Santa Clara, CA – Andy Phillips kicked four field goals, including the game winner, and Joe WIlliams ran for a bowl-game record of 222 yards, to lead the Utah Utes to a 26-24 victory over the Indiana Hoosiers in the 2016 Foster Farms Bowl.
Williams’ decision to come back from retirement continued to pay huge dividends for Utah, as he once again had a monster game and finished his college career on a high note.
Named the Offensive MVP for the game, Williams gave the offense just enough of a spark, despite a fourth quarter fumble and feeling under the weather.
After the game the newly-married Williams stated that he had had “added motivation” for this game after his wife reminded him that “this is your last ride.” Williams said that he had to “go out there like [Michael] Jordan did in ’97 with the flu game,” and help lead his team to victory.
Early on though, it seemed like Utah would end its season with a third straight loss. Forty-seven seconds into the game, the Hoosiers led 7-0, after WR Kyle Fulks fumbled the opening kickoff.
Utah, however, regained its composure and showed why it had been ranked in the Top-25 for most of the season. After getting on the board with an Andy Phillips field goal, RE/DE Pita Taumoepenu forced a Hoosiers’ fumble on the next possession.
The Hoosiers, however, made it a game despite committing 4 turnovers.
Down 17-7 early in the second, the Hoosiers managed to pull even with at the half, when backup QB Zander Diamond found WR Nick Westbrook for a 39-yard touchdown reception.
Even after Utah pulled ahead 26-24 with 1:24 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Hoosiers still had a chance to win the game. But penalties, dropped passes, a missed field goal and costly turnovers in the second half proved to be too much in the end.
Newly minted Hoosiers Head Coach Tom Allen admitted that turnovers – which plagued Indiana all season – came back to haunt his team. The mistakes overshadowed a solid performance by his defense and special teams, which forced three Utah turnovers.
After the game, Coach Allen vowed to continue working to clean up the sloppy play in advance of the
2017 season opener, when the Hoosiers host the Ohio State Buckeyes.
On the other hand, Utah (9-4) can now celebrate its fourth straight season with a bowl game victory and carry some momentum into the 2017 season.