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Turning point: 3rd quarter gives Utah a much-needed rivalry win

Turning point: 3rd quarter gives Utah a much-needed rivalry win


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SALT LAKE CITY — It was a game that will go down in the history books as one of the most bizarre games ever played in the rivalry between the University of Utah and BYU. And while there were moments where it looked as though the Utes would come away with a lopsided victory, the game ended in dramatic fashion, with the Utes winning 24-21.

While the game was nearly lost in the fourth quarter, it was certainly won in the third quarter. The third quarter was a bad quarter for the Cougars as the Utah defense continued to put tremendous pressure on BYU quarterback Riley Nelson.

Early in the third quarter, Nelson attempted a pass to one of his receivers, but was picked off by Utah corner Ryan Lacy for 13 yards and good field position. The interception eventually set the Utes up for a field goal, with Coleman Petersen making a 48-yard field goal attempt to go up 10-7 on the Cougars. The made field goal turned out to be the deciding factor at the end of the game.

Following the interception, Nelson struggled to hold onto the ball during their march down the field, fumbling it several times. The Kruger brothers and Star Lotulelei made it extremely difficult for Nelson to hold onto the ball. In scoring range, BYU's Nelson fumbled a snap, which was eventually covered by Utah corner Mo Lee for a 47-yard touchdown and a 10-point lead.

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The Utes managed to put the game away with a touchdown in the final minutes of the third quarter. Hays threw a beautiful pass to receiver Dres Anderson in the end zone for a 39-yard touchdown to put the Utes up by 17 going into the fourth quarter.

Nelson looked defeated and shaken up after the frustrating quarter, but managed to pull it together to give the Cougars a chance at the win. While much of the credit can be given to the Utah defense for playing hard and forcing fumbles, some of the Utah win was a result of Nelson's poor play in the third quarter.

Nevertheless, the Utes managed a big win coming off their loss last week against in-state rivalry Utah State. If Utah can replicate the events of the third quarter for most of the game, they will do well against Pac-12 opponents, with their first one starting next week against Arizona State. Consistency is key for Utah, both on offense and defense.

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Josh Furlong

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