The Holy War between Utah and BYU is a great rivalry, and one aspect of the rivalry is great quotes from both sides. We thought we would look back at some of the best quotes from both sides.
The proximity of the two schools certainly has a huge effect on the rivalry. The schools are only about 50 miles apart on I-15 to get from Salt Lake City to Provo. The best quote on the locations of the two schools came from former Utah coach Ron McBride.
When Brigham Young came into the valley, he pointed to where the University of Utah would be and said, "This is the place." Provo was just an afterthought.
Steve Smith Sr. had a great quote in 1999. After a BYU fan pulled down a Utah cheerleader’s flag at Cougar Stadium, the Utah cheerleader proceeded to beat up the BYU fan, which prompted the famous quote from Smith.
Even our cheerleaders are kicking your butt.
A big aspect of the rivalry is the cultural differences between the players, alumni, and fans of the two schools. The following quotes really help illustrate how each side views the other. BYU tends to see Utah as lower class, while Utah sees BYU as arrogant and delusional. While these sentiments are not shared by every member of each respective fan base, it does seem to be the general view, and there are enough quotes from each side to back up these views.
After the 1993 game when Utah won at Cougar Stadium for the first time in 22 years (and first even win in Provo, Utah with Lavell Edwards coaching at BYU), Utah fans attempted to tear down the goalposts. This action prompted the following quote from BYU nose guard Lenny Gomes:
Typical Utah bullsh-t. All those guys think that's all there is to life. But when I'm making $50–60,000 a year, they'll be pumping my gas. They're low-class losers.
Next up is this gem from former Utah quarterback Alex Smith after beating BYU in 2004 en route to an undefeated season for Utah and a berth in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl, becoming the first “BCS Busters.”
I really hate them. Playing in the game helped me understand. They are the most arrogant people. It's the whole church and state thing. They're the "good kids". We're the "bad kids". I didn't feel it in my gut last year like I do now.
In 2007, BYU defeated Utah at Lavell Edwards Stadium with a final scoring drive to take the lead. On that drive, BYU wide receiver Austin Collie caught a pass to help BYU convert a fourth and 18. On the play, Collie said this:
I wouldn't say it was lucky. We executed the play well. We should have had another one. Obviously, when you're doing what's right on and off the field, I think the Lord steps in and plays a part in it. Magic happens.
Likely the most famous Holy War quote came from former BYU quarterback Max Hall after BYU won the game in overtime in 2009.
I don't like Utah. In fact, I hate them. I hate everything about them. I hate their program. I hate their fans. I hate everything. So, it feels good to send those guys home. They didn't deserve it. It was our time and it was our time to win. We deserved it. We played as hard as we could tonight, and it felt really good to send them home and to get them out of here, so it is a game I'll always remember.
The run up to the meeting in the 2015 Las Vegas Bowl, the first meeting between the two teams in a bowl game, was much more heated than to this game. A big part of that could be the change in head coach at BYU from Bronco Mendenhall to former Utah defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake.
Compare these quotes from 2015 first from Viliseni Fauonuku and second from Tom Hackett
BYU, y'all are a good team, but you're a dirty team. Don't start nothin', won't be nothin'.
I'm lucky enough to be one of the many players on the football team that actually has never lost to these bastards, which leads me to end and say, this is Utah's world and BYU's living in it.
To these quotes from 2016 from Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham first then from Sitake.
I consider [Sitake] a close friend. There are few people in this profession who are considered close friends, he is one of them.
I know I love Kyle and Kyle loves me, and we're going to be friends no matter what. This is going to be one of those things that extends our friendship where we get on the football field and compete and we'll hug afterwards.
It will be interesting to see how the rivalry changes with so much mutual respect and closeness there is between Whittingham and Sitake. The Holy War is a classic rivalry, but having a bit less vitriol between the two sides would not be a bad thing in my opinion.