BYU breaks losing streak vs. No. 21 Utah
Utah’s winning streak against BYU is over.
The Cougars beat the No. 21 Utes for the first time since 2009 on Saturday night in a 26-17 victory. BYU’s victory breaks a nine-game win streak by Utah in the “Holy War” rivalry series. A 10th consecutive win for the Utes would have given Utah the longest winning streak ever in a series that dates all the way back to 1896.
BYU QB Jaren Hall threw three touchdowns as the Cougars jumped out to a 16-7 lead right before halftime. BYU scored with four seconds left before half when Hall found former Utah wide receiver Samson Nacua for a 2-yard score.
The Utes struggled on third downs throughout the game. They converted just 2-of-9 third downs on Saturday night while BYU was 10-of-18. Utah also couldn’t stop Hall on the ground. He rushed for 90 yards.
Utah made a push to get the game close in the fourth quarter when Micah Bernard broke some tackles and scored on a 22-yard run with 9:31 to go. That score cut BYU’s lead to 23-16 and put Utah in position to tie the game with a defensive stop and another good drive.
That didn’t happen. BYU immediately held onto the ball for over six minutes and iced the game with a field goal to go back up two possessions. Utah’s last possession ended on an incomplete pass and the Utes’ second failed fourth-down conversion.
What does this mean for BYU and Utah?
Since it’s a non-conference game for Utah, the game doesn’t do much do disturb Utah’s chances at a Pac-12 South title. But it makes us less confident the Utes will be able to do that. Baylor transfer QB Charlie Brewer didn’t provide much in the passing game and Bernard was the team’s only impact performer on offense. Utah has to have a well-rounded offense to win the South.
BYU’s chances of 10-win season are immediately enhanced with the win. Utah, Arizona State (Sept. 18) and USC (No. 27) are the three best teams on BYU’s schedule. The Cougars already scored a win over a Pac-12 South team in Week 1 against Arizona and should be favored in at least seven more games this season.
It also provides a confidence boost for a program that’s set to join the Big 12 in the near future. BYU was officially admitted into the Big 12 along with three teams from the American Athletic Conference on Friday. The Cougars can clearly play with teams in the Pac-12; they should have no problem competing with teams in the Big 12.