I was reading JazzyUte's post on the 93 Holy War and it got me thinking a little bit, It seems this decade of Holy War games have really been something. Outside of the blow outs of 2004 and 2008, every game this past decade has been decided by a touchdown or less. Because I became a Ute fan in 2003, I unfortunately missed some of the nail bitters prior to 03. I just thought it would be fun to rank the five best Holy War games I saw.
I know is seems kinda strange to put a Cougar win on this list but the competitor and sports fan in me has to admit that a game that is decided late in the fourth quarter is defiantly a great game. This one really hurt me cause like most Ute fans, I had revenge on my mind for the 2006 outcome. I remember the adrenaline flowing through me when the Utes had the Cougars where we wanted them on (fourth down) and the frustration in hearing them (I was listening to the game on KALL 700) blow the chance to close em' out . (the fact that my little brother was grinning smugly didn't help my mood either).
Some would argue that this game should be ranked higher for the BCS implications it had, however the inescapable fact is this game was a blow out. One of the primary reasons I rank it here (besides the BCS berth) was the grand relief I had knowing that two years of disappointment (and friends trash talk) was finally over with. It was kinda hard to choose from the 2004 and the 2008 BCS berths but this win meant a lot more to me than the one in 2004.
2005 was a slap in the face to a lot of Ute fans but considering the 2004 campaign went so well , we all kinda saw it coming in a way, The uncertainty leading up the game made it all that more interesting (the loss of Brian Johnson to injury). Out of nowhere a backup named Brett Ratliff came out on the field and shocked the Cougars with his speed. I remember the sensation watching the game go into overtime and praying my Utes could continue their winning streak. It was only when a cougar WR (I'm not sure who it was, Micheal Reed maybe? ) made an ill fated attempt to dive for a catch in the endzone that I was finally able to breathe easily and take the game in. Overtime games are always great.
This game is still to this day a dagger to my heart, I remember being in a sports deli FULL of cougar fans and watching in horror Johny Harlene celebrating in the end zone after catching John Becks miracle throw. Up to this point, the Utes had a four game winning streak and were a sack away from making it five. However, I had to admit in the end a game that is decided by the last play ogf the game is one for the ages (just like the 2007 game that was decided in the end). Even though this game was one of the darkest times being a Ute fan, I have to admit It made me appreciate the 2008 outcome all the more.
#1 2003 Utah 3. BYU 0.
This game means a lot to me because it was part of the beginning of my path to becoming a Ute fan. I remember flipping through the channels (back in the dark ages when Ute games could still be found on KJAZZ) and always going back to that game. (I also vividly remember some of those Urban Meyer commercials before the season). I have always been a great fan of defensive efforts rather than shootouts so to see the Utes battle it out in a blizzard and shut out the Cougars meant something to me. I remember I was not really all that big of a football fan but watching the Utes come out victorious out of the Snow Bowl (that's my personal title ) plus the later Liberty Bowl win started me on the path to becoming a true red bleeding fan. (which is very ironic, considering my late dad was a die-hard cougar).
So what Holy war game sticks out in your mind boys? , I 'd love to hear the feed back.