University of Washington

Huskies rally to nip Utah’s upset bid in a wild finish

Petersen happy for Vizcaino

Washington coach Chris Petersen discusses his thoughts on Tristan Vizcaino’s game-winning field goal against Utah on Saturday.
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Washington coach Chris Petersen discusses his thoughts on Tristan Vizcaino’s game-winning field goal against Utah on Saturday.

So. Yeah. All of that really did happen.

Washington appeared destined for a loss right before The Apple Cup. Then the improbable happened. Jake Browning, after taking a beating, led the Huskies to a game-tying drive and, after a defensive stop, got UW into field goal position.

It set up Tristan Vizcaino for a 39-yard attempt and with four seconds left, the senior kicker nailed the game-winner to send UW to a 33-30 win Saturday at Husky Stadium.

“I’m more than happy about the win,” Browning said. “That was a pretty cool game to be a part of, and I’m emotionally, mentally and physically just very tired. I’m definitely more excited about the win.”

Utah looked like it was on track to get its biggest win of the year when it stopped Browning and UW with less than four minutes left.

The Huskies defense got a much-needed stop and gave it to the offense.

“Well, you can’t really prepare for that,” UW linebacker Keishawn Bierria said about the defense’s final stand. “We’ve formed bonds throughout the season and when it came down it we had total faith we’d get it done.”

Browning connected on five straight passes to set up a 2-yard touchdown run and pull Washington into a 30-30 tie against Utah with under a minute left in the fourth quarter.

Utah stalled on its next drive and punted, which gave UW around 30 seconds to left make something happen.

It was enough for Browning to hit an 18-yard pass to Dante Pettis to reach the Utes’ 48. Browning found Andre Baccellia for a 31-yarder to reach the Utes’ 21.

UW took a shot in the end zone but the missed attempt opened the door for Vizcaino, who shut down any overtime talk with his field goal.

“We all made some mistakes early in the game,” Vizcaino said. “But we were able to execute when our team needed us the most and that was huge.”

UW’s night began with Gaskin making history. His 9-yard touchdown run gave the Huskies a 6-0 lead and made Gaskin the school’s all-time leader in rushing touchdowns with 38.

The Utes responded with a touchdown late in the first quarter and a field goal for a 10-6 lead with 12:47 left in the second quarter.

Soon Browning got in on the action. He evaded pressure and danced around the backfield before dropping off a 6-yard touchdown pass to Lavon Coleman. It gave UW a 13-10 lead with 9:45 left and gave Browning the most career passing touchdowns in school history with 76.

Browning finished the night with 354 yards on 26 of 35 passing with two touchdowns. The Huskies rolled up 477 yards of offense.

Vizcaino pushed the lead to 16-10 with 1:58 left in the half on a 34-yard field goal.

Utes kicker Matt Gay would hit a 44-yard field goal with two seconds left in the half. It would be the first in a run of 13 consecutive points that moved Utah ahead 23-16 lead with 1:37 remaining in the third quarter.

Browning and the Huskies countered with a 76-yard touchdown pass to Gaskin for a 23-23 tie with 42 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

Utah stalled on the next possession but on fourth down, the Utes converted on a fake punt. It led to sophomore quarterback Tyler Huntley scoring on a 5-yard run with 10:52 left for a 30-23 lead.

Huntley’s touchdown gave Utah the distinction of being the first team to score 30 or more points on the Huskies at home since Utah’s last visit in 2015.

For all of the intrigue on the field, there was also a bit of suspense away from Husky Stadium.

Several were watching the outcome of California vs. Stanford. Because the Cardinal won against their Bay Area rival, it meant the Huskies were officially out of the Pac-12 North discussion.

About an hour later, the school announced The Apple Cup will have a 5 p.m. kickoff and will be televised on FOX.

UW and Washington State will meet for the 109th time with the Huskies leading the all-time series 71-32-6.

The Cougars (9-2, 6-2) were on a bye and surely got a chance to watch what the Huskies pulled off.

So much will be at stake for both teams. WSU, with a win, would snap a four-game losing streak to its bitter rival. More importantly, it would stamp WSU’s ticket to the Pac-12 Championship Game.

If UW comes away with a victory, the Huskies would deny the Cougars a chance at the conference title. They would extend their streak and have won eight of the last nine meetings.

A win would also give the Huskies their 11th season of 10 or more victories. It would also give UW consecutive 10-win seasons for the first time since the 1990 and 1991 campaigns.

“We just dug deep and found a way,” Pettis said of the game’s thrilling finish. “We knew we could win the whole time.”

Ryan S. Clark: @ryan_s_clark

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