This was a weekend filled with high level drama at all levels in the state of Utah. Buzzer beaters, bowl eligibility and similar mascots facing off were the main highlights. Let’s take a look at how the weekend unfolded.
Friday Night Hoops:
Aggies vs Aggies: You don’t play a team with your same mascot very often but that’s exactly what Utah State did. The Aggies of Logan had a few flat moments early on but ultimately cruised to a 27 point victory in the second half. Alphonso Anderson led USU with 21 points off the bench. Justin Bean, Kubrick Karwowski and Sam Merrill also scored in double figures. It was a solid team effort and Utah State improves to 4-0 on the season. They face the University of Texas-San Antonio on Monday night and should continue their Top 25 ranking for another week. They are currently ranked #17 in the AP Top 25.
Cougars vs Cougars: You don’t often see the Cougars vs Cougars and Aggies vs Aggies in the same night but that’s exactly what happened. BYU had a tougher task playing against a team bordering the Top 25 in the KenPom ratings. The royal blue Cougars had a few critical defensive errors as they allowed two open threes to put them in danger of losing the game. However, they were mostly stout defensively and seized an opportunity to win a road game. TJ Haws made a game winning jump shot before the buzzer sounded.
Conley’s Return: The Memphis Grizzlies made a special tribute to Mike Conley in his homecoming to Memphis where he played for the first 12 years of his NBA career. The Jazz struggled against a poor Memphis team which made another nail biter. Bojan Bogdanovic, Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert all had more than 20 points each. Somehow they still lost a tough road game.
Down one point with two seconds to go, they tried to run a play for some more magic similar to the Bojan Bogdanovic game winner against the Milwaukee Bucks one week prior. It was a disappointing ending for the Jazz though as the refs once again failed to call a foul in Donovan Mitchell’s favor on the road. He was pushed behind the arc and forced to take a bad three against Sacramento that barely went out. It was a sweet return but ended bittersweet for Mike and the Jazz.
Going Bowling: All three FBS teams in Utah are now bowl eligible. The Utah State Aggies won Jim Bridger’s Rifle over the Wyoming Cowboys to improve to 6-4. The Aggies are 2-0 since their 0-2 skid to Air Force and BYU. They are finding ways to come up clutch in close games. The Mountain West has tie-ins to several bowls, including the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, the First Responder Bowl, and the Vegas Bowl, which are likely to feature an Aggie appearance.
BYU also improved to 6-4 with a big win over Idaho State. The Cougars won 42-10 and the score never was close. Cougar fans can expect to cheer for their team in the Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve before Santa comes and brings them a box of Cougar Tail pastries for their stockings.
The Utes still only have one loss as they routed UCLA 49-3. The Utes are a serious contender for the College Football playoff or at least the Rose Bowl. That’s definitely not a bad consolation prize.
In all, it was a great week to be a fan of sports in Utah unless you are a Weber State fan (both their hoops and football teams got beat this week) or if you witnessed the heartbreaking Jazz loss in Memphis. You win some and you lose some but the teams in this state won’t back down from anybody!