SALT LAKE CITY — It couldn’t have been scripted any better.
Led by senior quarterback Troy Williams, the Utah football team finished its season with a 34-13 win over Colorado. The victory had plenty of emotion, especially for Williams, as the Utes were vying for bowl eligibility on senior night.
“I’ve had a long college career. It didn’t really go as I expected,” Williams said. “I’m glad to go out with a win tonight and go bowling.”
After losing the starting job to sophomore Tyler Huntley, Williams was set back to the No. 2 spot. The team captain was forced to sit on the bench while the unit he played with last year took the field. Despite the setback, Williams continuously spent time after practice running drills, making sure he was prepared should the team need him to take the reins. Without a doubt, he was always the last to leave the practice field.
His preparation was needed as the senior was called on after Huntley went down with an injury against Arizona in Week 4. Williams continued to start while Huntley recovered, competing against Stanford and USC — games that Utah lost by a combined nine points.
Huntley eventually returned, sending Williams back to the sideline. It wouldn’t be the last time Utah would need the captain’s lead, though. On Friday after practice, Williams learned he would get the start again. For the senior, the opportunity meant more than those earlier this season: he would get to start in his last collegiate game.
“Coach Troy Taylor came up to me and said Tyler was a little banged up,” Williams said. “I just wanted to get in and help my team get a victory.”
He did just that.
On top of an all-around impressive ground game by the Utes, Williams finished 15-of-24 for 181 yards with no interceptions and rushed for another 26 yards on 12 carries. He didn’t throw any touchdowns, but Williams rushed for two scores from 8- and 9-yards out.
“He did well,” Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said. “He took care of the ball and did a nice job running the offense. He made some big throws and big runs. He was good in the run game.”
Saturday night proved that Williams’ preparation and leadership is second to none. Although he’s faced adversity multiple times throughout his collegiate career, he was able to play on his home field one last time and bring his team to postseason play.
“Whenever his number is called you’re going to get the best out of him,” senior wide receiver Darren Carrington II said.
“I prepare myself every week as if I’m the starter,” Williams added. “I put a lot of work in. That’s the type of cat I am. You have to stay ready, so you don’t have to get ready.”