While there are a handful of fans from both schools who don’t like the rivalry, there are plenty who love it. For those who love it, we are lucky enough to get the game between the Utes and the Cougars back a year early.
With the return of the rivalry in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl less than a week away, we have just enough time to revisit the most memorable moments between these bitter foes. In this four-part series we relive the best quotes, players, the plays and the games that show was this matchup is one of the best in the college game.
Part one: The quotes
There have been plenty of one-liners and quotes that have gone on between players, but in this rivalry, the coaches and administrators have gotten into the act as well. Here is a the perfect example of the coaches getting involved to start our list.
1. “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)
McBride wasn’t the only former big name who wasn’t on the field who provided us with a great soundbite.
2. “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 gave us that line after a BYU fan was pummeled by a Utah cheerleader after he jumped out of the stands and tried to mix it up after a Utah touchdown.
That led us to one of the best player quotes from the rivalry.
3. “Even our cheerleaders are kicking your butt.” — Former Utah wide receiver Steve Smith. (3)
Smith isn’t the only player to provide fans with some priceless thoughts after a heated matchup.
4. After he picked up 49 yards on fourth-and-18 from Max Hall on a drive for the game-winning score, BYU wide receiver shared this amazing tidbit in the post-game interview with Patrick Kinahan.
“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)
Many fans still cringe at the reference, but it’s definitely unforgettable.
5. Former BYU signal caller Max Hall had plenty of passion for the rivalry and it came out in the post-game press conference, following a 26-23 win. “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)
While his comments might be the most remembered, Hall wasn’t the first quarterback who shared his dislike for their rival.
6. Utah quarterback Alex Smith had this to say before the Utes knocked off the Cougars for an undefeated regular season and a trip to the BCS. “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)
Apparently, the hate between teams is mutual.
7. Another great quote came from Lenny Gomes after some Utah fans tried to bring down the goal posts in Provo following a dramatic win. He said, “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)
8. Maybe the best line of the entire rivalry came from Cougar running back Fred Whittingham after BYU hammered the Utes 70-31 in 1989. He 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)
9. The earliest and most cutting quote of all comes directly from page 10 of the 1958 BYU media guid which reads, ” Series History- This is a history? In 33 games since 1922 the Utes have won all but one game (1942, 7-12) which make this most lopsided in nation. Utes easily blanked Cats, 27-0 last year. Record now stands at 28 wins for Utah, one for BYU, four ties. Utah blanked BYU, 49-0, in first game played in 1922, and things haven’t improved much since then.” (9)
(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