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A Win ... and a Wait

Lavell Edwards: Final game has dramatic finish as Doman's touchdown run with 23 seconds left gives BYU 34-27 victory.

November 25, 2000|From Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — To hear Brigham Young's players, LaVell Edwards went out a winner because he got help from upstairs--and not from the assistants in the press box.

Brandon Doman scored on a four-yard run with 23 seconds remaining, lifting BYU to a dramatic 34-27 victory over Utah on Friday night in the last game of Edwards' 29-year coaching career.

"What a way to go out!" shouted Edwards, 70, as he walked off the field with a big smile.

"That was my best win ever," he added with a laugh.

Doman, who opened the season as the third quarterback on the depth chart, converted a late fourth-and-13 play from BYU's 17 with a 34-yard completion to Jonathan Pittman.

On the next play, he found Pittman for a 36-yard gain to the Utah 13. From there, it took Doman two plays to send Edwards into retirement with a victory.

"It almost was like a miracle," Pittman said. "We had someone looking down on us, this being LaVell's last game and us wanting to win it for him. I think someone wanted to grant that wish."

BYU, 6-6 overall and 4-3 in the Mountain West Conference, got a big break just before the fourth-down play. On third-and-20 at the 10, Luke Staley appeared to fumble after a seven-yard run and Wes Tufaga recovered for Utah. The officials, however, ruled Staley down.

Utah (4-7, 3-4) had scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter before that to take a 27-26 lead with 2:16 remaining.

Darnell Arceneaux's 20-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Matt Nickel tied the game and the near-capacity crowd of 45,064 then went silent on the PAT attempt. Two years ago, Ryan Kaneshiro's last-second field-goal try clanked off the right crossbar in BYU's 26-24 victory. But Kaneshiro made his kick this time.

"I thought we had the game, but there was too much time left on the clock," Nickel said. "To see the game slip through our fingers was heartbreaking."

After it was over, Edwards met Utah Coach Ron McBride, his close friend, at midfield. They embraced and almost broke down in front of dozens of cameras.

"Are you heartbroken?" Edwards asked. "I know how you feel. You're going to have me crying here in a minute."

Said McBride: "LaVell is a great guy. After the game I . . . wished him the best and that it was a fumble. I guess if you're going to be beaten by someone, it may as well be a guy like that."

It was the final game after 29 seasons at BYU for Edwards, who handled it like the previous 360, quietly pacing the sideline as if waiting for a bus.

Said Edwards: "I don't show it on the sidelines often but I was dying inside when they looked like they had us stopped."

Edwards finished with a 257-101-3 record and the sixth-most victories by a Division I-A coach.



Years 29

Record 257-101-3

Conference titles 20

Bowl record 7-14-1

National titles 1

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