Utah drops final game of the season, 27-22

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History — but not for Utah.

The Utes could have played spoiler. They could have avenged their 2011 loss to Colorado when the Buffs ruined their chances of making it to the Pac-12 Championship game, but that didn’t happen. On the road for its final regular season game, Colorado handed Utah its fourth loss of the season, 27-22. Along with the win, Colorado won the Pac-12 South for the first time.

Utah took four trips to the red zone and, just as it has all season long, struggled to cross the goal line as CU’s defense held stiff. Troy Williams finished 13-of-40 for 160 passing yards and threw two interceptions. Joe Williams finished with 97  yards on 26 rushes and fumbled the ball twice, one of which resulted in a touchdown for the Buffs.

“[I’m] disappointed,” Troy Williams said. “I feel like I let everyone down. Just not the way we wanted to go out. Weren’t able to get it done.”

But despite the lack of offensive production, head coach Kyle Whittingham remained mostly positive following the loss.

“Our guys are warriors — shame they had to lose,” Whittingham said. “I’m proud of the defense. Special teams gave us a chance to win, kept us in the ballgame. Had our chances and oregon051smalleryou got to score points and we didn’t do that. Had no idea we would do that on offense, or not do that as the case was. We were nonexistent on offense.”

The Utah defense was ready to play right from the getgo. The Utes caused Colorado to fumble on its 40 yard line, but CU’s defense forced a three-and-out, and Utah had to punt the ball away after being in favorable field position.

Mitch Wishnowsky pinned Colorado deep within its own territory at the five yard line. The Buffs then had to punt, and Boobie Hobbs returned the ball for a 55 yard touchdown to give the Utes a 7-0 lead.

When Utah got possession back, the offense steadily made its way down the field. However, Andy Phillips missed a 45 yard field goal. Colorado would then use a 42 yard pass play to move onto Utah’s side of the field and it eventually made its way into the endzone to tie the game at 7 at the end of the first quarter.

Nearly six minutes into the second quarter Colorado scored a 25 yard field goal shortly after completing a 27 yard pass to put the Buffs up 10-7.

Later in that quarter Utah attempted to convert a fourth down on its 34 yard line, but it came up short and Colorado took over. Colorado wasn’t able to score a touchdown after George Frazier dropped the ball in the endzone, however, and the Buffs settled for a field goal to make the score 13-7.

Entering the second half Utah’s defense forced CU to a three-and-out. Hobbs then put the Utes in favorable field position once again when he returned a punt 15 yards to Colorado’s 42 yard line. Utah got as close as four yards away from the endzone, but it failed to cross that goal line, and it settled for a field goal to make the score 13-10.

On its next possession, Troy Williams would find Tim Patrick for a 34 yard gain, bringing the Utes to the 32 yard line. The two would connect for another first down, but Joe Williams fumbled the ball at the two yard line. But Chase Hansen would force CU to fumble at its 49 yard line on its next offensive series.

Behind a 41 yard rush from Cory Butler-Byrd the Utes would find themselves in the red zone, but they had to settle for another field goal to tie the game at 13. But On the Buffs’ next possession they drove 75 yards down the field to score their second touchdown of the game thanks in part to an 11 yard pass interference penalty on the Utes and a 39 yard pass. Colorado led 20-13 at the end of the third quarter.

Kyle Fulks caught CU off guard as he returned the kickoff 93 yards to Colorado’s three yard line. But the Utes couldn’t get into the endzone again, and they settled for another field goal to make the score 20-16.

“Pretty much sums [the game] up,” Whittingham said.

After Colorado’s offense failed to do anything, the CU defense picked up the slack. The Joe Williams of past returned as the Buffs stripped him of the ball, and they returned it for a 10 yard touchdown to make their lead 27-16.

Utah would go on to score one more touchdown in the closing minutes of the game, but it was to no avail as CU controlled the ball in the final two minutes.

Up next the Utes will wait to see which bowl game they will be playing in.

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@kbrenneisen