After the two classic wins in 2000 and 2001, BYU dropped the next four in the series. The first three were part of losing campaigns with Gary Crowton at the helm. The fourth was a heartbreaking overtime loss in Bronco Mendenhall’s first year as head coach. By the time that BYU and Utah met on the gridiron in 2006, BYU was riding an 8 game win streak, had won the Mountain West Conference outright, and was headed to the Las Vegas Bowl. Utah was 7-4 overall, so this game was only for bragging rights.
BYU jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, but fell behind 24-14 after three quarters of play. Two fourth quarter touchdowns put BYU back up 27-24 with about three minutes to play. Utah then drove 83 yards in 9 plays to score a go ahead touchdown with only 1:19 left.
John Beck drove the Cougars down to the 11-yard line with three seconds to play. On the final play of the game, Beck dropped back to pass, scrambled out of the pocket to the left, and could not find an open receiver. He then rolled back to the right. At the last possible moment before the Utah pass rush finally got to the senior quarterback, Beck spotted senior tight end Jonny Harline all alone in the end zone. Beck threw back across his body, across the field, and got just enough on the ball that Harline could catch it on his knees two yard deep in the end zone for a 33-31 win.
BYU went on to finish the year 11-2, capped off by a 38-8 Las Vegas Bowl win over Oregon. John Beck was the MWC offensive player of the year and Bronco Mendenhall was the American Football Coaches Association Region IV Coach of the Year.