Immediately following Utah’s victory over BYU, many of the Cougar fans dismissed the loss due to a blown call on a fumble late in the 4th quarter.
Common comments included “if the ref would have gotten the call right”, and “the refs gave Utah the game”, or even “Utah cheated”.
This is going to be the scenario of what could have happened had Utah not been awarded the ball and the refs called Brandon Bradley down.
Cougars retained the ball with about 5 minutes left.
Jake Heaps takes the snap in the shotgun on 1st and 10. He looks off the safety and wants to throw the deep ball to a wide open McKay Jacobson. Before getting the ball off, though, Heaps is drilled from the blindside by Sealver Siliga and driven, face first, into the ground.
The ball is jarred loose and freshman Brian Blechen picks it up. Blechen takes the ball back 65 yards for the tying score 16-16. The extra point makes it 17-16 Utah.
Laying still, face down on the turf, is Jake Heaps. Because of the way he landed, Heaps suffers a spinal injury, leaving him paralyzed below the waist the remainder of his life.
On the ensuing kickoff, Utah onside kicks and recovers. QB Jordan Wynn exposes the long play again, throwing to DeVonte Christopher for a 50 yard touchdown that puts the Utes up 24-16 with 4:00 remaining.
Following a 10 yard return to the 25 yard line, BYU puts in 3rd string QB James Lark.
Lark leads the Cougars all the way down the field, completing 5 of 5 passes. Its 1st and goal on the 5 yard line with 45 seconds left on the clock. BYU runs on 3 consecutive plays, unable to get into the endzone. Down by 8 points, 1 second remaining, BYU faces 4th and goal on the 2 yard line. BYU desperately needs to get into the endzone and convert the 2 point conversion to force overtime.
Lark takes the snap under center and fakes the handoff to JJ Di Luigi and rolls out to the right. Di Luigi is wide open as he breaks right across the goal line. Lark throws the ball to Di Luigi and BYU fans can feel the tide turn.
But just before the ball reaches Di Luigi, Brandon Burton dives and swats the ball down.