SALT LAKE CITY — Dante Pettis returned a punt 58 yards for a touchdown with 3:25 left and No. 4 Washington held off No. 17 Utah 31-24 on Saturday to remain undefeated.
After Utah tied it at 24 with 9:07 left, Washington (8-0, 5-0 Pac-12) pinned the Utes on their own 1 on quarterback Jake Browning’s pooch punt. The Utes (7-2, 4-2) went three-and-out and punted to Pettis, who ran parallel toward the far sideline, broke a tackle and outran everyone else.
Browning threw for 186 yards and two touchdowns, and Myles Gaskin ran for 151 and a touchdown.
“It was awesome for Dante to get that return at the end because that’s a heck of a punter,” Washington coach Chris Petersen said. “He’s a weapon. We could get nothing. He just kept driving us back, driving us back. We finally got our chance and Dante made a couple guys miss and hats off to him.
“This is real football, Pac-12 football. … This is how it goes, sometimes you have to grind out games in the fourth quarter.”
Fans may have gotten a preview of the Pac-12 championship game as the Huskies continue to hold the top spot in the North Division. The Utes fell a game behind Colorado, but remain in the hunt.
Utah quarterback Troy Williams threw for 163 yards and two touchdowns while Joe Williams continued his remarkable post-retirement career with 172 rushing yards and a touchdown.
The two teams went back and forth in the second half after Washington led 14-10 at halftime. The Utes were on the ropes, trailing 14-0 in the second quarter, when safety Chase Hansen read Browning’s eyes, jumped a deep route and returned the interception 30 yards to set up Joe Williams’ 2-yard touchdown run. It was Browning’s first interception since Sept. 24. Andy Phillips kicked a field goal as time expired in the second quarter.
“Did they win on that, I don’t know,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said about the punt return. “That’s a great play by them, but if we punt it and they milk the clock down and kick a field goal, maybe that gave us our best chance to win — just get the ball back immediately. … You never know how things are going to play out.
“That punt wasn’t bad. We missed a tackle or two. … We had really controlled the field position with Mitch (Wishnowsky) and the punting game up until that last punt.”
Oregon 54, Arizona State 35
EUGENE, Ore. — Justin Herbert threw for 489 yards and four touchdowns and Oregon snapped a five-game losing streak with a victory over Arizona State.
Pharaoh Brown caught seven passes for a career-best 129 yards and two touchdowns as the Ducks (3-5, 1-4 Pac-12) finally got a conference win and appeared to snap out of their prolonged funk.
Herbert, a true freshman who was making his third career start after taking over the job from graduate transfer Dakota Prukop, has scored 12 touchdowns over that span. Herbert’s passing yards against the Sun Devils matched Bill Musgrave’s record of 489 set against BYU in 1989.
Herbert tossed a short pass to Brown, who took off down the sidelines and stiff-armed the last defender for a 75-yard touchdown on the Ducks’ first series of the game. It was ninth touchdown pass: Last weekend he tied the school record with six TD passes in a 49-52 overtime loss at California.
The Sun Devils (5-4, 2-4) also started a freshman at quarterback. Dillon Sterling-Cole was pressed into service in last weekend’s 37-32 loss to Washington State after Manny Wilkins was injured.
Sterling-Cole passed for 302 yards and his first career touchdown. Kalen Ballage ran for 62 yards and two scores, including a 15-yard run that got the Sun Devils within 30-22 in the third quarter.