The inaugural Deseret First Duel lasted through nine sports, the final outcome undecided until the second-to-last Cougar-Ute game of the year—a baseball game.
Created to compare the athletic prowess of the two schools, the duel tracks all BYU-Utah matchups, crowning one university athletically dominant at the end of the year. Each game earns points for the victory; 32.5 of 64 total points are needed to win.
The close competition this year was full of excitement, including the performance of Utah’s women’s teams, which earned 26 points for the Utes, and BYU’s sweep of football and men’s basketball, which gave the Cougars 20 points.
By May, with only two games left in the duel, BYU’s once 15-point lead had diminished to a one-point advantage. But at Salt Lake City’s Franklin Covey Field, the Cougars rebounded, taking the final two baseball contests and winning the duel 34-30. The victory gave the Cougars the right to house the duel’s six-foot-tall, 3,000-pound “traveling” granite trophy and, most important, bragging rights.
It was, perhaps, fitting for the duel to be ultimately decided by a baseball game. The BYU-Utah rivalry was forged on the baseball diamond 113 years ago, where the first intercollegiate matchup played between the two universities ended in a tie and a scuffle that cleared both teams’ benches.
Since that 1895 meeting, the BYU-Utah rivalry has flourished and was named the fourth best college rivalry in the country by The Wall Street Journal in 2005.