Coaches say all the time it’s not how you start a game, it’s how you finish it.
No. 19 Utah took that to heart on Wednesday night in the Foster Farms Bowl, following up an opening kickoff fumble with a game-winning field goal in the final 90 seconds to top Indiana 26-24 in a wild finish.
Running back Joe Williams was once again the focal point for the Utes offense and caused plenty of the late game drama in the first point by fumbling in Hoosiers territory to setup a go-ahead touchdown for Indiana. That put the team in a perilous position with minutes left in the clock but the veteran tailback churned his way for some big gains down the stretch — finishing with 222 yards and a touchdown — before setting up kicker Andy Phillips, who sneaked the game-winning ball inside the left upright from 27 yards out.
The Utah defense came up with one final stop after that to seal a victory on a night where they also recorded three sacks and three takeaways.
Richard Lagow had a rough outing over on the West Coast as the Indiana quarterback finished just 14-of-39 for 188 yards with one score and one interception. He was under siege most of the game by that tough Utes front seven, which only tailback Devine Redding was able to move the ball effectively through on his way to a 72 yard, one touchdown night on the ground.
There was plenty of fight in the Hoosiers in this one though and they came ever so close to capturing the program’s first bowl victory in 25 seasons. In the end though, it wasn’t enough to get past the Utes, which started slow but finished when it counted in the final minutes.