Ten best home games from the Independence era

PROVO, Utah – A unique era in BYU football history is coming to an end. When BYU hosts Utah Tech at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Saturday, November 19, this will be BYU’s last home game as an FBS independent program.

In 2023, BYU will be a member of the Big 12 Conference. When BYU declared independence from football in 2010, a lot of people around college football thought, how will they schedule the games? Who will play in Provo? Sometimes it was difficult. Having nothing at stake in November hasn’t been fun for BYU.

But they still hosted many home games that created some great clashes during that decade of independence.

Here are BYU’s ten best home football games played at LaVell Edwards Stadium during the Independence era (2011-22).

10. State of Mississippi, 2016

October 14, 2016

BYU 28, Mississippi State 21 (2OT)



BYU’s only victory over an SEC team in Provo. When entering the game, everyone was ready to celebrate Jamaal Williams becoming the greatest rusher of all time in the program history. It took overtime to set the mark so it was not a celebratory moment as nerves were tense.

In double overtime, Taysom Hill connected with Tanner Balderee to give BYU the late night victory. BYU fans then stormed the field after defeating a Bulldogs team 2-3.

9. Utah State, 2011

September 30, 2011

BYU 27, State of Utah 24



The game that unofficially ended Jake Heaps’ tenure as QB1 at BYU. BYU’s offense was in trouble and in the fourth quarter they were down 24-13 to rival Utah State. The Aggies were able to sniff out a second straight win.

Then BYU introduced former Utah State Aggie Riley Nelson as the starting quarterback. Nelson connected on a touchdown pass with Cody Hoffman early in the fourth to make it a one-possession game. Then, with 15 seconds remaining, Nelson threw a pass intended for JJ DiLuigi towards the end zone. The ball was knocked down by an Aggie defender and landed in the hands of tight end Marcus Mathews for the winning score.

8. Toledo, 2016

September 30, 2016

BYU 55, Toledo 53



No one expected a game against Toledo to be one for the record books, but this game had everything to kick off General Conference weekend. The star power in this game was great. BYU was run by Taysom Hill and jamal williams. For Toledo, the Rockets had QB Logan Woodside, who is in the NFL as a practice squad player. In that same Rocket backfield was running back Kareem Hunt.

Both teams lit up the scoreboard and amassed 1,278 yards. 286 of those yards were courtesy of a single-game rushing record set by Jamaal Williams in that game.

But ultimately, it was a 19-yard field kick from Rhett Almond that put the game aside for BYU.

Another memorable side note from this game was that ESPN analyst Mack Brown had to leave the booth early to catch a flight to the East Coast for his Saturday studio work on ABC. So he left Adam Amin alone in the cabin to call the classic finish.

7. USC, 2019

September 14, 2019

BYU 30, No. 24 USC 27 (OT)

BYU, led by QB Zach Wilson, had just come out of a Tennessee overtime win in Knoxville. The Cougars entered the USC game as the underdog again, but they had a plan to stop the Trojans’ high-powered offense that included star receivers Michael Pittman, Amon-Ra St. Brown and Tyler. Vaughns.

BYU dropped eight in coverage and forced the Trojans to run the football. The plan worked like BYU pulled off the surprisewhich led to fans storming the field and feeling that Cougar Football was back.

6. Arizona State, 2021

September 18, 2021

No. 23 BYU 27, No. 19 Arizona State 17

In one of best atmospheres at home in the era of independence, BYU has knocked out a Pac-12 ranked team in as many weeks. One of the highlights of this game was Arizona State’s 16 penalties. Many of these yellow flags were caused by BYU’s student chapter, The ROC.

But the greatest memory will be forever be Tyler Allgeier’s gang after ASU looked set to run for a six-pick.

While the student section has done its job of creating a hostile environment, replacement QB Baylor Romney has also done its job. He was ready at any time. Starting QB Jaren Hall cracked his ribs and Romney stepped in to pass the game-winning touchdown to Isaac Rex.

5. Boise State, 2015

September 12, 2015

BYU 35, No. 20 Boise State 24



BYU was the talk of the nation after a first-week miracle in Nebraska. Then a week later, against rival Boise State, they had another miracle brew. BYU entered the fourth quarter down 10, but freshman quarterback Tanner Mangum led the comeback.

With less than a minute remaining, Mangum connected with wide receiver Mitchell Juergens for a 35-yard touchdown pass that had the ESPN announcer saying as Mangum passed him, “We’ve seen that before. previously…”

So Security BYU Kai Nacua put the exclamation mark on the Broncos with a homebound 50-yard pick-six. It was BYU’s first victory against a nationally ranked Boise State team.

4. Texas, 2013

September 7, 2013

BYU 40, #15 Texas 21



What if I told you that BYU beat a college football blueblood with a quarterback completing just nine of his 26 pass attempts? It happened on a stormy night in Provo when the Texas Longhorns came to town.

BYU, directed by Taysom Hill and Jamaal Williams, unofficially ended Mack Brown’s career as Texas head coach with the loss. Hill rushed for 259 yards and Williams racked up 182 as BYU rushed for 550 as a team with a “Go Fast, Go Hard” offense that turned Texas DC Manny Diaz’s head.

3. Boise State, 2019

October 19, 2019

BYU 28, No. 14 Boise State 25

The game that saved the job of Kalani Sitake. After a 2-4 start to the 2019 season which included losses in Toledo and FUS, BYU had its back against the wall. Sitake took over as defensive caller and Jeff Grimes moved from the press box to the field level in a flurry of assignment changes.

Amid all of these changes, BYU was breaking in a new starting quarterback as Zach Wilson and Jaren Hall were injured. is coming Baylor Romney leads BYU to the upset victory over the undefeated Broncos.

2. Baylor, 2022

September 10, 2022

No. 21 BYU 26, No. 9 Baylor 20 (2OT)

The big 12 preview was a all-time win in BYU football history. After getting dominated by Baylor at Waco the previous yearBYU players circled the game against the future Big 12 foe. They delivered, handing the defending Big 12 champions a double overtime loss.

The game ended after midnight, so technically BYU played on a Sunday for once. When the BYU defense got the fourth stoppage in double overtime, fans stormed the field and celebrated the big win.

1. Utah, 2021

September 11, 2021

BYU 26, #21 Utah 17

After nine consecutive defeats, BYU managed to knock the Utes down on the grill. It was a win that didn’t require any tricks or “specials,” which made that victory over Utah, which won the Pac-12 that season, so special was that they beat Utah at their own game – playing physical at the line of scrimmage, creating takeouts and playing football with a sound of affectation. These are things BYU has never done in their previous nine losses to the Utes.

It was a victory that made Jaren Hall an instant legend for the Cougar faithful after only completing the fourth career start of his BYU career. Additionally, the win gave BYU bragging rights until the next scheduled meeting between the two schools in 2024.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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