PULLMAN, Wash. – The University of Utah Football head coach Kyle Whittingham described the victory as “gutsy and resilient” as the No. 14 Utes walked away with a 21-17 road win at Washington State, improving to 6-2 overall and 4-1 in Pac-12 play.
With the win, Coach Whittingham collected his 150th win as the Utes head coach. Utah compiled 344 yards of total offense, including 169 on the ground in the win. Utah’s defense was tremendous as they held the Cougars to 264 yards of total offense while holding them to 42 rushing yards. This was the third time this season that Utah’s defense held a team to under 45 rushing yards in a contest.
Making his first start of his career, Bryson Barnes led Utah’s offense in on the day. He was 17-of-27 passing for 175 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions. Besides throwing the ball, Barnes added to his career night with 57-rushing yards. He set a career-high with a team-long rush of 28 yards in the game.
Freshman Jaylon Glover set career-highs in rushing attempts (20) and rushing yards (76) in the win. He also added his third career touchdown in the win. Barnes’ favorite target on the night was Dalton Kincaid, who added seven receptions for 56 yards and one touchdown.
Career-highs continued to be set on the defensive side of the ball as Sione Vaki led the team with a career-high nine tackles. The defense combined for four sacks in the game, led by 1.5 sacks by Mohamoud Diabate and Van Fillinger. This was the third time the defense recorded at least four sacks this season.
FIRST QUARTER BREAKDOWN
Both teams remained scoreless throughout the first quarter, with the Utes holding Washington State to just 44 yards of total offense, including only six yards on the ground.
It was the third time this season that Utah has been held scoreless in the first quarter (vs. San Diego State, at UCLA) and the fourth quarter that the Utes haven’t scored in this year.
SECOND QUARTER BREAKDOWN
Washington State would find itself on the scoreboard quickly in the second quarter, scoring on a 29-yard pass with 13:24 on the clock. The six-play, 61-yard drive took 2:01 off the clock for the 7-0 Cougar lead.
On the next drive, the Utes found themselves on the WSU 23-yard line after Barnes found Money Parks open for a 31-yard gain on a third-and-four, setting up Utah’s first touchdown of the game. A few plays later, on a second-and-four on the Washington State six-yard line, running back Ja’Quinden Jackson punched through for a six-yard rushing score to tie the game 7-7 with 9:28 to go in the quarter.
Utah’s defense and special teams both came up with big plays down the stretch of the second quarter, starting with a Van Fillinger forced fumble and a Jonah Elliss recovery. It was followed by the Cougars muffing a punt return with JT Greep coming up with the ball to give the Utes possession with 2:47 remaining in the half.
The Utes started on the WSU 25-yard line, with Barnes and Glover keeping the drive alive on a six-yard pass and catch for a first down on a fourth-and-three. Glover would push the Utes to the one-yard line, eventually barreling through the end zone for a one-yard rushing touchdown to give Utah a 14-7 lead at halftime.
THIRD QUARTER BREAKDOWN
Utah made it a two-possession game with 1:24 to go in the third quarter after an incredibly athletic catch by Jaylen Dixon on a third-and-16 landed the Utes on the Washington State five-yard line. It would be the very next play that Barnes would find Dalton Kincaid near the goal line for a short passing play, with Kincaid breaking free for a five-yard touchdown to give the Utes a 21-7 advantage.
FOURTH QUARTER BREAKDOWN
Unfortunately for the Utes, the two-touchdown lead wouldn’t last long, with the Cougars scoring on its next drive, putting in a seven-yard rushing touchdown at the 14:17 mark in the fourth quarter. The drive, which started toward the end of the third, lasted six plays and 72 yards to cut the Utah lead to 21-14.
The Cougars continued to trim the Utes lead in the fourth quarter. Washington State went down the field on a four-minute drive. On a third-and-fourteen, Clayton Isbell came up from his safety position and forced an incomplete pass, and Washington State had to settle for a field goal trimming the lead down to 21-17.
Washington State tried an onside kick, but Solomon Enis received it for Utah. The Utes went to work the 4:45 off the clock and started moving the ball on the ground. On the drive’s second play, Glover had a seven-yard rush giving the Utes another first down. When it looked as if the drive would stall, Branes found Vele converting a third-and-nine for another first down. Later in the drive, the Cougars were called for a penalty on a fourth-and-seven and got a fresh set of downs, propelling the Utes to a 21-17 victory as they would run out the rest of the clock.
COURTESY UTAH ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS