Much of the talk coming into the #5 Utah-#23 California matchup was about Bears quarterback Jared Goff being one of the most accurate and best passers in the nation.
While that is still true, the Utah secondary was better.
The Utes picked off 5 passes from Goff as well as recovering a fumble from running back Daniel Lasco. Marcus Williams came up with his fourth interception of the year and Dominique Hatfield added two to his resumé. Gionni Paul and Boobie Hobbs got in on the action as well. Goff finished going 25-for-47 passing for 340 yards and two touchdowns. The Utes were able to sack Goff three times.
Utah was only able to score 17 points off the 6 Cal turnovers, which Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said was something the Utes will work on heading into next week. Utah quarterback Travis Wilson, who said would have like the offense to click better than it did, finished completing 16 of 26 passes for 170 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions, as well as adding 53 rushing yards.
The Utes and Bears alternated scoring throughout much of the game. Cal took their only lead after a 35-yard Goff touchdown pass down the sideline into the hands of Trevor Davis. Utah responded the next drive with a Devontae Booker tackle-breaking run down the sideline for a 40-yard touchdown. Booker finished with 222 yards on 34 carries as well as 4 catches for 45 yards.
The Utes struck twice in the final minutes before halftime starting with a 54-yard touchdown pass from Wilson on a streak route by Cory Butler-Byrd. Gionni Paul then intercepted a Hunter Dimick-tipped Goff pass to give the Utes the ball back in Cal territory. A few plays later, Devontae Booker was unable to find a hole up the middle and bounced around the left edge of the defense and into the end zone to put Utah up 24-10.
The Utes offense slowed in the second half, getting bogged down in the red zone and allowed Cal to slip back into the game. With two minutes left in the 3rd quarter, Cal cut the Ute lead to 27-24.
Utah got on the board for a final time with 12:07 left in the 4th quarter on an Andy Phillips 39-yard field goal to put the Utes up 30-24.
From there, it was up to the Utes’ defense. Cal took 4 minutes and 26 seconds to drive down the field into the Utah red zone. With the Rice-Eccles Stadium crowd on their feet, and the MUSS in their 3rd down jump, Goff threw an out-route wide to a receiver. Hobbs jumped a route and deflected the ensuing 4th down Goff pass to the brand new turf, ending the Bears’ hopes of upsetting the Utes on the road.
The Utes remain the only undefeated team in the Pac-12 conference and stand alone at the top of the South division. Utah will face second-place Arizona State next week in Salt Lake City at 8:00pm.
Kyle Whittingham press conference:
Travis Wilson, Marcus Williams, Boobie Hobbs, Gionni Paul, Cory Butler-Byrd, Devontae Booker postgame:
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