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(Tribune file photo) BYU quarterback Matt Berry scrambles to get away from Boise State's Alex Guerrero during a game in 2003.
Kragthorpe: BYU must surpass state football history in Boise

Utah schools are a combined 0-19 against Broncos going back to ’98.

First Published Sep 19 2012 01:31 pm • Last Updated Jan 07 2013 11:31 pm

Maybe we should have seen this coming. In only its second football game as a four-year school, Boise State pounded Westminster College 50-2 in 1968.

Lately, the Broncos have been making a bunch of other Utah schools look bad.

At a glance

Bronco Domination

Boise State’s 19-game winning streak vs. Utah schools:

Year » Opponent Score Comment

1998 » @Utah 31-28 Broncos drive 99 yards for winning TD

1998 » Weber State 24-13 Backup QB throws three TD passes

1998 » Utah State 30-16 Two INT returns for TDs in last 2:09

1999 » Southern Utah 35-27 Thunderbirds score 14 late points

1999 » Utah 26-20 BSU ruins another 3-0 Ute start

1999 » @Utah State 33-27 Broncos overcome Demario Brown’s 239 yards

2000 » Utah State 66-38 BSU wins Big West title with 641 yards

2002 » Utah State 63-38 Improbably, third quarter is scoreless

2003 » @BYU 50-12 Score at one point is 28-4

2004 » BYU 28-27 John Beck’s 390 passing yards not enough

2005 » @Utah State 45-21 BSU’s Jared Zabransky: 328 yards, 4 TDs

2006 » @Utah 36-3 Utah’s Brett Ratliff: 5 of 21, 3 INTs

2006 » Utah State 49-10 BSU covers 37.5-point spread vs. Nelson

2007 » Weber State 56-7 Broncos lead 49-0 at halftime

2007 » @Utah State 52-0 Loss is USU’s 16th in a row over 2 seasons

2008 » Utah State 49-14 Two BSU receivers throw TD passes

2009 » @Utah State 52-21 Broncos score 21 points in 5 minutes of 2Q

2010 » Utah State 50-14 BSU recovers from tough loss to Nevada

2010 » Utah 26-3 Doug Martin’s 84-yard run busts open Las Vegas Bowl

BSU records, by coach » Chris Petersen 8-0, Dirk Koetter 7-0, Dan Hawkins 4-0.

Utah schools’ records, by coach: » Brent Guy 0-4, Ron McBride* 0-3, Kyle Whittingham 0-2, Dave Arslanian 0-2, Mick Dennehy 0-2, Gary Andersen 0-2, Gary Crowton 0-2, C. Ray Gregory 0-1, Jerry Graybeal 0-1.

*McBride’s record includes two games with Utah and one with Weber State.

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When the BYU Cougars visit Bronco Stadium in Boise, they’ll be trying to break a 19-game losing streak that’s partly their own doing. The rest of the responsibility is shared among four other programs in a state that claims to play high-level college football.

Just not against the Broncos, obviously.

Clearly, something has to change, for the sake of our state’s football reputation. I’m guaranteeing that will happen — sometime during the scheduled 12-game series between BYU and Boise State that’s launched Thursday.

This statewide embarrassment has gone on long enough, right?

"I bet if you went through the 50 states, [BSU] would be something-and-0 against a lot of the 50 states," said BYU quarterback Riley Nelson.

His underlying premise is sound, considering that since 1998 when this 19-0 run against Utah schools began, the Broncos have won 84.5 percent of their games (153-28).

But they’re only 2-4 against Washington schools, 2-2 vs. Arkansas teams and 11-5 vs. Texas schools in that stretch.

The Utah teams’ record is somewhat skewed by the 10 games involving Utah State, all prior to 2011, when coach Gary Andersen’s revival took hold.

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It’s also true that LaVell Edwards, Urban Meyer and Bronco Mendenhall have never faced Boise State as head coaches, although Mendenhall went against the Broncos twice as a defensive coordinator and BYU gave up 78 points.

For all of his success, Utah’s Kyle Whittingham is 0-4 against BSU as a defensive coordinator and head coach, with the Utes allowing an average of nearly 30 points.

BSU’s most recent loss to a Utah school came in 1997. In the Broncos’ second season at the level now known as the Football Bowl Subdivision, they lost 24-20 as USU coach John L. Smith beat Houston Nutt in Logan.

And that took some work. Boise State had gone ahead with 2:51 remaining, before quarterback Matthew Sauk rallied the Aggies with a touchdown drive that ended with his 19-yard pass to Nakia Jenkins.

"I’m surprised I remember that, because I forgot a lot of stuff," said Sauk, now the Utah Blaze’s offensive coordinator, describing the fade pattern to the north end zone of Romney Stadium.

Since then, the Broncos have become a college football phenomenon. "The thing that really separated them is they got good coaches and they kept those coaches a certain amount of years," Sauk said. "That makes a difference."

Dirk Koetter, Dan Hawkins and Chris Petersen have combined to go 19-0 against Utah schools, and only Hawkins came close to losing. In Boise, BYU kicker Matt Payne’s 38-yard attempt sailed barely wide left in a 28-27 defeat, one of a series of games that could have saved coach Gary Crowton’s job in 2004.

The most embarrassing loss for a Utah school in this period has to be BYU’s 50-12 defeat on a Thursday night in Provo in ’03. But there’s competition from USU’s 52-0 loss in ’07 and Utah’s 36-3 debacle the previous year, when quarterback Brett Ratliff delivered five completions and three interceptions.

Nelson undoubtedly will improve on that performance and exceed his own showing as a Utah State freshman in ’06, when he completed 6 of 15 passes for 40 yards in a 49-10 loss. He remembers thinking as an 18-year-old, "Wow, I am not quite ready to play against these guys."

He’s much better prepared now, with a far better team around him. But there’s still a lot of Utah history for BYU to overcome in Boise.

kkragthorpe@sltrib.comTwitter: @tribkurt

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