Remembering the Rivalry: BYU 70, Utah 31 (1989)

This is the first in a series of flashbacks to classic BYU-Utah games leading up to the 2009 edition of the “Holy War.”

The 1989 BYU-Utah game was one for the ages. The year before, BYU lost to Utah for only the second time in the LaVell Edwards era, and it was not pretty–57-28. This year, it was Utah’s turn to walk into an ambush, and, to make matters worse, the Utes’ starting quarterback Scott Mitchell was injured on the last play of the last practice before the game.

The BYU offense, led by sophomore quarterback Ty Detmer, torched the Utah defense on its way to 49 first half points. The BYU defense held serve and kept Utah scoreless for most of the first 30 minutes. When the game concluded, Detmer had posted what is still the most efficient day for a BYU quarterback, 18-22, 358 yards, 4 TDs, and a 278.5 passer efficiency rating. Speedy running back Stacey Corley ripped off an 81-yard touchdown run in the second half as BYU finished the game with a 70-31 win. The 70 points scored is still the most points scored by either team in the history of this rivalry.

The win moved BYU to 9-2 on the season and one game away from clinching the school’s first Holiday Bowl berth since 1984.