BYU’s top 5 rivalry moments

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BYU’s offensive linemen and Utah’s defensive linemen square off prior to a snap on Aug. 29, 2019, at LaVell Edwards Stadium. (Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

The BYU-Utah football rivalry, which spans all the way back to the year 1922, has provided fans with a plethora of unforgettable moments over the years. Below, The Daily Universe takes a look back at five of the Cougars’ top moments from the storied rivalry in recent memory.

No. 5: “He missed it!” (Nov. 21, 1998)

After a BYU field goal gave the Cougars a 26-17 lead with just under three minutes left in the game, Utah’s Daniel Jones returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown to cut the Utes’ deficit to two. Utah’s defense forced a Cougar punt on the following possession, and the Utes’ offense proceeded to drive all the way down to the BYU 15-yard line with nine seconds remaining. Utah kicker Ryan Kaneshiro then lined up for a potential game-winning 32-yard field goal, only to watch the ball bounce off the right upright, preserving the 26-24 BYU win.

No. 4: Fourth-and-18, “Magic happens” (Nov. 24, 2007)

BYU, down 10-9, found itself in a fourth-and-18 situation from its own 12-yard line with just over a minute left in the game. Cougar quarterback Max Hall scrambled to his right on the ensuing play before connecting with a wide open Austin Collie near the sideline for a 49-yard gain, keeping BYU’s drive alive. Cougar running back Harvey Unga finished things off a few plays later with an 11-yard touchdown run, bowling over Utah defensive back Robert Johnson in the process and putting the Cougars on top. Following a successful 2-point conversion attempt, BYU’s defense held on for the 17-10 win. “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,” Collie told reporters after the game. “Magic happens.”

No. 3: LaVell’s last miracle (Nov. 24, 2000)

BYU’s all-time winningest head coach LaVell Edwards took to the sidelines one last time on Nov. 24, 2000, ready to take on Utah for the final game of his career. Down by one with just over a minute remaining in the game, the Cougars’ faced a fourth-and-13 situation from their own 17-yard line. On the following play, BYU quarterback Brandon Doman launched a pass downfield toward wide receiver Jonathan Pittman, who made the catch between a pair of Ute defenders for a 34-yard gain to keep the Cougars’ hopes alive. Doman finished off the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run, sealing the 34-27 BYU win and sending Edwards out with one final victory.

No. 2: “By George, I think he’s caught it!” (Nov. 28, 2009)

Utah clawed its way back from a 20-6 deficit to tie the game at 20 just before the end of regulation, sending the game into overtime for just the second time in the rivalry’s history. The Utes struck first in the extra period, connecting on a 29-yard field goal to go up by three. On the second play of the following BYU possession, quarterback Max Hall fired a pass between a pair of Utah defenders and connected with tight end Andrew George, who ran untouched into the end zone to give the Cougars the walk-off 26-23 win.

#1: Harline’s still open (Nov. 25, 2006)

Former Cougar tight end 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. Down by four with just over a minute left in the contest, Cougar quarterback John Beck marched BYU 63 yards downfield in just eight plays to the Utah 12-yard line. With only three seconds left for the final play of the game, Beck scrambled long after the clock showed zero before throwing across his body to find a wide open Harline in the end zone, sealing the dramatic 33-31 walk-off win.