Washington quarterback Jake Browning bounced back from a brutal hit to lead his team to an improbable last-second 33-30 win over Utah.
Down 30-23 with 4:40 to go, the Huskies faced fourth-and-8 from the Utah 16-yard line. Browning looked to throw, but was flushed right as he felt pressure. Instead of trying to force the ball into coverage, he took off in an effort to run for the first down. He came up just short, and took a brutal hit from two Utah defenders in the process.
The other angle shows Browning tried to jump over No. 3 Donavan Thompson, only to be leveled by No. 45 Filipo Mokofisi, a 6-foot-4, 295-pound defensive lineman.
Oh my goodness. Browning was understandably a bit dazed on the sideline, but it wasn’t enough to knock him out of the game.
After regaining possession, Utah took a few minutes off the clock, but ultimately punted back to Washington with 1:55 to go.
Utah’s defense kept bringing pressure, but Browning stood in there. It took nine plays, including a 14-yard gain on a fourth-and-10, but the UW quarterback led his team right down the field. The biggest play was a 28-yard strike to tight end Will Dissly down to the 2-yard line. On the next play, UW running back Myles Gaskin took a direct snap and scored, tying the game at 30-30.
There was still 58 seconds remaining when the Huskies kicked it back to Utah, more than enough time to get in field goal range. But the Utes went three-and-out and put the ball back in Browning’s hands.
He made them pay.
At first, it looked like the Huskies were playing for overtime. On first down UW’s 28 with 24 seconds left, Browning handed it to Gaskin for a short gain. Perhaps believing he had a chance to get the ball back, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham called a timeout, stopping the clock.
From there, Washington played more aggressively. Browning, who finished with 354 yards on 26-of-35 throwing, hit Dante Pettis for an 18-yard gain to the 48 and then found Baccellia for 31 yards to the Utah 21.
After an incomplete pass, UW sent out kicker Tristan Vizcaino for a 38-yard try. Even though Vizcaino missed an extra point and a 30-yarder earlier in the game, he confidently knocked through the game-winner as time expired.
The Huskies were eliminated from the Pac-12 North race earlier Saturday when Stanford beat Cal, but that didn’t stop them from playing hard. The win improved UW’s record to 9-2 (6-2 Pac-12) heading into the Apple Cup next weekend against Washington State. UW can play spoiler for its in-state rival in that one. If WSU prevails, the Cougars will play USC in the Pac-12 title game. If WSU loses, the North will go to Stanford.
On the other side, the loss is a brutal one for Utah, which twice took a seven-point lead in the second half but could not hold it. The Utes (5-6, 2-6) would have clinched bowl eligibility with a win, but instead will look to salvage a postseason trip next week at home against Colorado.
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