Daniel Jones, Utah's fine senior wide receiver, caught five passes for 60 yards and a touchdown Saturday night in Rice-Eccles Stadium.
But it's the two passes that didn't end up as catches that he'll likely long remember after the Utes' 31-28 loss to Boise State, a 17-point underdog. Jones will also have a hard time forgetting his costly fumble on a kickoff in the first quarter.Jones fumble set up Boise's second touchdown, giving the Broncos a 14-0 lead before the Utes had a single offensive play.
After Utah had cut the gap to a touchdown, Jones had a picture-perfect chance to make up for his previous miscue. On a third-and-long play early in the second quarter, Jones beat his defender on a fly patterned. Ute quarterback Jonathan Crosswhite hit him in stride, too.
But Jones dropped the ball.
Instead of a 62-yard touchdown, Utah was forced to punt.
Jones, who had a big night a week ago against Hawaii and was the WAC Pacific Division special teams player of the week for his efforts, did his best to make up for his two early mistakes. He caught several passes and even tied the game at 14 with a 20-yard acrobatic grab in the end zone with 6:46 remaining in the second quarter.
Jones' second non-catch that will haunt him was actually an impressive grab on his part. It just didn't count.
After the Utes came from behind to take their only lead midway through the fourth quarter, the Broncos responded with a 99-yard go-ahead drive to score with 45 seconds left.
With 13 seconds remaining and the Utes deep in Bronco territory, Utah looked to be in a hopeless predicament. But Jones ran a route down the right sideline and Crosswhite again hit him for what appeared to be a 50-yard gain. This time Jones made a spectacular catch. Utah was well within field goal range.
But there was a problem. The referee ruled that Jones had caught the ball out of bounds. It was extremely close, but replays seemed to indicate Jones' foot was on the line.
It was Utah's last gasp and it failed.
It was that kind of night for the Utes in general and Jones in particular.