No. 14 Utah wins to remain in Pac-12 title hunt as star QB Cameron Rising sits

Dealing with a feisty Washington State crew lower than two weeks after a season-defining upset of USC, the No. 14 Utah Utes appeared primed to endure a type of “Pac-12 After Dark” specials that ends with a heartbreaking loss.

However whereas there have been a handful of shenanigans just a few days previous to Halloween on the Palouse, the Utes managed to outlive their difficult take a look at towards the Cougars, profitable 21-17 on FS1 to maneuver one week nearer to defending their Pac-12 Championship on the finish of the common season. 

Highlights: Utah holds off Washington State

Highlights: Utah holds off Washington State

No. 14 Utah defeated Washington State 21-17 on Thursday night time, as backup quarterback Bryson Barnes handed for 175 yards and a TD.

Listed here are three key ideas on the matchup:

Injured reserves

Utah’s win over the Trojans on Oct. 15 in Salt Lake Metropolis could have been a expensive one judging by who didn’t play towards Wazzu.

Quarterback Cameron Rising was probably the most notable absentee for the guests, spending the sport with a headset and yellow jersey on whereas pacing the sidelines. Coming off a profession night time towards the Trojans, the All-Pac-12 signal-caller did heat up some earlier than kickoff at Martin Stadium, however was principally relegated to being a bystander as walk-on Bryson Barnes (17-of-27, 175 yards, one landing) was given the reins of the offense.

The Utes have been additionally lacking beginning working again Tavion Thomas and noticed sophomore deputy Micah Bernard (three carries, one yard) restricted after getting banged up. To make issues worse towards a pass-happy opponent, high cornerback Clark Phillips III was shaken up on the primary drive of the second half after a tough deal with.

Perhaps most regarding of all for the teaching workers was seeing star tight finish Dalton Kincaid take a success after a catch alongside the sidelines within the third quarter and instantly attain for his shoulder in ache. He returned to attain a brief landing two performs later, however went straight for the damage tent afterward and didn’t return for the following drive.

Dalton Kincaid snags TD

Dalton Kincaid snags TD

Bryson Barnes finds Dalton Kincaid on a 5-yard landing to place Utah up 21-7 towards Washington State on Thursday night time.

Shut however not shut sufficient

Whereas the low-scoring affair didn’t embody a lot offense, Washington State quarterback Cameron Ward was in a position to do exactly sufficient dinking and dunking his approach down the sector to present his crew a shot within the fourth quarter. The Incarnate Phrase switch began off the sport by finishing his first 12 makes an attempt and didn’t throw his first incompletion till 11 seconds earlier than halftime.

Although most of Ward’s passes have been of the quick and intermediate selection, he did have just a few photographs down the sector to De’Zhaun Stribling (66 yards, one landing) and led the crew in dashing with 28 yards and a rating. The twin-threat’s motion in and across the pocket was not all the time by design, nonetheless, as his offensive line struggled a lot of the night time towards Utah’s cross rush. Ward was fortunate to solely take 4 sacks within the recreation. 

It didn’t assist Ward that the Cougs appeared to seek out methods of taking pictures themselves within the foot at key moments all through. They dedicated eight penalties, made questionable fourth-down calls (0-for-2) and didn’t have any curiosity in working the ball regardless of issues being shut just about all 4 quarters.

Of WSU’s two turnovers, probably the most notable one got here simply earlier than the halftime break, after they muffed a punt because of the ball grazing the leg of one of many crew’s gunners. The Utes proceeded to drive into the crimson zone and, after it appeared they must accept a subject objective, a concentrating on penalty on Wazzu defender Brennan Jackson stored the drive alive. With the added time and the ball on the 2, Jaylon Glover wound up punching it in for a landing that proved to be essential in the long run. 

Pac-12, CFP implications

Being on nationwide TV with little sports activities competitors late Thursday night time may have provided Utah a chance to make a little bit of a press release forward of the primary set of Faculty Soccer Playoff rankings on Tuesday. Between the accidents and substandard play, nonetheless, that was removed from the case. Kyle Whittingham’s squad as an alternative accept a gritty effort to win in Pullman for the primary time since 2011. 

Within the course of, the Utes turned bowl eligible and remained within the thick of the race to make it to Las Vegas for the Pac-12 title recreation. Arising on the schedule, Utah has two groups close to the underside of the league standings (Arizona and Stanford), each at Rice-Eccles Stadium, however should enhance upon their play towards Washington State in the event that they harbor any hopes of being a top-15 crew within the eyes of the choice committee.

The win can also forged doubt on the reigning champions’ standing as the most important risk for No. 8 Oregon shifting ahead. The Geese are set to host the Pac-12 Championship Sport rematch from final season in Eugene on Nov. 19, however should be excited on the prospect of enjoying a crew that’s each beat up and never in a position to reap the benefits of the scenario.

These will probably be issues for one more night time, nonetheless. Whittingham & Co. will probably be blissful to limp again to Salt Lake Metropolis with a victory of their pockets, hoping for continued restoration for his or her star gamers forward of that assembly with Bo Nix, Dan Lanning and the Geese in just a few weeks.

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Fischer is a university soccer author for FOX Sports activities. He has been protecting faculty athletics for practically twenty years at retailers comparable to NBC Sports activities, CBS Sports activities, Yahoo! Sports activities and amongst others. Comply with him on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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