Utah Gets Their First Win of the 2020 Season Over Oregon State

Utah+Utes+played+Oregon+State+Beavers+on+December+5%2C+2020+at+the+Rice+Eccles+Stadium+in+Salt+Lake+City.+Utah+won+with+30-24.+%28Photo+by+Ivana+Martinez+%7C+Daily+Utah+Chronicle%29

Utah Utes played Oregon State Beavers on December 5, 2020 at the Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City. Utah won with 30-24. (Photo by Ivana Martinez | Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Cole Bagley, Sports Editor

 

After their first 0-2 start since 2007, the University of Utah football team got their first win of the season against Oregon State, 30-24. Despite a respectable comeback effort by the Beavers, including 14 unanswered points, the Utah defense held strong in the final minutes and fueled the Utes to victory.

First Half

While Utah dominated the first half offensively, they only led 16-10 after 30 minutes. The offense posted 253 yards, 112 rushing and 141 passing. Bentley’s favorite targets were Brant Kuithe who had six first-half receptions for 65 yards and Britain Covey who had three receptions for 46 yards. Clearly, the coaching staff wanted to get these guys involved this week as they struggled to do so in the previous matchup against Washington.

Despite the statistical domination, Utah struggled to get the ball into the end zone as Oregon State’s defense was able to hold Utah to three field goals before their initial touchdown. Jake Bentley overthrew Brant Kuithe on two possessions in the end zone and Devin Brumfield was unable to push his way in on the other, resulting in just three points for the Utes on those possessions.

But the Utes would eventually find the end zone as head coach Kyle Whittingham decided to go for it on fourth and goal with just a few minutes left in the second quarter. Freshman Ty Jordan, who had a great first half with 81 yards on 10 carries, bulldozed his way in for six points and his first-ever Utah touchdown.

“It felt amazing,” Jordan said. “I can’t explain it with words, it was just so amazing and so exhilarating. I grew up my whole life wanting and dreaming to be a college athlete and now I’m here. I am experiencing my first couple of games, my first touchdown and so that was just amazing. I feel like I made my mom proud.”

With a career night from Jordan, coach Whittingham spoke very highly of him mentioning that he has started to seriously separate himself from the rest of the running back committee. 

“He is starting to separate himself even more,” Whittingham said. “Ty Jordan as evidenced by what you saw tonight has separated himself, and he right now is definitely our leading back.” 

Utah’s defense was great in the first half as they only allowed 146 yards and 61 in the air. Devin Lloyd led the way with four tackles, all of which were solo. Utah’s defense also forced an interception as Vonte Davis picked off Chance Nolan and returned it to the Oregon State 10-yard line.

Second Half

Utah looked better in the second half offensively as they were able to turn their lone trip in the red zone into a touchdown. Utah fans rejoiced as Jake Bentley found Britain Covey in the end zone for an eight-yard pass — no doubt a special moment for Covey as it was his first since 2018.

On top of his touchdown reception, Covey also took an Oregon State punt 64 yards to the house. Thanks to some good blocking and his Sonic the Hedgehog-like speed, Covey had his second touchdown of the night, giving the Utes a 30-10 lead.

“I don’t know if words can express how frustrating injuries have been for me,” Covey said. “This is probably my first healthy game since the Washington game of 2018. Being healthy makes the biggest difference, I can’t even explain it. I came into tonight more excited than any game in the past two years just because I knew when I lined up I wouldn’t be thinking about any injury or any part of my body. I could think about my assignment. So it felt great. To keep it short it felt amazing.”

As soon as Utah looked like they were running away with it, Oregon State scored a touchdown and recovered a surprise onside kick with just over ten minutes left in the game. But there are three guarantees in this life: death, taxes and the Utah defense.

Several candidates for Mayor of Salt Lake City campaigned tonight as Hauati Pututau dropped Chance Nolan for a loss of 18 and Oregon State would eventually punt after recovering the onside kick.

But Oregon State refused to give up and marched the ball all the way down the field on their next drive for another touchdown, which included converting on a fourth and three, several Utah penalties resulting in first downs, and an incredible touchdown pass from Chance Nolan to Kolby Taylor that went through two Utah defenders.

However, as previously mentioned, you can always count on the Utah defense to step up when it matters most. Utah stopped Oregon State on fourth and short with less than three minutes remaining and again on the Beavers’ final desperation drive. 

Mika Tafua announced his campaign for Mayor as he dropped Nolan in the backfield for a five-yard loss which the Beavers would never recover from. After another stop on fourth down, the Utes would take over on downs and secure their first win of the 2020 season, improving to 1-2.

The Utes will now go on the road for a rumble in the Rockies as they face Colorado on Friday, Dec. 11 at 7:30 p.m. MST. The game will be broadcasted on FS1 and as always can be heard on ESPN700 with Bill Riley on the call.

 

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