Head coach Kyle Whittingham secured his fifth straight win against his alma mater as the University of Utah Utes beat the BYU Cougars in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl in Las Vegas by a score of 35-28.
The bowl game was considered to be the most hotly contested matchup outside of the College Football Playoff, a revival of the legendary Holy War between BYU and Utah, but after the first quarter, it looked like anything but a good matchup. The Utes took advantage of a hideous opening by BYU, collecting five turnovers and scoring off of two interceptions en route to a ridiculously quick 35-0 lead with 4:38 left in the first quarter.
The Cougars kept themselves together after the sloppy performance. Over the course of the next 3 quarters, it was all BYU. Quarterback Tanner Mangum led the Cougars to 28 unanswered points to bring them within a touchdown, 35-28, with 3:38 left in the game, and the BYU defense didn’t allow a single offensive point during that span.
“Giving up was never an option,” said BYU tight end Remington Peck. “Everybody had the mentality that we would somehow find a way to get back in it.”
That was as close as the Cougars could get, however, as Utah got two first downs to kneel their way to victory.
“We ended up with the win, which is all that matters,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. “It’s the only thing that matters.”
The game was the final game for coach Bronco Mendenhall as head coach of the Cougars, who accepted the position of head coach at the University of Virginia. BYU has reportedly hired former Oregon State defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake to fill in where Mendenhall left. Sitake is the first Tongan head coach is college football history.
Stats and quotes courtesy of ksl.com