You would think that the answer to this question would be easy- just look up the score, right? Afraid not. It's complicated.
Officially, University of Utah eked out a 35-28 victory by turning five straight BYU turnovers in the first 10 minutes of the first quarter into touchdowns. An amazing ability to turn misfortune into triumph is the hallmark of a quality program.
On paper, and in the battle to inspire legions of fans, BYU crushed it. They compiled better stats than Utah in almost every major category and fought like dragons for the remaining three quarters while shutting down the Ute defense.
Comments after the game made determining the true winner even more confusing. The winning coach claimed that Utah's play the last three quarters was “ridiculous” and they “had some work to do.” Conversely, losing coach Bronco Mendenhall effusively praised his team for never giving up. I witnessed Ute fans departing the stadium not celebrating a victory but relieved at dodging a bullet. BYU fans could be seen equally stunned during the long walk through the parking lot experiencing the true definition of hell, continuously re-evaluating what could have been with just one less fumble or tipped pass in the first quarter.
It wasn't until the flight home to Raleigh the following day I was able to identify the real winners of one of the most “freakish” bowl games in the history of this or any other world, right here in this picture:
You see, this game brought these three brothers and a brother-in-law together from across the fruited plains of America to one place, for the first time, for an occasion other than a wedding or funeral, since... well... um... I guess you would say... EVER! Ignore the shameful fact that we should have done this earlier; that we are all too consumed with our own puny lives as doctors, managers, and researchers; or that although we are scattered across the continent, we've always had the time and resources, but not the will, to arrange such a short but outstanding Mormon manly weekend. We filled ourselves full of steak, Utah smack talk, and memories that will last at least until dementia sets in. We're already looking forward to Brofest 2016.
We are the Champions!