Las Vegas, NV – The Utah Utes (11-2) came out firing against the Oregon Ducks (9-4) in a landslide victory 38-10 to earn their first Pac-12 Championship title on Friday evening.
“I’m very proud of our guys for putting the punctuation on the last Pac-12 game of the year. It’s a history making football team for Utah. We’ve never won the Pac-12. In the convincing fashion that they did it, I couldn’t be more proud,” said Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham.
In a sea of red Utah fans, the Utes were able to punch a ticket to the Rose Bowl with their fans behind them.
Utah quarterback Cameron Rising commented on the Utah fans showing up and showing their support.
“I was expecting it. I knew that the Utes were going to travel, and they were going to do a great job getting down here and making sure that they were there at the start. We were out there about two hours before and we already seen a bunch of red out there in the crowd and saw little speckles of green. We definitely had a sea of red out there so that definitely was in our favor.”
Rising threw for 170 yards and scored one touchdown.
Utah running back Tavion Thomas scored a 2-yard touchdown run at the 10:47 minute mark 7-0 on the opening drive.
Pac-12 Championship MVP linebacker Devin Lloyd patiently anticipated the ball and read the eyes of the Oregon quarterback to score a pick six from the 45-yard line to go up 14-0.
“Initially starting out, I think that he was feeling a little bit of pressure. And so, he just tried to squeeze it in there. But I was feeling the route in front of me the whole time and I just jumped it. It was just an incredible feeling just to be able to help my team and give them a boost of momentum,” said Lloyd.
Lloyd had five solo tackles, two assist tackles, and one interception for 34 yards.
This was Lloyd’s third career touchdown for an interception, and he is the fourth defensive player to win a Pac-12 MVP.
With :27 seconds left in the second quarter, David Kincaid caught a wide open 11-yard pass from Cameron Rising in the endzone to extend Utah’s lead to 20-0.
Oregon’s defensive coverage showed huge gaps in communication as they struggled to stop Utah the entire game.
Utah shut out Oregon in the first half 23-0.
Oregon’s first touchdown came in the fourth quarter with 5:17 minutes remaining as Travis Dye scored a 2-yard run to trail 38-10.
Time expired and out came the celebratory roses as the Utah crowd roared in excitement.
About two weeks ago, Utah beat Oregon 38-7 at home.
“It’s very difficult to beat a team twice. Especially a team the caliber of Oregon. They’re a heck of a group. They’ve got a ton of talent. And for our guys to do that thirteen days ago and then turn it around and do it again that just let’s you know how tough those guys are, how determined, and the high character level these guys have. It’s been a pleasure to coach them all year long,” said Coach Whittingham.
Utah suffered two tragedies in the recent deaths of players Aaron Lowe and Ty Jordan.
“What we’ve been through this year has been the most difficult year of my coaching career in many respects. And those guys and their leadership, I could not have done it without those guys and the leaders and the seniors and the upperclassmen who did such a great job all season long of persevering. Our mantra after the tragedy was, ‘We’re not going to get over it, but we’ll get through it.’ And I think our guys really did that. Ty and Aaron we love those two young men. They were with us tonight. I’m positive of that, that they were here,” said Coach Whittingham.
The Utah Utes will play in the Rose Bowl on Saturday, January 1st, 2022 in Pasadena, California.