It didn’t work out. They obviously continued to make plays after that. We couldn’t find a way to make a play. —Kyle Whittingham
SEATTLE — Utah’s 33-30 loss at Washington Saturday proved especially painful. Giving up 10 unanswered points in the final 58 seconds will do that to a team. The heartache is multiplied when it involves an upset bid of a ranked opponent and an opportunity to reach bowl eligibility.
It was a stunning end to an otherwise strong showing by the Utes, who racked up 410 total yards of offense against the Pac-12’s top-ranked defense — and at Husky Stadium no less.
“It’s a tough place to play, and you have to be aggressive,” said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham, who noted that the Utes converted on some fourth downs and were successful with an onside kick and a fake punt. “So, yeah, we’re playing to win.”
Whittingham added that they just came up short.
“I thought we played very well for 58 minutes,” he said.
In the end, though, it was the end that doomed the Utes.
Whittingham pointed out that the Utes could have sacked Washington quarterback Jake Browning a couple of times when they had a late seven-point lead, including once on 4th-and-10.
“He was able to get the ball out as he was going down, and we just couldn’t make that play,” Whittingham said.
Then there was a timeout that Utah called with 23 seconds remaining and the score tied at 30-30. It followed a running play by the Huskies that left them with a 2nd-and-8 situation on their own 30-yard line.
Whittingham explained that the timeout was called to be aggressive and get the ball back to Utah’s offense and perhaps the long-range of kicker Matt Gay.
“It didn’t work out. They obviously continued to make plays after that,” Whittingham said. “We couldn’t find a way to make a play.”
After the timeout, Browning completed an 18-yard pass to Dante Pettis and a 31-yard strike to Andre Baccellia to set up the game-winning field goal by Tristan Vizcaino as time expired.
“That was a tough one,” Whittingham said in opening his postgame remarks to the media.
The Utes dropped to 5-6 overall and 2-6 in Pac-12 play.
“We didn’t do enough,” said quarterback Tyler Huntley. “We still left a lot of points off the board.”
And now Utah’s hopes of going bowling have been reduced to one game.
The winner of Saturday’s Utah-Colorado tilt at Rice-Eccles Stadium becomes eligible.
Whittingham is confident the Utes will be ready for the challenge.
“They’re resilient and I believe they’ll bounce back,” he said.
EXTRA POINTS: Utah’s offense was 3 of 3 on fourth down. Zack Moss ran for a game-high 55 yards. Huntley passed for 293 yards and two touchdowns. He was sacked three times. Raelon Singleton topped the Utes with five catches and two scores. Gay made all three of field goals and PATs he attempted. Mitch Wishnowsky recovered his own onside kick and ran for a first down on a fake punt. Terrell Burgess led Utah with eight tackles. Bradlee Anae registered 1.5 sacks and forced a fumble. Donavan Thompson has the lone pass breakup for the Utes.