In the toughest test for both teams in the 2016 season, No. 4 Washington outlasted No. 17 Utah at Rice-Eccles Stadium, 31-24.
SALT LAKE CITY—In the toughest test for both teams in the 2016 season, No. 4 Washington outlasted No. 17 Utah at Rice-Eccles Stadium, 31-24. Even with the loss late in the season, the Utes still control their destiny in the Pac-12 with three games to play.
Washington (8-0, 5-0 Pac-12) put Utah (7-2, 4-2 Pac-12) in a familiar double-digit deficit in the first half when Huskies receiver John Ross secured a tipped a Jake Browning pass in the end zone to put his team up 14-0.
As they have in several games this season, Utah answered back with the game’s next three scores.
Browning didn’t expect Utah strong safety Chase Hansen across the middle on a seam route with disguised coverage, resulting in Hansen returning an interception to the Washington 19-yard line. The Huskies held the Utes on the goal line, but an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty by linebacker Azeem Victor gave the Utes a fresh set of downs. Joe Williams capitalized with a two-yard touchdown rush to get his team on the board.
After a defensive stop including a Pita Taumoepenu sack, Andy Phillips put the Utes within 14-10 as time expired in the first half with a 29-yard field goal.
Coming out of halftime, the Utah offense came alive, driving down in the Washington 1-yard line, where they were again stopped. But Victor committed a facemask penalty on Joe Williams to give Utah a second chance once again. Troy Williams pulled a play-action pass back and zipped a touchdown pass in the right corner to Siaosi Wilson to give the Utes their first lead of 17-14.
Washington answered immediately with a six-play drive spanning 75 yards and just 2:41, with a Browning 5-yard pass to Ross.
Utah punched back with a touchdown pass from Troy Williams to tight end Evan Moeai, who powered through a handful of defenders into the noisy north end zone.
The Utes’ defense shut down the Huskies at mid-field, forcing a Browning quick punt, pinning Utah at their own 1-yard line. After three fruitless plays, Utah punted to Washington’s Dante Pettis, who returned the kick 58 yards with, arguably, the aid of three illegal blocks in the back, to Utah’s south end zone, giving the Huskies their final score.
Utah’s ensuing kick return by Kyle Fulks put Utah on their 36-yard line. Troy and Joe Williams led the Utes to the Washington 26-yard line, where the offense stalled. Demari Simpkins attempted a trick play pass that fell incomplete, followed by Troy Williams taking the Huskies’ first sack of the game. The 4th-and-15 pass attempt to Raelon Singleton fell well outside the end zone, and Utah’s chances of upsetting a top-5 team at home came up short.
With Utah’s win over USC and a game still left at South Divison leader Colorado, the Utes still control their ability to compete in the Pac-12 Championship game, but will likely need to win their three remaining games at Arizona State, at home against Oregon, and against the Buffaloes in Boulder, Colorado.
The Utes will be off next week for their bye before heading to Tempe, Arizona to face the Sun Devils on Thursday, November 10th.
Kyle Whittingham Postgame Press Conference:
Troy Williams, Joe Williams, Chase Hansen, Isaac Asiata Postgame Press Conference:
Troy Williams Utah Sports Radio Network Postgame Interview:
Tim Patrick Network Postgame:
Joe Williams Network Postgame:
Chase Hansen Network Postgame:
Isaac Asiata Network Postgame:
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