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BOULDER, Colo. — It didn't come until the final minute of the back-and-forth match, but the Utes were finally able to make a play that sealed the game in their favor over Colorado.
Utah led by just seven late in the fourth quarter, with the Buffaloes driving. On fourth down and 8 with just over a minute on the clock, Colorado was looking to convert its second fourth down conversion of the drive and keep its hopes of tying the score alive.
Colorado quaterback Nick Hirschman dropped back after taking the snap. Facing pressure, he stepped up in the pocket and made the throw. It wasn't a pretty one, and Utah safety Brian Blechen was able to dive in for the victory-clinching interception.
The second half had been a wild one, with two ties and three lead changes.
A 3-yard touchdown rush by Colorado's Tony Jones gave the Buffaloes a 21-20 lead midway through the third quarter, which they added upon after a 5-yard Donta Abron dash in the waning minutes of the quarter.
Utah struck back with 15-straight points, initiated by John White's 11-yard run and subsequent 2-point conversion, in which tight end Jake Murphy's leaping toss found full back David Rolfe in the back of the end zone.
Travis Wilson's 9-yard quarterback keeper broke the 28-28 tie, putting the Utes up by seven.
Then things got even crazier. Colorado's Marques Mosley did his best Reggie Dunn impersonation, fielding the following Utah kickoff in the end zone and taking it 100 yards for the score, tying the game up once again at 35 apiece.
But the Buffaloes made the mistake of kicking the ball to Dunn himself, and the kick return master answered with a return of his own, all the way to the house to put the Utes back on top, 42-35.
The Utah defense held Colorado on one first down, but ended up punting right back to give the Buffaloes one more shot.
Blechen's pick on fourth down, however, was the big play the Utes needed to hold on for the win.
It was a sloppy game from start to finish, but one of the major positives for the Utes was John White's big day to set a new school record.
White rushed for 168 yards on 20 carries and one touchdown, pushing him over the 1,000-yard mark for the second-straight season. The Wolfman is the first Ute to ever surpass 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons.
Utah finishes the season 5-7, its first non-winning season since 2002 when the program finished 5-6.
Tyson Maddy has covered the University of Utah football and men's basketball teams as a contributing writer for KSL.com Sports since 2011.