The curse is over!
After so many close games over the years, BYU held on for a thrilling 26-17 victory over No. 21 Utah (1-1) at LaVell Edwards Stadium Saturday night.
The victory capped off one of the best weeks in BYU history as the Cougars accepted an invitation to join the Big 12 on Friday. With Saturdays’ win, the Cougars also jumped into the Top 25 as the Cougars checked in at No. 23 in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches poll.
Here are the biggest takeaways from the game.
BYU Football: Cougars Jump Into Top 25, Utah, USC, Texas Drop Out
Max Hall Curse Broken — Tyler Huntley Curse Begins
After beating Utah in overtime in 2009 (26-23), then BYU QB Max Hall talked about how much he hated the Utah program, the Utah fans, and everything else about the Utes during the postgame press conference. It was in that moment, the curse began.
So it was only fitting that another QB named Hall was the one to break the curse for the Cougars after coming up short in so many games over the past decade. The victory broke the nine-game losing streak to the Utes and kept Utah from becoming the first team in the rivalry to win 10 consecutive games.
One Curse Ends, Another Begins
It appears the Tyler Huntley curse is in full swing.
Before Saturday’s game, the last time both teams faced off against each other was in 2019. After the Utah win, Tyler Huntley told reporters that BYU was “poo-poo” in a post game press conference.
While BYU coaches and players “brushed off” Huntley’s comments, they certainly didn’t forget. After BYU’s 26-17 win on Saturday, BYU wide receiver Neil Pau’u tweeted out, “They so ‘poo poo’ lol #StreakOver.”
They so “poo poo” lol #StreakOver
— neil_pauu#8 (@pauuneil) September 12, 2021
After an 11-1 season last year and finishing with a No. 11 national ranking, there were many pundits were still skeptical of BYU’s soft schedule which had to be revamped due to COVID-19 and conferences cutting non-conference games.
Saturday’s contest against No. 21 Utah was a measuring stick for many to see if the Cougars really belonged among the “big boys.” Not only did the Cougars take down the Utes, they did so in dominating fashion as BYU controlled the game right from the start and on both sides of the ball.
While the Cougars have won a number of big games playing as an Independent (USC, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Nebraska, Texas), Saturday’s win reminded/showed skeptics than BYU, which had just lost a bunch of players to the NFL, can play with anyone in the country and will have no problem competing with Big 12 teams.
Line of Scrimmage
I don’t remember the last time BYU controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball in the rivalry game. BYU’s defense forced two turnovers, had two sacks as well as six tackles for loss. Utah QB Charlier Brewer, a highly touted QB transfer from Baylor, looked lost for much of the game as the Cougars were in the backfield and kept him guessing all night long.
On offense, BYU played another turnover free football game. This is very impressive considering the Utes have forced 29 turnovers in the rivalry game over the last nine games, including nine defensive touchdowns. BYU’s offensive line did not allow any sacks and when there was pressure, Jaren Hall used his dual-threat abilities to get out of trouble and break off huge runs.
On the night, BYU outrushed Utah 231 yards to 193. Allgeier tallied 102 of those yards, and Hall was right behind him with 92. Hall would have had 100+ yards if his 67-yard touchdown run wasn’t called back in the fourth quarter.
LIVE look at Utah's offense so far… #HolyWar #BYUvsUtah https://t.co/WefIdJVR1x
— Justin Giles (@JustinGiles_) September 12, 2021
10+ Win Season?
BYU’s chances of 10-win season took a big jump with the win over Utah.
According to ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI), the Cougars will be favored in 7 of the next 10 games. The only games BYU is currently an underdog is against Baylor (Oct. 16), Virginia (Oct. 30) and USC (Nov. 27).
Saturday’s game against Arizona State is a toss up as ESPN gives BYU a 53% chance of winning. Meanwhile, oddsmakers have Arizona as a two-point favorite as of now.
BYU and Utah aren’t scheduled to meet again until 2024. Ute fans, players and coaches are going to have to sit on this loss for a few years before they will have a chance to beat BYU, except for all the juniors and seniors.
The two teams were scheduled to play each other, however BYU allowed Utah to cancel so the Utes could schedule a home-and-home with Florida.
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