When I saw it I was a lot closer than I thought I was. I mean, that’s football. —Troy Williams
SALT LAKE CITY — In hindsight, Utah’s failed two-point conversion attempt with 42 seconds remaining in Saturday’s 28-27 loss at USC could have ended differently.
The could of, would of, should of the situation developed as the broken play evolved. Quarterback Troy Williams was tripped up by USC defender Ajene Harris short of the goal line after opting to run forward when tight end Harrison Handley, the intended target of a pass, was covered by the Trojans.
At the same time, receiver Darren Carrington II ran across the back of the end zone and was wide open before Williams fell to the ground.
Despite the lost opportunity, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham doesn’t have any second-thoughts about opting to go for the win. Whittingham insists there are “no regrets.” He also acknowledged that Carrington II was wide open.
"You don't make every play but the play was there,” Whitttingham said. “We just missed him, didn't see him. It happens all the time.”
Williams shared his perspective on the two-point conversion attempt at Monday’s press conference at the football facility.
“It was supposed to be a throw back to Harry,“ he explained. “It wasn’t there so I just tried to run and make a play.” Williams has since seen the replay. He wonders if he should have taken off sooner or perhaps tried to jump.
“When I saw it I was a lot closer than I thought I was,” Williams said. “But, you know, I was just trying to make a play.”
The senior reflected on last season’s 28-23 loss at Calfiornia. He noted that he could have run in for a late touchdown but opted to throw a pass instead, which was incomplete.
“Now this year I could have threw it but I tried to run it in,” Williams said. “So, I mean, that’s football.”
Even so, it hurt. Utah was that close, as it turned out, to winning at USC for the first time in 101 years.
“I’m sure it’s not the first time, you know, that a quarterback has missed somebody open in the end zone,” Williams said. “But you’ve just got to keep playing. We’ve got a lot of football left.””
Whittingham noted the decision to go for two points was made early on in the final drive. Williams capped an 11-play march — covering 75 yards in 4:12 — with a short touchdown run.
"It depended on how much time was going to be left on the clock, but I knew if we were down under a minute, it looked like that was going to be the decisive determiner in the game and that is when I made that decision,” Whittingham said. “Again, no regrets. I thought our best chance to win, given that our defense had played 80 snaps and having trouble stopping them with (USC quarterback Sam) Darnold making play after play after play, I just thought that was the best opportunity to win the game.”
Utah (4-2, 1-2) can end its two-game skid with a victory Saturday afternoon at home.
“It is time to move on and focus on Arizona State,” Whittingham said. “They are coming off a big win, a huge win, against Washington. We have our work cut out for us this week, just like we do every week."
Arizona State (3-3, 2-1) at UTAH (4-2, 1-2)
Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
Radio: ESPN 700AM