Utah’s sophomore quarterback filled in admirably for usual starter Cameron Rising, who was a late scratch as he recovers from an injury suffered against USC on Oct. 15. Barnes made enough plays with his arm and legs to keep WSU’s defense from zeroing in on Utah’s rushing attack. Barnes completed 17 of 27 passes for 175 yards, and his 5-yard touchdown pass to Dalton Kincaid gave the Utes a 21-7 lead late in the third quarter. He also carried the ball eight times for 51 yards.
Washington State’s quarterback completed his first 12 passes in the first half and was a bright spot for the Cougars, who struggled to move the ball consistently without a rushing attack to balance the offense. Much like he has throughout the season, Ward again excelled making throws on the run outside the pocket and finished 27-for-31 passing for 222 yards and a touchdown. His 7-yard TD run pulled WSU within 21-14 with 14:17 left in the fourth quarter.
The Cougars sophomore established himself early as Ward’s preferred target. He reeled in a 21-yard catch for WSU’s opening first down. When his defender slipped in the second quarter, Stribling hauled in a 29-yard TD pass from Ward for a 7-0 lead with 13:24 left before halftime. Stribling finished with four receptions for 66 yards but was held without a catch in the second half.
WSU committed two turnovers in less than 2 minutes in the second quarter. Utah’s Van Fillinger sacked Ward and caused a fumble recovered by Jonah Elliss with 4:38 left before halftime. WSU’s defense held the Utes to a three-and-out, but the ensuing punt hit WSU returner Robert Ferrel in the leg and was recovered at the Cougars 25 with 2:47 left. Jaylon Glover scored on a 1-yard TD run with 24 seconds left in the half for a 14-7 Utah lead.
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