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The Holy War: The good, the bad and the ugly

The Holy War: The good, the bad and the ugly

By Jarom Moore and Andrew Devey, Contributors | Posted - Sep. 16, 2011 at 2:00 p.m.

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PROVO -- It's called the "Holy War." This will be the 92nd time Utah has played BYU. The rivalry has seen its highs and lows for both teams. This year is the first time the teams will be non-conference opponents. Despite the lack of conference significance there should be no love lost in this game.

From the miracles to the upsets there have been a number of memorable games. Here is a list of Utah and BYU's top-three good, bad and ugly games.


The Good:

2003 - The end of the scoring streak

This is the first rivalry game in the Urban Meyer era. The Utes not only won the game 3-0, but they took pride in ending the nation's longest scoring streak. The "Team Down South" had scored in 361 straight games and the Utes shut them out. It wasn't pretty, but the Utes ended the season with a 10-2 record and won the Mountain West Conference for the first time outright. This was the game and the season that led to the Utes recent winning tradition that includes two BCS games and the inclusion into the Pac-12.

1994 - 34-31 part 2

The year before the Utes broke the losing streak, this game starting a winning streak. With Ron McBride entering his fifth season as head coach the Utes and Cougars entered this game both ranked in the top-25 for the first time ever. The Utes finished the season ranked No. 10 in the AP poll and won the Freedom Bowl over Arizona. This game proved that LaVell Edwards wasn't a machine, he could be beaten and it didn't have to be a lucky game, the Utes could handle it. After 20 years and two victories the Utes had two in as many years.

2008 - BCS busting again

This game was the pinnacle of the Mountain West rivalry. Utah was undefeated. BYU was 10-1; they had just lost to TCU. The previous two years were heartbreaking losses with the Harline and Collie catches, the Collie game included the "magic happens" quote the year before. If the Cougars won the teams would split the championship with TCU and the Utes would be likely dropped to the Poinsettia Bowl. The final score makes it look more lopsided than the game was. Max Hall scored to get the Cougars to within three in the middle of the third. That's when the Ute defense took over. One of the most iconic pieces of "Holy War" video is from this game. Paul Kruger dropped into coverage and into rivalry history when he picked off Hall and returned it to the four. The final score was 48- 24 and Utah went on to beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

The Bad:

2007 - 4th and 18

This is a game that will live in infamy. In Provo the Utes were up by one with 1:18 left when a sack left the Cougars in an insurmountable 4th and 18. Then the unthinkable happened, Max Hall scrambled a little and Austin Collie got behind the defense and they connected. Collie got the ball to the 11 where Harvey Unga scored. The pain was bad enough, but Collie's comments after landed the final blow, "Obviously, when you're doing what's right on and off the field, I think the Lord steps in and plays a part in it. Magic happens."

2006 - Harline is still open

The year before Collie's miracle speech Johnny Harline and John Beck connected to break the collective heart of the U. With no time on the clock, Beck scrambled for eleven seconds and heaved the ball into the corner of Rice-Eccles Stadium where Harline caught the ball on his knees. This started the run of miracle plays for the Cougars with fourth quarter miracles happening twice more in the following two years.

1998 - Off the goalpost

Both teams were looking at a chance to play in the WAC Championship game. BYU had the better record and Utah was trying to play spoiler. The rivalry had evened out with Utah looking for its fourth win in five years. BYU was up 26-17 when Daniel Jones returned a kick-off 95 yards to put the Utes within 2. That's where it gets ugly. Utah had the ball and got the ball down to the 15-yard-line. Then Ryan Kaneshiro stepped in to kick a chip shot. The ball sailed to the right and hit the goalpost. BYU won 26-24 and went to the WAC championship.

The Ugly:

1980 - 56-6

In the heart of the 70's and 80's BYU dominance was the biggest blowout of the series. BYU would go 12-1 that season. Jim McMahon threw for 399 yards, which in a silver-lining stopped his streak of 400-yard games at six. The Utes were held scoreless until the fourth quarter.

1984 - BYU's championship

BYU was undefeated and looking at a top-5 ranking. The Utes were trying to get one in against the rivals. The game stayed close, but this game will be ugly for Ute fans just because it lead to the National Championship. The Cougars won 24-14.

1972 - LaVell's first win

BYU had won five times in the previous fifty years since the reinstatement of the rivalry. LaVell Edwards came in as a young defensive minded coach and in his first season beat the Utes 16-7. BYU started an era of dominance where they went 19-2 over the next 21 games. While the game itself wasn't that bad, if the Utes won they could have kept a couple dark decades out of the rivalry.

Here is an extra game that may not fit anywhere else:**2010 - Burton's block**

This team will be remembered as the last game of their mutual conference. The Utes were going to the Pac-12 and BYU was going independent. Utah had been ranked high, but was coming off two losses. BYU started slow but started to pick up the pace over the last few games. Most of the game wasn't eventful. The Utes were down 16-10 when Jordan Wynn threw an interception to Brandon Bradley while the Utes were driving. Bradley fumbled the ball and the Utes were able to score to go up 17-16. BYU drove the field behind freshman Jake Heaps and got to the 22-yard-line. The Cougars played for the field goal and were set up for a last second victory. Then Brandon Burton came off the edge and dove through the air to block the kick and preserve the Utes victory.


The Good:

2006 - Harline is Still Open

John Beck led the Cougars to victory in the fourth quarter and record his first win over Utah when he found Jonny Harline open in the endzone catching the ball on his knees. BYU trailed by four with two minutes to play but Beck was nearly flawless as led the Cougars on 75-yard scoring drive. BYU clinched the MWC title with the win and Beck was named MWC Offensive Player of the Year.

2000 - Lavell's Last Game

Facing fourth-and-13 Brandon Doman found Jonathon Pittman for a 34 - yard gain and a first down. A few plays later Doman kept the ball on a student body quarterback sweep right and managed to stretch the ball across the goal line to give the Cougars the lead. BYU managed to avoid a losing record finishing at 6-6 as he victory brought BYU's season to a close. Lavell was carried off the field and into retirement in glory.

2009 - George is Still Running

Max Hall threaded the ball to Andrew George as two Utah defenders broke on the pass. The defenders would collide and George was left all alone running 20-yards to the end zone. BYU nearly blew a 14-point fourth quarter lead but managed to squeak out an overtime win. Hall felt redeemed from his previous years performance and let the world know how he really felt about the University of Utah.

The Bad:

1993 - The Kick

Chris Yergensen drilled a 55-yard FG in the final seconds of the game to wrap up the victory 34-31. The Utes were led by Mike McCoy threw for 434 yards and two touchdowns. NFL-star Jamal Anderson helped McCoy by rushing for 146 yards and one touchdown and catching another touchdown. Both BYU and Utah went on to lose their bowl game, but the win was Ron McBride's first over BYU and Utah's third since 1972.

2003 - Snow Bowl

Urban Meyer's only trip to visit the "Team down south" was memorable. The temperature was well below freezing and snow scattered the field as the two teams battled in an ugly game. Bryan Borreson scored the game's only points on a 41-yard field goal in the second quarter. Both teams averaged less than 3.5 yards per play as defense and weather conditions dominated the game. BYU's streak of 361 games without a shutout was ended as well.

2005 - OT for First Years

First year coaches Kyle Whittingham and Bronco Mendenhall faced each other for the first time, as Utah came away with a 41-34 OT victory. The Utes dominated the first half of play and led 24-3 at the break, but the Cougars roared back in the second half and tied the game on a Jared McLaughlin field goal with four minutes left. In overtime, Brett Ratliff hit Travis LaTendresse for a touchdown and the John Beck's final pass feel incomplete as Utah left Provo victorious.

The Ugly:

2004 - Utah busts the BCS

Alex Smith led the Utes to a 52-21 route of BYU at Rice-Eccles. Ute fans rushed the field and celebrated by tossing Tostitos chips and tortilla's in the air. The game had been dismal for BYU especially in the second half where they were out scored 31-7. Steve Savoy scored three touchdowns, and defensive lineman Steve Fifita kicked off the celebration when he scored on a 4-yard touchdown run with just over a minute to go.

2008 - Utah busts the BCS again.

The ball game was close 27-24 heading into the fourth quarter when Utah exploded. The Utes intercepted Max Hall three times in the fourth quarter and five for the game. Every fourth quarter interception ended in a Utah touchdown as the Utes began packing for New Orleans. Brian Johnson only threw six incompletions going 30-for-36 for 303 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Utes.

1988 - Utes Snap Losing Streak.

Quarterback Scott Mitchell led the Utes to a 57-28 victory and broke BYU's nine-game winning streak over Utah. Freshman Ty Detmer came in relief for Sean Covey to try and ease pain but wasn't successful. The Utah defense intercepted the BYU quarterbacks five times, returning one for a touchdown early in the second quarter. The win was a breakthrough for the Utes and fans celebrated by tearing down the goal posts and later making key chains from the goals posts in remembrance of the victory.

Here is an extra game that may not fit anywhere else:**1998 - Boink**

This was my first experience visiting enemy territory. As a twelve year-old Cougar fan I dressed in blue from head-to-toe and sat in the middle of a sea of red. The game was exciting, competitive, and full of emotion. BYU led late in the fourth quarter as Utah started marching down the field. The Utes settled in the middle of the field for a 32-yard field goal attempt as my father recited a speech preparing me for the loss. Ryan Kaneshiro's kick veered right and clanked off the upright. My father and I jumped and cheered in celebration as BYU came away the victors.

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Jarom Moore
    Andrew Deveys


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