Since the Utes left the Mountain West Conference after the 2010 season for the Pac-12, BYU and Utah have played the rivalry game during the middle of September. If they would have played this year, chances are this would be rivalry week for my favorite game in college football. Since it is completely unacceptable that there is a two year hiatus before the bitter rivals face each other again I thought it would be fun to speculate on how the game would go if it were actually played. There is no doubt that each fan base would have a different opinion on what would happen and who would win so we cover how the game might look if either school won.
Here is the BYU version of how the game might go.
The ground attack of the Cougars was too much for the Utah front-seven as BYU came away with its first win over Utah in five tries 42-28 on Saturday night. BYU used a three-headed monster in the backfield as three ball carriers ended up with more than 100 yards on the ground while the defense forced two Utah turnovers to propel BYU to a 4-0 record on the season.
Utah got on the board on the opening kickoff as Kaelin Clay returned a short kick 78 yards to put the Utes up 7-0 just 12 seconds into the game.
The answer for BYU took far longer, but its opening drive set the tone for the game. The Cougars pieced together a 13-play, 75-yard drive where ever single yard came on the ground. The drive was capped off by a one-yard touchdown plunge from Paul Lasike on fourth-and-goal to tie the game at seven. The biggest play came when Tayson Hill avoided a safety blitz from Brian Blechen and took the ball 27 yards on third down to extend the drive.
Following a three-and-out by Utah, the BYU backfield made another trip to pay dirt as Jamaal Williams found the end zone from 11 yards out to finish off a five-play 81-yard drive. The biggest play of the series came on a play action pass when Taysom Hill faked the hand off to Adam Hine and then found Mitchell Juergens for a 33-yard gain.
The Utes kept pace on the ensuing drive as Travis Wilson showed off his own ability to run the ball. On a third-and eight from the Utah 27-yard line, Wilson called his own number and used a great block from Bubba Poole to spring a 72-yard touchdown run to make the score 14-14 to close the first quarter.
The second quarter picked up where it left off for BYU when Hill found Jordan Leslie for a 55-yard touchdown pass. Leslie made it happen on the big scoring play by breaking three tackles following a short reception.
Thats when the BYU defense took its turn to shine. On the first play off the Utah drive, Wilson overthrew Kenneth Scott and the ball landed in the awaiting arms of Sky PoVey. The Cougars made it a two-score game on the next play as Hill faked a pitch to Algernon Brown and took to the house from the four-yard line to push the score to 28-14.
That was the final score of the first half as the teams traded punts to end the second quarter.
BYU got the ball to start the second half and stretched the lead to 35-14 thanks to a two-play, 75-yard drive that ended with Hill in the end zone from 15 yards out. The biggest play of the came the play before when Hill found a wide open Mitch Mathews behind the defense for a 60-yard pitch-and-catch.
Wilson used his arm to cut the BYU lead back to 14 when he hooked up with Dres Anderson from 12 yards out. That score came on the end of 55-yard drive that took seven plays after a huge kick return from Clay gave Utah excellent field position.
BYU put the game away on its next possession when Hill scored from six yards away on a third-and-goal that ended a 12-play, 91-yard drive. The backbreaking drive took more than seven minutes off the clock as the Cougars did all their damage on the ground. In fact, all 91 yards on the most important series of the night came on the ground. The biggest play came on a 3rd-and-seven deep in BYU territory when Williams found the edge and got just enough to extend the possession.
With the Utes in a 21-point hole, Wilson took to the air, but the BYU secondary was ready. Wilson looked for Anderson who was open after a double-move, but Craig Bills had enough time to close the gap and intercept the pass. Utah forced the Cougar offense into a three-and-out, but with only a couple of minutes remaining, the Utes turned to Kendal Thompson for some mop up time. Thompson led the Utes to their final score of the night when he found Tim Patrick in the end zone from the 19-yard line.
Hill led the way for the Cougars with 22 carries for 111 yards and three touchdowns. He also completed 14-of-21 passes for 238 yards and a touchdown. BYU also got 100 yard performances on the ground from Lasike (13 carries for 101 yards and a score) and Williams (19 carried for 131 yards and a touchdown). Leslie led the passing attack for BYU with 10 catches for 107 yards and a score.
For Utah, Wilson completed 17-of-29 passes for 255 yards and one touchdown to go along with two interceptions. He also added 11 carries for 91 yards and another score. His favorite target on the night was Anderson who finished with six catches for 121 yards and a touchdown. Bubba Poole led the Utah running backs with 11 carries for 56 yards in the loss.
Up next for BYU is a bye week before Chuckie Keeton and the Utah State Aggies come to town.