With everyone talking about what is going to happen on Saturday and who is going to win, I’ve decided to take another angle on the rivalry game between BYU and Utah. In this four-part series I want to look back and reminisce about what makes this game so special including the best games, plays, individual performances and smack talk of the last 25 years.
Part one: the quotes
There have been more than a few memorable quotes when it comes to the Holy War and that will never change. Players have always loved to talk smack and the passion of this rivalry seems to bring it out in them even more. The players aren’t the only ones however who have provided bulletin board material for the other team and that is where we start our list.
“When Brigham Young came into the valley, he pointed to where the University of Utah would be and said, ‘This is the place.’ Provo was just an afterthought.” —Former Utah Coach Ron McBride (1)
If that isn’t bulletin board material, I don’t know what is.
McBride wasn’t that only university employee who has spiced up the rivalry either. On November 20th 1999 there was one of the most famous off field incidence that led to this great quote.
“I told them from now on we’re going to leave our flags at home and they should do the same,” said Hale. “All it does is initiate the fans to throw things out of the stands.” (2)
BYU Athletic Director Val Hale said that after a BYU fan jumped out of the stands and tried to get the Ute cheer leader who was circling the field after a Utah score. The cheer leader was able to turn the tables right away and got a bunch of good punches in which prompted another great quote.
“Even our cheerleaders are kicking your butt.” — Former Utah wide receiver Steve Smith. (3)
That is one of the greatest lines in the Rivalry in my opinion but there are still a couple that are better.
On November 24th 2007 the Cougars and Utes had another nail-biter which ended with a couple huge plays and another of the rivalry’s awesome quotes. Most fans refer to that game as the 4th and 18 and for good reason. BYU had the ball on their own 12 yard line in the last two minutes of the game facing a 4th and 18 down a point. Somehow BYU wide receiver Austin Collie got behind the defense and caught a pass for a 49 yard gain. BYU would score a few plays later and win the game 17-10.
During a post-game interview done by KFAN’s Patrick Kinahan we got this amazing sound bite from Collie, “Obviously, if you do what’s right on and off the field, I think the Lord steps in and plays a part in it. Magic happens.”(4)
That was just a priceless line by Collie that will not be forgotten by Utes and Cougars for a long time.
Another rant that caused more than just a little stir happened two years later when it was the BYU quarterbacks turn to fire off. In the post-game press conference after BYU had escaped with a 26-23 overtime win Max Hall let this gem fly, “I don’t like Utah. In fact, I hate them. I hate everything about them. I hate their program, their fans. I hate everything,” Hall said. “It felt really good to send those guys home.” (5) Utah fans went absolutely nuts over these comments and even went as far as to making t-shirts that said, “Max Hall hates me.”
What is so great about that comment is that Hall wasn’t the first quarterback to go off like that but seems to get all of the disdain. Only five years earlier in the midst of the Utes first run to the BCS, Utah quarterback Alex Smith had this to say before the Utes thumped BYU on the hill, “I’m much more into it this year,” Smith says. “I really hate them. Playing in the game helped me understand. They are the most arrogant people. It’s the whole church and state thing. They’re the ‘good kids’. We’re the ‘bad kids.’ I didn’t feel it in my gut last year like I do now.” (6)
I can’t quite figure out why no one ever talks about that one because it’s fantastic.
One of the top two lines that the rivalry has ever seen came back in 1993 when Utah beat BYU on a last second 55 yard field goal in Provo. After the game ended some Utah fans and players tried to rip down the goal post before BYU players came out to protect their home field which led to this all-time classic, “All those (Utes) think that’s all there is to life. But when I’m making $50,000-$60,000 a year, they’ll be pumping my gas. They’re low-class losers.” (7)
That was such a brilliant line in the heat of the rivalry that Utah and BYU fans alike, will never forget.
My favorite quote of all from the historic battles between the Utes and Cougars came back in 1989 after BYU just destroyed the Utes 70-31 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score. Cougar running back Fred Whittingham had this to say, “It felt weird. It was just as easy as it looked. It was like we were running against air. It was easy to break tackles and find holes. Their defense didn’t seem to be there.” (8)
I don’t think you can say anything better than you couldn’t even feel them. That to me is the ultimate trash talk.
(1) John Fackler.“www.alumni.utah.edu/continuum”. Continuum: the Magazine of the University of Utah.
(2) James Edward (November 21, 1999). “Despite Ailing Heart, Arceneaux Helps Out U. Cheerleader Lets Y. Fan Have it in Altercation” Deseret News
(3) “Rivalry Week Fact Sheet”. Deseret News
(4) Dick Harmon. “Collie Calls Reaction to his Post-game Comments ‘Ridiculous'” Deseret News
(6) “Smith pays the price for knowledge”. ESPN.com
(7) Brad Rock. “Gomes’ Famous Remark Will Never Be Forgotten Deseret News
(8) “Rivalry Week Fact Sheet”. Deseret News