BOULDER, Colo. — No. 21 Utah had a chance to determine the winner of the Pac-12 South Saturday even though they weren’t in the running themselves, but No. 9 Colorado clinched the top-spot with their 27-22 win.
Utah and USC fans were both hoping for an upset in Boulder Saturday, but Utah’s offense struggled in their final regular season game and failed to turn several red zone opportunities into touchdowns.
Things got off to a good start, as Utah scored first in the first quarter when Boobie Hobbs returned a punt 55 yards for a touchdown. Utah forced another punt, but Andy Phillips missed a 43-yard field goal attempt on the resulting offensive drive.
Colorado scored on the next drive, making it 7-all. The Buffaloes jumped out to a 10-7 lead on a field goal following a Utah 3-and-out drive in the second quarter, and another field goal would give them a 13-7 lead heading into halftime.
Utah’s Andy Phillips was good from 38 and 46 yards in the third quarter to tie the game up at 13, but Colorado finished off a drive in the final moments of the quarter to take the lead back at 20-13.
Special teams roared into action on the kickoff that opened the fourth quarter, as Kyle Fulks returned the kick 93 yards to set Utah up in the red zone. But, once again the Utes stalled in the red zone, and once again it fell to Phillips to put points on the board as Utah closed the lead to 20-16.
After a series of punts, Utah coughed up a fumble deep in their own territory, which Colorado returned for a touchdown and the 27-16 lead with about 11 minutes left in the game.
Utah managed some late-game offense, scoring a touchdown on a gorgeous catch from Demari Simpkins with just 1:34 left to play. The 2-point attempt was a bust, though, making it 27-22 Colorado.
The onside kick attempt failed, and Utah was unable to stop Colorado’s offense, sealing the deal.
That lead would hold up through the remainder of the game, giving Utah an 8-4 regular season record (5-4 in conference). Utah is bowl eligible, and they will learn the details of their final game on December 4.