CORVALLIS, Ore. – Junior running back Devontae Booker rushed 32 times for 229 yards and three touchdowns to lead the No. 20 Utah to a 29-23 double-overtime victory at Oregon State in Reser Stadium on Thursday night.
Utah (5-1, 2-1 Pac-12) held a 253-119 edge in rushing yards over Oregon State as Booker went for a career-high 229 yards on 32 carries.
It was a historic performance for Booker as he put his name in the school record book for three different single-game categories: three rushing touchdowns is tied for second-most, 229 yards is tied for the fifth-most and 32 carries is tied for ninth. The 12th 200-yard rushing performance in school history was also Booker’s third straight 100-yard rushing game.
The Utah defense limited the Beavers to six points in the first half, with one of OSU’s two field goals coming after a series that started on the Utah 20-yard line. The Utes turned in 10 tackles for loss with five sacks, led by a game-high four TFLs by Nate Orchard, including two sacks. He has 10.5 sacks this season, the first Ute with 10 more sacks in a season since 2000. The Salt Lake City native now has 13 tackles for loss this season.
Linebacker Gionni Paul had a game-high 14 tackles in his second double-digit tackle game of the season to go with an interception. Jared Norris had 13 tackles for his fifth career game with 10 or more tackles, including one for a loss. Jason Fanaika was the third Ute with double-digit tackles, going for 10 tackles and one TFL.
`Automatic’ Andy Phillips was 3-for-3 with makes from 46, 43 and 38 yards. He is 13-of-15 this season and 30-of-35 over his career, including a 9-of-11 mark from 40 yards or more.
Punter Tom Hackett had two punts downed inside the 10 and five of seven were with the 20-yard line. He has placed 18 of his 37 punts (48.6%) inside the 20 this year. He has 12 punts inside the 10 yard line this season (30 career).
Kendal Thompson made the first start of his career at quarterback and rushed for 20 yards and went 4-of-8 for 17 yards passing. Travis Wilson took over in Utah’s first series of the second half and finished 5-of-10 for 45 yards.
Dres Anderson led the receivers with four catches for 35 yards.
Hackett downed his first punt of the night for 44 yards inside the 10 before Paul picked off Sean Mannion’s first pass attempt of the game, for his team-high third interception of the season to set up a 38-yard field goal by Phillips to give the Utes an early 3-0 edge.
Dimick and Taumoepenu combined on Utah’s first sack of the game to stop Oregon State’s second drive.
Anderson drew a pass interference penalty on Utah’s next offensive series to put Utah in position for Phillips’ 43-yard field goal to push Utah to a 6-0 lead.
A Utah turnover gave Oregon State its best field possession of the evening at the Ute 20-yard line, but Utah’s defense was able to limit OSU to a 37-yard field goal to cut the home team’s deficit to three points, 6-3.
Dimick forced an OSU fumble that was recovered by Davion Orphey, but two drives later OSU was able to tie the game for the first time heading into halftime at six points apiece.
Safety Brian Blechen carved through OSU blockers to make a play on a receiver screen that ended the Beavers’ first offensive drive of the second half.
Booker promptly broke a 42-yard run through the left side of the Utah offensive line during the first play from scrimmage and Wilson found senior tight end Westlee Tonga for 11 yards on a square in for the Utes’ second first down of the drive. The drive was capped by Phillips’ third field goal of the contest, a 46-yarder, which gave the Utes a 9-6 edge.
Taumoepenu’s second sack of the game stopped the Beavers’ second drive of the half and the Utes came up with a key fourth-down stop to keep OSU out of the end zone in its fourth series.
The Beavers found the end zone for the first time early in the fourth quarter on a 72-yard pass to take the lead for the first time, 13-9.
The Utes responded with a nine-play, 94-yard scoring drive that lasted 3:34 and started with Booker busting loose up the middle for 53 yards on a 3rd and short to put the Utah offense on the 6-yard line late in the fourth quarter. He then scored on a 1-yard run for his team-best fifth rushing touchdown of the season to give the lead back to Utah, 16-13.
On the final drive of the game, Viliseni Fauonuku’s sack pushed Oregon State back for a 50-yard field goal to force overtime.
Starting from the 25-yard line in overtime, Booker rushed for 15 yards off right tackle for a touchdown to cap Utah’s first offensive possession. The Beavers answered with a touchdown of their own in the first overtime, but the Utes forced a 37-yard OSU field goal attempt that went wide right.
The Utes struck with three consecutive Booker rushes in their game-clinching drive, the final being a 19-yard touchdown off left tackle to give the Utes the 29-23 victory.
The Utes host USC on Saturday, Oct. 25. Kickoff for the `Blackout Game’ in Rice-Eccles Stadium is set for 8 p.m. MT with a live telecast on Fox Sports 1.
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