Big Crowd, Big Scores Fill Bowl Notebook
Posted May 30, 2016 | Michle
2015 LAS VEGAS BOWL GAME NOTES
BYU at UTAH – Dec. 19, 2015 – Sam Boyd Stadium
- With the 35-28 victory, Utah became the first team in history win four Las Vegas Bowls. The Utes improved to 4-1 in this game and 10-3 overall in the city of Las Vegas (counting games vs. UNLV). Utah also improved to 15-4 all-time in bowl games and head coach Kyle Whittingham upped his bowl record to any eye-popping 9-1. Utah also won the Las Vegas Bowl in 1999, 2001 and 2014.
- This game was only the second Las Vegas Bowl matchup of teams from the same state (Fresno State vs. USC in 2013).
- Teams representing the Pac-12 Conference improved to 7-7 all-time in the Las Vegas Bowl and have won three straight.
- With the eighth sellout in the last 11 games, the crowd of 42,213 ranked as the second biggest in Las Vegas Bowl history, behind only the 44,615 that saw BYU defeat Oregon in 2006 (a game that featured temporary bleachers in the open end zone). Today’s crowd also ranks as the second largest for a team sporting event in the history of the state of Nevada.
- Remarkably, BYU started each of its first FIVE drives by turning the ball over. A lost fumble on the Cougars’ first drive resulted in a Utah 25-yard touchdown drive and then an interception was returned 28 yards by Tevin Carter for a score. It marked the first pick six in a Las Vegas Bowl since Derron Smith took one back 41 yards vs. USC in 2013. The very next drive, Carter grabbed another interception and returned it 33 yards to the Utah one-yard line. Dominique Hatfield later took a pick back for a 46-yard score and BYU then lost its second fumble.
- Tevin Carter was voted the winner of the Rossi T. Ralenkotter Most Valuable Player Trophy after becoming only the third player in Las Vegas Bowl history to grab two interceptions in a game. Justin Robinson of BYU did it against Oregon in 2006 and Donald Toomer of Utah State did it vs. Ball State in Las Vegas Bowl II in 1993. Carter’s 61 total interception return yards rank second in Las Vegas Bowl history behind Boise State’s Jamar Taylor’s 100 vs. Arizona State in 2011.
- Utah RB Joe Williams was named the Royal Purple Outperformer of the Game on Offense after gaining 91 net yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries.
- Utah LB Gionni Paul was named the Royal Purple Outperformer of the Game on Defense after posting a team-leading eight tackles and recovering one fumble.
- There had only been five interceptions returned for a touchdown in Las Vegas Bowl history before Utah posted two in the first quarter alone.
- Utah’s 35 points in the first 10 minutes of the game – all coming off turnovers – shattered the record for most points scored by one team in any quarter in the Las Vegas Bowl. The previous record for points in the FIRST quarter was 21 set by the Utes just last year vs. Colorado State. The record for all other quarters is also 21 each.
- BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum threw the most interceptions in any Las Vegas Bowl game – three – in the first quarter alone. Previously, eight QBs had thrown two picks each in a game, the most recent being Keith Price of Washington vs. Boise State in 2012.
- Mangum attempted a Las Vegas Bowl-record 56 passes, breaking the previous mark of 54 by David Carr of Fresno State vs. USC in 2013. Mangum completed 25 of them for 315 yards and two scores.
- When the Cougars scored a touchdown just before halftime, it ended Utah’s streak of 59 consecutive points scored in the Las Vegas Bowl dating back to the final three quarters of the 2014 game.
- The 35-7 halftime score meant Utah tied the record for most points scored in any half of a Las Vegas Bowl (35 by USC vs. Fresno State in the first half of the 2013 game).
- After the early outburst on the scoreboard, Utah was shut out the rest of the way while BYU scored four touchdowns to pull to within seven points in the fourth quarter.
- Utah punter Tom Hackett, who won the last two Ray Guy Awards, kicked six times for an average of 49.5 (long of 56). That ranked second in Las Vegas Bowl history, trailing only Jason McLean of Nevada, who finished with a 49.8 average vs. Toledo in 1995.
- BYU’s five turnovers set a Las Vegas Bowl record. The previous record was four by three different teams: Utah in 2010, Arizona in 2008 and Central Michigan in 1994.
- BYU, which has played in more Las Vegas Bowls than any other team, fell to 3-3 in the event.