On a snowy day in Salt Lake City, the Utes won their final regular season game against Colorado 20-14. Instead of leaving the field with a deflated look on their faces like last weekend, they were elated to win their last home game.
The game came down to the final minutes when Colorado scored a touchdown with less than five minutes to play to make it a one-score game. Then the CU defense came up with a stop and its offense took the field for the final time. Just as Colorado lookd poised to take the ball all the way down the field, Jordan Gehrke fumbled the ball, and Utah took over.
Head coach Kyle Whittingham was pleased to see his team win, especially since it was it was the seniors’ last day playing in Rice-Eccles.
“So proud of our seniors — they deserve to go out on a winning note,” Whittingham said. “They’ve really been through thick and thin. Fortunately they get to play together one more time and try to get our 10th win.”
Whittingham credits the defense for the win. The defense ended the day with four takeaways, three interceptions and one fumble recovery. Vilis Fauonuku recorded a team-high four sacks.
On offense, Joe Williams bounced back from an early fumble and rushed for 187 yards on 34 carries. In his final game at Utah, Travis Wilson finished with 108 passing yards.
“Definitely an emotional time, but I was glad to get a win in our last game here,” Wilson said. “Definitely have had my rocky moments, but couldn’t thank my teammates more.”
Colorado made its way down the field on its first possession of the game, and the Utah defense seemed to have no answers. However, the Utes stepped up in the redzone, and the Buffs were forced to attempt a field goal. Kylie Fitts was then able to get a hand on the ball and blocked the field goal.
The Utes made their way down the field after that and Wilson found Kenneth Scott for a 16-yard touchdown.
On the Buffs’ next possession, they got into the red zone and came up empty-handed yet again, this time because of an interception by Marcus Williams. Utah soon returned the favor, turning the ball over themselves when Williams fumbled around midfield and CU recovered.
Later in the second quarter, CU’s Samson Kafovalu was flagged for targeting and as a result could no longer play in the game. The Utah offense soon made it to the 19-yard line but had to settle for a field goal to make the score 10-0.
After a sack from Fitts and Jason Fanaika, CU was forced to punt, but Boobie Hobbs fumbled the return. Colorado took full advantage of this turnover and eventually scored a 28-yard touchdown.
After a three-and-out by the Utes, the Colorado quarterback was aiming down field, but Williams tipped the pass and Cory Butler-Byrd intercepted the ball. A couple of punts later, Williams rushed for 64 yards. The Utes could not capitalize on this and Wilson eventually threw a pick in the end zone right before the half ended.
The Utes had the ball to open up the second half and when it looked like the field goal unit would have to come out, Wilson found Harrison Handley to keep the drive alive. Williams soon rushed for the touchdown to give the Utes the 17-7 lead. On Colorado’s next drive, Gionni Paul picked off Gehrke for the Utes’ third interception of the day. Utah only managed three points to get to 20.
Later in the third quarter, Wilson was aiming for Scott, but Scott injured his lower left leg and could not get up. Jared Norris and Paul, his fellow captains, came out on the field to help the receiver walk off.
“We knew how much the game meant to Scottie,” Paul said. “We were just going to go out there and put our hands on him, and hopefully nothing bad [happened]. Scottie being the person he is and the player he is, he just came right back. He really is like superman.”
Next up for the Utes, a bowl game will close out the 2015 season.