The No. 21 Utah Utes (6-1, 3-1 Pac-12) found a way to outlast the Oregon State Beavers (2-4, 1-2) in a less-than-spectacular game to become bowl-eligible, with a final score of 19-14.
CORVALLIS, Oreg.—No style points will be accounted for, but there probably wouldn’t be any to have anyway. The No. 21 Utah Utes (6-1, 3-1 Pac-12) found a way to outlast the Oregon State Beavers (2-4, 1-2) in a less-than-spectacular game to become bowl-eligible, with a final score of 19-14.
The bad news for Utah is the game came at an addition injury cost, as star safety Marcus Williams and linebacker Sunia Tauteoli both exited the game. Williams returned to the Utah sideline in street clothes and a leg brace.
The good news for the Utes is that Joe Williams rushed for 142 yards in the first half in his return to football after a four-week retirement.
“It was great. It was like he never left,” said quarterback Troy Williams of his backfield mate. “He went out there, he had a great game, he ran hard. I feel like the time off for him was good. He came out with a vengeance.”
The senior running back punched into the end zone for Utah’s first score in the first quarter, and finished the game with 179 yards rushing and no fumbles.
Joe Williams’ turnover history didn’t show in this game, but Troy Williams struggled to secure the ball in wet and windy weather. Williams was only 3-for-7 in the first half for 31 yards, turning the ball over twice. The first was a lost fumble as he scrambled for a first down on the Utes’ first drive. On Utah’s final drive of the first half, Williams lost grip of the ball as he threw it wide to Cory Butler-Byrd, who was obliterated by Oregon State’s Devin Chappell, forcing the ball loose on the backwards pass, recovered by the Beavers.
The second half didn’t fare much better for the quarterback, who added just 11 yards on one additional completed pass, totaling 42 yards on 4-for-13 passing.
Utah wasn’t the only team struggling keeping a grip on the wet footballs. Oregon State allowed a safety at the end of the first half when a snap went several feet above punter Nick Porebski’s head and bounced through the back of the end zone.
Oregon State gained momentum to start the second half, forcing Utah to two consecutive three-and-outs, and scoring a rushing touchdown in between. As the sun came out, Darell Garretson found some rhythm in a previously absent passing game, but exited the game with an injury early in the fourth quarter. After he left the game, the Beavers missed their second field goal attempt wide to keep the game at 12-7.
Utah was stalled on their first three drives of the second half, losing six yards combined. Over the next two drives, the Utes managed 39 yards on 13 plays, but surrendered the ball to OSU again both times. On OSU’s ensuing possession, Pasoni Tasini sacked backup quarterback Conor Blount and recovered a fumble inside the red zone. Blount left the game with an injury, forcing third-string QB Marcus McMaryion to take the reigns on the Beavers’ comeback effort.
The comeback was not to be had, however, as Troy Williams found the left pylon to give Utah a 19-7 lead with 3:18 left in the game.
Oregon State scored a touchdown with 1:40 left, but was unable to recover an onside kick attempt. Utah failed to convert on downs to clinch a kneel-down victory, but a last-ditch effort by the Beavers fell well short.
Utah gained bowl eligibility and a long fix-it list for the coming week of practice before the Utes head south to Los Angeles to face UCLA in a pivotal Pac-12 South game.
Kyle Whittingham Postgame:
Chase Hansen Postgame:
Troy Williams Postgame:
Joe Williams Postgame:
Hunter Dimick Postgame: