Corvallis, OR – Utah football drops Oregon St. 29-23 in double OT despite having only 62 Passing Yards, three third down conversions and using two different quarterbacks. Utah’s Devontae Booker was the work horse for the win along with kicker Andy Phillips. Devontae Booker ran 19 yards for a touchdown in the second overtime to give No. 20 Utah a 29-23 victory while Phillips went 3-3 on field goals from 46, 43 and 38 yards to keep Utah in the game. He is 13-of-15 this season and 30-of-35 over his career, including a 9-of-11 mark from 40 yards or more.
The first half saw Utah getting on the board first with what appeared to be a touchdown by Dres Anderson but he failed to hold onto the ball through the catch all the way to the ground as the defender raked the ball from his hands on his third step after the catch. Utah settled on a Phillips field goal and went up 3-0. Phillips nailed his second field goal to put Utah up 6-0. The Beaver’s kicker wasn’t going to be outdone and responded with two field goals of his own as Romain hit a 37 and 45 yard field goal the second coming as time expired at the end of the first half. The first half ended with the score of 6-6 all scoring coming from the kickers.
The second half started with OSU taking the ball first as they deferred the kickoff to the second half. Beaver’s QB Sean Mannion had a nice pass of 14 yards to start the series but stalled out as they had to punt after the next three plays failed to move the chains. Oregon St was kicking to Kaelin Clay, one of the most dangerous return men in the country, but he didn’t have a chance to return this punt. Travis Wilson entered the game for Kendall Thompson whom ended his first half series with a fumble as he loosely carried the ball in a run situation. Wilson, who at this point has proved to be a better passer than Thompson, can spread out the offense as the play book is bigger for him. The first play saw Booker break out on a 42 yard run to the OSU 40 yard line. Utah continued to move the ball getting all the way to the OSU 21 yard line when Wilson dropped the snap from center. Utah recovered the fumble but lost yards on a critical third down situation making an easy chip shot field goal a more difficult 45+ yard driving kick. Phillips drilled the field goal from 46 yards to put Utah up 9-6 and that’s all the scoring in third quarter as both teams struggled to move the ball consistently.
The fourth quarter saw Oregon St get some momentum as on their first possession of the quarter Sean Mannion hit Villamin on a big touchdown pass that went 72 yards. Another three and out for Utah and the Beaver’s went to work on the clock. The long drive ended with an Oregon St punt that pinned Utah on their own six yard line and a long drive ahead to try and win the game. A field goal wouldn’t work this time the Utes needed a touchdown. Two passes from Wilson one to Anderson for 11 and a first down and one to Kenneth Scott who we held and the pass interference call moved the ball to the Utah 33. This is when Devantae Booker went to work. Running the ball the next seven plays including a one yard touchdown run on fourth down. OSU had 3:34 seconds to drive down and at least get a field goal to send this game into overtime. Mannion went to work with six passes and a couple runs by Terron Ward to get the ball to the Utah 26 when Mannion was sacked by Fauonuku. The Beaver’s kicker Trevor Romaine had to hit a 49 yard field goal to send the game to overtime with no time left. Romaine nailed it right down the middle – overtime.
Overtime started with Utah getting the ball first and scored a TD, Oregon State answered on a fourth-down prayer to Villamin. Then, the Beavers failed to score at all in the second OT, and Utah scored easily scored on Bookers second touchdown of the Overtime.
The defense really shined for Utah with linebacker Gionni Paul leading the way with 14 tackles and an interception. Pita Taumoepenu had 1.5 sacks and Hunter Dimick had another great game logging 1.5 tackles for loss. The Utes turned in a total of 10 tackles for loss with five sacks, led by a game-high four TFLs by Nate Orchard including two sacks. Orchard has 10.5 sacks this season, the first Ute with 10 more sacks in a season since 2000. The Salt Lake City native now has 13 tackles for loss this season.
Special teams continues to be a force for Utah as punter Tom Hackett had two punts downed inside the 10 and five of seven were with the 20-yard line. He has placed 18 of his 37 punts (48.6%) inside the 20 this year. He has 12 punts inside the 10 yard line this season (30 career).
Offensively the Utes started with Kendal Thompson who made his first start of the season. This was also the first game a team has been able to scheme for Thompson’s running ability and held him to 20 rushing yards and throw 17 yards on 4 completions on 8 attempts. Travis Wilson took over in the second half and finished 5-of-10 for 45 yards. The Utes were led by Dres Anderson with four catches for 35 yards but the player of the game was Devontae Booker. who in the last 3 games for Utes: 89 carries for 563 rushing yards and 5 TDs.
Utah Football Game Notes
The boys of #SackLackCity had 5 total sacks for a loss of 39 total yards.
Utah had 10 plays of 10+ yards and six belonged to Booker. 12, 42, 14, 53, 15, 19.
At 5-1, Utah is tied with Oregon, Washington, and Arizona for the best overall record in the Pac-12.
PAC12 coaches asked why home teams are losing conference games at historic level (4-15). None had any idea. Just point to parity
The challenge the Utes face now is do they have a quarterback moving forward or are they going to continue to use two quarterbacks. The skill players aren’t cutting it for them this year. The Oregon State game was the first time a team has been able to scheme for
Dropsies are like a virus. This is a mental issue and seems to be spreading. The problem is the QB doesn’t have confidence in throwing the ball when balls or dropped and/or deflected for an interception. We need the skill players to step up and make a play. The poor skill position play trickles down the line to the other players. The running game can’t continue as the defenses stack more and more in the box as was done last year. The intermediate pass plays are all we need for the quarterbacks.
Drez Anderson did well on perimeter passes but has trouble when the defense gets physical with him. He needs to rise to the occasion and hold on to the ball as he is a brilliant receiver. Two thought on this situation. First, He must do very well in practice never dropping a ball because the coaches and quarterbacks haven’t stopped targeting him and have a lot of faith in him. Second, the receivers behind him aren’t good and what we have is the best we have. All is well though for Utah offense, the Utes have Booker who seems to get yards regardless of how great the defense is he is going against.
What we know about Utah Football midway through the season
Devontae Booker is the guy for the offense, should have been the #1 for the entire season.
Nate Orchard is the guy for the defense
Special teams is the best in the country
Receivers having trouble holding on to the ball
Quarterback play is serviceable and good enough to win the games before them. With the special teams and defense Utah has this year, they only need a QB that manages the game well and doesn’t turn the ball over. Get the ball to Booker.
Next up for Utah will be USC at Rice Eccles Stadium.
* All Utah Football photos by Rob Gray use with permission for ESPN 700 Sports.