SALT LAKE CITY — With John White out of the lineup with an apparent ankle injury from last week’s Utah State game and starting quarterback Jordan Wynn out for good with another shoulder injury, the Ute offense had to improvise Saturday night against BYU.
White, who had declared himself “100 percent” after a mid-week practice, wasn’t in the backfield all night, nor was Wynn, who called it a career earlier in the week. Instead the Utes patched together an offense with freshman Jarrell Oliver, who had rushed for 23 yards on eight carries on the year, in the backfield along with Jon Hays, who started the majority of last year’s games.
Without White, a preseason all-Pac-12 selection, the Utes relied on a variety of sprint-out passes by Hays along with running back-by-committee with Oliver, Kelvin York and Lucky Radley running mostly off-tackle plays and doing just enough to get by.
The Utes couldn’t sustain many drives against a stout BYU defense. But thanks to timely plays by the Ute special teams and Moe Lee’s 47-yard fumble recovery, the Utes were able to punch out a victory.
Their first score came after a 57-yard punt return by Charles Henderson, and the Utes needed just two plays to score on a 17-yard pass from Hays to Westlee Tonga, who made a great grab in the end zone.
A third-quarter field goal was set up by an interception by Ryan Lacy, followed by Lee’s fumble return. The final touchdown came after another fine return by Henderson when Hays hit Dres Anderson on a 39-yard touchdown pass.
The Utes' only sustained drive of the night came late in the first quarter when they moved from their own 16 to the BYU 20 but got nothing out of it when Coleman Peterson missed a field goal.
For the game, the Utes had just 245 total yards, compared to 303 for BYU.
Hays completed 18 of 27 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns and was sacked four times. He threw passes to 11 different receivers, led by Reggie Dunn, who caught six passes for 56 yards, while Anderson and Max Moala each had two catches.
Meanwhile the Ute rushing game could manage only 49 yards with Oliver leading the way with 24 yards on 11 carries. Radley finished with 22 yards on nine carries.