tah Football Beats Washington State After Big Fourth Quarter.
UTAH’S SALT LAKE CITY — Following a strong fourth quarter, the Utah Utes began Pac-12 Conference action with a victory against the Washington State Cougars.
On Saturday, September 25, the Utes played the Cougars at Rice-Eccles Stadium. In his second career start, Cam Rising passed for 137 yards. On five carries, he gained 46 yards. With 10 carries for 117 yards and a score, T.J. Pledger led the way in the running game.
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Washington State’s opening drive ended in a fumble on downs, but the Utes were unable to capitalise and punted following a six-play, 15-yard drive.
Wazzu had some open looks in the centre of the field when they got the ball back,
but they were just outside of field goal range and not in punting territory, so they went for it on fourth down again.
Jarrett Guarantano was intercepted by Karene Reid,
who was making his first start due to Nephi Sewell’s injury. Utah was forced to punt on their following drive once again.
With several costly penalties by Utah, especially on a facemask call,
Washington State was able to drive downfield early in the second quarter.
With 10:34 left in the second quarter, the Cougars settled for a 39-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead.
Following the field goal, Utah had their first three-and-out drive,
but they received the ball back when Washington State punted for the first time.
When Washington State seized his facemask, Rising got the offence rolling with a 31-yard rush along the sideline, and they added 15 yards at the conclusion of the run.
Utah went into the red zone after Britain Covey got the ball into the flat.
Then Ja’Quinden Jackson made his college debut with an 8-yard rush to the Washington State two-yard line. With 4:14 left in the first half,
the Texas transfer scored a two-yard touchdown on the next play, giving the Utes a 7-3 lead.
As halftime approached, Washington State was able to drive down the field and kick a 20-yard field goal to tie the game at 7-6.
Micah Bernard fumbled on the first play after the intermission break, but Washington State recovered.
With 13:40 remaining in the third quarter, Guarantano connected with De’Zhaun Stribling for a 26-yard touchdown, giving the Cougars a 13-7 lead.
When Utah regained possession of the ball, they immediately began marching down the field.
Cole Fotheringham was found through the middle by Rising,
but the ball came free before he touched the ground. Before the ball popped out,
the referees called him down. Although it was apparent that the ball came out before Fotheringham touched the ground after a review of the play, officials decided the play stood as called.
With 9:15 left in the third quarter, Utah scored a 28-yard field goal to cut the lead to 13-10.
Guarantano threw an interception to Devin Lloyd at the WSU 19-yard line,
giving the Utes an excellent field position. Ja’Quinden Jackson mishandled the ball two plays later, bringing the Utes’ total to four.
Fortunately for Utah, a huge sack by Van Fillinger on third down forced Washington State to punt.
Britain Covey had a great 19-yard punt return to get the Utes close to midfield.
Dalton Kincaid made an amazing catch while maintaining his foot inbounds to put the Utes back in the red zone.
Rising bobbled the snap at centre for Utah, but he was able to recover it. They were forced to settle for a ( goal, which Redding missed from 31 yards out.
Utah’s defence forced WSU to kick the ball away once again, giving the Utes an opportunity to tie or take the lead.
With a 59-yard rush, T.J. Pledger put Utah in the red zone. Chris Curry was in the end zone two plays later, but the ball was knocked loose, and Washington State recovered for a touchback. The Cougars punted again, and Britain Covey established a new school record with 902 career punt return yards. On the play, he mishandled the ball out of bounds.
T.J. Pledger scored his first career touchdown in a Utah jersey after a great grab by Devaughn Vele with 4:53 remaining in the game, giving the Utes a 17-13 lead.
Clark Phillips III recovered an interception 54 yards for a touchdown with 2:19 left in the game to give Utah the victory.
With the victory, Utah moved to 2-2 on the season and 1-0 in Pac-12 play.
The Utes’ next game is on October 9 against the USC Trojans.
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