Utes survive double OT, get win against Beavers


Courtesy by Oregon State Athletics

Courtesy by Oregon State Athletics
Courtesy by Oregon State Athletics

In a defensive dogfight reminiscent of football’s days of old, the Utes escaped the rowdy confines of Reser Stadium with a valuable 29-23 double overtime victory against Oregon State behind another big night for junior running back Devontae Booker.
Despite Booker’s 229 yards rushing, the Utah offense struggled for most of the night to gain timely yards against a stout Beaver defense that came in ready to upset the 20th-ranked team in the nation.
The first offensive drive for the Utes answered the burning question of which quarterback would start against the Beavers. Like many had anticipated, Kendal Thompson trotted onto the field to make his first start as a Ute. Unfortunately for Thompson, the first drive was unsuccessful and ended in a Tom Hackett punt.
OSU quarterback Sean Mannion had a forgettable start to the evening, throwing an interception to Utah linebacker Gionni Paul at his own 20-yard line on his first attempt of the game to put the Utes in position to take the early lead. Utah took that 3-0 lead with 12:15 remaining in the first quarter via a 38-yard Andy Phillips field goal, but only after a controversial call denied Dres Anderson what seemed to be his fifth touchdown reception on the season.
Utah doubled their lead with 5:02 left in the first quarter after a 43-yarder from Phillips.
Things started going south for the Utes when Thompson threw a screen pass to Anderson which was tipped and intercepted by OSU linebacker Dylan Wynn at the Utah 35-yard line. The interception led to the Beavers’ first points of the night as kicker Trevor Romaine knocked in a 37-yard field goal.
With 1:18 left in the first half and the Utes looking to run out the clock and take a 6-3 lead into halftime, Thompson ended his night by fumbling the ball, which was recovered by the Beavers at the Utah 28-yard line. With just over half of a minute left in the half, Romaine tied up the game with a 45-yard field goal.
Thompson finished with 17 yards passing on four completions and an interception, as well as 20 yards rushing on nine carries.
The second half saw the return of Travis Wilson at quarterback for the Utes after Thompson was unable to move the offense as effectively as he had against UCLA 12 days prior. On his first drive of the game, Wilson handed the ball off to Booker, who ran 42 yards down to the OSU 40-yard line. After getting just a yard away from the red zone, the offense once again stalled and Phillips put the Utes up 9-6 with a 46-yard field goal, his third of the night.
The fourth quarter started with a bang when Mannion found receiver Jordan Villamin 71 yards downfield for the game’s first touchdown of the night, as the Beavers took their first lead all night at 13-9 with 13:49 left in the game.
With just under eight minutes left on the clock, the Utah offense took the field for what was surely the most important drive of the evening. After an 11-yard completion to Anderson from Wilson, as well as a pass interference call against OSU, Booker came up big for the Utes again and cut his way through the middle of the Beaver defense and was chased down at the OSU six-yard line. After being denied at the goal line on first, second and third downs, Booker finally burst through the Beaver defense on fourth and goal to give the Utes a 16-13 lead with 3:35 left in the contest.
The Oregon State offense responded, however, with an impressive drive of its own, going 51 yards down to the Utah 32-yard line, where Romaine was able to put through the game-tying 49-yard field goal to send the game into overtime.
Oregon State won the coin toss and elected to defend against a Utah offense that had struggled for most of the game to make big plays near or in the red zone. The Utes responded by putting together a scoring drive capped off by a 15-yard touchdown run from Booker that gave the Utes a 23-16 lead.
Mannion and his offense came out determined to push the game to a second overtime. After the Utah defense had pushed the Beavers to the brink of elimination, Mannion hit Villamin with a fade to the back of the end zone on fourth and goal to knot the score at 23 apiece.
Per overtime rules, the Beavers began the second overtime session with the ball and the chance to take the lead. The Utah defense did what they had done most of the night and stopped the OSU offense in their tracks. After going three-and-out, the Beavers sent Romaine out to attempt the 37-yard field goal that would give them a three point lead, and like other Pac-12 kickers had done in recent weeks, Romaine pushed his attempt wide right of the posts, stunning the orange and black clad home crowd.
With Phillips warming up on the sideline, all the Utes needed to do was not lose the ball and surely he would kick the winning field goal. Booker had other plans and on third-and-four at the OSU 19, he slashed through the Beaver secondary, breaking tackles on his way into the end zone, which gave the Utes the 29-23 road victory.
The road to Pac-12 supremacy doesn’t get any easier as the Utes host the No. 22 USC Trojans next Saturday in the annual blackout game. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. MT.
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