clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

No. 5 Utah Tops No. 23 Cal 30-24 in a Thriller - Now lone Pac-12 unbeaten

New, 61 comments
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

No. 5 Utah (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) topped No. 23 Cal (5-1, 2-1 Pac-12) 30-24 in a thriller in Salt Lake City, Utah. College GameDay was in town for the big game, and the players certainly did not disappoint on the huge stage. With the win Utah is now the lone undefeated team in the Pac-12. The game was over when Utah defensive back Boobie Hobbs broke up Cal quarterback Jared Goff's pass on 4th and five to end Cal's final scoring threat. In the game that pitted the top two defenses at generating takeaways, turnovers were a common occurrence, with Utah forcing six (five interceptions and one fumble recovery) and Cal forcing three (two interceptions and one fumble recovery). In a game with seven interceptions, it was Utah linebacker Gionni Paul who had the most athletic.

All week long, fans and media were wondering if Utah's secondary could keep up with the "Goff-fense". While Goff did have 340-yards passing, the five interceptions, and the hounding of Goff all night answered that question. Visions of Oregon State in 2013 and Wazzu in 2014 were starting to creep into the minds of Utes fans on that final Cal drive, but Boobie Hobbs did what those teams couldn't, finish.

It was the six turnovers and a monster game from Utah running back Devontae Booker, who had 222 yards on 34 carries and two touchdowns, that were the difference for the Utes in the waning hours of Saturday night. Utah quarterback Travis Wilson made some nice throws, especially the 54-yard touchdown pass to Cory Butler-Byrd in the second quarter, but he struggled at times on the night, going 16-for-26 with one touchdown and two interceptions.

Cal took the opening kickoff and drove the ball into Utah territory before Utah safety Marcus Williams ended the Cal scoring threat with the first of five interceptions for the Utah defense. Utah would score first with a 44-yard field goal by Andy Phillips. Cal answered with a 35-yard touchdown pass from Goff to Trevor Davis. Utah would take a 10-7 lead when Booker rumbled down the field for a 40-yard touchdown run.

Utah's 10-7 lead held until 6:17 in the second quarter when Matt Anderson nailed a 22-yard field goal to tie the game at 10. Utah would add two touchdowns, the 54-yard pass to Butler-Byrd, and a four-year touchdown by Booker. However, the Utah defense could not hold Cal before the half a surrendered a touchdown, making the halftime score 24-17.

After the high scoring affair in the first half, the second half was more of a defensive struggle. In the third quarter, Utah got a 36-yard field goal from Phillips, and Cal got their final score of the game with a four-yard touchdown run from running back Tre Watson. The final score of the game was a 39-yard field goal from Phillips, who was three-for-four on the night, missing a 48-yard attempt. Utah punter Tom Hackett continued his strong play, averaging 50.8 yards per punt on four punts (203 total yards). Utah defensive end added his fourth sack of the season, which leads the team. Utah got three sacks on the night on Goff.

Safety Tevin Carter led Utah in tackles with nine. Paul had seven tackles and his second interception on the season. Williams nabbed his fourth interception on the year, which leads the Pac-12. Cornerback Dominique Hatfield led all players with two interceptions on the night. He has three on the season, all in the last two games.

College GameDay's Lee Corso ended his losing streak on his headgear pick with his correct pick of Utah winning.

Next up for the Utes, Arizona State comes to town, and are one of the only teams the Utes have yet to beat as members of the Pac-12.

Here are the post game interviews with the players, featuring Wilson, Williams, Paul, Hobbs, Booker, and Butler-Byrd.

Head coach Kyle Whittingham post game interview