|Date of game: 11/8/2014
Recap: Utah vs. Oregon
Salt Lake City, UT (SportsNetwork.com) - Led by an Oregon convoy, Joe Walker raced into the end zone while Utah was celebrating an apparent touchdown at the other end.
It was a 14-point swing in the matter of seconds and the Utes never recovered.
Marcus Mariota threw three touchdown passes and ran in another as the fifth- ranked Ducks defeated No. 20 Utah 51-27 on Saturday night.
Utah was set to take a 14-0 lead after Kaelin Clay beat the Oregon secondary for what looked like a 79-yard touchdown early in the second quarter.
There was just one problem.
He celebrated too soon.
On a 3rd-and-5 at the Utah 21, Travis Wilson fired a strike to a streaking Clay over the middle near the Oregon 40. Clay beat Erick Dargan in a foot race en route to the end zone but dropped the ball in celebration at the 1 prior to crossing the goal line.
The ball lay in the end zone for a few seconds as the referee never signaled for a touchdown. Dargan eventually scooped up the ball and following a brief scuffle, he lost it. Walker then picked up the loose ball and ran 100 yards the other way along the right sideline to tie the game at 7-7.
As the play was under review, Clay was in disbelief on the Utah bench and lowered his headband over his eyes as the referee confirmed the Oregon touchdown.
"I take full responsibility for what happened tonight," Clay said. "I will take the criticism and the blame. It was just one of those things. I got excited and let the moment just get away from me."
It was the beginning of a 24 straight points for the Ducks (9-1, 6-1 Pac-12), who clinched the Pac-12 North with the victory.
"It's a lot better being tied 7-7 than being down 14-0. Our guys would have kept playing, no question. We wouldn't have flinched, but that was huge," Ducks head coach Mark Helfrich said.
Oregon has won five straight since a loss at home to Arizona on Oct. 2.
Mariota was 17-of-29 for 239 yards and carried the ball 18 times for 114 yards. Royce Freeman gained 99 yards rushing with a score on 15 totes and Dwayne Stanford caught a pair of TD passes in the triumph.
Travis Wilson completed 18-of-28 passes for 297 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Kendal Thompson started under center but injured his left leg in the first quarter and did not return.
Devontae Booker posted eight receptions for 110 yards and a score and provided 65 yards rushing, while Clay finished with 152 yards receiving on five catches for Utah (6-3, 3-3), which has lost two in a row.
Wilson flipped a 13-yard TD pass to Westlee Tonga on a 3rd-and-1 to pull Utah within 30-27 with 11:48 left, but the Ducks ripped off 21 unanswered points, including a brisk 5-play drive that covered 75 yards to answer the Utes' score.
Freeman sandwiched runs of 15 and 13 yards around Devon Allen's 28-yard catch- and-run on a wide receiver screen. Stanford was then called for an offensive pass interference, but made up for the miscue two snaps later when he hauled in a pass over the middle and was able to lunge the ball across the goal line as he dove in for a 34-yard touchdown, making it 37-27 in favor of Oregon.
Andy Phillips' 48-yard field goal try on Utah's ensuing possession hit off the right upright and Mariota's 1-yard TD run with 4:51 to go sealed the outcome. Troy Hill intercepted Wilson two snaps later and Freeman ran in from 11 yards out to cap the scoring.
Earlier, Bubba Poole's 8-yard TD run was the lone score of the opening frame.
Following the Walker touchdown, the shell-shocked Utes recorded three-and-outs on two of their next three touches and punted on all three drives.
Mariota flipped TD passes of three and six yards to Stanford and Pharoah Brown, respectively, before Aidan Schneider nailed a 39-yard field goal for a 24-7 Oregon cushion late in the second.
Phillips split the uprights from 32 yards out as time expired in the half, pulling Utah within 24-10.
Phillips and Schneider traded field goals of 28 and 31 yards in the early stages of the third.
Wilson tossed his first interception of the year on his 182nd attempt midway through the frame, but Oregon was unable to take advantage, punting the ball after three plays.
Booker hauled in a 27-yard score along the right sideline to trim the Utes' deficit to 27-20 late in the third.
Schneider's 42-yard field goal increased the Oregon advantage to 30-20 early in the fourth.Game Notes
Brown left the game on a cart in the fourth with a leg injury, while Tim
Patrick exited on a cart as well with a leg injury earlier in the contest ...
Mariota hadn't ran for over a 100 yards this season prior to Saturday ...
Oregon outgained Utah 508-440.