Utes Disappointed After Bowl Loss But Have Heads Held High

Dec 31, 2018, 9:21 PM
Jaylen Dixon #25 of the Utah Utes reacts after scoring a passing touchdown against the Northwestern...
Jaylen Dixon #25 of the Utah Utes reacts after scoring a passing touchdown against the Northwestern Wildcats 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)

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Known for typically gorgeous weather all year round, the Southern California-based Holiday Bowl between Utah and Northwestern featured a downpour of rain.

Naturally, the ball got a bit slippery.

The wet conditions on the field may have contributed to at least one of Utah’s six turnovers.

“Just that one play I had the ball in my hands and just with it being so wet out there, I’m not going to say like that was the main cause of it, that was for sure part of it, it slipped out,” said Utah freshman Jaylen Dixon, whose third quarter fumble was part of a horrific period for the Utes. In the third quarter alone, the Utes committed four turnovers and allowed 28 straight points by the Wildcats.

That was really the difference in the game. Prior to the turnover bonanza by the Utes, they were leading 20-3 at halftime.

The turnovers on offense only made things harder for the defense.

“With the offense turning the ball over, that’s just adversity that we face,” said linebacker Cody Barton. “We got to just smile and face adversity. But it was a shame that we were going out there and not making plays either. Yeah, they got turnovers but as far as our defense we got to go out there and make turnovers as well.”

Northwestern turned the ball over just once, in the third quarter on an interception caught by Marquise Blair.

Heads Held High

Despite not going out with a bowl game win, Barton still held his head high in the post game press conference, in between sips of a Dr. Pepper.

“Emotionally, I’m down,” said Barton. “Losing sucks, it’s a bitter taste but looking back on my career I’ve learned a lot through the ups and downs, had a great senior season. Nothing to hang my head about. No one on this team should hang their head.”

Northwestern won the game 31-20 to finish the season at 9-5. Utah, with a loss, finished with a similar record.

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Utes Disappointed After Bowl Loss But Have Heads Held High