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Utah Claims First Win Of The Season, Beating The Beavers 30-24

Dec 6, 2020

Box Score (PDF) | Postgame Quotes | Postgame Notes | Boxscore

SALT LAKE CITY – The University of Utah football team captured its first win of the season on a chilly Saturday night in Rice-Eccles Stadium, holding on for a 30-24 victory over the Oregon State Beavers. The Utes are 1-2 overall this season with one regular season game remaining.

Once again it came down to the final quarter for the Utes as they held a 30-10 lead heading into the last 14 minutes of the game. The Utes would give up back-to-back touchdowns with the Beavers making it a one possession game with 5:07 left on the clock, trailing by six.

The Utah defense came up big twice in the final minutes of the game, starting with a key fourth down stop by freshman Nate Ritchie with 1:40 remaining on the Utah 31-yard line. It was then junior Mika Tafua's turn with 34 seconds on the clock, sacking Chance Nolan for a loss of five yards to force a third-and-long with the Beavers turning it over on downs and the Utes walking away with the win.

The Utes finished the game with a season-high 403 yards of total offense which included a season-high 229 rushing yards along with 174 passing yards. Utah held Oregon State to 335 yards of total offense, including just 48 yards rushing in the second half (133 total).  

Utah's special teams and defense was key in the first and second quarters with Jadon Redding knocking in three field goals to give Utah a 9-0 lead and Vonte Davis claiming his second interception of the season. Oregon State would cut the lead to 9-3 with 9:16 on the clock in the second quarter before running back Ty Jordan answered with his first touchdown as a Ute to make it 16-3.

The Beavers would strike once against before the second quarter would expire, scoring on a one-yard rush to once again cut the Utah lead to a one possession game.

It was "Covey" time in the second half as Britain Covey exploded on offense and on special teams, scoring back-to-back touchdowns, first on an eight-yard pass with 6:22 left in the third quarter and then on a 64-yard punt return with 14:37 remaining in the fourth.

The celebration would be short lived with Oregon State answering with two touchdowns of their own to make it a six-point game with time ticking away in the fourth. Fortunately for the Utes though, the defense stepped in and stepped up, sealing the win with the key sack from Tafua.

GAME LEADERS
Senior quarterback Jake Bentley finished with a season-high 174 passing yards on 18-of-27 passing and two touchdowns, adding five carries for 12 yards. His 133 passer rating for the game is his highest as a Ute.

Freshman running back Ty Jordan carried the ball 27 times for a career-high 167 yards, averaging 6.2 yards per carry, also scoring his first career touchdown as a Ute. Brant Kuithe had a career-high eight catches for 76 yards to lead the Utes through the air with Britain Covey also catching four passes for 54 yards with receiving and punt return touchdowns on his stat line.

Sophomore placekicker Jadon Redding finished the game with a career-high 12 points on three made field goals (33, 20, 27) and three made PATs (3-3).
 
Sophomore cornerback JaTravis Broughton led the team with a career-high nine tackles with Devin Lloyd, Nephi Sewell and Clark Phillips III all racking up seven each. Vonte Davis also grabbed his second interception of the season in the first quarter, returning it for 35 yards down into the red zone, setting up Utah's second field goal of the game.

TALKING ABOUT THE GAME: KYLE WHITTINGHAM
"Proud of our guys for handling adversity, especially the defense. We were up 30-10 and in complete control of the game, then we lost control. We ran the ball very well tonight though – Ty Jordan was awesome."

STANDOUT STAT
Freshman Ty Jordan led the Utes in carries (27) and rushing yards (167), averaging 6.2 yards per carry. It was his first-career 100-yard rushing game as a Ute and it was the first time a true freshman has run for 100+ yards since Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala (1995; 108 yds, 24 carries, 2 TDs).

NOTABLE

  • Utah's game against Oregon State is the first December home game the Utes have hosted since 1962 when Utah welcomed UCLA to town on Dec. 1. It is the latest regular season home game the Utes have played in since 1896 when Utah beat City High on Dec. 25. The Utes had a game scheduled for Dec. 12, 1898 against All Hallows, but All Hallows forfeited the game.
  • Utah opened the game scoring points on each of its first four possessions (FG, FG, FG, TD). It was the first time doing so since Sept. 14, 2019 against Idaho State (FG, TD, TD, TD).
  • Freshman Ty Jordan led the Utes in carries (27) and rushing yards (167), averaging 6.2 yards per carry. It was his first-career 100-yard rushing game as a Ute. Jordan scored his first-career touchdown as a Ute with 3:10 left in the second quarter, punching in a one-yard rushing touchdown.
  • Junior linebacker Devin Lloyd recorded seven total tackles against the Beavers (2 TFL, 1 sack). He is averaging 9.67 tackles per game. He picked up his first sack of the season in the fourth quarter, taking down OSU's QB for a loss of 13 yards on a first-and-10 on Utah's 16-yard line.
  • Junior wide receiver Britain Covey's 64-yard punt return for a touchdown to start the fourth quarter was the first punt return for a TD for the Utes since Demari Simpkins returned one to the house for 66 yards against Colorado in 2019.

UP NEXT
The Utes will head to Boulder, Colo. for its final regular season game, taking on the Colorado Buffaloes on Friday, Dec. 11 at 7:30 p.m. MT. The game will air on FS1.