I didn't watch the game live, but on tape. In fact, I'm watching it right now as I write this. What a crappy day to be a BYU Cougar fan.
And being a Utah fan, there's not much to crow about, other than the final score. It's the game where the winning team can't feel that good about how they played and the losing team realizes that it was a game in which had they made just one less mistake--just one, it could have changed everything.
Five BYU turnovers in the first fifteen minutes resulted in a 35-0 score. Utah would not score after that, but in the end, it turned out to be enough.
If I were a BYU fan, I would have HATED this game! I would have turned off the game after the third turnover so I wouldn't have to see the other two.
But then things changed and the Cougars battled back. Just before halftime, BYU scored. They scored again in the third quarter, and twice more in the fourth. They just ran out of time. Again, just one less turnover, one less interception, then they wouldn't need another few minutes to get that final score.
When I went to the U, the Y killed us in football, year after year. And when Utah slowly caught up then surpassed our southern neighbors, it felt good--I admit it. But after laughing to myself about the first quarter score, I had to endure thoughts of a nightmare scenario of losing to BYU in the worst way possible--running up the score and letting it slip away. Credit a never-say-die Cougar team. They played their guts out today.
But, that nightmare scenario never materialized. The final Utah possession resulted in a couple of first downs and the clocked ticked to zero. Players, cheerleaders and reporters took to the field to celebrate the end of another season. Whittingham spoke on TV and Mendenhall walked away, his one-hundredth win as a head coach will have to wait until next year.
Ute fans can say they won the game, but they can't be too proud of how it happened. Cougar fans gain no solace in believing they had the win--should have won, but the final score mocks their pain. Fans from each team think their team isn't as good as they had hoped, or thought they were. A game where neither team wins--that kind of happened today in Las Vegas.
All photos used without permission from the American Broadcasting Company