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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Remembering the Rivalry: Brigham Young Cougars 34, Utah Utes 12 (1976)

November 20, 1976-This win by the Brigham Young Cougars over the Utah Utes ran head coach LaVell Edwards’ career record against Utah to 5-0, which matched BYU’s win total in the series from 1922-71. This win also gave BYU a share of the WAC championship, and set a new school record for most wins in a season (9).

The game was also a big day for quarterback Gifford Nielsen. He scored the first touchdown of the game on a 6-yard rush. Nielsen followed that up with two touchdown passes in the second quarter to guide BYU to a 20-6 halftime lead. A third touchdown pass in the third quarter increased the lead, and a Dave Lowry 22-yard run later in the third period sealed the win.

It was the seventh time that season that Nielsen threw three touchdowns or more in a game. Nielsen amassed 415 yards passing with 24 completions on 35 attempts (68.6%), which was the third time that Nielsen passed for more than 400 yards in a game. His season passing yardage total went over 3,000 yards—a first for a BYU quarterback. It was a performance that exemplified why Nielsen earned All-American citation in 1976.

Remembering the Rivalry is a special feature on BLUE COUGAR FOOTBALL that is done annually during the week of the BYU vs. Utah football game. Each day, BLUE COUGAR FOOTBALL will highlight one of the classic games in this rivalry. For additional installments of this feature, please visit the Special Features page.

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

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