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Utah Rewatch Diary- 2nd Half

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As Washington completes their biggest comeback in several decades

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 28 Utah at Washington Photo by Jeff Halstead/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In case you missed the diary of the 1st half you can find it right here.

OFFENSIVE DRIVE #6- 15:00 3RD QUARTER

  • Donovan came out of the half down 21-0 and didn’t exactly show an instant inclination to open things up as Kamari Pleasant got a pair of carries up the middle for a combined 6 yards.
  • On 3rd and 4 Morris goes to his safety blanket as Otton runs a simple hitch route over the middle right at the sticks and drags some defenders with him for a 1st down. By the time they bring him down the 8 closest players in the shot around Otton were all Utes.
  • Washington unleashes the end around to Terrell Bynum and it like always picks up 14 yards. Ty Jones and Cade Otton both with great blocks to completely seal the corners and force a safety to come over to make the tackle.
  • Finally the Huskies come out with some aggression as Morris fakes an end around to Nacua as well as a handoff to Pleasant who along with Otton sticks around to block in max pass protect. Despite only 2 downfield routes getting run, Terrell Bynum gets wide open deep as Utah blitzes and the linebackers are frozen on the play action. A perfect throw results in a touchdown as Bynum had about 4 yards of separation from the corner and the safety wasn’t quite there yet. Instead, it’s slightly underthrown but there’s enough room for Bynum to catch it at the 3 then immediately get shoved out of bounds at the 2. Fairly certain this was the most air yards on a completion in Morris’ career to this point.
  • On the next play Pleasant punches it in from the 2 although it went through a lengthy review but ultimately they went with the call on the field. Touchdown Washington. Utes lead 21-7.

DEFENSIVE DRIVE #6- 12:01 3RD QUARTER

  • The defense didn’t get the memo that things were supposed to change coming out of halftime apparently as Utah runs it up the middle for 11 yards on their 1st play.
  • Or maybe they did as Ulofoshio shot the gap to make a stop for no gain. Then on another run up the middle Sav’ell Smalls makes the tackle after a short gain to bring up a 3rd and 6.
  • And there’s the Jake Bentley from basically every part of last year except the 1st half against Washington. Sav’ell Smalls is 1v1 on a 3 man rush with Utah’s left tackle and beats him to the inside which forces Bentley out of the pocket to his left. In the 1st half in this situation he was then making someone miss and scrambling for a 1st down. This time he doesn’t chance it with Jackson Sirmon charging hard from his spy position and never sets his feet as he spins and throws it downfield. If he’d been able to lead the Utah receiver there was a chance for a contested catch. Luckily for UW though the ball just hangs in the air with no zip as Molden undercuts it at midfield for the interception and he runs it back 25 yards.

OFFENSIVE DRIVE #7- 10:02 3RD QUARTER

  • As the broadcast talks about former Husky star DB “Kenny King”, Morris has no one open and unlike in the 1st half decides to throw it away rather than force it.
  • On 2nd and long Kamari Pleasant tries to find a cutback lane that is non-existent for no gain.
  • Cade Otton once again finds a seam as he lines up next to Jaxson Kirkland but crosses over and catches it in traffic for a 1st down before getting cut down by the Utah safety’s diving tackle at his knees.
  • Inside the red zone though the Dawgs get conservative again and consecutive runs by McGrew up the middle go for just 3 yards.
  • On 3rd down the Utes play a cloud coverage with 6 LBs/DBs lined up in a zone across the end zone line. The Huskies try to run Otton through the zone to occupy the defenders and then have McGrew come out of the backfield behind him but Utah doesn’t bite and McGrew is walloped right as the ball gets there for an incompletion.
  • Washington only gains 17 yards after the turnover and settle for a 26-yard Peyton Henry field goal. Huskies cut it to 21-10 Utah.

DEFENSIVE DRIVE #7- 7:21 3RD QUARTER

  • The Utes almost get another huge gain on the 1st play of the drive but Ulofoshio gets a hold of Jordan Wilmore’s ankle and while he can’t quite make the tackle he slows him down enough to let the rest of the defense get there.
  • Utah tries the same play that was a deep completion to Bryan Thompson on Keith Taylor on the first drive of the game but this time Taylor has him blanketed and the throw goes over their heads out of bounds.
  • Once again on 3rd and medium the Huskies show a 5-man front then back out their inside linebackers to spy and instead rush 3. Jackson Sirmon eventually tries to attack once the offensive linemen are all occupied but he somehow completely whiffs despite Bentley not seeing him and so a dump off to Ty Jordan with Asa Turner on him turns into a gain of nearly 20.
  • Great run defense by Elijah Molden and Cam Williams strings out a toss play along the line of scrimmage for no gain.
  • Utah actually runs the option with Bentley and Sav’ell Smalls misses the read but fortunately Elijah Molden is in place to keep it from being a big gain.
  • On 3rd and 5 Kyler Gordon seemingly had the Utah back’s ankle to stop him for a loss but can’t hang on and it turns into 4th and 1. Utah goes for it and try a QB sneak but Jake Bentley runs into the back of his center and gets dragged backwards short of the line. It looked like Tuli Letuligasenoa and Taki Taimani each got a hand on Utah’s center and kept him from moving forward even an inch. A great play from UW’s defensive tackles which isn’t something I’ve said a lot of from last season.

OFFENSIVE DRIVE #8- 3:55 3RD QUARTER

  • Another 1st down run, another ineffective play. McGrew has nowhere to go on the carry and gets taken down for a gain of just 1.
  • But Utah biting on the run bites them back here as Otton runs the seam and gets behind all 3 of the linebackers who on replay were completely frozen by play action for a big chunk play. It becomes an even bigger play after Utah is called for roughing the passer with targeting. The first Utah rusher hits Morris legally and knocks him to his right straight into the 2nd Utah defender who has Morris’ helmet fall into his. Because of that they take away the targeting so no ejection but it’s still roughing the passer and UW is almost in the red zone already. The broadcast booth notes that somehow almost at the end of the 3rd quarter it’s the first penalty called on Utah.
  • On the next play Otton leaks across the front of the line of scrimmage seemingly blocking on play action then bolts toward the corner and the Utah linebacker is too late to catch up to him. Morris throws a perfect strike to Otton who catches it at the 2 then falls into the end zone with a Ute draped on his back for the touchdown. Love this play. Don’t love the announcer for the 2nd time trying to get credit for calling Otton one of his “Chick-Fil-A impact players of the game” as if that was a bold call. Utah 21, Washington 17.

DEFENSIVE DRIVE #8- 2:49 3RD QUARTER

  • Elijah Molden’s blitz was ineffective as Bentley throws it behind him and Cam Williams misses a tackle in the flat which allows for a Utah first down on the first play of the drive.
  • Ty Jordan makes the UW defense looks silly again with a 35 yard run. Sav’ell Smalls and Edefuan Ulofoshio were supposed to be in the gap but each get a slight shove in the back to knock them just enough off course to not be in position. A Utah WR somehow managed to have free reign and Jordan runs in behind him for 20 yards before he’s forced to make a block.
  • Utah has a 3rd and 1 at the 21 as the clock winds down for the end of the 3rd quarter. They run it up the middle to easily pick up 9 yards.
  • Kyler Gordon has what I would consider the play of the game as Utah runs an end around with Ty Jordan to the side where he’s playing outside corner. The lead blocker for Utah chooses to go inside and block Jackson Sirmon which leaves it 1v1 Jordan vs. Gordon. Kyler dives headfirst and manages to get his helmet directly on the ball to pop it loose and ZTF trailing the play snatches it up and picks up 25 yards before getting chased out of bounds. He was about 1 yard away from the sideline and if that ball had instead bounced into the sideline there’s a good chance the Huskies don’t ultimately pull this game out.

OFFENSIVE DRIVE #9- 14:12 4TH QUARTER

  • Given the momentum swing I remember thinking there was no way the Huskies weren’t scoring a touchdown on this drive. Whoops.
  • Morris throws it away on 1st down. Cam Davis gets a carry in the I-formation but is instantly swarmed by 3 Utes for no gain. On 3rd down Puka Nacua catches a slant but can’t break free and is tackled short of the line forcing a Husky punt from near midfield.
  • Kyler Gordon goes full extension dive to try to force the ball down inside the 5 but it lands inches past his outstretched fingers and rolls into the end zone for a touchback. If Porter gets a little more hangtime or takes a few yards off the kick it ends up pinning Utah deep.

DEFENSIVE DRIVE #9- 12:32 3RD QUARTER

  • ZTF almost gets another sack on the first play of the drive but the Utah tackle does just enough to keep him from getting free and so Bentley is able to scramble and hit his check down for a 1st down.
  • 3 more plays and the Utes keep up almost a 7 yards per play clip as they get small chunks to quickly end up at midfield.
  • On 2nd and 4 Jackson Sirmon makes a nice play getting out to the sideline to bring down the Utah back for a gain of only 2. Then on another dump off pass Elijah Molden and Alex Cook combine for a vicious hit on Jordan to force a 4th down. This time on 4th and 1 Utah decides to punt instead of going for it.

OFFENSIVE DRIVE #10- 8:20 4TH QUARTER

  • A penalty on the punt return on UW forces Morris to start at his own 6 yard line.
  • Kamari Pleasant in the 3 TE set only picks up 3 to give a little breathing room. The broadcast shows the stat that UW has lost 30 consecutive games when down 21 points at some point during the game.
  • Donovan goes with a quick throw to Nacua without numbers but Puka breaks a tackle which allows him to get the 1st down.
  • This looked so good for UW. The offensive line gave Morris unlimited time. Ty Jones had his man beat by 5 yards. But Morris’ throw dies about 40 yards away from where he threw it and the Utah corner catches up and tries to tackle Jones as he turns back for the ball. It hits Jones in the hands, bounces off the defenders’ hands, and pops in the air for the safety to pick it off. There were no excuses for Morris on this one as he had no one in his face. If it’s 5 yards deeper it’s a 40-yard completion. Instead it’s his 3rd interception of the night.

DEFENSIVE DRIVE #10- 6:47 4TH QUARTER

  • Fortunately Zion Tupuola-Fetui is really good at football. On 2nd down Bentley tries to scramble and ZTF peels off his block to take him down for no gain. Then on 3rd down he fights through a double team by the left tackle and left guard as he is too quick and cuts right in between them to demolish Bentley for a sack. ZTF gets there first but Smalls also beat Utah’s right tackle and would’ve had a chance for a sack himself.
  • Utah hits a squibbler of a punt but it rolls the right direction for the Utes and is downed at the 12.

OFFENSIVE DRIVE #11- 4:31 4TH QUARTER

  • After a Sean McGrew run for 4 yards the Huskies again go to their bread and butter end around to Bynum which of course picks up double digit yards. But unfortunately Bynum lands awkwardly and winds up with a hand injury that knocked him out not just for the rest of this game but the one against Stanford as well. Interestingly given the depth chart for the next game the Huskies come out on the next play with Jordan Chin as the 3rd receiver rather than Odunze or McMillan who basically saw no time in this one at all.
  • Nacua with a drop on a quick throw to the sideline but once again it would’ve required him to break a tackle to gain any yardage even if he caught it.
  • On 3rd and 10 Nacua makes up for it as he catches a slant and gets absolutely clobbered by the Utah safety waiting for him just beyond the first down line but holds on. Kamari Pleasant picked up the blitz in pass protection to give Morris time.
  • And it’s Nacua again as Morris rolls out to his left and fires it a little too far outside. Fortunately Puka goes with the full layout and manages to hold on as he hits the ground for another first down.
  • This time it’s Pleasant with the drop on the check down pass which likely goes for another first down if he holds on.
  • Morris averts disaster on 2nd down as Wattenberg snaps the ball before Morris was ready. It hits him in the chest and he reaches down, scoops it up, and fires to Otton for a gain of 7 to Utah’s 37 with 90 seconds left. Otton also catches the 1st down on the next play and steps out of bounds to stop the clock.
  • A baffling call here as they run it with Pleasant and he goes absolutely nowhere. Worth noting UW did have all 3 timeouts at this point so a running clock wasn’t quite the enemy despite being down by 4 with a minute left.
  • Morris again checks down to Pleasant and this time a spin move breaks a tackle and he’s able to get out of bounds at the 16.
  • Otton lines up on the right side of the formation and comes across at the same time that Morris scrambles to his left. Morris fires and Otton catches it at the 5 with a Utah defender draped on his back but Otton shrugs him off and walks into the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown. That’s an 88-yard scoring drive in just under 4 minutes led by Morris with plenty of help from Otton and Nacua. What a comeback. Washington 24, Utah 21.

DEFENSIVE DRIVE #11- 0:36 4TH QUARTER

  • On 1st down Jackson Sirmon chased down the check down pass for a gain of 5 clearly in bounds but the ref stopped the clock as he slid out after being tackled. Sirmon advocating for the clock running doesn’t help.
  • Bentley is chased out of the pocket by both ZTF and Smalls on 2nd down but throws it at the feet of his receiver.
  • On 3rd down Bentley decides to go for it all and throws a 50/50 jump ball deep along the right sideline. The problem? Trent McDuffie is the defender. I’ll take those odds. McDuffie intercepts the ball and that’s the ball game.