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Punt return helps No. 4 Washington hold on for win over No. 17 Utah

Washington punt returner Dante Pettis (8) eludes Utah’s Jackson Barton (70) on his way to the winning touchdown  Saturday. (Rick Bowmer / Associated Press)
Washington punt returner Dante Pettis (8) eludes Utah’s Jackson Barton (70) on his way to the winning touchdown Saturday. (Rick Bowmer / Associated Press)

SALT LAKE CITY – Dante Pettis returned a punt 58 yards for a touchdown with 3 minutes, 25 seconds left and No. 4 Washington held off No. 17 Utah 31-24 on Saturday to remain undefeated.

After Utah tied it at 24 with 9:07 left, Washington (8-0, 5-0 Pac-12) pinned the Utes on their 1 on quarterback Jake Browning’s pooch punt. The Utes (7-2, 4-2) went three-and-out and punted to Pettis, who ran parallel toward the far sideline, broke a tackle and outran everyone else.

Browning threw for 186 yards and two touchdowns, and Myles Gaskin ran for 151 and a touchdown.

Fans may have seen a preview of the Pac-12 championship game as the Huskies continue to hold the top spot in the North Division. The Utes fell a game behind Colorado, but remain in the hunt.

Utah quarterback Troy Williams threw for 163 yards and two touchdowns while Joe Williams continued his remarkable postretirement career with 172 rushing yards and a touchdown.

The teams went back and forth in the second half after Washington led 14-10 at halftime. The Utes were on the ropes, trailing 14-0 in the second quarter, when safety Chase Hansen read Browning’s eyes, jumped a deep route and returned the interception 30 yards to set up Joe Williams’ 2-yard touchdown run. It was Browning’s first interception since Sept. 24. Andy Phillips kicked a field goal as time expired in the second quarter.

The takeaway

Washington: The Huskies have a clear path to the Pac-12 championship game and a possible College Football Playoff berth. Utah was the last team on the schedule that is currently ranked. An undefeated Pac-12 champion will likely be included in the playoff.

Utah: The Utes look to the season-finale against Colorado. The goal was to win the Pac-12 South and play in the title game, but the loss gives Colorado (6-2, 4-1) the edge in the division. The Buffaloes host Utah in the last game of the season.

Up next

Washington: The Huskies host Oregon State.

Utah: The Utes are at Arizona State on Nov. 10.


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