The Holy War is nearly upon us. The past two years BYU has bested the University of Utah in their football rivalry, but Ute fans are hoping this year will be different. The two teams will go head to head on Nov. 22 to a sold out crowd in Salt Lake City. Utah, who is 10-0 in the Mountain West division, has a powerhouse defense they hope will be the key to a win over the 10-1 BYU.

The Holy War, which got its name due to both universities’ strong ties to the LDS church, is one of college football’s longest rivalries. The competition between the two teams is so heated neither can agree on when the first Holy War game was fought. Utah contends the first match was in 1896 against then named Brigham Young Academy. BYU sports fans argue the first match didn’t actually happen until 1922. You know its a heated rivalry when the two sides can’t even agree on their first match.

Utah dominated the score board against BYU 39-5 until 1972 when the Cougars started to turn things around. For the next 20 years BYU held a record of 19-2 over the Utes, but in 1994 Utah accomplished something they hadn’t in decades, two consecutive wins over BYU. Since then, the two teams have gone back and forth with their victories, winning both at home and away. In the last two years BYU has won in the closing seconds, much to the delight of Cougar fans and distain of Utes.
This year Utah is banking on their strong defensive line to pull out a win at home. It is the same defense that defeated Michigan in Ann Arbor and OSU at Utah. BYU is not backing down by any means. Quarterback Max Hall will lead the Cougars into battle. He’s accumulated over 3,000 passing yards and 32 touchdowns this season compared to Utah quarterback Brian Johnson who has had only 2,050 yards and 15 touchdowns. Utah will be looking to running back Matt Asiata for their offensive burst. Asiata has carried the ball for nearly 600 yards and 9 touchdowns this season.
If you have not gotten tickets to this year’s Holy War, good luck. The stadium is sold out and scalpers are selling tickets in the hundreds just to get in. The streets of Salt Lake City will be a ghost town on the 22nd but the sports bars and homes with big screen televisions will be packed to the brim.
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