Holy War (Utah vs. BYU)
|The Holy War|
|Originated||April 6, 1896|
|Series||Utah leads, 58–34–4|
|First Game||Utah 12, BYU 4
April 6, 1896
|Most Recent Game||Utah 35, BYU 28
December 19, 2015
|Current Streak||Utah 5 (2010–2015)|
|Next Game||Saturday, Sep. 10, 2016
Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, UT
The Holy War is an American college football rivalry game played by the University of Utah Utes and Brigham Young University Cougars. The game is part of the larger Utah–BYU rivalry. In this rivalry context, the term "Holy War" refers to the fact that BYU is owned and administered by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) and the University of Utah is a public university owned and administered by the State of Utah. Although many Utah fans are LDS members, the term "Holy War" also refers to the stark cultural differences of the respective fan bases. The proximity of the two schools, the athletic successes of the two teams, and the longevity of the series also contribute to the rivalry.
Both teams played in the same conference from 1922 to 2010 and the Holy War game often decided the conference title. Despite Utah moving to the Pac-12 Conference in 2011 and BYU becoming an independent that same year, the two universities agreed to play between 2011 and 2013 prior to a brief interruption in the series for 2014 and 2015 – the first since 1943 to 1945, when BYU did not field a team due to World War II. Games between 2016 and 2020 were also subsequently booked, which might precede another break in the series.
The two-year hiatus of 2014–2015 was unexpectedly cut short when the 2015 Las Vegas Bowl pitted BYU against Utah, creating the Holy War in Sin City in the postseason.
- 1 Rivalry components
- 2 Series history
- 2.1 The Brigham Young Academy years
- 2.2 Utah's early dominance
- 2.3 The LaVell Edwards era
- 2.4 The modern rivalry
- 2.4.1 1990–2000: Edwards versus McBride
- 2.4.2 2001 and 2002: Crowton versus McBride
- 2.4.3 2003 and 2004: Crowton versus Meyer
- 2.4.4 2005–2015: Mendenhall versus Whittingham
- 3 Future games
- 4 Game results
- 5 See also
- 6 References
There are a number of components that make the Holy War particularly fierce. The University of Utah and Brigham Young University are the two biggest colleges in the state of Utah. There is a stark contrast between the campuses and student bodies, as one is a religious institution while the other is a public university. As the name of the rivalry implies, religion is a large component to the rivalry. Brigham Young University is owned by the LDS church, and thus imposes religious restrictions upon its students. Although both are dry campuses, variation between the religious student body at BYU and more lax, traditional university student body Utah creates further animosity between the two schools. The long length of rivalry is also a major element.
The University of Utah is the flagship university of the state of Utah, while Brigham Young University is the flagship university of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Coaches and administrators might prefer it if religion played less of a role in the rivalry, but some fans and players make an issue of religion. Some fans of BYU are accused of acting arrogant or self-righteous, as if their religious beliefs make them innately superior to Utah fans. Some fans of Utah are accused of being antagonistic through behaviors such as intentionally swearing or drinking alcohol excessively around BYU fans, both of which are known to be forbidden by the Church Educational System Honor Code, which all BYU students and faculty are required to maintain. Often lost in this "us vs. them" perspective is the fact that a portion of Utah fans are themselves active members of the LDS Church.
The two schools disagree on when the first game was played. Utah claims that the first game was played in 1896 against Brigham Young Academy. BYU's athletic website shows their schedule dating back to 1922, but no earlier. Utah claims a lead of 57–34–4, while BYU claims Utah leads 54–31–4. BYU does not count the six games between Utah and Brigham Young Academy in its records.
Utah has a large lead in the overall series and has dominated the rivalry both prior to 1972 (41–8–4) and after 1992 (14–7). In stark contrast, from 1972 to 1992 BYU dominated the series with a record of 19–2 versus Utah. Since 1993, largest point spread is 44 points, which occurred in 2011 when Utah won 54–10 in Provo. Outside of BYU's dominance in the 1970s and 1980s, Utah owns the head-to-head edge 55–15–4 – or 52–12–4 according to BYU's records – a win percentage of .785.
Utah's average margin of victory in the games it has won since 2000 is 14 points, while BYU's is four points. The Cougars haven't had a dominating victory over Utah since 1996 (37–17), while the Utes have notched three blowout wins (2004, 2008, 2011) in the series' most recent 10 games.
BYU, which is in Provo, Utah, and the University of Utah, which is in Salt Lake City, are about 50 miles (80 km) apart and approximately an hour's drive away on Interstate 15. Consequently, the two teams compete for recruits and fan support. It is not uncommon for friends, neighbors, and even family members to have opposite allegiances.
While the two teams have not necessarily been strong at the same time, the two teams had the most conference championships in the Mountain West Conference (MW) before both left the MW in 2011. Each team has had four conference championships since the creation of the MW in 1999. Including championships of other conferences, Utah has 24 conference championships in its history, while BYU has 23. Both of these numbers are well ahead of the current MW member with the most conference championships, Colorado State, who has 15. Other than the 2011 meeting, the recent games in the Holy War have tended to be close, with the final score of fifteen of the last nineteen games being within a touchdown (seven points, including a successful conversion kick) or less.
BYU can lay claim to a consensus national championship for going undefeated in 1984 and beating Michigan in the 1984 Holiday Bowl. During the era of the now-defunct Bowl Championship Series (1998–2013), Utah played in two BCS bowls: the 2005 Fiesta Bowl (a 35–7 victory over Pitt) and the 2009 Sugar Bowl (a 31–17 victory over Alabama). For these BCS bowl victories, Utah finished ranked in the AP Poll #4 and #2, respectively. Many sports media members and observers, including ESPN's Rick Reilly, argued that Utah (the nation's lone undefeated FBS team) should have been awarded the AP National Championship and should have been selected to play Florida in the BCS title game.
The Brigham Young Academy years
Before 1903, BYU was known as Brigham Young Academy (BYA). During the 1890s, Utah and BYA played six times in football. The two schools split the series 3–3. The first meeting was an unusual April contest that Utah won 12–4.
BYA stopped playing football sometime after these six games and did not start again until 1922, after it had become Brigham Young University (BYU). BYU does not recognize these first six meetings as it only recognizes football games played from 1922 onward.
Utah's early dominance
After twenty-three years of not having a team, BYU resumed play for the 1922 season. Utah began its early dominance over BYU with a 49–0 victory on October 14, 1922. BYU would not get another win in the series until 1942, when the Cougars shocked the Utes 12–7 at Utah. The rivalry then took a hiatus from 1943 to 1945 because BYU did not field a team due to World War II. When the rivalry continued in 1946, the Utes continued their domination over the Cougars, winning or tying the next twelve contests. Save for a three-year BYU winning streak from 1965–1967, the rivalry continued this trend through the 1971 season, at which point Utah had amassed a 41–8–4 (.811) record against BYU.
The LaVell Edwards era
In 1972, the rivalry shifted in favor of BYU. The Cougars had hired LaVell Edwards and in his first season, BYU beat Utah 16–7 for BYU's first victory over Utah in four years. The win signaled the beginning of BYU's dominance against Utah. From 1972 to 1992, BYU went 19–2 (.905) against Utah.
During those years, Utah went through a series of coaches that all ended with losing records against LaVell Edwards and BYU. Bill Meek's Utes went 0–2 against Edwards during Meek's last two years (1972–1973). Tom Lovat (1974–1976) was 0–3. Wayne Howard (1977–1981) was 1–4. Chuck Stobart (1982–1984) was 0–3. Jim Fassel was 1–4. Finally, Utah found some success when it hired Ron McBride in 1990. McBride would finish with a 5–6 record against LaVell Edwards, but he started with three consecutive losses to Edwards.
1977–1981: Edwards versus Howard
Wayne Howard's Crusade
During the 1977 meeting, BYU was on the way to winning in a 38–8 blowout. Nonetheless, LaVell Edwards put starting quarterback Marc Wilson back into the game so Wilson could set an NCAA record for passing yards. Wilson succeeded in setting the record (subsequently broken) and finished the game with 571 passing yards. The incident infuriated Utah head coach Wayne Howard. After the game he said, "This today will be inspiring. The hatred between BYU and Utah is nothing compared to what it will be. It will be a crusade to beat BYU from now on. This is a prediction: in the next two years Utah will drill BYU someday, but we won’t run up the score even if we could set an NCAA record against them." The next year, Wayne Howard made good on his promise. The Utes came from behind to upset the Cougars 23–22. The 1978 win was Utah's first against a LaVell Edwards coached BYU team.
Jim McMahon says, "Scoreboard."
During the 1980 Holy War, BYU quarterback Jim McMahon helped engineer a blowout. Most of the game he was heckled by a contingent of Utah fans at Rice Stadium. After throwing for another touchdown late in the 56–6 win, he simply pointed at the scoreboard to quiet the hecklers. The game was in the midst of a 12–1 BYU season. It was also their second consecutive win against Utah and their eighth win out of the last nine games against Utah. The fifty point margin of victory is the largest for either team in the series.
1982–1984: Edwards versus Stobart
On November 17, 1984, BYU entered the Holy War 10–0 and ranked #3 in the AP Poll. BYU overcame several turnovers to win 24–14. BYU would finish the season 13–0 and the only undefeated team in Division I-A (now the Football Bowl Subdivision). They were voted number one in the final AP Poll as well as the Coaches' Poll to become consensus national champions. This was the last time a team outside the current Power Five conferences won a national championship; the next most recent was Army in 1945.
1985–1989: Edwards versus Fassel
The Rice Bowl
In 1988, Utah had not beaten BYU since 1978 and entered the Holy War as 11-point underdogs. Utah had a mediocre 5–5 record while BYU was 8–2 and had already accepted an invitation to the Freedom Bowl. BYU looked ready to humiliate the Utes again. Instead Utah and quarterback Scott Mitchell jumped on BYU early and took a 21–0 lead on the way to winning 57–28. The 1988 team set a series record for points scored against BYU—a record that stands today. The game came to be known locally as "the Rice Bowl" because the game was played at Utah's Rice Stadium.
The next year, in 1989, BYU got their revenge. They set a series record by scoring 70 against Utah. BYU jumped to a 49–0 lead before Utah scored its first touchdown just before halftime. Behind quarterback Ty Detmer, BYU would score eight touchdowns on its first eight possessions and amass over 750 yards of total offense during the 70–31 win. Utah would score three touchdowns in the fourth quarter against BYU's reserves. The 101 points the two teams scored is still a series record.
The modern rivalry
By the mid-1990s, the Cougars' success leveled off from the years of the 1970s and '80s. Around this time, the Utes also improved significantly, and the rivalry became much more competitive.
1990–2000: Edwards versus McBride
The rivalry began to change in 1993, during Ron McBride's fourth season as head coach, the Utes won their first game in Provo in twenty-two seasons and their first since LaVell Edwards became BYU head coach. Late in the fourth quarter, Utah's kicker Chris Yergensen, who had already missed two out of three field goals on the day, attempted to break the 31–31 tie. This time, Yergensen did not miss and kicked the game-winning 55-yard field goal, the longest of his career, with less than a minute remaining.
After the win, Utah fans and players attempted to tear down the north end zone goalpost at what was then Cougar Stadium. Cougar players returned to the field to protect the goalpost from being torn down. About the incident, Lenny Gomes, a BYU nose guard, said, "Typical Utah bullshit. All those guys think that's all there is to life. But when I'm making $50–60,000 a year, they'll be pumping my gas. They're low-class losers." The remark is still remembered in rivalry history today.
The 1994 season was McBride’s best, as he led the Utes to a 10–2 record and a top-10 finish in national rankings. The Utes and Cougars also staged one of the best matchups in the rivalry's history, meeting for the first time as top-25 ranked teams. The Utes won the game 34–31, which was coincidentally the same score of their meeting a year before. Utah ran its rivalry winning streak up to three games a year later, with a 34–17 win at BYU. The Utes and Cougars would trade wins and losses the next couple of years, before the 2000 season.
The Kaneshiro Doink
In 1998, the first Holy War was played at the newly renovated Rice–Eccles Stadium. BYU entered the game with an 8–3 (6–1 WAC) record and was playing for a berth in the WAC Championship game. Utah entered the game with a 7–3 (5–2 WAC) record and was hoping to land a bowl game and spoil BYU's WAC Championship hopes. BYU took a 26–17 lead when Owen Pochman connected on a 47-yard field goal with 2:41 left to play in the game. On the ensuing kickoff, Utah's Daniel Jones returned the ball 95 yards to cut the lead to 26–24. Utah's defense held BYU and forced them to punt. Utah moved the ball to the 15-yard line where Ryan Kaneshiro attempted a 32-yard field goal. The attempt bounced off the right upright, which preserved the win for BYU and caused the goalpost to shake from the "doink".
Utah cheerleader pummels an aggressive fan
During the 1999 edition of the Holy War, Utah recorded its fourth consecutive win in Provo. Early in the fourth quarter, Utah scored a touchdown when quarterback T.D. Crowshaw completed a four-yard-pass to Donny Utu to put Utah up 20–10. In celebration, Utah cheerleader Billy Priddis ran along the visitor's sideline with a large "U" flag. A BYU fan who was later banned from the BYU campus, ran onto the sideline and tackled Priddis from behind. Priddis turned around and started punching the fan. He landed seven or eight punches before security separated them. About the incident, Priddis said, ""There's 65,000 fans here, does he think I'm not going to retaliate?"
From the Utah sideline, receiver Steve Smith taunted BYU fans and yelled, "Even our cheerleaders are kicking your butt." BYU's athletic director Val Hale purported to have chastised Priddis and the rest of the Utah cheerleaders. After the game he said, "I told them from now on we're going to leave our flags at home and they should do the same. All it does is initiate the fans to throw things out of the stands."
Edwards' last game
Entering the 2000 season, legendary head coach LaVell Edwards announced that he was retiring. His final game as Cougars head coach came against the Utes in Salt Lake City, where BYU won 34–27 with an exciting last-minute drive that ended on a touchdown with little time remaining on the clock.
2001 and 2002: Crowton versus McBride
In 2001, under new head coach Gary Crowton, BYU entered their game against Utah undefeated and looking to become the first team from outside the BCS to play in a BCS bowl game. A tight game ended with a comeback by BYU. BYU running back Luke Staley raced down the sideline with 1:16 left to play to make it 24–21 and BYU DB Jenaro Gilford intercepted a pass on the ensuing Ute drive to seal the victory. The win gave the Cougars consecutive wins against the Utes for the first time in nearly ten years. The Cougs, however, failed to bust the BCS, losing to Hawaiʻi in their final game.
McBride, who had guided Utah to six bowl games and three bowl wins, entered the 2002 rivalry game in danger of being fired. The Utes had struggled all season long and even with their 13–6 victory against BYU, Utah finished with their second losing season in three years. The 5–6 finish sealed McBride’s fate and he was fired in 2002; Weber State University hired him in December 2004.
2003 and 2004: Crowton versus Meyer
Urban Meyer was hired to replace Ron McBride. Under Meyer, Utah players were not allowed to use the name BYU and began referring rather to the Team Down South or TDS (BYU being about 50 miles south of the University of Utah), imitating Ohio State coach Woody Hayes practice of referring to Michigan as "that team up north." This reference has become a tradition among some Utah fans.
Scoring streak ends
In Meyer's first season, the Utes won the Mountain West Conference and finished 10–2, which was their best record since the 1994 season. The last game of the regular season, Utah beat BYU for the second straight year with a 3–0 victory. The victory snapped BYU's NCAA record for scoring in 361 straight games—BYU's first shutout since a 20–0 loss to Arizona State on September 25, 1975.
In 2004 Utah would have its best season up to that point, going 12–0 and becoming the first team from outside the BCS to play in a BCS bowl game. They went on to win their matchup against Pittsburgh in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl. The Utes final regular season game, a 52–21 victory over BYU, clinched the invitation to a BCS bowl. Urban Meyer then left Utah for Florida. After the 2004 season, Gary Crowton resigned after finishing with his third consecutive losing season.
2005–2015: Mendenhall versus Whittingham
In 2005, Bronco Mendenhall and Kyle Whittingham started as head coaches at their respective programs. Whittingham was offered the job at BYU before turning it down and accepting the position at Utah. This has added to the rivalry between the two coaches. Whittingham won the overall series against Mendenhall with a tally of 7–3. Eight of the ten games have been decided by a touchdown or less. In a December 17, 2009 column, writer Stewart Mandel called the coaching rivalry the best coaching rivalry of that decade.
First overtime game
The 2005 season saw some striking parallels between the two programs. Both had replaced their former head coaches, struggled through parts of their seasons, and would finish the regular season with 6–5 records. When the two met in Provo in November 2005, BYU was looking for its first win against the Utes in three seasons. Utah was looking for a winning record and a shot at a bowl game. BYU entered as the favorite because Utah would be playing without its starting quarterback and its best wide receiver, who had been injured in their previous game. The Utes were starting JC transfer Brett Ratliff who had taken just three snaps the week before. Ratliff surprised the Cougars by completing 17 of 32 passes for 240 yards and four touchdowns, and rushing for 112 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown. He was responsible for all five Utah touchdowns. The Utes won 41–34.
Beck to Harline
When the two teams met again in November 2006, this time in Salt Lake City, BYU jumped out to an early lead, then fell behind and trailed for much of the game, but finally won it 33–31 with an impressive last-minute drive, capped by a touchdown pass from John Beck to Jonny Harline with no time on the clock. The win gave BYU an undefeated record of 8–0 in Mountain West Conference play. Harline caught the pass on his knees in the end zone with no Utah defender near him. The play led to BYU fans creating and wearing T-shirts reading "Harline's still open."
In 2007 the teams clashed on November 24, in what was a mostly defensive game. The game's first 12 points were only field goals, BYU's Mitch Payne scoring 9 points. Utah then scored the first touchdown, taking the lead 10–9. In the fourth quarter, BYU came back with a late-game drive that included a 4th and 18 from its own 12-yard line. Four plays later, freshman running back Harvey Unga bulled into the endzone to win it 17–10. Austin Collie, who caught the Max Hall pass to convert the 4th and 18 to a first down said about the play, "I wouldn't say it was lucky. We executed the play well. We should have had another one. 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. Magic happens." The comment further fueled the religious animosity between the two teams.
BCS busting... again
Only four years removed from shocking the college football world in 2004 and becoming the first team from outside the BCS to bust into the BCS, Utah returned to the national stage by going undefeated throughout the year. The game was fairly even until Utah scored a touchdown with 15 seconds left in the half to put the Utes up by 10. In the second half, BYU cut the lead to three by the end of the third quarter but couldn't keep Utah out of the endzone in the fourth quarter. Utah would score three times in the final quarter to win 48–24.
Utah was then invited to the Allstate Sugar Bowl to play against Alabama. Utah once again shocked the world by beating the Crimson Tide 31–17 after Utah jumped out to a 21–0 lead in the first quarter.
Second overtime game
In 2009, in the second overtime game in series history, BYU defeated Utah 26–23. BYU held a 20–6 lead entering the fourth quarter. Utah scored 14 fourth-quarter points to force overtime, but their comeback fell short. Utah managed a field goal in overtime to take a 23–20 lead, but on BYU's possession, Max Hall connected to tight end Andrew George for a 25-yard touchdown reception and the victory. The game was dubbed "George is still running" by BYU fans.
During the postgame press conference, Hall was asked if he felt he had redeemed himself for his performance in the previous year's game in which he had five interceptions and one fumble. Hall responded, "A little bit, yeah. I don't like Utah. In fact, I hate them. I hate everything about them. I hate their program. I hate their fans. I hate everything. So, it feels good to send those guys home. They didn't deserve it. It was our time and it was our time to win. We deserved it. We played as hard as we could tonight, and it felt really good to send them home and to get them out of here, so it is a game I'll always remember." When asked for a clarification and whether he really hated Utah, Hall said, "I think the whole university and their fans and organization is classless. They threw beer on my family and stuff last year, and did a whole bunch of nasty things. I don't respect them, and they deserve to lose."
The next day, Hall issued an apology for his "remarks". He alleged that his "family was spit on, had beer dumped on them and were physically assaulted on several occasions" during the previous year's game at Rice–Eccles Stadium.
For 2010, the game was played at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City. It was the last game for the two teams as conference rivals. BYU entered the game with a 6–5 while Utah came in at 9–2. In a low scoring affair, BYU scored two field goals, one in each of the first two quarters, to lead 6–0 at halftime. In the third quarter, the Cougars got a touchdown on a 21-yard pass play from Jake Heaps to McKay Jacobson, to take a 13–0 lead. The fourth quarter began with Utah scoring a 40-yard field goal, cutting the lead to 13–3, and then after Utah recovered a BYU fumble, Utah capitalized with a 37-yard touchdown pass from Jordan Wynn to DeVonte Christopher to make the score 13–10. The Cougars responded with a field goal, to make it 16–10.
Utah responded to a series of turnovers with a Matt Asiata touchdown on a 3-yard run to make it 17–16 with 4:24 remaining. BYU then drove down the field to Utah's 22-yard line, to set up Mitch Payne for a game-winning field goal with 4 seconds remaining. However, Utah cornerback Brandon Burton raced from the outside to block the kick and secure a 17–16 Utah victory.
Rivalry tensions were heightened in the play's aftermath, as several Utah players taunted the Cougars trying to leave the field. Matt Martinez, a Utah linebacker, was seen shoving senior BYU kicker Mitch Payne.
Shock and awe
With Utah having left for the Pac-12 and BYU declaring conference independence, the 2011 BYU home game against Utah was the rivalry's first non-conference game since 1898. BYU suffered a rough start on its opening drive, when on its third play, the ball was snapped over quarterback Jake Heaps' head and recovered for a touchdown by Utah DE Derrick Shelby. The remainder of the 1st quarter held similar luck for BYU, with Running back JJ Di'Luigi fumbling on 1st and Goal from the Utah 6-yard line. The 2nd quarter proved more competitive with BYU completing a 32-yard TD pass to WR Ross Apo. Utah answered with 30-yard TD pass from QB Jordan Wynn to freshman TE Jake Murphy, just two minutes before the half. Utah led at halftime 14–10.
After a first half that seemed to promise the typical nail-biter game that the last decade of the rivalry had shown, it was anything but. The Utes scored 40 unanswered points in the 2nd half (a total of 47 unanswered). Turnovers continued to plague BYU, who would finish with 7, including JD Falslev's mishandled kickoff return at their own 6-yard line, QB Jake Heaps fumble at their own 6-yard line, and QB Riley Nelson's (substituted in for Heaps in the 4th quarter) fumble after being sacked, returned 57 yards for a TD by freshman LB V.J Fehoko.
The final result of 54–10 was the largest margin of victory for either team in the Holy War since a 55–7 BYU victory in 1983, and Utah's second-largest margin of victory ever in the Holy War. Utah's 54 points were the second most the Utes had ever scored against BYU.
The 2012 incarnation of the Holy War ended in dramatic and odd fashion. Utah went into the 4th quarter up 17 points, but the BYU offense brought it within 3. With less than 30 seconds remaining, BYU quarterback Riley Nelson successfully drove into Utah territory on 4th and long with a 40-yard pass to wide receiver Cody Hoffman. On what was thought to be the final play of the game, Nelson's deflected pass fell incomplete as time seemingly expired and the Utah fans rushed the field. The pass, however, was shown to hit the ground with one second left, giving BYU an opportunity to kick a field goal from 51 yards (once the fans had been cleared from the field of play). On the attempt, the kick was blocked, the ball recovered by BYU, and the runner subsequently tackled. However, Utah fans again rushed the field, this time before the play was over, thus earning a penalty that gave BYU another chance at a field goal, this one from only 36 yards. That attempt was unsuccessful, however, when the kick hit the left upright and went awry, leading Utah fans to rush the field for a third and final time. Utah won the game 24–21.
Twenty-Thirteen in 2013
Not conference mates any longer, Utah and BYU played the 2013 game with the understanding it would be the final contest until 2016 – a fact that served as motivation for both teams to avoid having to endure a defeat for three calendar years.
Utah dominated the first half 13–0 and quieted the raucous crowd at Lavell Edwards Stadium. BYU didn't score their first points, a field goal, until 11:39 remaining in the third quarter and the Cougars tacked on another exactly six minutes later. Utah, though, responded with a 79-yard touchdown drive to extend its lead to 20–6 with 12:44 remaining in regulation.
BYU didn't score its first touchdown, a one-yard run by running back Michael Alisa, until 5:44 left in the game to close the gap to seven points. After holding and false start penalties forced a three-and-out on Utah's next possession, BYU quarterback Taysom Hill was intercepted on the Cougars' next drive with a little more than 90 seconds remaining – appearing to seal the win for Utah.
After another three-and-out for Utah, though, BYU received the ball near midfield with 39 seconds left and one final chance to tie the game. However, four straight incomplete passes by Hill – including a Hail Mary attempt to receiver Mitch Mathews as time expired, during which he committed offensive pass interference by pulling a Utah defensive back to the ground – punctuated Utah's fourth straight win over BYU and sent the Utes into the three-year hiatus on a resounding high.
2015 Las Vegas Bowl
The hiatus for 2014–2015 was unexpectedly cut short to a one-year hiatus: On December 6, 2015, it was announced that BYU would play Utah on December 19, 2015 in the Las Vegas Bowl during the postseason. It was the first time the teams met in the postseason and the first Holy War game to be played at a neutral site.
During the build-up to the game, the pot was stirred by Utah's two-time Ray Guy Award-winning Australian punter Tom Hackett. At a pregame event, Hackett called the Cougars "bastards", and finished by saying "this is Utah's world and BYU's living in it."
On the third play of the game and just 34 seconds after kickoff, the Utah defense forced a BYU quarterback Tanner Magnum to fumble and Utah's Gianni Paul recovered at the BYU 21-yard line to set up the Utes first touchdown of the game. On the first play of BYU's subsequent drive, Utah's Tevin Carter intercepted Magnum at the BYU 28-yard line and returned the ball for a pick-six touchdown that put the Utes ahead 14-0 only 4:18 into the game. Six plays later Tevin Carter again intercepted Magnum, returning the ball 33-yards to the BYU 1-yard line and setting up another Utah touchdown to extend the Utes lead to 21-0 less than six minutes into the game. Four plays into BYU's next drive, Utah's Dominique Hatfield intercepted Magnum at the BYU 46-yard line and returned the ball for another pick-six touchdown to give the Utes the 28-0 lead with 7:29 left in the quarter. Two plays later the Utah defense forced BYU to fumble the ball and the Utes recovered at the BYU 39-yard line before Utah's Travis Wilson ran for a 20-yard touchdown to give the Utes the 35-0 lead with 4:38 still remaining in the first quarter. BYU had run only 15 plays by that time, including five turnovers, while Utah had only run 12 plays. As a result of BYU's disastrous start, commentator Brent Musburger joked: “I really feel sorry for my Mormon friends at BYU. They don’t drink! This game would drive you to it.” 
The Utes did not play nearly as well over the remainder of the game, allowing BYU to score 28 unanswered points before holding on for a 35-28 win, ending Bronco Mendenhall's last game as BYU's head coach with a loss. After the game Coach Whittingham noted, "We started off and played real well the first quarter, very average in the second quarter, then pathetic in the third quarter and half of the fourth quarter."
Deals have been inked to play the Utah-BYU series between 2016 and 2020, but no games have been scheduled beyond that. The two schools will play in Salt Lake City on September 10, 2016 and in Provo on September 9, 2017. Unusually, the 2018 contest is set for November 24 – both teams' final game of the year – despite the game being a non-conference matchup. Utah typically plays Colorado in the final week, but a scheduling anomaly in the Pac 12 facilitated the rivalry game being played the final week instead of September. In 2019 and 2020, the game will be the first of each season.
The interruption of the series in 2014 and 2015 sparked discontent in both fan bases – particularly among BYU fans, some of whom felt that the break was nothing more than a boastful dig at the Cougars' program. Utah AD Chris Hill acknowledged the topic in August 2015 and said a large number of Utah fans had expressed to him a desire to take a break from the rivalry.
“The message I have received loud and clear from Utah season ticket holders is that they support our decision to take a two-year hiatus from the BYU rivalry," Hill said.
Another break in the series may follow in the 2020s, as Utah has a scheduled series with the Baylor Bears in 2023–24 – filling the "tier 1 team" slot on the schedule, as Michigan did during the hiatus of 2014–15.
The long-term outlook on the rivalry remains unclear. Fans appear to be split on the issue – with some voicing strong support for the game and others (mostly Utah fans) arguing that the game is a high risk/low reward proposition between a non-"Power Five" independent and a team from the Pac-12. Some fans have voiced support to continue the rivalry on a permanent basis if BYU were to join a "Power Five" league, such as the Big 12 Conference.
BYU victories are colored ██ dark blue. Utah victories are colored ██ crimson. Ties are white.
|April 6, 1896||Utah||12–4||Salt Lake City||Utah 1–0|
|November 14, 1896||Utah||6–0||Salt Lake City||Utah 2–0|
|December 5, 1896||BYA*||8–6||Provo||Utah 2–1|
|December 4, 1897||BYA*||14–0||Salt Lake City||Tied 2–2|
|December 18, 1897||BYA*||22–0||Provo||BYA 3–2|
|November 24, 1898||Utah||5–0||Salt Lake City||Tied 3–3|
|October 14, 1922||Utah||49–0||Salt Lake City||Utah 4–3|
|October 27, 1923||Utah||15–0||Provo||Utah 5–3|
|October 25, 1924||Utah||35–6||Salt Lake City||Utah 6–3|
|October 31, 1925||Utah||27–0||Provo||Utah 7–3|
|November 13, 1926||Utah||40–7||Salt Lake City||Utah 8–3|
|November 12, 1927||Utah||20–0||Provo||Utah 9–3|
|November 17, 1928||Tie||0–0||Ute Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 9–3–1|
|November 2, 1929||Utah||45–13||Ute Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 10–3–1|
|October 18, 1930||Utah||34–7||Ute Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 11–3–1|
|October 17, 1931||Utah||43–0||Ute Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 12–3–1|
|October 15, 1932||Utah||29–0||Ute Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 13–3–1|
|October 14, 1933||Utah||21–6||Ute Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 14–3–1|
|October 13, 1934||Utah||43–0||Ute Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 15–3–1|
|November 2, 1935||Utah||32–0||Provo||Utah 16–3–1|
|October 31, 1936||Utah||18–0||Ute Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 17–3–1|
|October 2, 1937||Utah||14–0||Ute Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 18–3–1|
|October 15, 1938||Tie||7–7||Ute Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 18–3–2|
|October 14, 1939||Utah||35–13||Provo||Utah 19–3–2|
|October 5, 1940||Utah||12–6||Ute Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 20–3–2|
|October 18, 1941||Tie||6–6||Ute Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 20–3–3|
|October 10, 1942||BYU||12–7||Ute Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 20–4–3|
|October 12, 1946||Utah||35–6||Provo||Utah 21–4–3|
|October 11, 1947||Utah||28–6||Ute Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 22–4–3|
|October 9, 1948||Utah||30–0||Provo||Utah 23–4–3|
|October 8, 1949||Utah||38–0||Ute Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 24–4–3|
|October 7, 1950||Tie||28–28||Provo||Utah 24–4–4|
|October 6, 1951||Utah||7–6||Ute Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 25–4–4|
|October 11, 1952||Utah||34–6||Ute Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 26–4–4|
|November 26, 1953||Utah||33–32||Ute Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 27–4–4|
|October 9, 1954||Utah||12–7||Provo||Utah 28–4–4|
|October 8, 1955||Utah||41–9||Ute Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 29–4–4|
|October 5, 1956||Utah||41–6||Provo||Utah 30–4–4|
|October 12, 1957||Utah||27–0||Ute Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 31–4–4|
|September 27, 1958||BYU||41–6||Ute Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 31–5–4|
|October 9, 1959||Utah||20–8||Ute Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 32–5–4|
|October 7, 1960||Utah||17–0||Ute Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 33–5–4|
|October 14, 1961||Utah||21–20||Ute Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 34–5–4|
|October 13, 1962||Utah||35–20||Ute Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 35–5–4|
|October 12, 1963||Utah||15–6||Ute Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 36–5–4|
|November 7, 1964||Utah||47–13||Ute Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 37–5–4|
|November 6, 1965||BYU||25–20||Cougar Stadium, Provo||Utah 37–6–4|
|November 12, 1966||BYU||35–13||Ute Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 37–7–4|
|October 28, 1967||BYU||17–13||Cougar Stadium, Provo||Utah 37–8–4|
|November 2, 1968||Utah||30–21||Ute Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 38–8–4|
|November 22, 1969||Utah||16–6||Cougar Stadium, Provo||Utah 39–8–4|
|November 21, 1970||Utah||14–13||Ute Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 40–8–4|
|November 20, 1971||Utah||17–15||Cougar Stadium, Provo||Utah 41–8–4|
|November 18, 1972||BYU||16–7||Rice Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 41–9–4|
|November 24, 1973||BYU||46–22||Rice Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 41–10–4|
|November 23, 1974||BYU||48–20||Cougar Stadium, Provo||Utah 41–11–4|
|November 15, 1975||BYU||51–20||Cougar Stadium, Provo||Utah 41–12–4|
|November 20, 1976||BYU||34–12||Rice Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 41–13–4|
|November 5, 1977||BYU||38–8||Cougar Stadium, Provo||Utah 41–14–4|
|November 18, 1978||Utah||23–22||Rice Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 42–14–4|
|November 17, 1979||BYU||27–0||Cougar Stadium, Provo||Utah 42–15–4|
|November 22, 1980||BYU||56–6||Rice Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 42–16–4|
|November 21, 1981||BYU||56–28||Cougar Stadium, Provo||Utah 42–17–4|
|November 20, 1982||BYU||17–12||Rice Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 42–18–4|
|November 19, 1983||BYU||55–7||Cougar Stadium, Provo||Utah 42–19–4|
|November 17, 1984||BYU||24–14||Rice Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 42–20–4|
|November 23, 1985||BYU||38–28||Cougar Stadium, Provo||Utah 42–21–4|
|November 22, 1986||BYU||35–21||Rice Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 42–22–4|
|November 21, 1987||BYU||21–18||Cougar Stadium, Provo||Utah 42–23–4|
|November 19, 1988||Utah||57–28||Rice Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 43–23–4|
|November 18, 1989||BYU||70–31||Cougar Stadium, Provo||Utah 43–24–4|
|November 17, 1990||BYU||45–22||Rice Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 43–25–4|
|November 23, 1991||BYU||48–17||Cougar Stadium, Provo||Utah 43–26–4|
|November 21, 1992||BYU||31–22||Rice Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 43–27–4|
|November 20, 1993||Utah||34–31||Cougar Stadium, Provo||Utah 44–27–4|
|November 19, 1994||Utah||34–31||Rice Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 45–27–4|
|November 18, 1995||Utah||34–17||Cougar Stadium, Provo||Utah 46–27–4|
|November 23, 1996||BYU||37–17||Rice Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 46–28–4|
|November 22, 1997||Utah||20–14||Cougar Stadium, Provo||Utah 47–28–4|
|November 21, 1998||BYU||26–24||Rice–Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 47–29–4|
|November 20, 1999||Utah||20–17||Cougar Stadium, Provo||Utah 48–29–4|
|November 24, 2000||BYU||34–27||Rice–Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 48–30–4|
|November 17, 2001||BYU||24–21||LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo||Utah 48–31–4|
|November 23, 2002||Utah||13–6||Rice–Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 49–31–4|
|November 22, 2003||Utah||3–0||LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo||Utah 50–31–4|
|November 20, 2004||Utah||52–21||Rice–Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 51–31–4|
|November 19, 2005||Utah||41–34OT||LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo||Utah 52–31–4|
|November 25, 2006||BYU||33–31||Rice–Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 52–32–4|
|November 24, 2007||BYU||17–10||LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo||Utah 52–33–4|
|November 22, 2008||Utah||48–24||Rice–Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 53–33–4|
|November 28, 2009||BYU||26–23OT||LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo||Utah 53–34–4|
|November 27, 2010||Utah||17–16||Rice–Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 54–34–4|
|September 17, 2011||Utah||54–10||LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo||Utah 55–34–4|
|September 15, 2012||Utah||24–21||Rice–Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City||Utah 56–34–4|
|September 21, 2013||Utah||20–13||LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo||Utah 57–34–4|
|December 19, 2015||Utah||35–28||Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, NV||Utah 58–34–4|
* At the time BYU was Brigham Young Academy (BYA); the name was later changed to Brigham Young University.
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