Utah Holds Off Indiana, 26-24, in Foster Farms Bowl

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Utah Utes QB Joe Williams (28) runs the ball to the end zone for a touchdown during the second quarter during the 2016 Foster Farms Bowl against the Indiana Hoosiers at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, Tuesday, December 28, 2016. Chris Ayers, Daily Utah Chronicle.

Turning the ball over four times often times doesn’t land a team a win, but that’s what Utah did, and the Utes came out on the winning end of the Foster Farms Bowl after beating Indiana 26-24. Senior kicker Andy Phillips rounded out his career at Utah by hitting the game winning field goal with 1:24 left in the game.

Head coach Kyle Whittingham credits Phillips for coming through in the clutch.

“Andy came in, ice water in his veins, and he nailed it,” Whittingham said.

Troy Williams was 11-of-23 passing, and he threw for 178 yards. Joe Williams ended the game with 222 rushing yards on 26 carries. True freshman quarterback. Tyler Huntley received significant playing time as he recorded his first collegiate touchdown.

Joe Williams was battling a cold, but his wife reminded him that it was his “last ride,” so he made sure he would be ready for the game.

“I had to go out there like [Michael] Jordan did in the ‘97 flu game,” Joe Williams said.

Kyle Fulks fumbled the opening kickoff, and Indiana took over in the red zone. The Utah defense forced a third down, but Reggie Porter was flagged for pass interference, and Indiana got the ball on the two yard line. The Hoosiers scored the first touchdown of the game to go up 7-0.

The poor start was a trend for the Utah offense, too. Garrett Bolles was called for holding, but on a third-and-long, Troy Williams rushed 21 yards for a first down, and he soon found Demari Simpkins for 23 yards. The Utes eventually had to settle for a field goal to make the score 7-3.

After the Utah defense recovered a fumble, Joe Williams ran 16 yards for a touchdown, and the Utes went up 10-7.

On Utah’s following offensive possession Troy Williams threw an interception, but the Hoosiers were unable to make anything of it.

Mitch Wishnowsky let a punt get away from him, and Indiana used its favorable field position to it advantage. However, at the start of the second quarter, Indiana fumbled the ball on its five yard line.

Troy Williams soon found Joe Williams for a 56 yard gain. After that, Huntley would hit Fulks for 36 yards to bring the Utes to the one yard line. After a few penalties, and a few attempts short of the goal line, Huntley rushed for a one yard touchdown on fourth down to put the Utes up 17-7.

Indiana used a 53 yard pass play to bring itself to Utah’s eight yard line, however, they could not make their way into the endzone, and they settled for a field goal to make the score 17-10. Utah was forced to punt the ball back on its next possession, and Indiana used a 64 yard scoring drive, thanks in part to a 36 yard touchdown pass, to tie the game at 17.

Whittingham was frustrated with his team’s play at the end of the first half.

“We have a lot of weapons and we weren’t executing,” Whittingham said.

Indiana had the ball to open up the second half, and after Lagow attempted to throw a shot downfield, Marcus Williams intercepted the ball at the eight yard line. Later in the third, Phillips knocked down another field goal to give the Utes a 20-17 advantage.

Boobie Hobbs returned a punt for 20 yards towards the end of the third quarter to set the Utes up at the 39 yard line. The Utes couldn’t take advantage of the field position, and they eventually settled for another field goal to increase their lead to six points, 23-17.

About two minutes into the fourth quarter, the Hoosiers had possession, and they marched all the way down the field to score a three yard rushing touchdown. Indiana took a 24-23 lead.

Joe Williams put the team on his back as he has done often times this season as he rushed for 18 yards, then for an additional 11. However, as Joe Williams was rushing for 15 yards, he fumbled the ball, and Indiana recovered it.

After it looked like the Utah defense held up and Indiana couldn’t complete a third down, Taumoepenu was flagged for roughing the passer. Indiana would miss a field goal, and Utah received the ball with 5:34 left in the game.

The Utes drove all the way down the field, and Joe Williams put the team in the red zone. Phillips finished the job by scoring the game winning field goal.

Whittingham is now 10-1 in bowl game appearances as a head coach, and the Utes finished with a 9-4 record in 2016.

k.brenneisen@dailyutahchronicle.com

@kbrenneisen

Kim Brenneisen
Kim Brenneisen has been a part of The Daily Utah Chronicle for three years, all within the sports department. She is currently the sports editor, and she has served an internship at MLB.com through the Sports Journalism Institute.

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