Rivalry games are unpredictable. And this one wasn't any different as BYU just fell just short of a 35-point comeback, losing to Utah by a final score of 35-28 in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl.
BYU came out of the gates about as poorly as it possibly could, giving up a turnover and touchdown on its first five possessions of the game. With a 35-0 lead in the first quarter, it appeared as if the Utah would run away with the game, but the Cougars weren't ready to give up just yet.
BYU's defense kept the Utes from moving the ball much or scoring for the rest of the half. The Cougar offense was finally able to mount a drive and get a the ball into the endzone right before the half making it 35-7 in favor of the Utes.
The Cougars strong defensive play continued into the second half as Utah would not score for the rest of the game. Utah quarterback Travis Wilson was held to 71 yards passing on 9 of 16 passing. The Utes as a team were held to 197 yards of total offense for the game.
BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum rallied the Cougars in the second half with scoring drives of 72, 65, and 60 yards to bring the Cougars to within seven points with 3:23 remaining in the game. The Cougars would not get a chance to tie the game as Utah was able to run out the rest of the clock and the game ended at a score of 35-28 in favor of the Utes.
Mangum finished the afternoon with 315 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions on 25 of 36 passing. Mangum also added a touchdown on the ground. Devon Blackmon led all receivers with 97 yards receiving on three receptions and Francis Bernard led BYU's running backs with 58 yards and a touchdown on seven carries.
The Utes and Cougars will renew their rivalry in the second week of the 2016 season on September 16th at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, UT.