The Utes of 1964 were a bright spot in the era of Ray Nagel and ended a long drought of bowl games appearances stretching back to 1938. The team won a share of the WAC Conference title that year and went on to defeat favored West Virginia in the Liberty Bowl 32-6, a victory in one of only a few major bowl games at the time. Here’s a look at the fifth-best Utah football season of all-time:
Biggest moment • Utah’s victory over West Virginia was huge for a team that had been wandering in the wilderness of postseason obscurity since the 1930s. The game was broadcast nationally and was the first college football game played indoors. The Utes rolled early and racked up over 460 yards of total offense to upset the Mountaineers, giving Utah some national exposure.
Lowest point • Utah had a 9-2 overall record, but were completely shutdown in an out of conference matchup with Missouri in the second week of the season. The Utes lost 23-6, scoring the lowest amount of points and allowing the most points to an opponent that season. A close loss 14-13 to Wyoming also hurt in the fourth week of the season, when the Utes were headed for an outright conference title instead of the split with New Mexico.
Season MVP • The 1964 Utes weren’t much of a passing team, but the rushing duo of Allen Jacobs and Ron Coleman was deadly. Jacobs led the team with 752 yards rushing and eight touchdowns, while Coleman added 750 yards and six touchdowns of his own. Coleman also racked up a six yards per carry average that season and 154 yards on the ground in the Liberty Bowl against West Virginia. Wide receiver Roy Jefferson also added versatility as a weapon for the offense, racking up 395 yards and two touchdowns, good enough to be named the WAC Player of the Year.
Legacy • The 1964 Utes were an oasis amidst a desert of postseason appearances and relevance, bringing some praise back to the Utah program. This season produced the highest win total in Utah history up to that point and the highest win total for three decades until 1994 under Ron McBride. It also game the Utah program its second bowl appearance ever and last bowl appearance until 1992.