The Washington Huskies overcame a 21-point halftime deficit to record the second-biggest comeback in program history to beat the Utah Utes 24-21 Saturday Night in Husky Stadium.
The Huskies could not have played a worse half. The coaches and players combined played the worst half of football and found themselves in a 21-0 half time deficit. After forcing a turnover on Utah’s first possession of the game the Huskies looked to be on track.
Looks were deceiving. W UW quarterback Dylan Morris gave the ball back to the Utes converted and took a 7-0 lead. The Utah defense contained the UW offense and held it to just 127 total yards, 50 of which were on the ground. The Utah offense had its way with the Husky defense amassing 221 total yards 134 of those were on the ground The Huskies were 0-6 on third down and went into the break down 21-0.
STRONG SECOND HALF
For all of their first-half transgressions, the UW offense woke up and took the opening second-half kick and marched 72 yards on 6 plays, and put seven points on board after a Kamari Pleasant 2 yard run. An Elijah Molden interception gave the ball to the offense who converted on a Peyton Henry 26 yard field goal. The Defense made another defiant stance and stuffed the Utah offense on 4th short. The Huskies offense continued to roll with Morris hitting Cade Otton on a 21 yd touchdown pass to narrow the lead to 21-17.
DEFENSES TIGHTEN UP
Both defenses returned to their senses for the next two possession as both offensives sputtered and struggled. Utah fumbled and punted on its next two possessions while the Husky offense was no better putting after three plays and turning the ball over on an interception by Morris. After forcing another Utah punt the Husky defense gave the ball to Morris and the offense with 4:31 second left in the game.
With the ball in hand and plenty of time, Morris engineered a 12 play 88-yard game-winning drive that ended with another touchdown pass to Otton from 16 yards out and 36 seconds left in the game. The drive gave the Huskies a 24-21. It was the first time the Huskies led in the contest. Trent McDuffie sealed the Huskies when he intercepted Utah quarterback Jake Bentley with 18 seconds left in the game.
According to ESPN and Elias, entering Saturday, Pac-12 teams were 3-148 over the last 15 seasons when trailing by 21+ points at halftime.
• Before tonight’s win (a 21-point comeback), the last time UW overcame a 21-point halftime deficit to win was Nov. 12, 1988 against California. The Huskies trailed 24-3 at halftime and won 28-27. Tonight, of course, UW trailed 21-0 at half and won, 24-21, over Utah.
• UW has posted three scoreless halves this season. The second halves vs. Oregon State and Utah, and the first half vs. Arizona.
• UW has yet to concede any points in the third quarter and hold a 30-0 scoring advantage.
• The Huskies have now gone 74-straight games without allowing their opponent to score 35 or more points, the longest such streak in Division I.
• Jimmy Lake is just the second UW coach to begin his coaching tenure 3-0 since James Phelan started 3-0 as head coach in 1930. Chris Petersen went 4-0 out of the gate in his first season at UW in 2014.
• Zion Tupola-Fetui has recorded a strip sack in each of the first three games this season. With his three sacks tonight, he now has seven for minus-49 yards in three games. He entered the year with zero sacks in 14 previous games. He entered the weekend leading the nation with 2.0 sacks per game, and clearly has a good chance of keeping that status.
• A week after going over 100 yards for the first time and catching a career-high seven passes, Cade Otton made eight receptions for 108 yards and two touchdowns – all new career bests. Puka Nacua also set a new career high with six receptions.
• Edefuan Ulofoshio set a new career high with 14 tackles, surpassing his previous high of 11.
• Kamari Pleasant has scored a rushing touchdown in each of the first three games.
• Luke Wattenberg made his 35th consecutive start on the offensive line, the longest active streak among Huskies. Elijah Molden and Brandon McKinney continued their streak of playing in every game over the last four years and have played in 43 total games. Ryan Bowman did not play for the first time in four-year career, snapping his streak at 42-straight games.
• The captain for today’s game was Elijah Molden.