If you love hard-nosed defense, like Bronko Nagurski or Bronco Mendenhall, you’d probably want to burn the tape of the BYU-Utah State game from 1993.
I was there that afternoon in Logan 17 years ago and it was probably the wildest shootout I’ve ever covered. The final? Aggies 58, Cougars 56.
It was the last time USU beat BYU.
After that game, the goalpost was torn down by jubilant Aggie fans. Later, then-USU athletic director Chuck Bell cut the goal post up into nine-inch pieces and sold them for $58.56.
The game itself was remarkable for many reasons. At the time, BYU’s 56 points tied an NCAA record for most points scored in a loss. Quarterback John Walsh passed for 619 yards, a single-game school record that still stands today, and five touchdowns. His counterpart, USU QB Anthony Calvillo, threw for 472 yards and five TDs. Calvillo, now 38, is still playing in the Canadian Football League and is regarded as one of the best CFL QBs of all time. As a side note, one of his receivers in Montreal is Ben Cahoon, who played at BYU from 1996-97, and is also considered one of the all-time best at that position in CFL history.
Anyway, back to that game in ’93.
Calvillo carved up a BYU defense that was playing without injured starters Todd Herget and Nathan Hall. The Cougars led only twice, 7-3 and 14-13. The Aggies led 20-14 at halftime.
From there, the game resembled a ping pong match with the two teams trading scores. I remember one colleague complaining that when he got up to use the bathroom, he had returned to find he missed two more touchdowns.
Among the memorable plays — a one-handed catch for a 72-yard TD by Jamal Willis and a 100-yard kickoff return by Tyler Anderson. BYU outscored USU in the fourth quarter, 28-21.
BYU’s final score came with 59 seconds remaining in the game on a 42-yard pass from Walsh to Micah Matsuzaki. The Cougars’ ensuing on-side kick attempt was recovered by USU, which ran out the clock and celebrated the win.
To give you an idea of how long ago that game was, USU went on to play in the Las Vegas Bowl that season while BYU managed to finish 6-5 and earn a berth in the Holiday Bowl.
That 58-56 defeat marked BYU’s fourth straight loss that season — the last time that’s happened. BYU is trying to avoid a fourth straight loss Friday night in Logan.
Interestingly, going into that 1993 game against USU, the Cougars had won 10 straight games in the series. BYU is currently riding a 10-game winning streak against the Aggies.
If you attended that game in 1993, what do you remember about it? If you’re a USU fan, where does that win rank among all-time great Aggie victories?