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John Beck’s account of the final 2006 drive.

19 November 2008 Deep Shades of Blue 107 Comments
Photo by Miller

Photo by Miller

I got a text from Quinn asking me if I would write a little bit about 2006’s final drive. Detailing my thougts and feelings on the final drive. I think for the rest of my life whenever it is the BYU vs Utah week I will always be reminded of that game in 2006. Even as I sit here typing, I have above me on a shelf the ball I took the final knee with. I wanted the ball that Johnny caught, but I don’t know if anybody knows where that ball currently resides. I just held on to the next best thing.

Well where do I begin.

When Dan Coats caught the touchdown on the goal line off of the play action I really thought that was the go ahead TD that would seal the game. Although Utah had a good amount of time left on the clock with the ball in their hands I believed our defense would hold the Utah offense and we would be back out on the field to run the clock out.

Yet, because of past games in my career I hesitated for a moment because there are so many crummy variables that every game is filled with. I knew that the offense needed to keep their heads in the game. Understand that our last TD wasn’t close to being the final play of the game. If we had to go out there and get a first down to seal the game or put another drive together we needed to be ready. I remember I was walking the sideline and I found Jake Kuresa and told him that we needed to make sure everyone was mentally prepared for whatever could happen.

After refocusing the offense I turned my attention to the defense.

There was a play where Aaron Wagner almost intercepted a pass to end it. I remember it played out in slow motion to my eyes because I knew that could have sealed the deal. When it wasn’t caught I had a feeling that Utah kind of got a second life. At that point I knew the offense was going to need to be ready. When Utah started getting some plays in big chunks my first thought was, “you’ve got to be kidding me. There’s no way it can end like this.” We had been in games over those last few years that had ended so crazy and somehow we ended up losing. To that point there had only been a few games where we had come from behind to win, but for many of us we remembered games like Stanford in 03, Boise St., UNLV and NM in 04, TCU, Utah and Cal in 05, and Arizona and BC in 06. Games where we fought so hard to get right there to win and in some cases even scored what we thought was the game winning score, but somehow still fell short.

When they continued to move the field I went back to the offense and said it looked like we are going to have to get ready to go into our two-minute offense and we would probably need to score. The best thing about that moment was nobody looked at me like “you think so” or “really”, they just nodded and said OK.

Moments later Utah hit that screen play for the TD and the stadium erupted. Looking back I’m glad that we got together as an offense before they scored because in our minds we were already prepared for what we needed to do. When Utah scored there was no quick rally needed. From that point until we took the field no words where needed, we were simply focused on the task at hand. Each person in their own way had already mentally prepared themselves for the final drive.

The last Thought I had was, ” I’m not going home with the game ending like this.”

Before games Matt Allen and I used to joke around and say “let’s just go out there, win this one, go home happy and kiss our wives.” At that point in the game , for whatever reason, that phrase was also what was being repeated in my head. I wanted to make sure I went home with the game ending with us on top. So after Curtis Brown returned the kick Coach Anae got the offense together on the side and basically said. “it was a two minute situation and we needed a touchdown to win.” I can remember glancing at the clock knowing we had over a minute and just running through all our two minute rules. No sacks, if you need to use a time out, get out of bounds to stop the clock, when do we take time outs and when do we want to spike it, than we took the field.

There are certain plays in that drive that stick out to me as key plays.

First was the catch by Bryce Mahuika. Bryce did a great job of avoiding a tackler and picking up an extra 5 yards and in 2 minute offense, every yard is crucial. There was also a play where I checked down to CB and he made a few guys miss to get out of bounds. That “fight” in Curtis to shed those tacklers is what gave us the few extra seconds we needed at the end.

On the fourth down to Johnny I could tell that the Utah student section had come down on the field thinking that they were going to rush the field when the play ended. I just kept my mind on my reads and knew if they rushed two or three men I wouldn’t have to force anything and I would be able to move defenders with my eyes and feet and make a play to keep the drive going.

As it turned out they only rush a three, so I had the time to move defenders and it opened up Johnny in the middle for the fourth down conversion.

The big play to McKay Jacobsen was really what set us up for the final completion. When we lined up for that play I knew I would have to squeeze the ball in a tight window, but if I could hold the nickel defender  with my eyes, using Johnny to pull him towards the middle, McKay could push the defense vertical, break his route of sharpe and we would be able to pick up the yardage we needed.

McKay did a great job of feeling the hole and settling and the play worked, just as I had imagined.

The next play I took a shot to Johnny on a fade, because Johnny had man to man coverage. He had been winning all night and they left him matched up on another defender besides Weddle. I thought it would be a sure thing. The defender made a great play so we were down to 3 seconds and the last play.

We called a timeout and went to the sideline to discuss what we wanted to do. When they had played man-to-man the play before Zac Collie and been open in the back of the end zone. We thought if they went with the same coverage Zac could get open again for the score. If Zac wasn’t open, or they went to a different coverage we would just read out the three receiver side and find the open man.

 When we took the field CB was the first to ask me what I wanted him to do. I just said if I don’t get the ball off quick just try to get open somewhere in the end zone. When we got closer to the line Johnny asked the same thing, I told him to “run a fade again, but if the fade isn’t there find a way to get open when I’m scrambling.”

 When I got to the line I surveyed the defense and recognized that there was no way they could play man coverage in their presnap alignments. I knew they were going to drop 9 or 10 into coverage.

That is when my thoughts took me back to the quarterback meeting room in November of 2005. I know all of those close losses -which I mentioned earlier- were tough for a lot of BYU fans, but I also know that there’s no way anyone had a harder time swallowing them than I did.

 I hated losing! I couldn’t take another lose… and I wouldn’t.

After the 05 loss to Utah I decided I would sit down at the computer in the QB room with a pad of paper and the game film and make a list of all the things I could have done differently to insure our team wins that game in overtime. Especially on the last play. I remember closing my eyes with my hands on the remote thinking of every possible scenario, decision, even steps that I could have made to win that game.

I don’t even remember how long I was in that room but when I walked out with a sheet full of ways to win. I felt that if I was presented with a similar scenario, I knew exactly what I needed to do.

As I stood on the 15 yard line and glanced up at the clock, then back down to the defense and my teammates, I took a deep breath and had a feeling like I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I knew from their alignment they were only going to rush a couple -it was just like the year before. I knew I would just buy as much time as I could with my feet and throw the ball only when I found an open guy.

When I was shuffling left pointing, I knew I would eventually find an open receiver because they were working so hard to get open. My receivers where running all over and the Utah defenders where stationary, I knew we had them.

After the snap when Johnny and Zac were covered, it turned into a school yard play. Where you tell everyone to “get open and I’ll find you”.

When they brought the LB to put more pressure it forced me right and I felt everyone move right. I knew I was going to need to locate the initial rusher to determine how much time I was going to have before I needed to throw it.

It was than that I saw this one white jersey cutting through the flow. I knew if he could get through the clutter he would be open. I took a few more steps to my rigth, as I saw him clear the last defender, I let it loose.

As I jumped to throw it I knew it was going to be a touchdown. When I was on my back looking through my legs I saw Johnny go to his knees -and for a second I thought, what if the throw wasn’t long enough and he’s on his knees out of the endzone!!

But when there was a huge roar and I saw Johnny get up to he’s feet in celebration I knew we had done it. I ran straight to my line and jumped up on Travis Bright. It was pandemonium. BYU fans, reporters, cameras were all in the mix, I was wondering how so many BYU fans got the field so quickly?

There was a moment during that celebration where I was hoisted on my teammates shoulders and I got to hold my helmet up towards our fans -kind of sounds like that part from Nacho Libre when he says ” do you remember when I  ripped my blouse. That’s a moment I will always remember because of the effort that went into the performance. 

I grew up on an old tape called “Greatest Moments In BYU Football History”. I would gather the neighborhood kids and have them watch the beginning of the tape to fire them up before we played pick up games in the street in front of my house.  I actually brought that tape into the locker room at BYU and we would watch it on the TV’s.

Guys laughed because I knew the narrator’s part word for word. BYU’s tradition meant so much to me and at that moment when I held up my helmet and was on my teammates shoulders I felt lucky to be apart of another great BYU moment.

I get asked all the time about that Utah game and when did I see Johnny and how did it feel. That one play was definitely a great moment and one I will always remember, but to be honest it was a culmination of many things, of years of work, that made that game and that play so special to me. In that game there was a group of guys on our team, on both sides of the ball that had been through so much adversity. Through all the adversity we never lost the belief that we could do it. The road to get to that opportunity was a difficult road to travel. The thing that made it so special was that everyone was prepared. Everyone wanted it so bad because we wanted to overcome the hardships that we had been through and just go out there and win it…and we did!

 On a side note:

I also get asked what Weddle and I were talking about when we were walking down the field together before I took the knee to end the game. Earlier that year, during the summer, a couple of my buddies and I were fishing at Fish Creek down by Scofield Reservoir. One of my friends was also friends with Weddle and had told Eric that he was going fishing with me that weekend. I guess Eric likes to fish also and wanted to come. I told my friend to tell him No… that I couldn’t fish with him until after the season, I wasn’t going to fish with a Ute that I was going to be playing later that year.

As Eric and I were walking towards the ball we were joking about our future fishing expedition to Scofield Reservoir and the fish we would catch.

Like all of you I hope BYU can get it done this weekend. I believe they will and I think they believe they will. Sounds to me like this one could be. . .another great moment in BYU football history!

Go Courgars.

Welcome to the Deep Shades of Blue Community!


  • Willus said:

    Goosebumps. I almost cried. I’ll admit it.

    Thanks John for sharing that awesome moment with us. I was sitting about 37 rows up in the MUSS for that game wearing proudly my Cougar Blue.

    Fantastic game.

  • AVN said:

    Wow, I got chills while reading that. Thanks John.

  • Scott said:

    That was one of the best games I have ever been to in my entire life. Thanks for sharing the details about the last drive. Best of luck to you with your endeavors.

  • Travis said:

    John Beck,

    Thanks for the hard work you put in. I have never felt as confident in an offense as the last half of that 2006 year. It certainly was a team to remember.

    It was fun to watch you improve year to year. By your senior year you were a man among boys. I remember an interception you threw against UNLV that year where my buddies and stopped and just stared at each other. The one mistake you made jolted us awake to a realization of how infrequent those mistakes had become. I had the same feeling after the TCU loss this year. Basically, this sucks, but it’s cool that I haven’t felt this in so long.

    Thanks again. I don’t think the Holy War can ever top 2006 in terms of drama and storyline.

    Go cougs!

  • BOrton said:

    I was in Nauvoo that day at a good friends wedding. We were away all day and couldn’t watch the game. I didn’t get to see it until about midnight. What a game! What a play! I hope they add another “great moment” to the list this weekend. Go Cougs!

    Thanks John!

  • Mike said:

    Dang! Way to go John. All of the memories just came flooding back when I read that. I was like watching the final drive in slow motion.

    Nice write up!

  • Emerson said:

    Awesome. I will always have a special place in my heart for the ’06 team. Every one of them is a hero in my book. JB is probably my favorite QB of all time.

  • Eric said:

    Wow, even knowing the outcome, my heart was pounding as I read that. It brought back all the memories of that great game, especially the final play. I still cannot watch that play without getting goosebumps and giggling when Johnny catches the ball. Thanks, John for giving us that insight!

  • Adrian Madrid said:

    Just have to thank you for such a great moment. My wife could not believe her eyes when she saw me jumping around like a 5 year old. It was too much emotion bottled up in this old body. Thanks. Thanks. Thanks for ever.

  • ProV1 said:

    I’ve been waiting years to hear your thoughts from that game. I did the Steve Young high step in my kitchen after that play. Best drive ever. Wouldn’t mind hearing your thoughts on destroying Oregon in the bowl game. Thanks, John.

  • Seasider said:

    Thank you John for reliving that day which be forever be remembered as one of the great moments in BYU football. I still remember leaping off my couch when Harline caught that TD and startling my poor 3 year old daughter in the process. It was a great day for BYU fans everywhere. We had finally gotten that 4 year monkey off our backs. Let’s hope we can keep it off this saturday.

  • dh said:

    Awesome. That dart to McKay was the most amazing. Thanks for sharing. By the way, we see Eric Weddle down here in the San Diego Temple quite often.

  • Jeff L said:

    I was watching that game by myself on the computer in Europe some time after midnight. When you guys made that play, I started jumping around the apartment like an idiot and woke up my wife, then called my family in America because I had to have somebody to celebrate with. Thanks so much for all of the hard work you guys put into making that moment happen.

  • Thrill said:

    GREAT account of the final drive. Thanks for taking the time to give us your version of the events that many of us know by heart.

    I think my whole neighborhood in AZ heard us yelling when that pass was caught. Hopefully not TMI, but my wife was standing next to our couch in a towel and nearly gave the neighbors a free show in the celebration.

  • abqcoug said:


    What a storyline! Thanks so much not only for creating the memory, but allowing us to relive it. Our household was one of the first proud owners of the Dolphins Jersey with Beck etched on the back. It was a pleasure to watch you over the years, read your interviews and admire the person you have become. Thanks for representing so well.

    Go Cougars!

  • Jared Goulding said:

    Thanks, John, for taking the time to share your memories with us. As a fellow Toro, I was excited to see you lead BYU back to glory. I was putting in a new kitchen sink during that game with Wrubell’s call reverberating from my laptop. Needless to say, when he was screaming “Caught for the touchdown! Caught for the touchdown! Caught for the touchdown!”, I was screaming in perfect harmony. I even removed my shirt and began running around the house waving it above my head.

    The only disappointment of the whole deal was not kicking the PAT to rewrite the 34-31 history.

  • Steve said:

    Thanks for the thoughts John,
    That game was amazing. I will always remember it because my brother and I got tickets on the internet (it was two days before he left on his mission) and when we got there it was right in the middle of the MUSS. We got beer thrown on us and a lot of foul words thrown our way as well. But when Johnny caught that ball the whole stadium went silent and we went nuts as we ran out of seats!! We were hugging anyone with a Blue shirt. It was all worth it and a memory we will have forever!!
    Thanks John

  • Tyler T. said:

    Thanks for the insight John. I will never forget that play, ever. My brothers and I were going crazy after that win. The 2006 team single handly turned BYU football around. You guys deserve all the credit for what BYU football has become. Thanks again for the memories.

  • AB in SC said:

    That was truly one of those moments that you never forget. We were watching the game online and it was delayed behind the KSL feed so we heard Wrubell’s call before we actually saw the catch. I couldn’t let myself celebrate until I had actually seen it with my eyes.

    It would have been one thing if the play had taken 3 seconds and was over, but it took so long to develop that the suspense was more intense than any other play I can remember (except maybe the Hail Mary in the Holliday Bowl).

    Thanks John, we’ll see you on the next installment of “Greatest Moments in BYU History”!

  • Ryan Johnson said:

    That game was the best I have ever seen in my whole life. One of my most cherished possessions is a DVD of the game. Everytime I see that last play, I can’t help but relive my feelings from when I saw it live. John Beck is the man!

  • Air Force Ute said:

    Nice write-up John, really. Will you next write about how it felt to lose to Utah on the final play the year before? I’d really like to know your thoughts on that. I’d also like to have a guest commentary from Dustin Gabriel. I’d like his take on what it feels like to be run over by Quinton Ganther.

  • Ryan said:

    Thanks, John, for sharing your thoughts on the game. That final play is one of those imfamous “where were you when…?” moments for me in my life. I’ll never forget feeling my heart stop when the ball was in the air, and then screaming like a girl once the ball was in Harline’s hands.

    Thank you for your passion and work ethic. Best of luck to you and your family in your next phase of life.

  • art director said:

    I grew up on the “greatest moments in BYU History,” too.

    Pretty soon, someone needs to make another one. The old film starts with Detmer, then goes back to the early days and then back up the 80’s with Lavell.

    I think it’d be pretty easy to make a story about Lavell, the ’96 team, Doman’s run in 00-01. The hiring of Bronco, and the turn around (the 05 win at New Mexico, the 06 win at TCU). The miracle wins over Utah, and then closing on whatever is the next great high-point for BYU.

    The yearly productions are nice to have, but I think there’s a bigger story that could be told over what has happened to the program over the last 20 years.

  • Marilyn said:

    John and Quinn,
    Thanks so much for letting us share in these great memories. I will never forget that play–I was crying with happiness and amazement, and I still cry every time I watch the video of it, and I cried when I read your post too. It was one of the most amazing and wonderful BYU football moments ever—actually of any moments, period. Thank you!!!! And good luck with everything this year–I will always be a John Beck fan.

  • Mark said:

    Great writeup. So have you gone fishing with Weddle yet?

  • Quinn Gooch (author) said:

    The funny thing about that video is that John brought that with him when he came to BYU and when we lived together we watched it every week during the off-season. I love the quote about Lavell being, “crazy…crazy like a fox.” If you have the tape watch, it’s awsome.

  • Andrew said:

    Thanks for the account, John! Reading about this excellent moment in BYU gave me goosebumps of excitement! What a play!

  • Matt said:

    Thank you John, for taking the time to share this with us passionate BELIEVERS out here. I never doubted for a second on that drive (yah right)!

    Thank you, Quinn, for connecting the fans to the players and what’s happening on the field in a truly unique way.

  • Tony said:

    My brother and I were at the game on the North endzone. At 14-0, we were smelling a blowout, and w/o a fake punt and few plays called into the sun, maybe it could’ve been. Either way, when you took the field w/ a minute + to go, we knew you’d get the score. Great job, and keep it going in the Pros…you’ll get your due.

  • Joe said:

    John, Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I hope all is well with you and your family in Miami.

  • Kyle said:

    Please tell me that Max has the notes and has watched the tape like you said you did! I think Max and Company are going to need it Saturday when utah throws that wacky 2 man rush, then 8 man rush.

  • Felix said:


    I love that you had always been true blue, that it was so much a part of you. It was that heart of yours that got that touchdown. What an amazing game. We started out our family night with that highlight and reminded everyone that it was rivalry week.

    Thanks for the insight John.
    Thanks for the text Quinn.

  • Jake said:

    Dear Air Force Ute-

    Will you write up a commentary on what it is like to live in your parents’ basement at 35. Thanks in advance.

  • Jim said:

    Brought back great memories of sitting in a cabin, eyes going wide as the ball floats, and then screaming high fiving anyone near me. Thanks for the memories!

    I went a lookin’ for the 4th quarter audio on KSL for the 2006 game, but will have to resort to youtube for the final play with Greg’s call.

    For another pump-me-up moment, try the 36:40 mark of the 4th quarter Utah 2007 game – IMO Greg’s best call ever. http://pandora.bonnint.net/audio/byu_football.rss

  • scotts said:

    JOHN!!! Everyone remembers where they were on that play. I sure do. And I’ll never forget it. After we erupted in celebration and tackled each other for a full 15 minutes, I collapsed on the floor and could barely breath. Wished I could have been there in person. I love you man!

  • kiyoshige said:

    7/8 siblings have been fortunate to “enter to learn”. We had six of the BYU alumni and a seventh sibling (black sheep didn’t want to go to BYU) and our families (somehow a sister married a Ute fan) huddled at my brother’s house in Houston watching (and listening via KSL) this game over the Thanksgiving holiday. It was bedlam as described in other posts above. Thanks for that memory and your personal account of what happened. My first thought was exactly the same, “His knee is not in the end zone.” But it was, and Ralph Sokoloski’s squels of joy are now etched in the back of my mind forever.

  • Chelsea said:

    OOOH I got chills reading that! It was almost as good watching it. Sometimes when I’m having a hard day, I’ll find that play on youtube and it perks me right up!

  • Paul said:

    John, I was about 20 rows up right behind where Johnny caught the ball and it was an unbelievable perspective! All the pictures afterwards of the that catch can’t begin to illustrate what it was like being right there. I always wondered what was said in the time out and if you and JH had planned in the slightest to move to one sideline and bring all the defense with you and then throw across your body to an open Harline. I’ve bumped into Mahuika since then and wanted to ask him but never did. I finally got an insider’s description of that last drive! And what an incredible drive it was! There were fights that broke out around me afterwards which was pretty lame but I couldn’t have asked for a better game from my beloved Cougars. It is the most memorable game I’ve ever seen in person. A MILLION thanks to you and the 2006 team and coaches.

    P.S. I saw you in Sportsman’s in south Provo a few times in the offseason that year and even said hello. Maybe you were getting tackle for that fishing trip to Scofield!

  • Cgrblu said:

    I just remember almost having a heart attack that game. ’07 was almost the same, but the ’06 was amazing. I’ve always wished there had been a camera angle that caught the whole scene and it’s still too bad that there isn’t. But John Beck’s recounting of the scenario is definitely the next best thing.

  • Cgrblu said:

    Air Force Ute,

    I believe he did comment on the loss, which is why he said he went and watched film, and studied to know how to beat you guys the next year. They must not teach comprehensive literature up north, or you just failed it.

  • JK said:

    I grew up watching “Greatest Moments In BYU Football History” endlessly. Great video.

    John, I’ve never felt so comfortable watching a QB in the final minutes of a game. I was so confident you would do it – and you did! Anytime I need a lift, watching that final play on youtube usually does the job.

  • Benchwarmer said:

    Dang I really did get goosebumps and still have them! I’ll never forget that moment, screaming my head off with the rest of my family at my house. What a classic. Thanks for making it possible! That was one of the greatest moments of my life! I know we can will this Sat! Gooooo Cougars!!

  • Brock said:

    That play call from Greg Wrubell is still my cell phone ringer, best football moment every!

    This speaks volumes of all the unseen preparation needed to be able to pull off these moments. Great stuff John, good luck!!

  • Air Force Ute said:


    I’m sure they don’t teach “comprehensive literature” at Utah. It’s difficult to include a subject in the curriculum that doesn’t exist.

    As far as wanting John to comment extensively on how he felt during the 2005 game, that’s what’s called a joke. I guess they don’t teach a sense of humor to kids at the Y.

  • mgpid said:

    WOW! Thank you so much. I loved that moment, and to re-live it through your eyes was fascinating. I have loved BYU football since I was young too, but never experienced it like that. Thank you again. You should continue writing, you describe well for my senses.

  • Richard M. said:

    Johnny Beck. You are awesome! Thanks for taking the time.

  • Kevin said:

    I would like commentary from Bryce McCain on what it’s like to get burned on a double move on 4th and 18. Or from Robert Johnson on how his treadmarks compliments of Harvey Unga are doing. That would be nice.

  • Paul said:

    AF Ute, yeah, right. Well, in that case, here’s a joke for your healthy sense of humor: Why don’t you comment on what it feels like to have your team supposedly seal the win in this decade so many times only to have the Cougs rip your heart out in the last seconds of the game? (See 2000, 2001, 2006, and 2007) Hey, I’m just jokin with ya! Is this where I put an “LOL”?

  • Skimoab said:

    Yeah! Go “Courgars”! Let’s “insure” the win this year!

  • Air Force Ute said:

    Paul, those games you mentioned sucked, there’s no doubt about it. However, this is a great rivalry and there’s just as many years where I could talk about a Utah win. I know no one in Provo thinks football was played before Lavell got there, but Utah does have a series lead of more than 20 games. The Utes and Cougs are 5-5 in the last 10 though, so here’s to a good rubber match. Don’t get so defensive Paully, did you not expect some back and forth razzing before the biggest rivalry game in history?

  • Blue thru and thru said:

    I watched the game at the Joseph F. Smith Building on one of the big projection screens downstairs.

    After Brown returned the kickoff, they showed a graphic with John Beck’s stats at 300 yards and 3 touchdowns.

    I said to all the other people there to just watch – by the end of the game it would be 375 yards, 4 touchdowns and BYU would win the game. Thanks for not making me a liar, JB.

    And of course, there was much running around and hollering, etc. after the last play. Unforgettable.

  • Bryan said:

    My family and I were returning from Eugene, Oregon that afternoon and I kept trying to get KSL while going through the desert. For a while I could listen and the Cougars were ahead and then we would go into a dip and when we came out the Utes had the lead. Luckily I got to hear the last minute of the game. I almost ran off the road. Thanks John for the years of memories. No matter what your future in football you will never, and I mean never be forgotten by the Cougar faithful.

  • Scott said:

    I have been waiting for this for three years!!!! THANK YOU JOHN! I have always wished I could sit down with you and pick your brain about that drive. THANK YOU FOR THE DRIVE AND NOW THE COMMENTARY!

    We still cheer for you!

  • Brian said:

    As a fan since 1975: Thanks John for the greatest moment/play for BYU in the history of the BYU/Utah rivalry. You are up there with the greatest BYU players to ever play the game. Good luck.

  • Chad said:

    Thanks for the write up John! Quinn, you are running the most impressive BYU football blog on the planet! I hope you’re getting all the hits and sponsorships you need to keep it going strong!

  • Lynne said:

    It is so good to read John’s account of that game. How we have all longed to hear/read that from the Great John Beck himself. Thank you, John, and thank you, Quinn. I think John’s description of his amazing preparation, with film, imagination, etc., should be included in every FHE! Those moments don’t just happen. They are created by those who prepare. Wait . . . I believe that’s been Quinn’s football mantra throughout the history of this website!

  • Scott said:

    My blood is still pumping after reading that for the second time. My favorite parts are John’s ability to be completely in the zone, the details of McKay’s catch, and CB asking “what do you want me to do”. A true team player who knew his leader.


  • SonOFpeRdiTioN said:

    JB may be the finest star from BYU’s program. I hope he continues to shine.

    My best access to the game at the time in Dallas was listening to the KSL radio feed over the internet. (That’s how I followed most of the games that season.) Even though it seemed like the ball moved so fast on that last drive, my heart was still nearly sunk that my Cougars would not win this close game. I could hardly bear to follow the Cougars in prior seasons. But that CAUGHT FOR THE TOUCHDOWN!…words can’t express how ecstactic I was. We can only imagine the simultaneous outburst of emotions expressed for Cougar fans everywhere at the conclusion of that play.

    The beat down on Oregon was icing on the cake.

    It’s great seeing players come out of Mesa and the surrounding area and do well. Maybe one day we’ll have a BYU football star from my Gilbert Tigers. Toros can’t have all the talent, can they?

  • Jonny said:

    I heart John Beck.

  • Mars said:

    Utah Sucks!

  • Cgrblu said:

    I love how people talk smack, get smacked talked back, then say chill out because it was just a joke. Can they not take a joke too. A F U, its just some razzle back at you.

  • BYUJACK said:

    Thanks John, that is a classic. Someone at BYU should take this and keep it in the achieves. I think that play is one of the top 5 every at BYU, and right up there with the miracle bowl and the two point conversion at Texas A&M. It was the defining statement we needed that said, “BYU football is back!” To a lot of us that had been through the great times of the late 70s through the 90s when the questions wasn’t whether we would beat Utah in this great one sided rivalry, but by how much…… to losing to them over and over again… it was great game and a hell of a play John… Thank you for all your hard work ,dedication and preparation that went into you making the most of that opportunity. Also for telling that Ewte he couldn’t go fishing with you….. that is tremendous.

  • Gary said:

    Curtis Brown’s effort to get out of bounds during that last drive epitomized the kind of player he was and will always be etched in my mind.

    I loved the drama and excitement of the last 2 years but here’s wishing that this year the game is over at the end of the first half just like the UCLA game. That would be better on my heart too.

    Quinn, your crazy not to charge for this info. Next column should be Johnny Harline’s take on that last drive and how many times people greet him with the question: “are you still open?”

  • Patrick said:

    Last year I uploaded “The Greatest Moments in BYU Football History” in 7 parts on youtube. This is the tape John is talking about. I suggest all of you watch this sometime this week before the job. Thanks John for writing this.

    (part 1. the other parts are in the related videos section on the left)

  • Robert Sailing said:

    Beck, Thank you!

  • Chuck said:

    My 9 year old son and I were watching that game on TV, using the DVR. We paused the game right at the beginning of the final play, and voted to watch it slow motion, so we could see the whole play develop. The play took FOREEEEEVERRRR. We could see the linebacker coming at you and both of us were screaming for you to run. It seemed like you held out for an eternity, and then just as we resigned ourselves to the sack, you popped out of the way. We panicked on the pass because Harline was outside of the screen and it appeared every player on the field was on the right side of the endzone. Once Harline came into view completely by himself, we panicked over whether he would freeze up and drop it. We both literally screamed ourselves hoarse over the next 15 minutes. Watching the play over and over again. A great bonding moment for the two of us. My Cougar addiction was sealed on McMahon’s Holiday Bowl win. My son’s addiction was sealed in the 2006 Utah game. We still ask each other, out of the blue, “hey, is Harline still open?”

  • Eric Monson said:

    John, Thanks for sharing your memories. I’m older (58), so I raised my kids on the “Greatest Moments” video! We were at the very end of the last row in the south corner of the west stands – to my right was the wall, then the parking lot! I was at the 1980 Holiday Bowl, and my wife and I were among the few fans still there at the end. When Harline made the catch in the 06 game, I was so excited that I forgot to notice who had caught it! I had to hear it on the postgame show! Did you notice what a cauldron of sound the whole stadium was during the play, and how 80% of the stadium instantly fell silent after the catch?! Amazing! After the game, I told my boys, “You’ve just seen this generation’s Miracle Bowl. You’ll remember this game for the rest of your lives.” So will I! Thanks for all you and your teammates did to resurrect BYU football.
    Eric Monson

  • Cade Miller said:

    Can’t wait for saturday.

  • tymasterflex said:

    unbelievable play. Thanks for the insight. I was at the game, the moment Johnny caught the ball i remember such an uproar (from BYU fans) and shock (guess who).

  • Herb Sanchez said:

    OK . . . So . . . Don’t keep me hanging . . . who caught the most fish? . . . You or Weddle?

  • Shane Edwards said:

    That was awesome. Thanks for helping us appreciate even more such a great memory.

  • CoachC said:

    Film study, film study, film study. Practice, practice, practice. More film study, More practice. Lift weighs, Lift weights, run, run, run, Lift weights, Film study, film study, film study, practice, practice, practice and more film study.

    Then, and only then, will you experience success Like Beck and BYU had in 06′ culminating in “Caught for the Touchdown. Caught for the Touchdown.”

    If BYU has done that this season, then they will win. If they have not put in that extra time this year, then they won’t.

    Sounds like a simple formula? Its not because preparation is painful and grueling.

    Beck and BYU won 11 games that year. His memory of the play and what he put into that season is what I admire most.

    When a player talks about being humbled, the question remains if he and his teammates have been humbled enough to prepare?

  • Kevin N said:

    Thanks for taking the time to write this up John!!!

    I was living in Quinn’s family’s old ward in Lake Villa, IL at the time. I had just finished my basement and my sister and brother-in-law (Ute Fan…I know…what was I thinking) had moved in. We were watching it down there together. After that play I just about had to re-finish the ceiling I jumped so high. AWESOME MOMENT!!!

    A few months later we moved to Las Vegas. As soon as I knew the move was official we purchased season tickets. We have been to every game since and have loved every minute of it.

  • SethP said:

    For some reason, the best I had for that game was an online gamecast ksl radio, which for some reason was about 20 seconds behind my brother who I was chatting online with. The GameCast was behind by about 30 seconds and my little bro suddenly just typed “no way” and “!!!!!!!” and I had to wait. It was excruciating, and I almost broke my kneecap on my desk when I jumped up.

    Saturday can’t come soon enough. I rushed the field so many times (including at RES) over my years in Provo. Saturday will give the Coug fans another chance!

  • vaughnzipper said:

    Hands down, the greatest drive in BYU football history! That was remarkable!

  • Randelius said:

    Thanks john… I faithfully attended every home game from 04 – 07… and the 06 season was amazing. I wonder if anyone has thanked Weddle for those amazingly helpful personal fouls? Here goes: Thanks Eric!!

  • Jonathan said:

    Thanks for your example John.

  • Jefe said:

    Just got to say thanks John for the time you took to share this with us.

    My 9 year old son still has some PTSD from the shock of 10 adults rising and shouting at the top of our lungs when it was finally “CAUGHT FOR THE TOUCHDOWN!, CAUGHT FOR THE TOUCHDOWN!, CAUGHT FOR THE TOUCHDOWN!”

  • FM said:

    Hey AirForce Ute,

    You don’t need to talk to Dustin. You have a much closer source. Just ask your buddy Steve Tate about getting steamrolled by Unga last year. Is he still drooling?

  • Jon of Southern CA said:

    What so impressed me was that you actually acheived TWO game winning drives that game…first driving the length of the field and the TD to Coats, then the final drive and TD to Harline….BOTH WERE AMAZING DRIVES and to do it twice was UNBELIEVABLE! Good job…I miss the 2006 team A LOT!

  • Jet said:

    It’s so funny to read how many people literally jumped up after the last play. I wonder how many people accross the world jumped at that exact moment. I was watching the game with all of my family, and when Harline caught the touchdown, about 15 people (young and old) instantaneously jumped up and screamed. People were laughing and crying at the same time. I still remember the rush of emotion I felt, and I too get a little teary-eyed every time I see that play. Thank you John for all of your hard work and great example.

  • Rick said:

    The Miracle Bowl and all the great moments of BYU football have nothing on “Harline is still open.” And John Beck found him in the EZ. BYU fans will never forget that moment. That play was one of the greatest any QB, BYU or otherwise, will ever execute. That game belongs to BYU football history and will always be part of the tradition and memories we share. Thanks for what you did to bring it to us.

  • mac said:


    Thanks so much for writing that. I too have wondered what you must have thought during that last drive. Eric Monson was right; that was this generation’s Miracle Bowl. What an incredible, incredible play! Ripping the heart right out of the Utes at the last minute on their home field just made it all the sweeter. WELL DONE!

    I had been in Utah until that Saturday, and the morning of the game I had to fly to Korea. I didn’t know who had won until I got to Narita Airport and found a computer kiosk. I’m sure all the Japanese and other assorted travellers in the Northwest lounge were wondering why that crazy gaijin was over there at the computer in the corner punching the sky and yelling YES! YES! YES!

    If anyone had asked me, which they didn’t, I’d have had to tell them, “It’s a BYU thing; you just wouldn’t understand.”

    When you get your shot in the pros (it hasn’t happened yet), we know you’ll do very well and make us proud. Best of luck in the NFL!

  • JVip said:

    JB, thanks for one of the greatest games ever. I remember Casteel scoring and I couldn’t sit on the couch any longer. I moved to our coffee table which was closer to the TV and sat there telling my wife that this is how it has been the last couple of years. When you hit Bryce (a fan favorite in our house) we got excited but when I knew you were going to score was when you hit CB and fought for extra yards and got out of bounds. I have watched that final drive a million times and every time it gives me the chills. You truly have become one of the greats that we have all watched on the BYU’s Greatest film.

  • Geoff N. Germane said:

    Right before that final play, I looked around the basement in my parents’ house where we were watching the game, saw one of my younger brothers who isn’t much of a football fan, and told him to watch this last play closely because “to get into heaven you’ll have to answer the question of who caught John Beck’s last pass for a touchdown to win the game.”

    The correct answer, Kimball, in case you’ve forgotten, is “Johnny Harline.”

  • Nick R said:

    Top 5 greatest moments of my life.

    You know that part on Invincible when the dad tells Vince that the touchdown by Van Buren got him through 30 years? Like that, I’ll never forget the John to Johnny. It’s truly one the greatest moments in Cougar history.

    ’08 has the skill and power to make it happen again. Let’s go Cougs! Bring on those Utes!


  • Brian said:

    Thanks John,

    That was awesome and we love and miss you a ton…oh and I wish you where a Cowboy…lol

  • Jared Havens said:

    Thank you John for your hard work and effort and for taking the time to write this up.

    I too grew up a die hard Cougar fan watching and re-watching more BYU football games than I could possibly count. To watch BYU pull that game out was truly the greatest sporting moment I’ve ever experienced or ever expect to experience. I still remember dancing, screaming, yelling, and jumping up and down for joy. I’ve often wanted to be able to go back to that one moment in time and I see a recording of my family as that play took place. Absolutely incredible.

    “That play took 3.6 seconds on the field but an eternity in the hearts and minds of Cougars fans everywhere.”

  • Tony said:

    Great testimony

  • CDA Coug said:

    Thanks for the great summary. That game will be etched into my memory forever. I remember being on cloud 9 for a week after that game. There was some videos made if it which included some music from Rudy, and whenever I felt a little down and out, all I had to do is watch it and become a sobbing yet newly inspired mess. I can’t imagine a more exciting experience for you being what that last play meant to me.

  • YLife said:

    This should be required reading for every Cougar about to play utah in the rivalry game.

    I never gave up hope on the 2006 BYU team. I thought they would win out and they did.

    When they won, I jumped higher than I’ve ever jumped in my life.

    In my opinion, that was the great BYU rivalry victory ever. Truly magic!

  • NancyZelenak said:

    Thanks for the extra bit of ‘psyching up’ I got from your article. I can’t wait till Saturday at 4p!!!! GO BYU!
    (Superman wears Cougar Footbal pajama’s!)

  • Carl said:


    Not only very exciting, but very fascinating to know your thought process. Gave us just a little insight into how all your preparation lead you to the decisions you made. Can’t imagine having to make those kind of calculations in split seconds.
    Hope you get the chance to show the pros what you’re made of.

  • Mark B said:

    I was watching this game with about 30 friends and family. After the catch we were screaming and then all the kids started crying, it was glorious! One of the happiest moments in my life. Thanks for the awesome memory.

  • Trueblue said:

    John, That was amazing! I was in the north endzone and I have never seen a more spectacular finish! That game will live forever as my favorite Cougar moment.

    GO Cougars!!
    GO Miami! (now that I’m a fan)

  • Brett said:

    Since everyone is sharing where they were…

    I was a missionary in Decatur, Indiana. My comp and I were in for dinner when the phone rang, and I answered.

    In a frantic voice, I heard “Elder, you just missed the best game EVER! I’m at the stadium in Salt Lake! BETTER THAN THE MIRACLE BOWL!” I knew the voice right away – my previous 2-transfer’s district leader who had gone home to Utah. He still had the apartment’s number in a planner, and he and I had always kept each other updated on BYU football based on our parent’s emails. We aren’t supposed to accept out of state calls, but how am I supposed to know when we don’t have caller ID?

    So seizing the opportunity for such a precious morsel, I said: “Dude, what? What happened?”

    “BYU had a drive to win the game, Beck was running around for like 20 seconds on the final play and Harline was wide open in the endzone and caught it on his knees! It was incredible!”

    A missionary sinned that day. I never felt so much jealousy and rage because he saw it and I didn’t. Okay, I wasn’t THAT affected, but I did feel it in my stomach a bit. My first week home I watched it on the tape my parents recorded for me. Thanks Mom and Dad!

  • Schofield's - Mesa said:


    Thanks for the memory! (As Bob Hope would say.) You, Harline, and the rest of the team are now forever etched into BYU Football lore. What a game, what a play!

    All the Best,

    Mark, Antoinette, Melissa, Crystal, & Landon

  • Tobey said:


    That was awesome! My brother had gotten us tickets to that game. I sat by my three best friends (2 brothers & wife) in the middle of the Crimson Club on the 20 all in our Cougar gear. After the Utes scored their last TD, a Ute student by me got in my face and taunted me. I pointed to the clock and said “1:19.. your giving John too much time.” He laughed at me, slashed his throat, and said: “It’s over!” The rest is history! After watching the refs arms go up, the four of us started embracing and jumping up and down together. The sea of dejected Utes around us was priceless . Thanks for making one of the greatest memories of my lifetime happen! BTW, my 8 yr. old always says he’s you when he plays ball in the yard with his buddies. He passed when I offered to buy him a jersey at one of the games this year because they didn’t have the one he wanted… the #12 with BECK on the back.

  • Bleeding Blue said:

    I was huddled around my radio in my apartment in Cleveland listening to Greg Wrubel call this game. As it played out, and I heard Greg calling it “shuffling, shuffling, shuffling…all kinds of time…” I felt like the longer it took, the better chance we had. “…now the heat comes, he’s gotta run to his right, John Beck is on the run, he throws behind him it is…….CAUGHT FOR THE TOUCHDOWN! CAUGHT FOR THE TOUCHDOWN! CAUGHT FOR THE TOUCHDOWN!”
    I completely lost my mind! My wife and kids ran into the room to see if I was alright, but I was already on the 2 different phone calls to family members back in Utah.
    The next Monday neighbors upstairs and down filed complaints about the noise to the leasing office!
    Thank you for the memories!
    From a Dolphins fan since the 2007 draft.

  • Gary said:

    You and Weddle showed great class after that game. I never could bring myself to hate Weddle. I am glad to hear some in Southern Cal see him in the Temple from time to time. Both of you showed the best the Church could hope for in a very heated and sometimes too hateful rivalry.

    All my boys will always remember JoBeck, that game and that year. Thanks for the memories.

  • PJD said:

    thanks for two things:
    1. Confiming that hard work pays off through all kinds of adversity.
    2. Memories of that old BYU greatest hits tapes. You’re on it now.

  • Robbie said:

    I was in the very last row of the BYU section at that game. That was definitely one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. It was fun reading this too because i was raised on that same video of BYU football, and my dad was at the 1980 holiday. He actually wanted to leave cuz he thought it was over, but my mom talked him into staying. Obviously we didn’t plan on leaving the Utah game early, but afterwards he said it was a pretty comparable feeling.

  • Andrew Beck said:

    Looks like my response is about a year late.. but this is john’s lil brother Andrew. I was just on here tonight checking out the blog quinn has been running. Quinn has been a friend for years. Quinn, john and I were all roommates together our freshman year playing ball at the Y. looks like quinn has been doing a great job on here!

    Well after reading all the comments on here about the BYU vs Utah game of ’06 and what was going through my brothers mind during the final minutes of the game. I realized that I probably could have told you exactly what he was thinking during those final seconds of what was one of the greatest plays in Byu football history and why I knew without a doubt that he would find a way to win. (reading the rest of what i will write you will be able to understand why i say that)

    First off I just want to say it was so funny hearing John talk about that old greatest moments in BYU football history movie. i remember watching that movie HUNDREDS of times growing up… its true! We would go out to the little street in front of our parents home with a box of chalk and spend hours making our own college football field in the street. We would draw up all the yard markers, field decals and everything to make our street look like it came straight from the movie. Once we were finished we would go inside and turn the ceiling fan on high, grab some gatorades to cool down from the warm arizona sun while we watched that movie and got pumped up to play some football and imagining we were making those great plays that Ty Detmer, Steve Young, Jim Mcman and Robbie Bosco had made.

    In John’s post he said in his thoughts of the utah games of seasons past that he HATES to lose. now most people do not like to lose, but what made my brother a champion was when he would lose (which was something that almost never happened) he would not find an excuse or complain about the circumstances. he would do everything possible, training, practicing and studying to make sure that would NEVER happen again. i know because i was there right next to him for all the speed training and work outs. i was the one who was getting dragged out of bed early on a saturday to go catch hundreds of passes from him while we were growing up. There was nothing that was going to stop him from winning and achieving his goals.

    Now you have to understand that my brother is the most competitive person i have ever met. Im not saying that just because he is my brother, Im saying it because I have never seen anyone ever have the fire and passion to win that he has. No matter what the sport, he will win. Growing up I knew when I watched him play that no matter what the odds were, no matter how many points the other team had scored, my brother would win. I never had a doubt in my mind because I knew he had prepared himself mentally and physically and he wanted it more than any other player on the field. I just knew he would win. Thats just what he did.. he was a winner.

    By his example and work ethic he always seemed to inspire everyone around him to challenge themselves to be that much better and work that much harder to achieve any goal they set forth to attain. This is something I have personally witnessed throughout his career. pop warner, junior high, high school, college, no matter what team, no matter who were the players on his team, he would have the whole team staying after practice and summer work outs running extra routes, watching extra film, just anything they could to be better. He was a true leader.. He led by example. And everywhere he has played the teams have always have always had something special about them and they way come together. There were never divisions in the teams he was a part of. The ’06 cougars were great example of that because they were a true band of brothers and they wanted to win and worked that much harder to make it happen.

    I think a lot of critics and sportswriters misinterpreted a game earlier in john’s college football career for crying after a loss. I was on my mission at that time.. but one thing I do know is that football is a game that is played at the highest levels of intensity and that true champions have a deep passion for the game. If you ever watch any footage of any team after they win a championship or achieve something great, regardless of the sport, the passion they play with combined with the extreme sacrifices they have made during the off season workouts and preparation to obtain that goal brings about such strong emotions when that goal is achieved that even the toughest of tough men cry… Applying that same principle to john, he has always been the first one to practice and the last one to leave. While other junior high and high school kids were out hanging out and messing around he was driving 40 min across town every day after school to work out with a trainer for 2 hours. If everyone had just a tiny insight into the sacrifices and hard work john has made throughout his life to be the player and person he is today, it would be very easy to understand the type of passion he plays the game of football with day in and day out every game. I believe that his emotions that game reflect the sacrifices he has made and the passion he plays the game with. when a player lays everything on the line.. holding nothing back till the whistle blows.. it will always be because of his true passion for the game and desire to achieve his goal.

    Just as Steve Young, Ty detmer and all the greats have proven.. they find a way to win because they play the game with such a deep passion. watching those last seconds of the byu vs utah game of ’06 i knew john was going to win… and as those last seconds of the game were flashing before my eyes all i could think of was sitting next to my brother when we were kids as we watched ‘the greatest moments in BYU football history’ together… i knew he was living his dream. He was about to do what Steve Young, jim Mcman and Ty Detmer had done before him… become part of one of the greatest moments in BYU football history… and he did.

    That was one of the moments in my life that I felt so happy for him. If anyone was ever deserving of that win and to make that play.. it was him. Years and years of countless hours practiced, film watched, sweat and blood and tears shed, he did what he had seen his heroes do before him, pull of one of the greatest victories in cougar football and add one more chapter to BYU football history. I appreciate all the fans that supported him through his years at BYU and support him now. You guys mean a lot. Im happy the ’06 season could have a story book ending for my brother and the fans

    on a sidenote.. kinda cool story. I was far too yong to remember it but have heard it told before by my mom…. Well my dad used to play sports and run track at BYU. One day he was out catching passes from the quaterbacks and my mom was there watching with John up in the stands. I think he must have been very young at the time. Well Levell Edwards came walking over and stopped to say hi to my mom. As he bent over to say hi, John grabbed the hat off Levell’s head and put it on his own. Laughing Coach Edwards asked who this little boy was and my brother answered back.. Im john Beck and Im gonna be a BYU cougar quarterback!!! Coach Edwards said.. well if Im still the coach when you are old enough ill give you a shot kid.. looks like coach Edwards retired a little earlier but John got his shot and i guess the rest is history!

  • scott said:

    Thanks Andrew! Great stuff!

  • AF Coug said:

    I didn’t get this channel at my house, but luckily my best friend and neighbor did and even though he was gone on vacation he left me the keys to his house because he knew I was so sick with cougarfever that year.

    The game was so good that I actually had to put my wife of swearing probation after Weddles late hit out of bounds. When it came to that last play and Johnny stood up victorious with the ball in his hand I started screaming and running around the room like crazy. Mostly on top of all the furniture. On my second circuit around the living room I slipped off the arm of the couch and fell into the wall. My shoulder put a hole about 6″x12″, though I bounced right off and kept running around the room. It didn’t even phase me.

    This Was The Greatest Football Game Ever Played.

    My good friend was surprised to come home from vacation and see the framed wedding picture of my wife and I infront of the temple covering a rather inconspicuous wall in his living room. Man what a day. thank you for writing this article and best of luck to you John.

  • AF Coug said:

    Something funny you all might appreciate.


  • Spencer said:

    How did I miss this? What an awesome read. I also really enjoyed Andrew’s post toward the end.

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