November 20, 2011 in Sports

Vince Grippi’s Keys to the WSU-Utah Game


What went right

Trailing 20-10 with 7 minutes left to play and near midfield, WSU opened up the trick playbook. QB Connor Halliday handed off to Carl Winston going right. With Star Lotulelei about to tackle him, Winston flipped the ball to receiver Kristoff Williams on a reverse. Williams looked as if he would run, but pulled up and found Bobby Ratliff open on the sideline. Ratliff caught the pass, beat two defenders and raced into the end zone.

What went wrong

Overtime consisted of three plays, one in which a receiver was open, but Halliday couldn’t find him because of intense pressure, a blown screen pass that resulted in a spot-foul, loss-of-15-yards grounding call, and an interception. All the Utes had to do when they got the ball was run John White three times for 3 yards and watch Coleman Petersen connect on a 38-yard winning field goal.

Turning point

The Cougars’ defense was bending a little in the second half but had yet to break – giving up two field goals – when Sean Sellwood went back to punt on fourth-and-14 from his 20. Sellwood’s high punt into the snowy night came down right in Leon Brook’s breadbasket but didn’t stop. Long snapper Patrick Greene jumped on the muffed punt at the WSU 37 and six plays later Utah was in the end zone with a 20-10 lead.

Difference maker

White, who rushed for 137 of his 186 yards in the snow conditions after halftime, is tops on this list. But Utah quarterback John Hays had an efficient passing day, connecting on 11 of 18 passes for 123 yards and, most important, no interceptions. Petersen, who came in 14 of 18 on the season, was perfect on three field-goal attempts, including the winner.

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