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Utah’s Kyle Whittingham gives BYU credit in its rivalry win as streak comes to an end

Utah running back Micah Bernard escapes the tackle of BYU defensive back Malik Moore during game at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
Utah Utes running back Micah Bernard (2) gets pressured by Brigham Young Cougars defensive back Malik Moore during the second half of an NCAA college football game at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021. BYU won 26-17.
Shafkat Anowar, Deseret News

Utah’s nine-game winning streak finally came to an end Saturday night at LaVell Edwards Stadium as BYU earned a 26-17 victory.

Coach Kyle Whittingham was gracious in defeat after the game, praising his former assistant, Kalani Sitake, and his players.

“Congratulations to Kalani and his football team. They played outstanding,” Whittingham said. “Give them credit. They won the football game tonight. Offensively, we were not good enough on third down. We only snapped it 50-something times because we couldn’t convert on third down.”

Whittingham knows his team has a lot to fix before the Utes visit San Diego State next week. But, he added, “I’m not trying to take anything away from their victory. That was not our best football.”

How did Whittingham’s players feel about the streak coming to an end?

“It obviously hurts,” said linebacker Devin Lloyd. “It hurts everybody, knowing what the rivalry means.”

“It’s a tough one. It really is. Nine in a row, we tried to make it 10,” said running back Micah Bernard. “We had a good run. We won’t see these guys for a couple of years so it’s tough we had to end it on this one. We’ll come back harder and we’ll start a new streak.”

HONORING JORDAN: When Utah freshman running back Ty Jordan died tragically last December, it hit the program hard.

The Utes have paid tribute to Jordan in multiple ways since then, including during their Sept. 2 season opener at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

Saturday night at LaVell Edwards Stadium, rival BYU honored Jordan as well.

BYU created a flag in honor of Jordan that the team ran out and then presented to the Utah team before the game Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

The flag was made in coordination with Utah using the same logo Utah players will wear on their helmets this year to honor his memory. Utah will use the flag as the program pays tribute to Jordan throughout the season.

BYU wide receiver Samson Nacua, a former Utah wide receiver before he transferred earlier this year, ran out the Jordan flag and he handed it off to Ute team captain, and backup quarterback, Cam Rising.