Utah Football Drives for 31-27 Win Over USC

Tim Patrick

Tim Patrick

SALT LAKE CITY – Senior wide receiver Tim Patrick caught an 18-yard touchdown with 16 second remaining to give the University of Utah football team a 31-27 victory over USC in its Pac-12 Conference opener Friday at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

Utah went 4-for-4 on fourth-down conversions and earned a 3-1 edge in turnover margin over USC. The Ute receiving corps combined for 209 receiving yards (15 catches) and two touchdowns. Continue reading

Utah Football Downs SUU in Season Opener

Troy Williams fakes a handoff to Joe Williams (Photo Rob Gray - University of Utah Athletics)

Troy Williams fakes a handoff to Joe Williams (Photo Rob Gray – University of Utah Athletics)

SALT LAKE CITY –The Utah football team recorded its first shutout since 2012 as the Utes won their season opener, 24-0, against Southern Utah on Thursday, Sept. 1, to open the 2016 season.

Utah’s last shutout was against Northern Colorado in 2012, a 41-0 win.

Utah led 3-0 after a field goal on its first drive of the game before a pair of late-second quarter touchdowns gave Utah a 17-0 halftime lead. Utah increased its lead to 24-0 after a fourth-quarter score.

Utah Football defeats Southern Utah University 24-0 in Season Opener (Photo Rob Gray - University of Utah Athletics)

Utah Football defeats Southern Utah University 24-0 in Season Opener (Photo Rob Gray – University of Utah Athletics)

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Utah Football Defeats Michigan, 24-17, to Open 2015 Season

University of Utah vs Michigan on 09-03-2015 at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The Utes defeat the Wolverines 24-17. ©2015 Bryan Byerly

University of Utah vs Michigan on 09-03-2015 at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The Utes defeat the Wolverines 24-17. ©2015 Bryan Byerly

SALT LAKE CITY — Three interceptions and a defensive touchdown was the difference as the Utah football team opened its 2015 season with a 24-17 victory over Michigan on Thursday evening in front of the largest crowd in Utah history (47,825).

Utah’s three interceptions came from Justin Thomas, Cory Butler-Byrd and Marcus Williams, with Thomas capping Utah’s scoring with a 55-yard touchdown return in the fourth quarter.

Travis Wilson went 24-for-33 for 208 yards at quarterback. His one interception of the game came on a jump ball at the end of the first half.

Travis Wilson

University of Utah vs Michigan on 09-03-2015 at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The Utes defeat the Wolverines 24-17. ©2015 Bryan Byerly

Devontae Booker led Utah with 124 yards of total offense, which included 69 yards rushing (22 carries) and 55 yards receiving (seven catches).

Britain Covey was strong in his first career game, catching five passes for 58 yards. He also had a 14-yard punt return. Wilson found eight different receivers on the night.

Michigan had 355 yards of total offense to Utah’s 337 yards, and each team came away with two offensive touchdowns and a field goal. Eighty of Michigan’s yards came on its final drive of the game, and the Utah defense held the Wolverines to just 76 yards rushing.

Photo Rob GrayGionni Paul led Utah with 14 tackles, tying his career high. Tevin Carter had nine tackles with a team-high 1.5 tackles for loss. Carter also had a pass breakup.

Utah is 3-1 all-time against Michigan and has a three-game winning streak in the series.

The teams traded field goals early before the Utes took their first lead of the game, 10-3, with Booker scoring his first touchdown of the season on a one-yard run after an 11-play, 75-yard drive. Booker had 19 yards of the drive while Covey’s first career catch went for 20 yards in the drive. Covey also had an eight-yard reception that was just shy of the end zone.

Photo Rob GrayThe Utes picked off the Wolverines twice in the first half. Michigan’s first offensive drive of the game ended when Buter-Byrd, making his first career start, had his first career interception. Marcus Williams had his second career pick in the second quarter for a 10-yard return. Utah held Michigan to just 25 yards rushing in the first half.

Michigan came out of the locker room after halftime energized and put together an 11-play, 49-yard drive over 5:02 that ended in a missed field goal.

University of Utah vs Michigan on 09-03-2015 at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The Utes defeat the Wolverines 24-17. ©2015 Bryan Byerly

University of Utah vs Michigan on 09-03-2015 at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The Utes defeat the Wolverines 24-17. ©2015 Bryan Byerly

Utah responded with a long drive of its own, going up 17-3 after a 14-yard touchdown rush by Wilson with 5:49 left in the half following a 10-play, 74-yard drive over 4:09. Harrison Handley’s 18-yard catch — his first career reception — brought Utah inside the red zone and Covey had a 15-yard catch during the drive.

Michigan scored its first touchdown of the game on its next drive following a 12-play, 75-yard drive over 5:03 for a 19-yard TD pass with 46 seconds left in the third quarter and bringing Utah’s lead within a touchdown, 17-10. The Wolverine drive got new life following a Utah personal foul penalty on third down just before the touchdown.

Photo Rob Gray

The Utah defense got into the scoring in the fourth quarter, as Thomas picked off a pass with 7:58 left in the game and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown, giving Utah a 24-10 advantage. It was his first career interception and first career touchdown. Utah’s defense again came up big on Michigan’s next drive, holding the Wolverines on fourth down at the Utah 35-yard line.

Michigan scored with 54 seconds remaining in the game after a nine-play, 80-yard drive over 1:52. Utah came up with the subsequent onsides kick.

Utah returns to action on Friday, Sept. 11, against Utah State. Kickoff is at 7:00 p.m. MT on ESPN2.

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Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl with Utes and Rams

Utah Sporting News

Utah’s Nate Orchard

The University of Utah went to Las Vegas to take on the Colorado State Rams in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl.  The 22nd ranked CFP Utes came out focused and beat the Rams 45-10. Kyle Whittingham is now 8-1 in bowls games as a head coach where Utah had won nine-consecutive bowl games to tie for the second-longest bowl win streak in NCAA history.

The first quarter saw Utah running on full throttle.  The Rams took the opening kickoff and Utah held them to a three and out.  Utah scored on their first possession with an 8 yard run by Travis Wilson for a touchdown.  That field position was setup on a handoff to Davonte Booker you handed the ball of to #9 who threw the ball backward to Travis Wilson across the field who in turn threw the ball 36 yards down the field to Kaelin Clay.

Utah Sporting News

Kyle Whittingham (photo Rob Gray)

The first quarter ended with Utah up 21-10 as Utah scored on a Travis Wilson pass to Delshawn McClellon for 16 yards and a Devontae Booker run for 60 yards for a touchdown.  CSU scored on their own trick play with a QB throwback for a touchdown and a 41 yard field goal.

The second quarter had the least scoring with a lone Utah field goal by Andy Phillips from 38 yards.

Utah started the second half with the ball and had the drive stall without scoring making the second half look like it was going to continue to be a low scoring half like the end of the first half.  The only score of the third quarter was for Utah on a Travis Wilson run for 15 yards to put the Utes up 31-10 with one final quarter to go.

Travis Wilson

Travis Wilson (photo Rob Gray)

The fourth quarter started out in Utah’s favor recovering a CSU fumble on the 12 yard line.  Travis Wilson ran for his third touchdown on the first play making his rushing total of 91 yards.  The next possession for CSU, a near sack puts a duck up in there air as Jacoby Hale intercepts the ball and runs it in to the 34 yard line.  Troy McCormick then ran for 19 yds to the 10 and Bubba Poole finished it off on the next play running the ball into the End Zone to put the Utes up 45-10 after the extra point.

Utah leads the nation in total sacks (52) and sacks per game (4.33).  Utah had three sacks at the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl by Sese Ianu, Nate Orchard and Jason Fanika.

Utah has been ranked No. 1 nationally in sacks for 10 straight weeks.  Senior defensive end Nate Orchard leads the nation sacks per game (1.46) and is second in total sacks (17.5).

 

Tom Hacket Wins Ray Guy Award

University of Utah punter Tom Hacket won the 2014 Ray Guy Award for the best punter in college football Thursday December 11th on ESPN.

The Junior punter from Australia is the first Utah player to win a National College Football Awards Association honor. Hackett has also earned first-team all Pac-12 honors and been named to All American teams by CBS, USA Today and SB Nation. Hackett is the first Pac-12 punter to win the Ray Guy Award.

Hacket led the nation with 35 punts inside the 20 yard line and 19 punts inside the 10, putting 45.5 percent of his punts inside the opponent’s 20 yard line total. He ranked No. 2 nationally with 47.0 yards per punt, and he had 3,619 punt yards on the year to set a new school record.