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Utah rides wave to another BCS berth

November 23, 2008|Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah is BCS bound once again.

Brian Johnson passed for 303 yards and four touchdowns and the eighth-ranked Utes completed a perfect regular season by beating No. 16 Brigham Young, 48-24, Saturday, winning the heated state rivalry and taking the undisputed Mountain West Conference title away from the two-time defending champion Cougars (10-2, 6-2).

Utah (12-0, 8-0) forced six turnovers by BYU quarterback Max Hall, including five interceptions, and went unbeaten in the regular season for the third time in school history. Utah was 11-0 in 2004 before winning the Fiesta Bowl.

The Fiesta is one of the possible bowl destinations for the Utes, who were already No. 7 in the Bowl Championship Series standings.

Utah fans couldn't wait to celebrate and charged the field with 29 seconds left. They were herded off so Johnson could take a knee and run out the clock, then the celebration could really begin. The Utes were swallowed by the sea of red-clad fans who were elated about so many things -- the unbeaten season, the BCS and beating BYU, which hadn't happened for Utah since 2005.

The chant "B-C-S!" rang out through Rice-Eccles Stadium as Johnson received the Mountain West title trophy. Johnson was nearly perfect in his final home game, going 30 for 36 and not turning the ball over.

Hall's game went just about in the complete opposite direction. Three of his four interceptions led to scores for Utah, as did Hall's fumble at the BYU 31 late in the third quarter.

Hall was 21 for 41 for 205 yards and Austin Collie finished with 10 catches for 104 yards, his 10th straight game of 100-plus yards receiving.

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