(Saturday, November 27th)
Final Score: (23) Utah 17, BYU 16
Salt Lake City, UT (Sports Network) - Mitch Payne's 42-yard field goal attempt on the final play of the game was blocked, and No. 23 Utah escaped with a 17-16 win over BYU at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
After Utah took a one-point lead on a touchdown with 4:24 to play, BYU started the final drive at its 21-yard line. The team faced a 3rd-and-9 on the first set of downs, but Jake Heaps hit Devin Mahina for 22 yards to get the ball past midfield.
Several more plays got the team into field goal position, but a 3rd-and-9 play saw Bryan Kariya lose two yards on a carry. Payne then lined up for the kick and got it off, but Brandon Burton came around the left corner and blocked it to win the game for Utah.
"The last play was just sheer will, and knowing we needed to make a play and block the field goal," said Burton. "I came around the left edge and was just able to lay out and get a hand on the ball."
Jordan Wynn was 13-for-30 passing for 199 yards, one touchdown and one interception while Matt Asiata scored the go-ahead touchdown on the ground for the Utes (10-2, 7-1 MWC), who saw their chance at a portion of the Mountain West Conference title fall short after TCU crushed New Mexico to take the crown.
"I'm pleased with the win," said Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham. "We hung around and battled adversity today and just kept fighting. The defense kept us in the game today and it was a great effort on their part."
Heaps threw for 228 yards, one touchdown and one pick on 22-of-37 passing and McKay Jacobson had seven catches for 92 yards and a score for the Cougars (6-6, 5-3), who had won their previous four games coming into the contest.
"It was a hard-fought game that came down to the last play and we just couldn't make it happen," said BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall. "There were a lot of mistakes on our side, but I have to credit Utah with playing a good game. It was a hard situation to be in. We fought all the way to the end, but we just couldn't get that final field goal."
Holding a 6-0 lead in the third, BYU got an interception from Shane Hunter, who returned the ball 46 yards to the Utah 19. Three plays later, Heaps hit Jacobson for a 21-yard score and a 13-0 lead with under five minutes to play in the quarter.
The Utes put together a drive on their next possession and were able to get three points thanks to a 40-yard field goal from Joe Phillips on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Heaps fumbled the ball on BYU's next drive and on the first play Wynn tossed the ball down the left side where DeVonte Christopher tipped it over the defender and into his hands for a 37-yard score and a 13-10 game with 13:46 left.
The Cougars gave themselves a bit of breathing room as they took the ball 56 yards over 15 plays and made it a 16-10 game on a 42-yard boot by Payne with 7:38 left.
Utah was then forced to punt, but the ball touched a Cougar and Greg Bird recovered at the BYU 46. Two plays later, Wynn was picked off by Brandon Bradley, but he fumbled and Utah recovered to dodge the bullet.
A 29-yard catch in the middle by Dallin Rogers got the ball to the three-yard line and Asiata punched it in on the next play for a 17-16 lead with 4:24 to play.
The blocked field goal kept it that way.
BYU scored first on its second possession of the game despite a 10-play, 45- yard drive that stalled out at the 26-yard line. Payne kicked a 43-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead with 4 1/2 minutes left in the first.
Utah punted on its next touch, but Brian Blechen picked off Heaps to give the team the ball back at its own 25. The Utes moved across midfield for the first time on the ensuing drive, but stalled at the BYU 43 and punted.
Utah got a 60-yard reception from Jereme Brooks on its next possession and lined up for a 45-yard field goal from Phillips, but he missed it to the left.
The Cougars began the final drive of the first half at Utah's 41 with 2:23 to play thanks to a poor punt from Phillips. The team got into field goal position and a 37-yarder from Payne with two ticks left on the clock made it a 6-0 game at the break.
Utah holds a 51-31-4 advantage over the Cougars in the all-time series...Eddie Wide had 18 carries for 73 yards for Utah...Brooks led the Utah receiving corps with three catches for 72 yards...Kariya led the BYU rushing attack with 36 yards on 14 carries...Utah barely won the yardage battle, 296-293.
11/27 21:14:38 ET