Utes Suffer Nightmarish Third Quarter Against Northwestern

Dec 31, 2018, 8:20 PM | Updated: 8:49 pm
Clayton Thorson #18 of the Northwestern Wildcats attempts turnover pass as Cody Barton #30 of the U...
Clayton Thorson #18 of the Northwestern Wildcats attempts turnover pass as Cody Barton #30 of the Utah Utes pursues during the first half of The San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl at SDCCU Stadium on December 31, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – After the first half of the 2018 Holiday Bowl, it seemed the Utah Utes were cruising, taking a 20-3 lead at the half. Then the third quarter happened and before the Utes could blink, Northwestern was ahead 31-20 going into the fourth quarter.

The Utes committed four turnovers in the quarter to allow the Wildcats to score 28 straight points and take the lead.

Wildcats Cut Utah’s Lead to 20-10

On the first drive of the second half, Jason Shelley was intercepted by Northwestern’s Blake Gallagher. Northwestern took over the ball on their 44-yard line.

The Wildcats quickly scored just two plays later on a 4-yard pass by Clayton Thorson to Riley Lees. That play was set up by a 52-yard gain on a pass by Thorson to Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman on the first play of the drive.

Utes’ Led Reduced To Three

After both teams exchanged punts on their next possessions, the Utes were marching down the field when Shelley was strip-sacked in the red zone. The Wildcats’ Jared McGee picked up the ball and took it 82 yards to the house to cut the deficit to 20-17.

Wildcats Take The Lead

With the ball back, the Utes again fumbled on the next drive, just three plays into it. Shelley completed a 25-yard pass to Jaylen Dixon who then fumbled it and allowed Northwestern to return it the Utah 31-yard line.

Just two plays later, Thorson found Trey Klock for a 20-yard touchdown strike and just like that, the Wildcats had a 24-20 lead with 4:39 remaining in the third quarter.

Northwestern Plies It On

After a quick 3-and-out by Utah, Northwestern expanded its lead with a 8-yard lead by Lees to put the Wildcats up 31-20.

Utah added to its misery with another interception to end the fourth quarter.

The Utes would go on to lose 31-20.

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Utes Suffer Nightmarish Third Quarter Against Northwestern