This game still gives me goosebumps. It was one helluva clutch performance by Brian Johnson and the coaching staff and probably the greatest regular season win in program history.
Were you there?
I was. I sat right in the MUSS and it was probably the most difficult game to watch live in my life because so much was on the line. It didn't help the Utes opened the game surrendering ten consecutive points.
When Utah went down 10-0 early in the first quarter, a sense of panic swept through the stadium. I think most people were stunned because the Frogs looked so damn impressive on their first two drives. It was impressive, actually. They cut up the Ute defense and moved down the field with inexcusable ease.
But things settled down and Utah finally shored up their defense. Unfortunately, the offense couldn't move the ball. Each drive stalled well outside of TCU territory and with each punt, it became clearer and clearer the game was slipping from the Utes.
Then Sean Smith had a huge interception at the end of the first half that set up a Louie Sakoda field goal to cut the Frogs' lead to 10-6 at the break.
For the remainder of the game, both teams' offenses struggled at progressing deep enough into either territory for a sure score. That cost the Frogs dearly when their kicker Ross Evans misses a couple field goals late in the game. Had he connected on both and the game certainly plays out far differently than it eventually did.
After his last miss, with less than four minutes to go, the magic happened and Brian Johnson guided Utah 80 yards down the field for the go-ahead score.
Just like that, after three quarters of struggle, the Utes were leading 13-10.
Halfway through the fourth quarter, it was hard to imagine Utah pulling out the win. It was painful to watch because the Utes were so close to turning the game around and each time, a key penalty or a failed conversion killed any hope.
It wasn't until the end that the Utes finally produced a sustaining drive. Even that, though, came down to a 4th and 5. I think people forget that 4th and 5 and focus more on Freddie Brown's touchdown. But it was a huge 4th down. If Utah fails to convert there, they lose. It's that simple. Yet with ease, Johnson stepped up to the line, called the play and connected on the pass.
That play really shows you how much trust Kyle Whittingham had in Johnson. There was no timeout. He didn't look to the sidelines. He let that play play out like it was any ordinary play - not a game-defining one. Hell, even the touchdown pass wasn't an all-or-nuthin' kind of deal. They still had a chance had it not been completed.
No so with the 4th down play. That was impressive. That was how clutch those Utes were.
If it comes down to it, can Jordan Wynn do the same?
Hopefully he isn't put in that position and the team doesn't need a 4th and whatever.
But I think this year's offense has more weapons and has been far more consistent than 2008's. Which gives me hope we won't go almost an entire game without producing a sustainable scoring drive.
Especially with how well the offense played last year on the road - with a freshman quarterback making only his second start.
Utes defeat #11 TCU in the final minute (via JazzyUte)