Utes force four turnovers, drown Huskies in Seattle

Photo courtesy Utah Athletics

SEATTLE – Behind 17 points off of four turnovers, the 13th-ranked Utah football team defeated Washington for the first time in its history, 34-23 on Saturday evening at Husky Stadium.

Photo courtesy Utah Athletics
Photo courtesy Utah Athletics

Washington held a 3-0 lead after the first quarter before a pair of Husky errors led to Utah’s first two touchdowns of the game. A bad snap on a punt attempt for Washington turned the ball over on downs and put Utah on the Washington 32-yard line, leading to a four-yard touchdown run by Travis Wilson. Gionni Paul picked off a pass on the Huskies next drive (his third interception this season), returning the pick 27 yards to the eight-yard line. Devontae Booker ran for the four-yard touchdown on the subsequent drive, his team-leading 10th rushing touchdown of the year to put Utah up 14-3 with 12:31 left in the half.

The Huskies next drive would also end in a turnover, a forced fumble by Chase Hansen with Stevie Tu’ikolovatu recovering. A Washington field goal made it 14-6 with 7:47 remaining in the first half before a 54-yard fumble return for a touchdown from Paul gave Utah a 21-6 lead, with Jared Norris forcing the fumble.

The Huskies added a touchdown of their own after a 66-yard drive and Andy Phillips made his first field goal of the night from 43 yards as Utah held a 24-13 lead at halftime.

Washington would come within a point in the second half, 24-23 following a third-quarter touchdown and a field goal with 13:11 left in the fourth quarter.

Photo courtesy Utah Athletics
Photo courtesy Utah Athletics

Wilson and Booker combined for a 54 yards rushing of a 60-yard drive that culminated in a two-yard touchdown run by Wilson to give the Utes some breathing room for an eight-point lead with 3:27 remaining, 31-23. The Ute defense forced its fourth turnover of the game on the Huskies next drive, with Kylie Fitts recording his team-leading third forced fumble of the year on a sack with Tu’ikolovatu picking up his second recovered fumble of the game on the play.

Phillips would clinch the victory with a 36-yard field goal on the subsequent Utah drive for an 11-point lead with 57 seconds remaining.

Although the Utes turned the ball over three times, the defense held Washington to just three points off those turnovers. Hansen led Utah with a career-high 11 tackles and a pass breakup in addition to his forced fumble after making his first career start at strong safety. Norris had 10 tackles (1.0 TFL) and a forced fumble. Paul had two sacks as part of his nine tackles, along with a 54-yard fumble return and 27-yard interception return.

Booker had 150 rushing yards (34 carries) to reach 1,000 yards rushing for the second-straight season. It was his sixth 100-yard rushing game this year. Booker also had 21 receiving yards (two catches) for 171 all-purpose yards. Wilson threw for 155 yards (12-for-25, one interception) and rushed for 42 yards (10 carries) for two touchdowns.Britain Covey led Utah in receiving with five catches for 69 yards. Covey also had 66 yards in kickoff returns (three returns) and 13 yards in punt returns (one return) for 148 all-purpose yards.

The 34 points that Washington surrendered was the most it had given up all season.

Phillips went 2-for-3 in field goals with makes of 43 and 36 yards (miss of 45 yards). Tom Hackett downed two of his four punts inside the 20-yard line.

Utah continues on the road this weekend at Arizona on Fox Sports 1 at 8 p.m. MT.

Stats: Utah 34, Washington 23

Email: sports@stgnews.com

Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

 

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