If you ask any Utah fan what would make a college football season successful, the majority of them would take a victory over hated-rival BYU than a Pac-12 south or conference championship.
It doesn't mean that Ute fans don't think highly of winning the Pac-12 title — it's what they covet most at this point. But a victory over BYU not only gives the Utah a victory, it gives fans throughout the state bragging rights that usually last 365 days.
The rivalry is deemed by most as one of the most intense in the country and arguably one of the top three college rivalries west of the Mississippi River, along with Texas-Oklahoma and Oregon-Washington.
But even in moments of tragedy and heartbreak, rivalries can be put aside as the love and humanitarian side of those involved take center stage. That's exactly what happened on Wednesday afternoon when BYU proved that despite the intense fighting on the field, the Utes and Cougars are still a part of a larger family; the college football family.
According to Utah, BYU sent the Utes three artifacts that honor the legacy and memory of Ty Jordan, the freshman running back who tragically passed away on Christmas night at home in Texas.
Among the items sent by Kalani Sitake’s program was a jersey with No. 22 and Jordan on the back along with the interlocking 'U' at the bottom. It also included a tin can with dog tags inside, which has Utah's logo and a message written that said:
“Utah family, on behalf of BYU football, we want to express our deepest condolences for the loss of Ty Jordan. Regardless of where our loyalties lie, the state of Utah lost a phenomenal football player and person; one who exemplified being a great teammate, competitor, and son. His legacy will live on through us each day as we strive to be the best we can be. Fly high #22!”
It was an extremely classy gesture by Sitake and BYU, and something that should come as no surprise. As both programs fight for state supremacy, including the top recruits in the state, both Sitake and Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham have a phenomenal working relationship with a lot of respect shared between the two of them.
BYU never had the chance to take the field against Jordan this season as the COVID-19 pandemic canceled this season's 'Holy War.'
Jordan has also been honored by the program in many ways. The most recent show love came from the Utah football grounds crew when they painted Jordan's number in a heart on the lawn in front of the Utes football facility.
Another show of love and respect came on Tuesday night when Colorado and Texas squared off in the Alamo Bowl in Dallas, Texas — Jordan's home state. Both sides linked arms as a moment of silence was held prior to kickoff.
While Jordan may be gone, his incredible impact that he had with Utah and throughout college football has been noticed. His legacy and memory will live forever.
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