30-3 record on the road against the Utes. Lately home field advantage seems to have become less of a factor, as the Utes have won three straight at Cougar Stadium and the Cougars have taken two in a row in Salt Lake City.