BYU Wins Wasatch Cup For 7th Straight Year
Provo, UT–In front of a capacity crowd at South Field the BYU Cougars held on to the Wasatch Cup by beating the University of Utah 38-22.
With the score 16-15 narrowly in favor of the Cougars at half time BYU would ride 3 second half tries and the kicking of scrumhalf Shaun Davies to pull away from the Utes.
The physical affair was typical of past Wasatch Cup matches as Utah would take a lead of 15-13 in the 35th minute behind the barging try of All-American prop Nick Mostyn from short range.
The Cougars looked to be in control of the match early on however as they moved to a 13-0 lead behind two penalties from Davies and a try from center Paul Lasike.
The Utes had their chances however to score in the 5th and 7th minutes as Utah flyhalf Danny Christensen looked to slot a pair of penalty kicks.
Both kicks missed and the Cougars held a 13-0 lead until Utah No. 8 Les Soloai would take a wide pass and run his way for 10 meters and the Utes opening score.
A missed conversion, which was unfortunately for the Utes a theme in the match, moved the scoreline to 13-5 still in favor of BYU.
The ensuing restart saw the Cougars’ flanker Kyle Sumsion regather the kick and BYU would look to pressurize the Utes.
After a series of phases and exchanges inside the Utah half an errant pass from BYU’s Lasike gave Utah wing Winston Harris the opportune intercept and 60 meter race for the second Utah try in the 27th minute.
The Utes would move ahead with Mostyn’s try, but three missed conversions had Utah move ahead 15-13 instead of the chance 21-13 had the conversions been made.
A late penalty from Utah in the first half’s injury-time gave Davies his third shot at goal. The kick was made and BYU inched back into the lead 16-15 a the break.
The three first half Utah tries were the most BYU has given up in a game this year. It also marks the first time this season BYU has scored fewer tries than its opponent in the first half but was still in the lead at half time.
“We didn’t have the greatest first half,” said BYU captain Ryan Roundy, “But that’s what you get in these Wasatch Cup games. You never know what’s going to happen, but we fought hard and were still in the lead at half time. We were able to dig this one out in the second half. “
The Cougars would start the second half behind an intercept of their as Utah’s Harris was picked-off by BYU wing Malosi Te’o who sped over 80 meters for the try.
Davies would miss the wide-angle conversion and BYU moved ahead 21-15 in the 43rd minute.
A professional foul from Utah wing Tonata Lauti that stemmed from a long break by BYU gave Davies his fourth penalty goal attempt right in front of the posts. He didn’t miss and BYU moved ahead 24-15.
Lauti would sit out ten minutes in the sin bin, but Utah would use this to motivate them and eventually put pressure on BYU deep inside their 22 meter line.
With repeated BYU penalties directly in front of the posts the Utes opted to scrum and eventually a 5 meter scrum was pushed over a collapsing BYU giving the Utes a penalty try at the hand of referee Paul Bretz in the 53rd minute.
An easy conversion by Utah’s Christensen brought the Utes closer 24-15.
With Lauti’s return and with the Ute’s within striking distance the Utah fans on hand saw new life in their team.
But after contested exchanges BYU was awarded a penalty and would drive a kick deep into Utah territory for touch and an ensuing Cougar lineout.
But a lineout throw that wasn’t straight ruined the strong BYU scoring opportunity.
Utah would opt to scrum from the turn over possession, but the Cougars would push back the Utes and captain No. 8 Ryan Roundy would barrel ahead from five meters for the try in the 58th minute.
“That was one of the key moments of this game,” said BYU forwards coach Wayne Tarawhiti, “We missed the first chance to pull ahead with the lineout but the guys didn’t let up and got the scrum pushed back. It was huge.”
Davies would convert the Roundy try and the Cougars looked to be tenuously in control 31-22 with the final quarter of play ahead.
But it wasn’t until the 63rd minute that BYU would move well ahead and out of reach of their rivals as freshman full back Tua Laei took an off-load from wing Will Taylor and ran 30 meters for the final score of the game.
Another conversion from Davies rounded out the score 38-22.
More forays from both teams deep into each other’s half would tell the tale of the final stanza as BYU looked to keep the Utes at bay and Utah looked to make a dramatic comeback.
But it wasn’t to be and the Cougars held on to win and held on to the Wasatch Cup for the 7th straight year.
“This was exactly the game that we expected,” said BYU head coach David Smyth, “Utah came ready today, as they always do. They were physical at the break down and they took the opportunities that came their way well. This was a classic Wasatch Cup and one that we feel pleased to have won whether by one point or sixteen.”
BYU now moves to 6-0 in the Western Conference and in control of their playoff destiny with one final conference and regular season match against Colorado University on April 21st on South Field.
Today’s Wasatch Cup victory ensured the Cougars of their 2012 post-season berth and a win against the Buffaloes in two weeks will give BYU their second consecutive Western Conference championship and a quarterfinal playoff berth at home on May 5th.
BYU 1st XV vs. University of Utah
- Mikey Su’a
- Chad Harker
- Ray Forrester
- TJ Allred (Braden Bair @70’)
- Mark Bonham (Hynie Leaatoa @ 40′)
- Kyle Sumsion
- Kumi Tua’one
- Ryan Roundy ©
- Shaun Davies
- Dylan Lubbe
- Malosi Te’o
- Seki Kofe
- Paul Lasike
- Will Taylor
- Tua Leai
Tries: Lasike 19′; Te’o 43′; Roundy 58′; Laei 63′
Conversions: Davies 3/4 (19′, 58′, 63′)
Penalties: Davies 4/4 (2′, 12′, 40′, 49′)
Tries: Soloai 23′; Harris 27′; Mostyn 35′; Utah Penalty Try 53′
Conversions: Christensen 1/4 (53′)
Penalties: Christensen 0/2
Referee: Paul Bretz
Official Attendance: 3,833