Utah Football’s Top Plays From Last Year In Pac-12 Conference

Dec 27, 2023, 3:33 PM

University of Utah football players celebrate their win over PAC-12 opponent Arizona State top play...

University of Utah football players celebrate their win over PAC-12 opponent Arizona State. (Credit: Megan Nielsen, Deseret News)

(Credit: Megan Nielsen, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Football and the “next man up” mindset only got the Utes so far in 2023 but that didn’t stop them from making some top plays for us to look back on.

Utah finished fifth in the Pac-12 with a record of 8-5.

The Utes couldn’t seem to get away from the injury bug in 2023.

Cam Rising and Brant Kuithe both missed the entire season despite early hope for a return. Lander Barton, Mycah Pittman, Logan Fano, and a few others went down with injuries during the season.

On the bright side, Utah has time to return to full strength before it starts a new chapter in 2024 as a member of the Big 12 Conference.

Utah Utes Football Top Plays Of 2023

The highlights started early and came in bunches for the Utes.

On the first offensive play of the season, Bryson Barnes went for it all and found Money Parks who got behind the Florida defense.

In game one, the Utes rolled with both Barnes and Nate Johnson as the team waited for one of the quarterbacks to step up in Rising’s absence.

Both played well against the Gators. Johnson gave Utah a 14-3 lead with this scramble for six.

Against Baylor, Utah was unable to find the end zone in the first three quarters.

In the fourth, the Utes tied the game and then took their first lead on a Jaylon Glover TD run with 18 seconds left.

The Utes wrapped up conference play against in-state foe Weber State.

Utah’s 31-7 win was capped off by a pick-six from Lander Barton. The play continued the school’s streak of seasons with at least one interception returned for a touchdown.

The pick-sixes didn’t stop there.

Karene Reid got in on the fun against UCLA and gave Utah an early lead.

The Utes went on to beat the Bruins, 14-7.

Utah’s first loss came to Oregon State in week five. In the fourth quarter, Thomas Yassmin scored to prevent a shutout loss to the Beavers.

The following game against the Cal Golden Bears saw the emergence of Sione Vaki on offense.

The safety took some snaps from the backfield following some injuries and flourished.

He posted over 150 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

The Utes moved to 5-1 with a win over Cal and looked on to Pac-12 rival USC in week seven.

RELATED: Birth Of The Utah Utes And USC Trojans College Football Rivalry

The entire game felt like a movie for Utes fans so here are all of the highlights.

Things started to go downhill for Utah in week eight.

They were unable to find the end zone as Oregon made easy work of the Utes in Rice-Eccles Stadium.

The following game allowed Utah to blow off some steam as they faced the 2-6 ASU Sun Devils.

Here are all seven touchdowns from the week nine blowout.

The Utes put up a season-high 55 points and only allowed Arizona State to score a field goal.

Utah picked up its third loss to the eventual Pac-12 champion Washington Huskies in week 10.

The highlight of the game came in the second quarter when Sione Vaki gave the Utes a lead with a 53-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown.

For the first time since weeks two and three of 2021, Utah lost two straight as they dropped to the Wildcats in Arizona Stadium.

Devaughn Vele caught a pass in the back of the end zone to put Utah on the board in the second quarter.

The Utes ended the regular season strong with a 23-17 win over Colorado.

Backup QB Luke Bottari got his first start and ran in two touchdowns.

Unfortunately, the season didn’t end how Utah had hoped.

They qualified for a bowl game but lost to Northwestern in a defensive battle.

Utah RB Micah Bernard returned from injury just in time for the Las Vegas Bowl and ran in the Utes’ sole touchdown.

Utah Football will kick off its 2024 season against the Southern Utah Thunderbirds on August 29.

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Chandler Holt is a co-host for the Jazz Notes podcast and a Digital Sports Producer for KSLSports.com, specializing in all things basketball and football. Follow Chandler on Twitter @ChandlerHoltKSL or on Threads @chandlerho1t.

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Utah Football’s Top Plays From Last Year In Pac-12 Conference