Logan • Utah's fortune in its 27-20 loss to Utah State Friday night swung on two key plays in overtime.
One was a defensive breakdown that allowed Chuckie Keeton to stride 23 yards to the 1-yard line. The other? An offensive pass interference call that took away the Utes' equalizer and left them shaking their heads it wasn't reciprocated as the game ended.
Jake Murphy, who scored two touchdowns a week earlier against Northern Colorado, appeared to have scored a touchdown on third-and-goal from the 6 when backup quarterback Jon Hays found him wide open in the corner of the end zone. Three plays later, Hays' final pass fell to the ground when Utah State's Will Davis aggressively covered DeVonte Christopher in the end zone.
"It's definitely disappointing to get a P.I. call and then not get one at the end," said Hays, who came on for an injured Jordan Wynn with 1:04 left in the second quarter. "That's tough, but like I said, we've got to bounce back."
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said his understanding was that Murphy pushed off, but that he "never got a clear explanation of the call" that took away a potentially game-tying score.
It would have never gotten to that point, however, if not for a defensive lapse at the worst possible time for the Utes.
With Utah State facing third-and-9 from the 24 and the prospect of kicking a field goal, the Aggies put all of their receivers on the right side. Keeton, denied opportunities, scrambled to the left.
"The receivers all went to one side of the field and consequently so did our defenders," Whittingham said, "and lost containment the defensive end."
The Utes had no recourse but to try to keep the speedy quarterback, who ran for 86 yards, out of the end zone. The play may have left many wondering what the Utah defense was thinking.
" 'Oh s-,' is what I'm thinking," linebacker Trevor Reilly said.
The Aggies scored two plays later on a 1-yard run by Kerwynn Williams, leaving the Utes searching for an answer they could not find.
Utes and Aggies in overtime
Plays Yards gained Net yards Points
Utah State 5 25 25 7
Utah 7 19 8 0