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Utah Football Drops 33-31 Triple-OT Decision at San Diego State

Sep 18, 2021

CARSON, Calif. – The University of Utah Football team fought from 14 points behind to force overtime tonight against the San Diego State Aztecs, but fell 33-31 in the third overtime period after failing on its final attempt.

The Utes were down 14 with under five minutes to play, but found the end zone when sophomore Cameron Rising linked up with Britain Covey for a two-yard scoring play to make it 24-16 with 4:17 on the clock. The Utah defense contained the Aztecs on their next drive, forcing them to punt from their own 21-yard line, giving the Utes possession with 2:36 remaining.

Rising would charge the Utes downfield 74 yards, finding four first downs and five different receivers along the way, ending with a four-yard pass to Theo Howard in the end zone to cut the SDSU lead to 24-22. Rising would go on to throw for a successful two-point conversion for the tie with freshman Connor O'Toole on the receiving end of the pivotal play.

San Diego State would get the ball first in OT, landing in the end zone on the third play of the drive on a two-yard passing play, but Rising had an answer. The Ventura, Calif., native threw a 25-yard bomb to Jaylen Dixon on the first play to tie the score once again, 31-31, forcing a second overtime.

The Utes would head into the second overtime with the ball, clawing their way to the SDSU 19-yard line for a field goal attempt, but Utah was unsuccessful on the special teams play with the Aztecs ready for their shot. It was a similar situation with SDSU getting to the Utah 19-yard line, setting up for a field goal, but fortunately for the Utes, the kick would go wide to send it into a third overtime.

The Aztecs would get the ball first in the third overtime period. With the newly-minted overtime rule changes this season, San Diego State started on the Utah three-yard line where the home squad would find the end zone for two points and the lead. On Utah's ensuing try, Rising looked to O'Toole once again, finding him in the end zone, but after an official review, the play was deemed unsuccessful with SDSU walking away with the win.

It was a slow start for the Utes to start the game with both defenses giving the offensive side of the ball zero room to move with a combined five yards of total offense gained in the first seven minutes. With the Utes needing a spark, it was Covey time as the video game himself Britain Covey caught a punt at the Utah 20-yard line, returning it 80 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead for the Utes with 8:02 left in the quarter.

After the Utes suffered another three-and-out on offense, San Diego State was able to get on the board with a 51-yard field goal, cutting the Ute lead to 7-3 with 1:54 remaining in the first quarter. The Utah offense would be credited with zero yards on offense after the first quarter after throwing for 11, but rushing for minus 11.

The Utah offense put together a 13-play drive to start the second quarter, burning 5:02 off the clock, but despite a diving catch from Devaughn Vele for a first down on the SDSU 28, the Utes had to settle for a 43-yard field goal from Jadon Redding for a 10-3 advantage. The Utah lead wouldn't last long with the Aztecs returning the kickoff 100 yards to the end zone, the second kickoff return touchdown against the Utes this season, tying the game 10-10 with 7:38 on the clock.

In the first five minutes of the third quarter, San Diego State jumped out to a two-touchdown lead, starting with a seven-yard rushing score with 11:24 on the clock. The Aztecs took advantage of a Utah turnover shortly after, scoring on another seven-yard rushing touchdown to give them a 24-10 lead with 10:42 to go in the quarter.

Momentum turned Utah's way when Rising entered the game at quarterback late in the third quarter, ultimately spearheading a 14-point comeback in the final period.

After only having 89 yards of total offense in the first quarter, the Utes finished with 296 yards of offense at the end of regulation and 327 overall. Despite the strong throwing night, Utah was only able to record 70 yards rushing while giving up 204.

Rising finished the game 19-of-32 for 153 yards and three touchdowns, all in the second half, also rushing for 46 yards on five carries.

Micah Bernard led the Utes on the ground with a career-best 17 carries and 47 yards. The Utes had three players with seven-or-more catches (Britain Covey, 8; Brant Kuithe, 7; Solomon Enis, 7) with Kuithe leading the team with 58 yards.

On defense, Devin Lloyd tied his career-high with 13 tackles for the second consecutive week, also contributing a season-best 2.5 TFLs and a fumble recovery. Both Brandon McKinney (9) and Devin Kaufusi (5) set new career-high tackle numbers.

Lloyd is the first Utah player since Chaz Walker in 2010-11 to record double-digit stops in four consecutive games. It was his seventh collegiate game with double-digit tackles.

The Utes make their return to Rice-Eccles Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 25 when they host the Washington State Cougars for Homecoming and their Pac-12 opener. The game is set for a 12:30 p.m. MT kick on Pac-12 Networks.