Game 5: #18 Utah Utes @ California Golden Bears
Coming into this game, it looked to be a battle of a quick-striking offense, against a grinding offense who prefers to eat clock… and that’s exactly what we saw.
On Cal’s first drive, they scored on a 40 yard touchdown pass in just 1:20 of gametime… Whoops. After trading punts in ensuing possessions, Cal scored AGAIN on a drive that took 1:33.. This time the touchdown pass went for only 39 yards. So hey, progress! But the Utes were down 14-0 QUICKLY.
The good news is that the scoring toned down quickly afterwards. The Utes offense took chunks out of the clock, and the defense woke up in time to slow the Cal offense.
Armand Shyne scored a touchdown in both the 2nd and 3rd quarter, and Andy Phillips added a field goal in the 2nd. The Utes held a 17-14 lead until Cal struck again with 1:24 left in the 3rd, with a 24-yard touchdown pass.
The Utes next drive stalled, and within the first 5 minutes of the 4th quarter, the Bears scored again on a, you guessed it, 56-yard touchdown pass… Obviously this definitely wasn’t the BEST day for the Utes secondary.
Zack Moss managed to get in the endzone with 6 minutes left, but the Utes missed on the following 2-point conversation. With the score at 28-23, the Utes managed to stop the Golden Bears and got the ball back with 4:21 left.
The Utes got all the way to 1st and Goal from the Cal 2 yard line, with 8 seconds left, but were unable to punch it in before time expired.
Result: Utah loses a close one 28-23 (4-1, 1-1 Conf)
What it meant:
The loss marked the first (and currently the only) loss of the season for the Utes. Once again, the defense took a quarter or so to wake up and look as dominant as they should.
With a perfect season out of the question, the public focus has shifted to potentially winning the Pac-12 South and having an outside shot at still making it into the College Football Playoff.
The loss knocked Utah back in the AP Poll, but not out. Landing back at #24, the Utes barely held onto a ranking.