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November 19, 2005

Utes beat Cougars in OT

Brett Ratliff threw for four touchdowns in his first start, including a 25-yard pass to Travis LaTendresse in overtime and Utah kept Brigham Young from scoring on the final possession to win 41-34 Saturday.

The game ended when John Beck's pass in the end zone was just out of reach for a diving Michael Reed on fourth-and-6, giving the Utes their fourth straight victory in the state rivalry and making Utah (6-5, 4-4 Mountain West) eligible for a bowl.

BYU (6-5, 5-3) had rallied from a 10-point deficit to force overtime, but failed to score after winning the coin toss and electing to let Utah go first on offense.

The Utes charged onto the field after the final incompletion and a few stuck around to douse Utah's Kyle Whittingham with a jug of water to celebrate the first-year coach's victory over his alma mater, which offered Whittingham its coaching job last year.

Ratliff, starting for Brian Johnson (knee), threw the ball erratically, but caught the Cougars off guard with his running ability and had 19 carries for 112 yards and a touchdown. Although many of his passes were way off, he completed 17 of 32 and was on target for all four of his touchdown throws.

On second-and-10 from the 25 in overtime, Ratliff hit LaTendresse on a slant pattern at the 1-yard line and LaTendresse tumbled in for the score.

Utah's defense stopped Beck for 1 yard on a keeper, forced an incompletion and Soli Lefiti knocked down a pass on third down to set up the final play. On fourth down, Beck rolled to his left and threw a high pass that just missed Reed's diving attempt at the back of the end zone.

Beck was 27-for-47 for 309 yards and two touchdowns for the Cougars, who still finished the regular season with a winning record for the first time since 2001.

Quinton Ganther had 21 carries for 131 yards for Utah, although the Cougars held him to just 15 in the second half.

Utah hadn't won four straight over BYU since a run from 1968-1971.



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