2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 3 - Utah at BYU
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Sept. 17 Utah 54 ... at BYU 10
CFN Analysis: COMING
(AP) PROVO, Utah -- John White scored three touchdowns, Jordan Wynn passed for two scores and Utah forced seven BYU turnovers to cruise to a 54-10 victory Saturday night in a rare lopsided game between the rivals.
The loss snapped the Cougars' four-game home winning streak and was their first to an in-state opponent since 2005.
Utah (2-1) trailed 10-7 late in the second quarter until Wynn beat a blitz and found tight end Jake Murphy open for a 30-yard touchdown pass. Wynn tossed a 59-yard scoring pass to Dres Anderson on the opening possession of the second half, and the Utes never looked back.
White scored on runs of 1, 62 and 35 yards.
The game's scoring started and ended with touchdowns by Utah's defense.
Jake Heaps passed for 305 yards and a 32-yard second-quarter TD, but tossed an interception and fumbled twice.
BYU's run game was non-existent as the Cougars carried 22 times for just 11 yards.
"We were outcoached, outplayed and basically outexecuted," BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said.
"Turnovers were the critical difference in the game ... but they were the better team."
An ecstatic Utah coach Kyle Whittingham ran toward the Utah cheering section afterward and gave high-fives to everyone along the rail. Now he has a bye to look forward to, then a full slate of Pac-12 games and a chance to go to a BCS bowl.
First-year independent BYU (1-2) faces Central Florida on Friday.
"When you look at the first half, that was more the way I expected the game to go," Mendenhall said.
"We're still looking for the balance that we'd like to have. Credit the University of Utah."
Wynn finished 16 of 30 for 239 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
White had 22 carries for a career-high 183 yards. He had 9 yards on nine carries at halftime.
This game -- the first in 113 years the schools played as non-conference opponents -- started as dramatically as last year's meeting ended.
On BYU's third play from scrimmage, center Terence Brown snapped the ball high and right of Heaps, who was in shotgun on third-and-13 from his own 18.
Heaps grabbed the bouncing ball but whiffed on his throw, and the ball rolled 3 yards behind him into the end zone, where he reached but missed again. Defensive end Derrick Shelby landed on it for a 7-0 Utah lead.
The Utes had a chance to make it 10-0 after linebacker Chaz Walker forced a Josh Quezada fumble on the next series. But a big hit by Travis Uale dislodged what would have been a DeVonte Christopher touchdown catch, and Coleman Peterson missed the 29-yard field goal try.
Heaps overcame the jittery start and some early boos to give BYU a 10-7 lead with 6:23 left in the first half on a 32-yard pass to Ross Apo, who beat cornerback Conroy Black down the sideline. It was a perfect pass from Heaps and put him over the 200-yard passing mark for the game.
But the game shifted on stellar play by Murphy, son of former Atlanta Braves All-Star outfielder Dale Murphy, who initially committed to BYU after high school but changed his mind after serving his church mission.
Murphy caught three consecutive passes, including the 30-yard TD catch, to cap a six-play, 63-yard drive. It gave Utah a 14-10 lead with 32 seconds left in the first half, and all the momentum it needed.
The Utes scored 30 straight points in the second half, capped by yet another defensive touchdown, this time after BYU backup quarterback Riley Nelson fumbled and Utah freshman V.J. Fehoko raced 57 yards the other way for the final margin.
The win showed that the Utes might have the firepower to compete in the Pac-12 Conference.
But for BYU, it could be a long season as an independent.
Utah (1-1) at BYU (1-1) Sept. 17, 8:15, ESPN2
Here’s The Deal … For the first time in the long history of the Holy War, the participants are not in the same conference. And for just the second time, the game will be played in September. It won’t matter. That Utah is in the Pac-12 and BYU is an Independent will have no impact on the intensity of one of the fiercest rivalries in the country. If it seems as if this series is always tight and down to the wire, that’s because it is; of the last 14 meetings, 12 have been decided by a touchdown or less. Both programs will need to refocus in a hurry after losing heartbreakers in Week 2.
The Utes fell to USC in their first-ever Pac-12 game, having their potential game-tying field goal blocked as time expired. The Cougars blew a lead over Texas in Austin, squandering a golden opportunity for a quality win in a deflating 17-16 loss. The circumstances and the details may be a little different, but the electricity in the Beehive State on Saturday night will be no less than it’s been over the past century.
Why Utah Might Win: Two weeks into the season, the Utes are very pleased with the play of their defense. The team has allowed just three offensive touchdowns, including just one scoring strike to USC’s Matt Barkley a week ago. Utah will be catching a BYU attack that’s sputtered out of the gate. The Cougars can’t run the ball, and the Jake Heaps-led passing game has been light on big plays. The always-sound Utes are tough on defense, rarely giving up much ground. The front seven, in particular, is flush with blue-collar stoppers, like DE Joe Kruger, NT Star Lotulelei and linebackers Brian Blechen, Chaz Walker and Matt Martinez. BYU is going to earn everything it gets Saturday night.
Why BYU Might Win: Yeah, the Cougars aren’t lighting up the scoreboard these days, but will they need to in order to win this game>? Utah has been every bit as feeble, unable to get QB Jordan Wynn going. The Utes did have some success on the ground with JUCO transfer John White, but that was in the opener with Montana State. BYU has raised the bar defensively, on the road versus teams from the SEC and the Big 12. It has yet to allow a touchdown pass, and gives up just over three yards a carry. The unit has gotten a major boost from a pair of USC transfers, NT Hebron Fangupo and LB Uona Kaveinga, and from the return from injury of LB Jordan Pendleton.
What To Watch Out For: So, who has the better game at quarterback, BYU’s Heaps or Utah’s Wynn? The answer will go a long way to determining who gets out of Lavell Edwards Stadium with a victory. While both share the requisite talent, neither has looked sharp. In his second season in Provo, Heaps has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns, and is averaging a paltry 5.5 yards an attempt. Wynn has looked rusty since returning from shoulder surgery, a procedure that has slightly altered his throwing motion. The encouraging news for the quarterbacks is that unlike when games were staged in November, inclement and chilly weather shouldn’t be a factor this weekend.
What Will Happen: BYU and Utah are set to engage in a tight and emotional game that’s dictated by the defenses. In other words, even in September, it’ll just be your typical Holy War. You’ll need a microscope to find the differences between these two rivals, who are similarly talented and hamstrung. It’s basically a toss-up game, with home field advantage giving a razor’s edge to the Cougars. With the placekickers taking center stage, BYU’s Justin Sorensen will connect on one more field goal than Utah’s Coleman Petersen to provide the difference.
CFN Prediction: BYU 26 … Utah 21
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BYU -4 O/U: 46.5
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