LOCALS IN THE NFL

Former Utah Safety Julian Blackmon Recalls Game-Clinching Interception, Return From Injury

Oct 23, 2020, 3:51 PM | Updated: 3:53 pm

Julian Blackmon - Indianapolis Colts...

Julian Blackmon #32 of the Indianapolis Colts celebrates with Kenneth Moore Jr. #23 after making an interception during the second half against the Cincinnati Bengals at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 18, 2020 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images)

(Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Former Utah Utes and current Indianapolis Colts safety Julian Blackmon recalled his game-sealing interception against the Cincinnati Bengals only a few games into his rookie season after suffering a knee injury in 2019.

Blackmon and the Colts hosted the Bengals at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana on Sunday, October 18.

Late in the fourth quarter, Cincinnati was down four points and driving in Colts territory when the rookie from Utah intercepted the 2019 Heisman Trophy winner, Joe Burrow, on 3rd and 6 to clinch the game for Indianapolis.

The Colts finished the contest with a 31-27 result.

Julian Blackmon Recalls Interception

A few days after the big play, Blackmon recounted the moment in a video shared by the Colts.

“This is the moments that we play for. When it comes down to it, who’s gonna make a play? It’s been a long road. I tore my ACL, December 13. I’m just thankful for it to happen. I’m a firm believer in the Lord and he puts you in situations that you need to be put in for a reason,” Blackmon shared. “First and second quarter he was doing a really good job at looking us off and hitting those easy spots. I kind of had a feeling that he was going to go there again. 83 is their most targeted receiver so I kept my eye on him. We knew that we had a pressure going on so we knew the quarterback was going to have to get out the ball quick. Tyquan [Lewis] got enough pressure on there for the quarterback to have to hurry up. He threw it right to me.”

Returning From Injury

It was the former Ute safety’s second career interception and it came in only his fifth NFL game. He suffered a season-ending knee injury in the 2019 Pac-12 title game.

“All the trainers were coming up to me just making me relate to how tough it’s been coming back from my injury,” Blackmon continued. “They always kept my head in the game. They always kept me positive. Always told me every day, ‘it’ll get better as you stay positive.’ And it honestly did, as long as I smiled and just try to do my one-11th is what I like to say. I’d be alright.”

Blackmon ended the game with a pair of tackles, one pass breakup, and an interception.

Blackmon helped the Colts come back from a 21-0 first half deficit to win and improve to 4-2 on the season.

“We’re a team that can handle adversity,” Blackmon said after the win. “We can handle anything.”

Through five games, he has recorded 10 total tackles, six pass breakups, and two interceptions.

Next up for Blackmon and the Colts is a game against the Detroit Lions on Sunday, November 1 at 11 a.m. (MDT). The game will broadcast on CBS.

Julian Blackmon at Utah

The Layton, Utah native started his college career at Utah in 2016. During his first season, he appeared in 9 games on special teams and four games on defense.

Blackmon’s sophomore season in 2017 saw him start in all 13 games at cornerback. He racked up 4 interceptions, 10 passes defended, 6 pass breakups, and 48 tackles. Blackmon was named second-team All-Pac-12.

In 2018 at cornerback, Blackmon started in all 14 games while leading Utah with 10 pass breakups and 11 passes defended. He also had one interception, 48 tackles, and 4 tackles for loss which led to him being named second-team All-Pac-12.

Last season in 2019 as a senior, Blackmon started in 12 games, missing the game against Idaho State and the Alamo Bowl. Blackmon had a Pac-12-best 4 interceptions along with 8 passes defended, 4 pass breakups, 60 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, and 1.5 sacks. The former Layton star had a pick-six against BYU in the season opener. He was named an All-American and first-team All-Pac-12.

Kyle Ireland is a Locals in the NFL Insider for KSLSports.com and host of the Yards After College Podcast. Follow him on Twitter (@kyleireland) and Instagram (@kyleirelandksl).

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Former Utah Safety Julian Blackmon Recalls Game-Clinching Interception, Return From Injury