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CORVALLIS, Ore. — With wild winds and pouring rain, No. 21 Utah became bowl eligible, beating Oregon State 19-14 at Reser Stadium Saturday. The win was nothing less than ugly, and two more Utes suffered injuries, but the show must go on.
Depleted of running backs, Joe Williams returned from a 27-day retirement to help Utah (6-1, 3-1 Pac-12). He scored the game’s first touchdown, putting the Utes up 7-0 with 4:37 left in the first quarter. Williams finished with 179 rushing yards on 34 carries, Utah’s season-best.
At the end of the first quarter, Oregon State’s botched snap on a punt gave Utah a 35-yard safety. Kicker Andy Phillips later kicked a 25-yard field goal to put the Utes up 12-0 heading into halftime.
Fans thought Utah would come out of halftime motivated after shutting out the Beavers in the first half and holding them to 55 yards. Instead, the Utes collapsed. They netted just 4 yards and struggled to complete a pass.
The Beavers cut the Utes’ lead to 12-7 in the middle of the third quarter, thanks to an 18-yard run by Oregon State running back Artavis Pierce. However, the Beavers missed two field goals of 51 and 27 yards, keeping Utah alive.
Utah quarterback Troy Williams answered with an 8-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter. While he ran 40 yards on 15 carries, Williams’ throw game was off Saturday, as he finished 4-of-13 for 42 yards.
Oregon State (2-4, 1-2) tried to make a comeback with a last-minute touchdown, but it simply couldn’t overcome its miscues.
Utah’s defense did a great job for most of the game, especially safety Chase Hansen, who led the team with eight tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack. He also had a first-quarter interception that was returned for 24 yards.
The injury bug continues to bite Utah. Safety Marcus Williams and linebacker Sunia Tauteoli left the game with injuries. Head coach Kyle Whittingham said he doesn’t think they’ll be season-ending.
Up next for the Utes is a road test against UCLA (3-3, 1-2) next Saturday.