SEATTLE—The Utah offense sputtered, stalled, and struggled, but ultimately the #12 Utes (8-1, 5-1 Pac-12) found a way to beat the Washington Huskies (4-5, 2-4 Pac-12) 34-23 for the first time in program history.
Utah’s stifling defense came up in the clutch time after time, forcing 4 Husky turnovers. Linebacker Gionni Paul continued his dominance with two sacks, a fumble recovered for a touchdown, and an interception.
The win possibly comes at the cost of a Chase Hansen ankle injury. Lowell Lotulelei rolled up on Hansen’s ankle on the final play of the game, bending it awkwardly. Hansen’s leg was placed in an air cast as he was carted off the field. He received X-rays after the game.
Utah’s first drive ended in a punt, which Washington answered with a field goal. Utah’s drove the ball 60 yards down the field in 11 plays, but came up empty when Andy Phillips hooked a 45-yard field goal attempt wide left.
The next two Washington drives resulted in Utah touchdowns on a pair of Travis Wilson and Devontae Booker 4-yard rush touchdowns. The Utes and Huskies traded fumbles, which ended in a Husky field goal. On the Huskies’ next drive, linebacker Jared Norris crushed Dwayne Washington on a short outside pass, causing a fumble that Paul cashed in for a 54-yard touchdown return to give Utah a 21-6 lead.
The Utes offense hit the brakes until the 4th quarter while the defense stopped Washington over and over. When the Huskies had cut the Utah lead to 24-23, Booker carried the Utes on a 9-play, 60-yard drive to the Husky red zone, where Wilson backed the ball on a third-down option keeper to the middle of the end zone to add a cushion to the lead.
The Utes rushed for 91 yards heading into the fourth quarter, but Utah pounded the ball for 100 more yards in the final minutes of the game. Wilson finished 12-of-25 passing for 155 yards and an interception, as well as 42 yards on 10 carries for 2 touchdowns. Booker rushed for 150 yards on 34 carries, and added 21 receiving yards on 2 receptions.
Washington fumbled on their ensuing drive, which resulted in an Andy Phillips field goal to ice the game away for the Utes.
Utah continues to maintain a 1-game lead on the Pac-12 South division. The Utes will head to Tucson, Arizona next week for their final road game of the year to take on the Arizona Wildcats. Kickoff will be at 8:00 on ESPN700.