SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Dante Pettis returned a punt 58 yards for a touchdown with 3:25 left and No. 4 Washington held off No. 17 Utah 31-24 on Saturday to remain undefeated.
After Utah tied it at 24 with 9:07 left, Washington (8-0, 5-0 Pac-12) pinned the Utes on their own 1 on quarterback Jake Browning’s pooch punt. The Utes (7-2, 4-2) went three-and-out and punted to Pettis, who ran parallel toward the far sideline, broke a tackle and outran everyone else. Replays in the stadium and on television showed two or three apparent illegal blocks on the return, but no flags were thrown.
Browning threw for 186 yards and two touchdowns, and Myles Gaskin ran for 151 and a touchdown.
Fans may have gotten a preview of the Pac-12 championship game as the Huskies continue to hold the top spot in the North Division. The Utes fell a game behind Colorado, but remain in the hunt.
Utah quarterback Troy Williams threw for 163 yards and two touchdowns while Joe Williams continued his remarkable post-retirement career with 172 rushing yards and a touchdown.
The two teams went back and forth in the second half after Washington led 14-10 at halftime. The Utes were on the ropes, trailing 14-0 in the second quarter, when safety Chase Hansen read Browning’s eyes, jumped a deep route and returned the interception 30 yards to set up Joe Williams’ 2-yard touchdown run. It was Browning’s first interception since Sept. 24. Andy Phillips kicked a field goal as time expired in the second quarter.
Utah’s first lead came after a long drive to start the second half. Troy Williams completed passes to Evan Moeai of 30 yards and Tim Patrick for 16 yards before finishing the drive with a strike to Siaosi Wilson from 6-yards out for the touchdown. That made it 17-14 with 8:17 to go in the third quarter.
Washington quickly responded, taking a 21-17 lead when Browning hit John Ross on a 5-yard slant that was tipped onto the air and then plucked down by Ross. The score came with 5:36 to go in the third.
The Huskies added a field goal early in the fourth for a 24-17 lead, but Utah answered with a 9-play, 75-yard drive to tie the game with 9:07 to play. Moeai capped the drive with a 24-yard TD catch from Troy Williams. The Utah tight end caught the ball at the Washington 2 and powered his way in.
WASHINGTON: The Huskies have a clear path to the Pac-12 championship game and a possible College Football Playoff berth. Utah was the last team on the schedule that is currently ranked. An undefeated Pac-12 champion will likely be included in the playoff.
UTAH: The Utes look to the season-finale against Colorado. The goal was to win the Pac-12 South and play in the title game, but the loss gives Colorado (6-2, 4-1) the edge in the division. The Buffaloes host Utah in the last game of the season.
WASHINGTON: The Huskies host Oregon State.
UTAH: The Utes are at Arizona State on Nov. 10.
Stats: Washington 31, Utah 24
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