El Paso, Texas • Utah receiver DeVonte Christopher knew he wouldn’t get many chances to catch passes Saturday since the Utes use a run-oriented offense so he was determined to make the most of the balls thrown his way.
Boy did he.
Christopher, who was named the Sun Bowl’s Special Teams Player of the Game, scored on a 28-yard pass from Jon Hays on fourth down with 1:32 remaining in regulation to tie the game at 24-24.
The Utes went on to beat Georgia Tech 30-27 in overtime.
“We knew we could come back and it was big,” Christopher said. “I didn’t know what was going to happen, I just had to go up and get it.”
Christopher caught the ball in virtually the same spot as he’d dropped a pass a play earlier.
The junior maintained Georgia Tech’s defender had him wrapped up, preventing him from bringing down that pass.
“He had my whole arm,” Christopher said. “We didn’t get many pass interference calls all day and I thought we should but we still won in the end.”
Christopher finished with four catches for 74 yards.
He also had a 68-yard kickoff return that put the Utes in prime position to score with the ball on Georgia Tech’s 30-yard line.
Unfortunately, Hays threw an interception that was picked off and returned 74 yards for a touchdown by Georgia Tech’s Quayshawn Nealy to put the Yellow Jackets ahead 24-10.
With Hays, who finished 15-for-31 for 193 yards, struggling to connect with his receivers and running back John White struggling to find yardage, the Utes seemed doomed at that point.
However, Christopher said he had faith in the offense, even if he and other receivers including Dres Anderson, Luke Matthews and Kendrick Moeai had several dropped balls.
“We felt like we were being lethargic in the first half,” he said. “But it’s not what you do in the first, second or third quarter, it’s what you do in the fourth and we knew it was time to go. The way our offense plays, we knew if we could pick up a head of steam we are good. We got that big kickoff return and it gave us some momentum. Things like that can change games.”
Catches Yds. Avg. TD
4 74 18.5 1