Utah Drops Second Game of the Season 31-24

_mg_9472 Kim Brenneisen

The Utes had to dig themselves out of a hole, but it’s something they’re almost used to doing this season. They went down 14-0 early in the game, and they eventually came back. But after a late Washington punt return for a touchdown, Utah couldn’t convert a 4th-and-15 with less than a minute left, and it suffered its second loss of the season, 31-24.

“They made more plays than we did, so hats off to them,” said offensive lineman Isaac Asiata. “It sucks, but win lose or draw, we’re still a family.”

Troy Williams finished a pair of tou

chdowns and 163 yards on 14-of-31 passing. Joe Williams finished with another triple digit rushing game with 172 yards on 35 carries.

Utah’s defense forced a quick three-and-out at the beginning of the game, and just as it looked like the Washington defense would do the same to Utah, Troy Williams narrowly avoided a sack, and he rushed for 11 yards. Since Troy Williams was facing his former team, head coach Kyle Whittingham hoped he wouldn’t let it distract him.

“[Troy] was amped up, but I don’t think it was to the point that it was affecting his play,” Whittingham said.

However, it was more of a defensive showcase in the first half.

The two teams traded a few possessions, both finding a bit of success in the run game. Washington got into a groove, and UW’s Myles Gaskin rushed for 10 yards to score the first touchdown of the
game to put Washington up 7-0.

With Washington pinned on its own five-yard line, the Utes couldn’t prevent the Huskies from advancing the ball. Washington quarterback Jake Browning eventually found John Ross for a 16-yard touchdown, and the Huskies went up 14-0.

Utah couldn’t get going offensively, but Browning threw an interception, and Chase Hansen returned it for 30 yards to Washington’s 19-yard line, and the Utes were in good field position.

Utah couldn’t punch the ball in when it was facing a third-and-goal, but an u_mg_9458nsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Washington gave the Utes three more tries. Joe Williams soon rushed for two yards to score Utah’s first touchdown, and Utah trailed 14-7.

After a stop by the Utah defense, Joe Williams got rolling, and he rushed for multiple first downs in the final three minutes of the first half. Andy Phillips made a last second field goal to make the score 14-10.

Utah had the ball to open up the second half, and Troy Williams got into a rhythm. He connected with Evan Moeai for a 30-yard gain, and he found Tim Patrick for another 16 yards. Washington was hit with a facemask penalty which placed the Utes on the one yard line, then Utah was called for a false start. However, Troy Williams found an open Siaosi Wilson in the endzone for the Utes’ second touchdown of the game. This score gave the Utes their first lead at 17-14, but the Huskies wouldn’t stay down for long.

Washington drove 75 yards in less than three minutes to retake the lead following another touchdown pass from Browning to Ross, and UW led 21-17.

The Huskies continued to find success with the run game, and Gaskin continued to find gaps in Utah’s defense. The Utah defense would eventually hold up as Washington settled for a field goal to increase its lead to 24-17.

Utah used a roughing the passer call on Washington to its advantage, and after a few gains from Joe Williams, Troy Williams hit Moeai for a 24-yard touchdown.

Washington pinned Utah deep within its own territory, and Utah was limited in its play selection, and the Utes eventually punted the ball back. However, Washington returned the punt for a touchdown to claim a 31-24 lead.

Utah had a few chances to even the score, but the Utes ultimately fell short after a failed attempt at a fourth down conversion.

Whittingham thinks the Utes still control their own destiny, and he hopes to get another crack at the Huskies.

“Tough game, proud of our guys, they hung in there,” Whittingham said. “Bottom line, they made one more play than we did. Positive is that we’re still in control of our chances to make it to the championship. If we’re able to win out, we’ll face these guys again.”

The Utes have a bye week, and they will be back out on Thursday Nov. 10 at ASU.

k.brenneisen@dailyutahchronicle.com

@kbrenneisen