Luke Bottari, a senior walk-on who began the season fifth on the quarterback depth chart, rushed for two touchdowns to spark Utah to a 23-17 victory over Colorado on Saturday afternoon in Salt Lake City.
Jaylon Glover rushed for 107 yards on 17 carries and former Colorado kicker Cole Becker booted three field goals as the Utes (8-4, 5-4 Pac-12) won after back-to-back losses.
Ryan Staub started at QB for Colorado (4-8, 1-8), throwing for 195 yards and a touchdown on 17-for-24 passing in the Buffaloes’ sixth consecutive defeat.
Colorado only mustered 262 yards in the final game of a season that started out with great promise in Deion Sanders’ first season as head coach.
While Bottari completed 6 of 10 passes for 61 yards, the Utes rushing attack and defense chipped in. Utah rushed for 268 yards and made several key first downs on a late drive to clinch the win after the Buffaloes pulled within a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter.
It was the final Pac-12 game for the two programs who will join the Big 12 next season.
Both teams had to rely on backup quarterbacks, with Utah’s Bryson Barnes and Colorado’s Shedeur Saunders being sidelined due to health issues.
Staub connected with Travis Hunter for an 18-yard scoring strike with 7:31 remaining to keep the Buffaloes within striking distance.
Bottari and the Utes retained possession for the rest of the time on a 12-play, 44-yard drive, which included a fourth-down conversion.
The Utes made a big defensive play to start the game as Connor O’Toole sacked Staub and forced a fumble, which Van Fillinger recovered.
Moments later, Bottari scored his first college touchdown on a 2-yard QB keeper for a 7-0 lead.
Becker then drilled a 34-yard field goal to extend Utah’s lead to 10-0 early in the second quarter.
Three minutes later, Colorado cut the lead to 10-7 when Jimmy Horn Jr. took a backwards pass and tossed it to Dylan Edwards for a 30-yard touchdown reception on a trick play.
After the teams exchanged field goals, Bottari scored another rushing TD from 1 yard out for a 20-10 Utah lead midway through the third. Becker’s third field goal put the Utes up by 13 with 11:31 to play in the game.
–Field Level Media