Great Comebacks, Finishes In Utah Bowl History

Dec 28, 2018, 11:05 AM | Updated: 2:44 pm
Joe Williams #28 of the Utah Utes jumps Jonathan Crawford #9 of the Indiana Hoosiers during the Fos...
Joe Williams #28 of the Utah Utes jumps Jonathan Crawford #9 of the Indiana Hoosiers during the Foster Farms Bowl game at Levi's Stadium on December 28, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The University of Utah has played in 22 bowl games in school history with 10 games being decided by seven points or less.

Utah has a 17-5 record in bowl games but are 7-3 in the 10 games that were decided by a touchdown or less.

The Utes have had to overcome many deficits in their bowl history and some of them they were able to prevail but also came up short on a few. They attempted a 28-point comeback in 1993 to lose by one touchdown against a college football powerhouse.

They had to go back and forth with a Big 10 team in 2015 and relied on their kicker to keep them in the game and eventually lift them to victory.

Here are some of the biggest comebacks and finishes in Utah Bowl history:

Utes Ride Andy Phillips To Foster Farms Bowl Win

This 2015 contest was full of comebacks all the way until the end of the game.

Indiana scored their first touchdown of the game, just 52 seconds into the game on three plays. Utah answered with a 30-yard field goal by Andy Phillips and a 16-yard touchdown run from running back Joe Williams.

Quarterback Tyler Huntley ran in a one-yard run in the second quarter to give the Utes a 17-7 lead. Indiana scored 10 unanswered points to take a 17-10 lead at halftime.

Phillips hit two more field goals from 48-yards and 41-yards to give Utah the lead back 23-17 going into the fourth quarter.

The Hoosiers scored a touchdown with 10 minutes left to lead 24-23. Utah would rely on the foot of Phillips once again as he hit a 27-yard field goal with 1:24 left to give the Utes the win 26-24.

The senior kicker finished with four field goals for Utah, while quarterback Troy Williams had 178 yards passing and one interception while Huntley threw one pass for 36 yards.

Joe Williams finished with 222 rushing yards and one touchdown and was named Offensive MVP. The Utes committed four turnovers with one interception and three fumbles. Indiana had three miscues with two fumbles and one pick.

Utah finished the season with a 9-4 record while Indiana fell to 6-7 on the year.

Utah Completes Comeback With OT Win Over Georgia Tech

The Utes faced Georgia Tech in the 2011 Sun Bowl.

Utah scored the first touchdown of the game in the first quarter. The Yellow Jackets answered with a touchdown of their own in the second quarter before Utah kicker Coleman Peterson kicked a field goal before halftime to give Utah a 10-7 halftime lead.

The third quarter was all Georgia Tech as they started the second half with a field goal tie the game. Then they added a 31-yard touchdown pass and Utah quarterback Jon Hays threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown. The Yellow Jackets had a 24-10.

Hays connected with tight end Kendrick Moeai on a three-yard touchdown with 6:50 left in the fourth quarter. On a crucial drive at the end of the final period, Hays found wide receiver DeVonte Christopher for a 28-yard touchdown to tie the game at 24 and the game went into overtime.

The Yellow Jackets scored first on a 34-yard field goal. When Utah needed a field goal to keep the game going, running back John White IV found the end zone from 8-yards out to give the Utes the win.

Hays finished with 193 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception while White IV had 115 yards and one touchdown on the ground. He was named offensive MVP of the Sun Bowl.

Christopher had four receptions for 74 yards and one touchdown, also he had two kick returns for 97 yards. He was awarded special teams MVP of the bowl game.

Both teams finished the season with an 8-5 record.

Utes Beat Navy In Poinsettia Bowl Shootout

Utah running back Darrell Mack started the game off with a 5-yard touchdown run to give Utah the early 7-0 lead in the 2007 Poinsettia Bowl. Navy answered with a touchdown and field goal to lead 10-7 after the first quarter.

The Midshipmen added another touchdown on a 43-yard run by Eric Kettani to stretch the lead to 10 points. Utes wide receiver Jerome Brooks responded with a 23-yard touchdown followed by quarterback Brian Johnson connecting with Derrek Richards on a 40 yard touchdown to give Utah the 21-17 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Johnson ran in a 19-yard touchdown to help Utah to a 28-17 lead with 12:47 left. Navy answered with a touchdown to trim the lead to 28-25 with 8:48 left.

Mack bumped the lead back after a touchdown to put Utah up by 10, 35-25 with 1:27 left.

The Midshipmen scored a touchdown with 57 seconds left in the game but Utah prevailed with a 35-32 win.

Utah ended the season with a 9-4 record and Navy dropped to 8-5.

Morgan Scalley Lifts Utes To Victory Over Southern Miss

The Utes completely shut down Southern Miss with a 17-0 win in the 2003 Liberty Bowl. Utah scored their first touchdown in the second quarter when Brandon Warfield found the end zone from 5-yards out. Warfield finished with 91 yards on 27 carries.

Utah safety Morgan Scalley put the game away in the fourth quarter with a 74-yard fumble recovery returned for a touchdown. Scalley was also awarded bowl game MVP.

It was Utah’s second time in school history that they shut out their opponent in their bowl game. The first time was their first ever bowl game in 1939 when they beat New Mexico in the Sun Bowl 26-0

The Utes finished with a 10-2 record while the Golden Eagles fell to 9-3.

Mike Anderson Carries Utah To Vegas Bowl Win Over Fresno State

Utah went down to Las Vegas to face Fresno State in the 1999 Las Vegas Bowl.

Fresno State scored their first touchdown of the game when they blocked a field goal attempt by Utah and returned the ball 75 yards for a touchdown.

Utah running back Mike Anderson found the end zone late in the first quarter on a 34-yard run to tie the score at 7. He set the Las Vegas Bowl record with 254 rushing yards and was awarded MVP.

The Bulldogs hit a field goal in the third quarter to take a 10-7 lead but Anderson gave the lead back to Utah with a 5-yard touchdown on the ground.

After trailing 14-10, Fresno State running back Derrick Ward scored a two-yard touchdown but the extra point attempt was blocked by Utah, the Bulldogs held a 16-14 lead and Utah would win the game on a 33-yard field goal by Cletus Truhe with 5:07 left to give the Utes a 17-16 victory.

Utah finished the season with an 8-3 record while Fresno State dropped to 8-4.

Utah’s Ferocious Comeback Comes Up Short

Utah dug themselves a hole in the first half as USC jumped out to a 28-0 lead in the 1993 Freedom Bowl. The Utes would hold them scoreless in the second half with a ferocious comeback with 21 unanswered points.

The Utes comeback came up short after quarterback Mike McCoy’s Hail Mary pass was intercepted. USC picked up the win 28-21.

Utah dropped to 7-6 while the Trojans improved to 8-5.

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Great Comebacks, Finishes In Utah Bowl History