From BCS wins to stunning Stanford: Utah's top 10 wins (10 items)
Utah’s win over No. 5 Stanford is the biggest win for the Utes ever in Salt Lake City. Coming into the game, Utah had yet to win a Pac-12 game this season and since joining the conference in 2011 had only managed to go 7-13 against Pac-12 teams.
The Utes needed a win. They didn’t just need a win, they needed a statement win that would send a message to recruits, fans and the rest of the Pac-12 that they deserve to be in the conference. As Travis Wilson took a knee and time expired at Rice-Eccles Stadium, fans rushed the field and the Utes had made their mark for the future, beating Stanford 27-21.
This isn’t the first time the Utes have managed to announce themselves on a national stage. Throughout the past decade and beyond, the Utes have played some pretty miraculous games that have helped push the program to a bigger and brighter future. Here are the top 10 games for the Utes:
Alex Rasmussen is a student at the University of Utah studying communications. He has been a writer for The Daily Utah Chronicle and The Deseret News and has worked as an anchor and reporter for the U's Newsbreak. Contact email@example.com
1 of 10. No. 10: Utah vs. BYU 2004
"ESPN College GameDay," the rivalry and the Utes only needing one more victory to make history — it couldn’t get any better for Ute fans. In 2003, Utah squeaked away with a 3-0 victory at LaVell Edwards Stadium in an all-out blizzard. This year, the skies were clear and Utah was ready to unleash Heisman hopeful Alex Smith.
The Cougars stayed with the Utes' pace in the first half, but after Bo Nagahi returned a BYU fumble 12 yards for a touchdown, Utah poured on the points, defeating BYU 52-21. For the first time, the Utes were BCS bound.
With the victory, Utah gave the Cougars a 5-6 season record and denied them bowl eligibility.
2 of 10. No. 9: Utah vs. BYU 2008
Just like in 2004, the last and final game of the Utes' quest for perfection was BYU. Never before had both teams been ranked so high in the rivalry game, with Utah at No. 7 and BYU No. 14.
The Cougars kept the game close through three quarters, but in the fourth quarter, Utah took advantage of Max Hall interceptions and put up 21 unanswered points for a 48-24 victory.
With the win, Utah won the Mountain West Conference title and was BCS-bound to face Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.
3 of 10. No. 8: Utah vs. West Virginia 1964 Liberty Bowl
The Liberty Bowl was only one of eight major bowl games that year and due to weather conditions, it became the first ever-indoor college football game. ABC agreed to broadcast the game nationally, and under the national spotlight Utah thrived, putting up 466 yards of total offense, giving it a 32-6 victory.
4 of 10. No. 7: Utah vs. BYU 1988
Some may be surprised this game made the list, but for die-hard fans who were alive for this game, this was the one match against BYU Utah won in a 19-year span against the Cougars. Not only did Utah win, it crushed BYU with a 57-28 victory.
Quarterback Scott Mitchell threw for 384 yards and three touchdown passes and running back Eddie Johnson rushed for four more scores.
This game gave the Utes an overall 6-5 season record, but beating BYU gave Ute fans hope for the future and in five years the rivalry would be reborn and the Utes were expected to beat BYU every year.
5 of 10. No. 6: Utah vs. Oregon State 2008
For the second time in four years, the Utes had started the season perfect, going 5-0. Facing Oregon State put that record on the line.
Utah looked to be in control of the game, taking a 20-9 lead at the half, but turnovers and Utah allowing OSU to score 19 straight points looked to put victory out of reach. With 2:18 remaining, Brian Johnson led his team down the field to score a touchdown and then ran the ball in himself for a two-point conversion.
On the Beavers' next possession, the defense forced them to go three and out and Johnson got his team within field goal range. Louie Sakoda stepped up and gave the Utes the victory, and the legend of King Louie was born in Salt Lake City.