The Utah-BYU football game was moved from ESPN to ESPN2 last week and likely should have been put on ESPN3 after Saturday night’s showing at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

Despite being one of the top rivalries in the country, the Utes and Cougars sure didn’t show it as both teams put on a cringeworthy performance on the national stage as the Utes held on for their seventh consecutive rivalry victory in an ugly game for both sides.

After getting shutout against LSU last week, BYU looked headed for its second consecutive scoreless game before the Cougar offense finally woke up from its slumber to score midway through the third quarter. The one-yard touchdown run by Ula Tolutau broke seven quarters of scoreless play as the Cougars had gone 19 consecutive drives without any points.

Yup, it was that ugly.

Meanwhile, Utah was flagged for a game-high 11 penalties for 97 yards and Sunia Tauteoli was even ejected for targeting hit on BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum.

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Although Utah was able to moved the ball effectively in the first half penalties stalled drives and Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham was content to just run the ball up the middle and punt the ball away in the second half to run out the clock.

It was a double whammy for BYU students who camped out and stood in line for hours on end just to get into the game to see their team continue to struggle on offense and then to lose to their rivals for the seventh consecutive time.

As both programs continue to try and get the respect around the country, sloppy games like this doesn’t help, no matter which team comes out on top.

The in-state rivalry is fierce and splits the state and families against one another with the game being the Super Bowl for both sides — whether either program wants to admit it or not. No other games compares to the emotions when both teams get together as Whittingham noted after the game.

“This game takes a lot out of you,” he said. “But we need to regroup and come back ready to play next week and not let tonight’s game be a big distraction for us.”

ESPN didn’t help as the broadcast looked like it was in preseason mode with the wrong graphics and calling players the wrong names the entire night.

However, the only distraction Saturday night was trying to watch a fun rivalry football game as both teams combined to commit five turnovers in a boring, mistake-prone game.

But with Whittingham and BYU head coach Kalani Sitake both being defensive minded coaches, don’t expect a lot of offensive firepower anytime soon as the last two years have shown.

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