SEATTLE – Tyler Huntley threw for one touchdown and ran for another, Jaylon Johnson returned an interception 39 yards for a score, and No. 9 Utah overcame an 11-point first-half deficit to beat Washington 33-28 Saturday.
The Utes (8-1, 5-1 Pac-12) kept alive their College Football Playoff hopes thanks to a defense that forced Washington quarterback Jacob Eason into three turnovers and got just enough offense from Huntley to rally from an early 14-3 hole.
“It says a lot. We’ve had a lot of games, the last three games or whatever it’s been by putting up 40 points and our defense looking impeccable,” Utah running back Zack Moss said. “When we can do this and come on the road and win a game like this and doing it the way we did, that’s what championship teams do, and that’s what we’ve been missing the last couple of years.”
Huntley hit Moss on a 9-yard TD late in the first half and added a 1-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter to give Utah its first lead, 26-21. Huntley’s TD run capped a drive that featured a key third-and-12 conversion in which Huntley hit Jaylen Dixon for a 41-yard completion.
Huntley finished 19 of 24 for 284 yards. He was sacked four times – Utah had allowed just seven all season – but all came in the first half, and the Utes protected Huntley much better as the game progressed. Huntley also had a pair of key third-down conversions on Utah’s final scoring drive, hitting Solomon Enis for 14 yards and Samson Nacua for 28 yards. Moss capped the 84-yard drive with a 2-yard TD run with 4:52 left.
Moss finished with 100 yards on 27 carries.
“It’s up there for me,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said of the win. “I’d have to go back and look at them, but it’s up there. It’s very, very satisfying, especially under the circumstances.”
Washington (5-4, 2-4) dropped its second straight after losing to Oregon two weeks ago and lost for the third time at home this season. Eason was 29 of 52 for 316 yards and four touchdowns. He had a nearly perfect beginning before a pair of critical mistakes in the third quarter.
“Those turnovers hurt. Hurt bad,” Washington coach Chris Petersen said.
Eason threw an 11-yard TD to Jordin Chin on Washington’s first possession. Despite a fumble leading to a Utah field goal early in the second quarter, Eason’s 34-yard TD pass to Hunter Bryant gave the Huskies a 14-3 advantage.
But it got significantly more difficult for Eason from there. Leading 14-13, Eason threw into triple coverage on the first drive of the second half and was intercepted by Julian Blackmon at the Utah 8.
Eason rebounded with a 40-yard TD to Bryant, but his next major mistake came later in the quarter when Utah brought a blitz. Eason made a careless throw that was an easier catch for Johnson than intended target Aaron Fuller, and the interception return pulled the Utes within 21-19.
Eason threw a 3-yard TD to Fuller with 1:01 left to pull UW within five, but Utah recovered the onside kick and ran the clock. Eason was 17 of 35 in the second half, and the Huskies had a series of dropped passes to go along with the turnovers.
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