clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Hatfield Returns Utah Football to Win Over Colorado 38-34

Utah finishes 8-4, 5-4 with what has been rated as the toughest schedule in the nation preseason. Utes will now await their bowl invitation from the Pac-12 tie-ins.

Utah quarterback Travis Wilson throws for over 300 yards and three touchdowns in the win over Colorado.
Utah quarterback Travis Wilson throws for over 300 yards and three touchdowns in the win over Colorado.
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Dominique Hatfield intercepted Colorado's upset bid and returned a screen pass 20 yards for the game winning touchdown, as the Utah football team beat the Buffs in Boulder 38-34. With the dramatic, grind-it-out win, Utah finishes the season 8-4, 5-4 in the Pac-12, the Utes' first winning season in conference play since joining the conference of champions.

Utah quarterback Travis Wilson had his best game of the season, passing for 311 yards and three touchdowns on 25-of-37. Wilson finishes the regular season with 2,012 yards passing and 17 touchdowns, as well as 218 yards rushing and two more scores. Wide receiver Kaelin Clay was Wilson's favorite target, catching 10 balls for 88 yards and two touchdowns. Utes tight end Westlee Tonga had three catches for 77 yards and a TD.

Utah got off to a shaky start, scoring just a field goal in the first quarter, then scoring a touchdown in the second. But Utah kicker Andy Phillips missed the first PAT of his career, which would have repercussions for the Utes throughout the game, forcing them to go for two after two touchdowns, attempts that would ultimately fail. (In the post game, punter Tom Hackett, who is also the field goal holder, blamed himself for a botched hold.)

Utah had a difficult time stopping Colorado running back Christian Powell, who scored three touchdowns. But the Utes adjusted and Powell didn't score after halftime.

The Utes, however, owned the second half, where they scored the only points of the fourth quarter on Domo's pick six. After being held to just 24 yards rushing in the first half, Utah running back Devontae Booker got rolling in the second, scoring his only touchdown on a one-yard run to start the third quarter. Booker would finish with 95 yards on 25 carries (3.7 yards per carry), 71 yards in the second half, including the game icing 11-yard run on third and eight.

Colorado sophomore quarterback Sefo Liufau completed 20-of-31 passes for 317 yards and a touchdown, but it was his fourth quarter interception to Hatfield on a screen play that was the difference in the game. Colorado (2-10, 0-9) ended their season without a single Pac-12 win.

While Colorado leads the overall series 31-27-3 (15-12-1 in Boulder), Utah has won three of four since both teams joined the Pac-12 conference. The Utes have won the last three straight, including two in Boulder; however, all four games have been decided by a touchdown or less.

Utah will await notification of their bowl destination, which could be the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas. The last time Utah made a bowl game, it was the Sun Bowl in 2011, which Utah won 30-27 in overtime over the favored Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. John White IV's rushing touchdown proved the winning margin, and Utah swept the post-game awards. Devonte Christopher was awarded Special Teams Player of the Game. First-round NFL selection Star Lotulelei garnered Defensive Player of the Game, and White earned Offensive Player of the Game. Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham is 7-1 in bowl games.