Top 10 Ty Moments: #7-Unstoppable and Unprecedented

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Brigham Young Cougars quarterbacks Marc Wilson, Jim McMahon, and Steve Young all played their best games against archrival Utah. While they each can boast they bested Ty Detmer in one or two statistical categories, none of them could match Detmer’s body of work against Utah in 1989. Detmer’s play in this game can be summed up in two words: unstoppable, unprecedented. No hyperbole here. When he was in the game, Utah should not have bothered sending the defense onto the field.

Series 1
After a touchback on the opening kickoff, Detmer took BYU 80 yards in 6 plays. He was 4 of 4 passing. The drive ended with Detmer throwing an 18-yard touchdown pass to Matt Bellini.
Time: 2:41
Score: 7-0

Series 2
Utah quickly punted the ball back to BYU, and Detmer took over at midfield. He only needed 7 plays to score on a 7-yard touchdown run. Detmer was 2 of 3 passing on this drive, with the incomplete pass being a drop.
Time: 2:14
Score: 14-0

Series 3
A Utah fumble gave BYU the ball 35 yards away from the end zone. Detmer only threw two passes (one was another drop), but BYU still scored a touchdown in no time.
Time: 1:16
Score: 21-0

Series 4
Another defensive stand had Utah punting back to BYU. This time, Detmer and company had 62 yards to go for a touchdown. Of the 5 plays on this drive, four were passes. Detmer completed three of them. The incompletion was intentionally thrown out of the end zone to avoid a sack. The drive ended with Detmer completing this second touchdown pass.
Time: 1:55
Score: 28-0

This was the last time that BYU had the ball in the first quarter. Detmer’s stats after one were: 10-13 (76.9%), 166 yards, 2 TD, Pass Efficiency: 234.95

Series 5
BYU blocked Utah’s 52-yard field goal attempt. A fortunate bounce of the ball gave the Cougars the ball at Utah’s 37-yard line. Detmer went to work. He completed both of his passes for a total of 20 yards on the drive, and Fred Whittingham scored his second rushing touchdown.
Time: 1:48
Score: 35-0

Series 6
Utah moved the ball all the way to the BYU one-yard line, but on first and goal the Utah quarterback fumbled and BYU recovered at the 6-yard line. Detmer was 2 for 2 passing again, but this time they were good for 92 yards, including a 76-yard touchdown pass to tight end Chris Smith.
Time: 2:03
Score: 42-0

Series 7
The BYU defense forced Utah to punt after three plays. The punt was short and the offense was in business at the Utah 44. Detmer’s first pass on the drive was dropped. His second pass was a touchdown, number four, to Matt Odle.
Time: 0:59
Score: 49-0

At this point, there was 5:30 to play in the second quarter. Coach LaVell Edwards sent Detmer to the bench. His first half stats: 15-19 (78.9%), 291 yards, 4 TD, Pass Efficiency: 277.07

Series 8
Edwards put Detmer back in the game for the first series of the second half. He picked up right where he left off. Detmer completed 3 passes for a total of 67 yards. Two more run plays and BYU was in the end zone.
Time: 2:41
Score: 56-10

Detmer went back to the bench, this time for good. It was his 11th consecutive 300 yard passing game. Of the four incomplete passes, three were drops. The other he threw away intentionally. Detmer’s final stats: 18-22 (81.8%), 358 yards, 4 TD, Pass Efficiency: 278.5.

This game makes the list because the BYU offense was unstoppable with Detmer in the game, and because Detmer played at an unprecedented level.

Unstoppable: Detmer played eight series. They all ended in touchdowns. The average number of plays and time of possession was 5.25 plays, 1:57 (Total plays: 42, Total Time: 15:31). BYU averaged 11.45 yards per play with Detmer in the game.

Unprecedented: No BYU quarterback before Detmer ever had a pass efficiency rating better than Detmer’s 278.5 rating. Neither has any BYU quarterback since then. BYU scored 49 points in the first half, another school record that still stands. BYU ended the game with 70 points. It was, and still is, the most points scored by either BYU or Utah in the entire history of this rivalry. BYU would not have achieved either of these scoring marks without Detmer.

Ty’s Take
I redshirted 1987. In 1988 they beat us pretty good at Utah, and I could see why this rivalry was so bitter. Growing up in Texas, you didn’t really know anything about the BYU-Utah rivalry. My first year in school the game was at BYU, so things were kind of friendly. You know, it was our home crowd. We won kind of late in the game. I think we kicked a field goal to win. You weren’t playing in it, so you didn’t have that taste of it. In 1988 I got to play quite a bit in that game. Just hearing their fans ragging on you all game that is when you learn what it was all about.

So in ’89, I was really looking forward to it. The revenge factor was pretty high. Just couldn’t wait for that game at the end of the season for it to get there and avenge what happened the year before. Scott Mitchell got hurt early that week in practice. Somebody rolled into his knee, or something like that. Obviously, that changed the complexion of the game, probably for them a lot more. At first, I was a little disappointed. After the way the year before went, I really wanted a piece of them at their best, and didn’t want their fans to have any excuses. We felt like we were going to score a lot of points. I think we were seven for seven on our first seven drives of the first half. We had seven touchdowns and 49 points at halftime. We were ready for that game.

10. The Essence of Ty Detmer
9. BYU Retires Ty Detmer's Jersey
8. Down, But Never Out
7. Unstoppable and Unprecedented
6. First Career Start
5. Final Home Game
4. Winning The Starting Quarterback Job
3. Joining the BYU Quarterback Club
2. Beating the Best--#1 Miami
1. Winning the Heisman Trophy

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