Three Takeaways From Utah’s Comeback Win Over Baylor In Waco

Sep 9, 2023, 3:22 PM

WACO, TX – Utah got a glimpse into their future and it was hot, muggy, and ugly most of the way, but it didn’t matter as they dug deep and got the comeback win over Baylor.

There was very little flash in this game which ended with a 20-13 final score, but there were key moments that helped put the Utes on top of their future conference-mates.

Here are three takeaways from Utah football’s gutsy win over the Baylor Bears.

Takeaway #1: Take A Bow Nate Johnson

Utah’s offense struggled most of the game to get anything going. The Utes traded between backup quarterbacks Bryson Barnes and Nate Johnson for three quarters before finally letting Johnson rip. And he did.

With 10:01 left to play, Johnson entered the game and took the Utes on 15 play drive from the Utah 12-yard line that tied the game at 13. Johnson was the one who punched the ball in off a seven-yard keeper to give the Utes a shot.

Johnson would then lead the game-winning drive just minutes later after safety Cole Bishop intercepted the ball at the Baylor 29-yard line. Utah’s QB did a good job of helping to burn the clock before handing the ball off to Jaylon Glover for the go-ahead score.

“Nate Johnson coming in and having his opportunity in the final drive and got us into the endzone,” head coach Kyle Whittingham said. “We contemplated about going for two on that play but there was two-minutes. Had there been under a minute we most likely would have gone for two, but with two-minutes left in the game there was too much football left.”

Johnson finished the day 6-7 passing for 82 yards and 11 rushes for 32 yards and one touchdown.


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Takeaway #2: Turnovers Are Game Changers

We already mentioned Cole Bishop’s interception that helped ice the game for the Utes, but cornerback Zemaiah Vaughn came down with one earlier in the game as well that helped cut Baylor’s lead down to seven.

In the first half of the game, Utah was on the negative end of the turnover battle after Bryson Barnes threw an interception that led to a Baylor field goal in the first quarter.

It took a while, but Utah’s defense was opportunistic in the second half winning the turnover battle which then helped to win the game, 2-1.

“We came up with some big plays on D,” Whittingham said. “The interception obviously there on the last drive was huge.”

Takeaway #3: 22 Forever

It shouldn’t be lost on anyone that traveling to Texas where late running back Ty Jordan and cornerback Aaron Lowe grew up was meaningful to the Utes. Running back Ja’Quinden Jackson grew up with them and is the current keeper of the 22 Forever Scholarship in their memory.

Ty Jordan’s family was in attendance for the game.

It just meant more and the odd occurrences of the number 22- that both Jordan and Lowe wore came at interesting times.

Jackson broke off a 44-yard run (22 for each of his friends) in the second quarter that helped the Utes put a Cole Becker score on the board. Nate Johnson threw a 22-yard pass to Devaughn Vele the play after in that same drive.

Jackson was also thisclose to having scored the final touchdown of the game that would have won it for the Utes on the 22-yard line. Unfortunately, a holding penalty brought it back. Jackson’s day finished with 19 carries for 129 yards and averaging 6.8 yards per carry.

The Utah defense then had to give one last ditch effort on Utah’s 22-yard line with one second left in the game to secure the win.

“Just today- I’m back in my home state,” Jackson said. “I got a lot of people here and so I had to put on a show. That was my main goal. I had to do better than what I did last week. The results speak for themselves.”

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on XInstagram, and Threads: @BodkinKSLsports

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Three Takeaways From Utah’s Comeback Win Over Baylor In Waco