SEATTLE (AP) — 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.
Huntley hit Zack 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 where Huntley was able to 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 were able to protect 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.
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.
Eason threw an 11-yard TD to Jordin Chin on Washington’s first possession, and 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 foolishly 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 carless 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 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.
Utah: The Utes entered the week with the best run defense in the country, giving up just 56 yards per game. The Huskies finished with 53 yards rushing, most of it coming in the first half.
Washington: Chris Petersen’s streak of being unbeaten coming off an open date came to an end. In his career at Boise State and Washington, Petersen’s teams had been 18-0 when coming off an open date.
Washington’s thin wide receiver corps took another hit when promising freshman WR Puka Nacua did not play against the Utes for health reasons. Nacua was believed to have been injured during practice this week. The Huskies were also without Chico McClatcher, who was hurt late in their last game.
Utah: The Utes have an open date before hosting UCLA.
Washington: The Huskies have a short week, traveling to Oregon State on Friday.
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