- Ted Miller, ESPN Staff Writer
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The ending of the Holy War ... was weird.
Utah was cruising, leading 24-7 entering the fourth quarter. Then BYU came charging back, in large part due to poor play from the Utes.
But that wasn't the weird part. That came when, first, the Utes gave up a 47-yard pass on fourth-and-12 in the waning moments that gave the Cougars hope on the Utah 34-yard line.
There is one thing you don't do on fourth-and-12 in the waning moments: You don't let a receiver get behind you. Utah let a receiver get behind it.
Then the Utah fans charged the field when time seemed to run out. But there was 1 second left. Clear the field! That allowed BYU to set up for a 51-yard field goal. It was blocked by Star Lotulelei, but the Utes fans charged the field -- again -- before the play was over.
That earned Utah a 15-yard penalty and BYU another field goal attempt. This time from just 36 yards.
But Riley Stephenson missed again. Utah wins 24-21. Finally.
Despite the sloppiness of the fourth quarter -- and the final possession -- Utah won because it was opportunistic.
For one, not only did it play without newly retired QB Jordan Wynn, running back John White, it's best offensive player, was, indeed, hurt, as had been reported. We could get clogged up with the idea that Utah trotted out White to tell everyone he was 100 percent -- a lie -- but it's late and we're trying to finish this game story.
Utah won with just 245 yards of offense, just 49 rushing. While BYU had 312 yards, it also had two turnovers and the Utes had none.
QB Jon Hays completed 18 of 27 passes for 198 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He managed the game and made enough plays for Utah to post its eighth victory in the past 11 Holy Wars.
Utah improves to 2-1. It will be at Arizona State on Saturday.