PULLMAN, Wash. – A virtually lifeless offensive game turned into a fourth-quarter thriller and was ultimately decided by a Coleman Petersen 39-yard field goal that earned Utah a 30-27 win at Washington State on Saturday.
Utah won it in overtime when the Cougars failed to move the ball during their possession. That came after Washington State tied the game at 27 apiece on a 17-yard field goal by Andrew Furney with three seconds left in regulation.
The Utes' defense was solid in the first half, coming up with a trio of interceptions from Mo Lee, Eric Rowe and Brian Blechen against freshman quarterback Connor Halliday. They struggled as the game wore on, giving up big yardage to Washington State late.
Utah's offense struggled to get anything going in the first 30 minutes, earning just 111 yards and six first downs. The Utes got on the board with a 49-yard pass play by punter Sean Sellwood to Luke Matthews on a fake punt. Washington State tied the game on a 6-yard pass from Halliday to Marquess Wilson just before halftime.
After Washington State's Furney and Utah's Coleman Petersen traded field goals – 20 and 33 yards, respectively – the Utes started their fourth-quarter scoring on another Petersen field goal, this time from 45 yards out.
John White IV, who had a hard time getting things going, scored the first of his two touchdowns on the day by taking the ball in from three yards out. That opportunity was set up by a Washington State muffed catch on a punt return that was recovered by the Utes' Patrick Greene.
With some trickery of its own, Washington State scored on a 47-yard halfback touchdown pass from Kristoff Williams to Bobby Ratliff. White scored again on a 56-yard scamper, but that was followed up by an 8-yard scoring reception from Halliday to Jared Karstetter.
The Cougars got the ball back with less than a minute remaining, and got back-to-back catches from Karstetter for 22 and 46 yards, respectively, to set up Furney's game-tying kick. Washington State got the ball back, but was pushed back by penalties. That possession ended on Lee's second pick of the game.
With another workmanlike performance, White ended the game with 181 yards and the pair of touchdowns on 42 carries. Hays avoided throwing an interception and earned most of his yards after halftime. He finished the game 11-of-18 passing with 125 yards (17 yards in the first half).
Utah's DeVonte Christopher had five catches for 83 yards. Halliday was 24-of-47 for 288 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions.
Karstetter led Cougars' receivers with 112 yards and a touchdown on six receptions. Teammates Ratliff (four catches for 91 yards) and Wilson (84 yards on eight catches) also had a good day.
Chris, who has been covering sports ranging from high school preps to professional teams for almost 20 years, feels that football season is the best time of the year. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.