Utah Football Drops Heartbreaker to Washington


NCAA Football game University of Utah vs. University of Southern California at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, UT on Saturday November 21, 2020.(Photo by Tom Denton | Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Sammy Mora, Sports Editor


It was a tale of two halves for the University of Utah football team. The Utes blew a 21 point lead to Washington, dropping the game 24-21. While the final score might not show it, the young Utah team looked loads better than in last week’s blowout loss to USC. 

While the first two Utah drives ended in a Jake Bentley fumble and a punt, the third Utah drive started after Faybian Marks picked off UW QB, Dylan Morris. The offense moved swiftly down the field with Bentley capping the drive off with a 7-yard rush touchdown. 

That touchdown was the lone score of the first quarter. The Utes’ second drive of the second quarter was huge. Things really started rolling in the Utes favor when true freshman Ty Jordan broke off a 46-yard run that led to a Devin Brumfield touchdown. 

Washington did have a chance to score in the second quarter but kicker Peyton Henry missed the 40-yard kick. The Utes cashed in on the missed kick on the ensuing drive. After three good run plays from Brumfield and Micah Bernard, Bentley connected deep downfield with Bryan Thompson. The 19-yard reception wouldn’t be Thompson’s only one on the drive, he also snagged the 13-yard pass that put the Utes on top 21-0. 

The great first half didn’t end there for the Utes. Zemaiah Vaughn picked off Morris and returned the ball for 73-yards as the half expired. 

But once the second half started, the Utes couldn’t get anything going. Right from the jump, UW marched down the field and Kamari Pleasant scored the Huskies’ lone rush touchdown of the game. 

The turnover issues that the Utes had last week reared their ugly head in the second half. Bentley was picked off by Elijah Molden during the Utes’ first possession of the third quarter. Additionally, Bentley was also picked off on what would be the Utes’ last play of the game. 

According to head coach Kyle Whittingham, Bentley’s first INT wasn’t the turnover that cost the Utes the game. Jordan fumbled the ball as the Utes were knocking on the door in the fourth quarter to extend their lead. 

“Those were backbreakers,” Whittingham said. “They didn’t help our cause and we firmly believe we probably would have gotten to score on the one where Ty fumbled there in the red zone, but he did some really good things for us tonight.” 

Bentley took full responsibility for his first interception of the second half — saying that keeping the ball safe starts with him.

Unlike last week, the Utah defense gave the offense a chance to come back, and Vonte Davis intercepted Morris in the fourth quarter. Up until tonight, Morris hadn’t thrown an interception, but he was picked off three times by the young Utah secondary. 

Bentley finished the night going 16-23 for 144 yards and had one passing touchdown. Thompson led the team in receiving with 65 yards and a touchdown. Jordan had 31 yards and Brant Kuithe had 23 yards. 

Jordan also led the Utes in the rush game putting up 97 yards. Headed into this game, Whittingham said the team was still going to use a running back by committee style, but after his first two performances, Jordan has been separating himself from the pack. 

“It sure looks like he [Jordan] is starting to separate himself,” Whittingham said. “What makes him so effective is first off, he’s got great speed, he’s got great balance, he’s tough and he’s built really well for a running back. He’s not the tallest kid, 5’8, 5’9,  but he’s close to 200 pounds and he’s really just a tough guy to tackle. He’s got that low center of gravity, he’s got good vision and so he’s going to do a lot of good things for us during his career. He’s just getting started.”

Brumfield had 39 rushing yards and Bentley had 33 yards. 

On the flip side, for the second week in a row, Devin Lloyd led the team in tackles. He recorded 11 total on the night and one TFL. Both Nephi Sewell and JT Broughton had big pass breakups for the Utes, while Hauati Pututau had a big block at the line of scrimmage. The stout Utah front held a usually electric UW rush game to only 88 yards.

But there was some growth from last week’s defense to this week’s, but there is one thing that sticks out to Lloyd the most about this team. 

“Resilience. We got a lot of young guys that are playing their a—- off. We just got to find a way to make big-time plays when they matter the most,” Lloyd said. “That’s the biggest thing and that’s on everybody.” 

The Utes will now turn their focus to hosting an Oregon State team who is coming off a huge upset win at Oregon this weekend. Tentatively the game is set for next Saturday, Dec. 5 but the time and TV network are still to be announced. 


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