Utah Football Defeats Washington State in Pullman


Jack Gambassi

University of Utah quarterback Ja’Quinden Jackson (#3) during the NCAA football game against SDSU on Sept 17, 2022, at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City. (Photo by Jack Gambassi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Sean Overton and Ethan Pearce


The University of Utah football team (6-2, 4-1 Pac-12)  headed to Pullman this week to face off against Washington State. They came off of a bye week last week, with a victory over No. 7 USC the previous week.

And with starting quarterback Cam Rising out with an apparent knee injury, backup Bryson Barnes got the start.


Utah came into this game looking strong, and quickly marched down the field. The Utes covered 56 yards but ended up missing a field goal. But Utah made up for it defensively, getting the Cougars to a quick 4th and 16.

Unfortunately, Utah only covered 14 yards on their next drive, and quickly punted. This continued through the first quarter, but Washington State got on the scoreboard early in the second quarter.

Utah suddenly seemed more motivated, and a perfectly placed pass by Barnes set the Utes up in Washington State territory. Ja’Quinden Jackson finished the drive off with a 6-yard touchdown rush to tie the game.

The Cougars were putting the pressure on Utah, quickly moving down the field. But Utah was able to force and recover a fumble to switch possession. But an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty forced a 3rd and 23, eventually forcing Utah to punt.

But the punt deflected off of a Cougar, and the Utes recovered it on the opposing 25-yard line. But despite the great field placement, it looked like Utah would be unable to find the end-zone. A targeting call kept Utah’s offense alive, placing them on the 2-yard line.

After an incomplete pass, Jaylon Glover was able to find the end-zone to give the Utes their first lead of the night. The Utes took a 14-7 lead into halftime after the late score.

Washington State received the kick after the half and started marching down the field. The Cougars turned the ball over and Utah’s offense took over.

Glover set the tone early in the drive, with a 21-yard gain to move the Utes down the field. A bold offensive call to go for 4th and 1 left the Utes scoreless on the drive.

As has been the story of Utah’s season, the defense kept them alive. A quick three and out left Washington State punting from their own 17.

Utah’s offense finally appeared to be gaining some traction for the first time in the second half. Barnes found Dalton Kincaid in the end-zone to put Utah up 21-7. But the Cougars marched right back, making it a 21-14 game.

RJ Hubert was ejected for targeting on Washington State’s next drive, taking him out of the remainder of the game and the first half against Arizona next week.

Utah then committed their first turnover of the game, a fumble by Jackson that gave the Cougars fantastic field position. Utah’s defense held Washington State to a field goal and kept them from tying the game.

The Cougars went for a bold onside kick that Utah recovered, setting them up on their own 45-yard line. Utah was running the clock out and less than one minute from taking the win but Washington State appeared to intercept the pass. But the play was called back for defensive holding, giving Utah the ball again. Utah was able to take a knee and secure their first victory in Pullman since Nov. 19, 2011. Utah now looks to face Arizona next Saturday at Rice-Eccles Stadium.


It was definitely a surprise to see Barnes trot out there with the starting offense after the opening kickoff. We knew Rising had some kind of knee injury, but he warmed up, dressed for the game, and seemed good to go.

It was definitely a bit of gamesmanship by Whittingham and Rising to let Washington State think they were preparing for Rising all week. Barnes is not who they expected.

He didn’t light the world on fire, but Barnes played a solid game — no major mistakes, led a couple nice drives, and executed the playbook well. Utah is lucky to have a backup with this much poise and calmness about him.

It wasn’t a perfect win, but the Utes went on the road on Thursday night without their starting quarterback and running back, with the RB2 on a limited pitch count, with Kincaid banged up, Hubert ejected for targeting, and still won the game against a solid team. Not much more you can ask for. 

They’ll play Arizona at home next week with Rising, Kincaid, Thomas, and Bernard’s status up in the air. The Wildcats are a welcome sight for the Utah team in need of a week to get healthy.


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