Game 2: BYU @ Utah
The game all Utah fans look forward to. The Cougars came into Rice-Eccles looking to avenge last season’s Vegas Bowl loss.
My oh my, this was a sloppy game on both sides.
Both teams decided to be kind and give the ball away often. There were 9 turnovers total, with the Utes losing 6 to BYUs 3.
QB Troy Williams was a bit shakier than in week 1. He finished with 194 passing yards and one TD pass. The problem was he that also threw 3 interceptions, including one from the BYU 4 yard line.
After going back and forth for much of the game, the Utes were ahead 20-13 after an Andy Phillips field goal. BYU quarterback Taysom Hill scored on a 7-yard touchdown run with 18 seconds left. This had BYU in prime position to force OT.
Rookie head coach Kalani Sitake had other plans, however. He sent his offense back onto the field, going for the two-point conversation and the win.
This time, the Utes were ready and stuffed Hill at the goal line, escaping with a 20-19 win,
Result: Utah escapes 20-19 (2-0)
What it meant:
The Utes got a huge win over their in-state rival, keeping the bragging rights for at least another year. Starting 2-0 while giving the new players on both sides of the ball time to get comfortable to Utah’s system is definitely a positive.
The turnovers were definitely concerning, as coach Whittingham prides himself on his teams winning the turnover battle. Coming into a game this important would cause extra jitters for anyone, and the Utes have done a much better job since this game.
The biggest surprise came after the game, when starting RB Joe Williams made the decision to retire from college football. Williams backups, freshman Zack Moss and sophomore Armand Shyne both looked competent against BYU, which provided hope that the offense would be able to stay two-dimensional.