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Highlights, key plays and photos from Utah’s 45-28 comeback win over Washington State

Utes score 38 unanswered points to end the season on a high note

Utah Utes wide receiver Britain Covey (18) carries the ball and runs into the end zone for a touchdown during an NCAA football game at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020.
Utah Utes wide receiver Britain Covey (18) carries the ball and runs into the end zone for a touchdown during an NCAA football game at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020.
Yukai Peng, Deseret News

Utah football ends the season on a high note, beating Washington State 45-28 in a comeback win. The Utes scored 38 unanswered points in the second half.

3 takeaways

Drew Lisk shines on Senior Day

What a moment for senior quarterback Drew Lisk. Everyone in the Ute program raves about Lisk, a walk-on quarterback from Jordan High School who was awarded a scholarship in 2018. By all accounts, Lisk has been the ultimate team guy, and on Saturday, he got his moment.

After Jake Bentley was benched at halftime following a less-than-stellar performance, Lisk did exactly what he needed to do for Utah.

He was 15-for-26 for 152 yards, had a few nice passes, and did not turn the ball over, leading Utah to the comeback win.

Utah’s defense comes alive in the second half

Through the first half, Utah’s defense wasn’t impressive. The Utes allowed four touchdowns in the first two quarters and could not get pressure on Washington State quarterback Jayden de Laura as Washington State’s offense was clicking.

In the second half, the Utes flipped the switch.

Utah held Washington State scoreless after halftime, forcing four straight punts, then four straight turnovers in an incredible showing.

Devin Lloyd was everywhere, finishing with 10 tackles — four for loss — and a sack. Clark Phillips III had a pick-six and Vante Davis, Mika Tafua and Blake Kuithe forced fumbles. Utah finished with three sacks. It was the best defensive half of the season by far.

Ty Jordan is special

It’s clear that Utah has its running back of the future in Ty Jordan, who eclipsed the century mark for the third straight game, rushing for 154 yards and three touchdowns against Washington State.

Jordan’s vision and assortment of moves are very good for a true freshman. The run of the game for him came in the fourth quarter as Utah took the lead. He made a great cut inside, then made another cut to evade two Cougar defenders, then spun to avoid another tackler and ran into the end zone.

End of game

Utah 45, Washington State 28

Utah completes the comeback and improves to 3-2 on the season. Here are the final stats:

2:06 4th Quarter

Utah 45, Washington State 28

Clark Phillips III picks off Jayden De Laura and takes it 36 yards to the house to cap an incredible comeback win for the Utes. Utah has scored 38 consecutive points.

2:37 4th Quarter

Utah 38, Washington State 28

Mika Tafua causes a fumble, which leads to a 44-yard field goal by Jadon Redding. Utah has now scored 31 unanswered points.

6:29 4th Quarter

Utah 35, Washington State 28

Utah has scored 28 unanswered points and has taken the lead. Vonte Davis forces a fumble, which is recovered by Clark Phillips. Ty Jordan makes some moves for a 13-yard touchdown.

12:01 4th Quarter

Washington State 28, Utah 28

Utah has tied the game up and have scored 21 unanswered points. On 3rd-and-9 from the Washington State 31-yard-line, Drew Lisk, under pressure, finds Brant Kuithe, who somehow gets a foot down. On 4th-and-1, Ty Jordan accelerates for a 33-yard touchdown.

End 3rd Quarter

Washington State 28, Utah 21

It’s a night and day difference from the first half to the second half for Utah. Here are a few notes from the third quarter:

  • Utah outscored Washington State 14-0
  • Utah’s defense held the Cougars to just 10 yards of offense in the third quarter, while Utah gained 149 yards.

0:55 3rd Quarter

Washington State 28, Utah 21

Utah is making it a game. The Utes forced the Cougars to punt, then put together another nice drive. Ty Jordan had a few nice runs and Bryan Thompson ran it in for a 9-yard touchdown. Drew Lisk completed both of his passes. Utah trails by just one score.

6:09 3rd Quarter

Washington State 28, Utah 14

Utah’s offense puts together their best drive of the day. The Utes go 81 yards, capped off with a 5-yard rush from Ty Jordan for a touchdown. Jordan has a nice 26-yard run with a spin move on the drive.

Halftime

Washington State 28, Utah 7

Utah was throughly outplayed in that half. Here are a few notes from the first half:

  • Jake Bentley has been benched. Bentley had his worst game as a Ute, going 7-for-14 for 153 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Besides his 91-yard pass to a wide-open Britain Covey, Bentley couldn’t get anything going, throwing the ball behind his receiver multiple times and throwing an interception.
  • Utah’s defensive line has been a non-factor throughout the first half. Cougars running back Max Borghi got loose multiple times and Utah can’t get any pressure on the quarterback.
  • Washington State has already forced two Utah turnovers. The Cougars came into the game forcing six fumbles.

1:21 2nd Quarter

Washington State 28, Utah 7

Jake Bentley throws an interception and the Cougars capitalize. Bentley throws it right to Jahad Woods, who returns it 36 yards, setting up a Jayden De Laura touchdown rush. Drew Lisk is now in at quarterback for Utah.

1:51 2nd Quarter

Washington State 21, Utah 7

After Britain Covey’s touchdown, Washington State wastes no time responding. Jayden De Laura starts the drive with a 49-yard pass to Jamire Calvin. De Laura found Calvin three times on that drive, including an 8-yard touchdown pass.

3:37 2nd Quarter

Washington State 14, Utah 7

Utah’s offense needed that. Britain Covey is wide open and Jake Bentley hits him in stride for a 91-yard touchdown pass on third down, Utah’s first score of the game.

8:31 2nd Quarter

Washington State 14, Utah 0

Washington State bullies Utah on that drive. Max Borghi rushed for 37 yards on third down, then Deon McIntosh finished the 88-yard drive with an 11-yard touchdown run. Utah’s defensive line was not able to get any pressure on the quarterback and couldn’t stop the run.

End 1st Quarter

Washington State 7, Utah 0

  • Utah is being outgained on offense 103-68.
  • The Utes only have 28 yards of passing.
  • Utah hasn’t converted a third down so far.

4:34 1st Quarter

Washington State 7, Utah 0

After a Ty Jordan fumble, Washington State capitalizes with a 57-yard drive that resulted in a Max Borghi touchdown. The Cougars’ star running back is playing for the first time all season and is making his presence known.

Pre-game

Here are a few links to stories you may want to read prior to or during the game: