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Postgame Notes: Utah vs. Washington State

Sep 25, 2021
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Postgame Notes
(at) Utah 24, Washington State 13
Salt Lake City, Utah (Rice-Eccles Stadium)
Sat., Sept. 25, 2021
Kick: 12:31 p.m. | End: 3:42 p.m.
Attendance: 51,483 (sellout)
 
General

  • Utah has sold out Rice-Eccles stadium in 66 consecutive games, dating back to the 2010 season opener. Utah increased its capacity from 45,807 to 51,444 in 2021 with the expansion of the Ken Garff Red Zone.
  • Saturday's official attendance was second-most in Rice-Eccles Stadium history, short of only the 51,511 who watched the Utes defeat Weber State on Sept. 2, 2021.
  • The victory for Utah broke the tie in the all-time series with Washington State (now 10-9). It's also the third straight victory over the Cougars.
  • The Utes improved to 62-34-4 during Homecoming games and have won five of its last six such contests.
  • Utah won the coin toss, deferred to the second half, and elected to defend the North goal.

Offense

  • Sophomore quarterback Cameron Rising made his second start as a Ute and first since Nov. 21, 2020. Rising had a career-long run of 31 yards during the second quarter, and the end of the play was complemented by a 15-yard facemask penalty on Washington State.
  • Rising's longest completions were a 27-yard connection to tight end Dalton Kincaid in the third quarter, as well as an 18-yard strike to wide receiver Devaughn Vele in the fourth period.
  • Freshman QB Ja'Quinden Jackson made his Utah debut during the second quarter, capping a six-play, 80-yard drive with two keepers for 10 yards. The second was a two-yard scamper for Jackson's first collegiate rushing touchdown.
  • Junior tight end Cole Fotheringham surpassed his previous season-highs in both receptions (3) and receiving yards (33).
  • Junior running back TJ Pledger had a career-best 59-yard run in the fourth quarter, setting up a red zone attempt for the Utes. On a later drive, Pledger punched in the go-ahead touchdown with a 20-yard scamper at the 4:43 mark, putting Utah ahead 17-13 following Jordan Noyes' PAT.
  • Pledger (117) had his first 100-yard rushing game as a Ute and first since a 122-yard effort at TCU during the 2020 season.
  • The last time Utah had three or more different players rush for 100-plus yards in a game during a season was during 2015, including RB Devontae Booker (7), RB Joe Williams (2) and QB Travis Wilson (1).
  • Utah has won three straight games in which the Utes did not have a passing touchdown. It includes Saturday's game vs. Washington State, as well as victories during 2019 vs. Arizona State and at BYU.

Defense

  • Freshman linebacker Karene Reid made his first start at rover, logging 15 tackles, the most in the Pac-12 this season by a true freshman. It is the top figure by a true freshman at Utah since at least 2005.
  • Reid ended the Cougars' first red zone chance with a 13-yard interception return with 2:48 remaining in the first quarter—his first career pick.
  • With eight sacks in the win, Utah had its most in a game since a total of 11 at Arizona State on Nov. 10, 2016. The Utes' 13 tackles for loss is the most since a 15-TFL showing at Colorado on Nov. 17, 2018.
  • Junior linebacker Devin Lloyd had eight tackles on the day, including a season-high three for loss (eight yards). Lloyd has now has logged at least one TFL in 11 of the last 12 games.
  • Lloyd added an interception with 6:28 remaining in the third quarter, his second of the season and Lloyd's third of his career. The ball was tipped around by Lloyd before he made the one-handed grab for the pick.
  • Freshman defensive end Van Fillinger recorded his first three collegiate sacks. His first came on Washington State's opening drive, while Fillinger added another takedown with a crucial third-down stop in the third quarter. His final sack came on WSU's last drive of the day, keeping the clock running and inching Utah closer to victory.
  • Classmate Junior Tafuna wrapped up WSU quarterback Jarrett Guarantano for a seven-yard sack, his first as a Ute, to close out the first quarter. Making his collegiate debut, defensive tackle Aliki Vimahi recorded his first sack, as well.
  • Freshman Clark Phillips III cemented the victory late in the fourth quarter with a 54-yard interception return for a touchdown. Phillips has accounted for Utah's last two pick-sixes, the last of which also came against Washington State, in Utah's most recent Pac-12 game on Dec. 19, 2020 at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
  • With Phillips' return for score, Utah has now had a pick-six in 18 straight seasons (since 2004), dating back to the senior year of Utes' defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley's playing career as a safety with the program. Jonathan Fanene and Steve Fifita scored Utah's pick-sixes in '04.
  • This run of annual interceptions returned for a touchdown is the longest active streak in FBS football, and is the second-longest since such streaks were tracked beginning in 1996. Only Arizona State (2000-19) has had a longer run in that time.
  • Utah had its first three-interception game since Nov. 28, 2020 at Washington.

Special Teams

  • Junior return specialist Britain Covey (31 yds) reset the Utah career record for punt return yards. It was previously held by LaVon Edwards, who amassed 892 punt return yards during a Utes career spanning 1988-91. Covey now has 902 in his career.
  • Freshman punter Cameron Peasley booted two of his three punts for 50-plus yards, including a career-long 59-yard attempt. Peasley landed one punt inside the 20-yard line and another for a touchback. For the day, he averaged 47.7 yards.