What was life like the last time BYU beat Utah?: A look back at 2009


SAN DIEGO – OCTOBER 17: Max Hall #15 of BYU Cougars looks to pass the ball to teammate while playing against San Diego State Aztecs at Qualcomm Stadium on October 17, 2009 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Jacob de Golish/Getty Images)


(ABC4) – When this weekend’s matchup between BYU and Utah kicks off at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, the occasion will mark an extended period since the Cougars last prevailed in the rivalry game.

4,306 days to be exact.

BYU has lost the last nine in-state battles with the Utes, last winning in 2009 thanks to a 25-yard touchdown pass from Max Hall to Andrew George in overtime. Since that 26-23 victory, which saw the Cougars nearly lose a 20-6 lead going into the fourth quarter, the series has been dominated by Utah.

This year’s contest will be the last one before the rivalry, which has been played since 1896 (although BYU doesn’t count its years playing as Brigham Young Academy), will take a two-year break.

While there have been multiple instances of nine-game winning streaks by both schools throughout the series, neither side has ever won 10 in a row.

Utah, ranked No. 21 nationally and coming off a 40-17 over Weber State, is projected as a 7-point favorite by most Las Vegas betting houses. BYU however, after defeating Arizona 24-16 in Vegas last week, could be inspired by Friday’s announcement that the Cougars have been invited into the Big 12 Conference.

For those looking for additional smack-talk material (looking at you, Utah fans), or further motivation to snap the streak (that’s you, Cougar fans), here’s a look at what the world looked like the last time BYU beat the Utes:

Biden’s first term, as vice president

Similar to 2021, in 2009, current President Joe Biden was in the White House. Only back then, he was serving as the V.P. to Barack Obama, who had been sworn in as Commander in Chief in January of that year.

At that time, the United States was recovering from The Great Recession, which had been sparked in large part due to a bursting housing bubble and other controversies on Wall Street. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were ongoing. Obama made his first address to Congress on healthcare reform, which began a struggle on the issue that lasted for practically his entire presidency.

On January 22, 2009, Obama also pledged to close down the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay within a year. To this day, the facility in Cuba is still open but Biden, as president, recently declared his intention to close it soon.

Microsoft scores big with Windows 7, Apple builds on iPhone success

In response to Windows Vista, which had been poorly received by most computer users, Microsoft landed a winner with the launch of Windows 7 in July 2009.

Just six months after its release, the operating system had sold 100 million copies worldwide and stood as the most popular version of Windows until Windows 10 overtook it in January 2018. According to Global Stats StatCounter, around 15% of Windows-operating desktops still use Windows 7.

Two years earlier, in 2007, Apple had released its revolutionary iPhone, arguably one of the most life-altering technology products of the 21st century. The company, led by Steve Jobs, who was 2 years away from his death in 2011, released the iPhone 3GS, as well as updates to the iMac, MacBook, iPod Shuffle, iPod Nano, and iPod Touch in 2009. The iPad wouldn’t release for another year and the Apple Watch was still six years away.

The King of Pop, Dirty Dancing star both pass away

Celebrity deaths and other ordeals dominated a large part of the news cycle in 2009. Perhaps most notably, Michael Jackson, known as the “King of Pop,” died on June 25, prompting several websites, including a new one called Twitter, to crash as folks rushed to respond and find out more.

Other highly-publicized deaths included actor Patrick Swayze, who died of cancer, former NFL quarterback Steve McNair, who was murdered by his mistress, TV pitchman Billy Mays, who succumbed to heart disease, and entertainer Ed McMahon, whose death at 86 was attributed to several health issues.

Boom, boom, pow: The Black Eyed Peas, superheroes have big year in entertainment

The late Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker in the 2008 Batman film, The Dark Knight, was still a major talking point. For the legendary role, Ledger was posthumously awarded the 2009 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, in addition to a Golden Globe in the same category.

Meanwhile, the Walt Disney Company kicked off what would become an entertainment universe powerhouse with its acquisition of Marvel Entertainment in August 2009.

Other noteworthy movies from 2009 included Best Picture winner Slumdog Millionaire, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button starring Brad Pitt, and Pixar Studios’ tear-jerker and playful adventure story Up. James Cameron’s Avatar would go on to become the biggest box office hit of all time that year, with announced sequels that have yet to release still in 2021.

The Black Eyed Peas, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Flo Rida, Beyonce, Kanye West, Jason Mraz, and The All-American Rejects dominated the airwaves in 2009, according to the Billboard Top 10.

Kobe Bryant wins fourth NBA title

The champions in sports that year included the following:
NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers
NBA: Los Angeles Lakers
NCAA Football: Alabama (championship game played in January 2010)
NCAA Men’s Basketball: North Carolina
NCAA Women’s Basketball: Connecticut
MLB: New York Yankees
NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins

Oh yeah, I remember that…

Other news stories from 2009 included Bernie Madoff’s guilty plea to charges related to his multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme, the emergence of the Swine Flu in the U.S. and Mexico, and a pair of events that would later become movies starring Tom Hanks – the Somali pirate crisis, which was immortalized as Captain Phillips, as well as airplane pilot Chesley Sullenberger’s heroic forced landing in the Hudson River, played by Hanks in Sully.

If BYU doesn’t snap the streak on Saturday, the Cougars won’t have another shot at beating Utah until 2024, the next scheduled matchup between the two. By that time, they’ll already have one year competing in the Big 12 conference under their belts.

BYU already went an entire decade without a win over the Utes, they’ll likely want to begin the 2020 decade (the two teams didn’t play each other in 2020) by putting an end to Utah’s dominance as quickly as possible. The BYU faithful likely won’t be happy to see this story run again in Sept. 2024.

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