After announcing his retirement after a 20-19 win over BYU just over a month ago, Utah running back Joe Williams got a surprise phone call from his old coaches on Monday.
Due to several season ending injuries to the running back corps, Williams made his return in Saturday’s game against Oregon State and put on quite the performance.
Despite just a couple of days to practice, Williams looked like a season veteran as he rushed for a season-high 179 yards and a touchdown to lead the 21st-ranked Utes to a 19-14 rain-soaked victory over Oregon State.
“It’s like riding a bike,” Williams said with a big smile.
“It was great to have him back,” Whittingham added. “It was a huge blessing for us. If we don’t have him, then it’s a different situation, somebody else would have had to step up, but it was good for us to have an experienced guy like Joe get back in the lineup and give us the production that he did.”
Easily the best coming-out-of-retirement since Favre.@Utah_Football's Joe Williams = the @OpusBank #12Best Moment! https://t.co/3Ev0BSdy0j
— #FirstTo500 (@Pac12Network) October 15, 2016
The win gave the Utes their sixth victory of the season and are now bowl eligible. Utah (6-1, 3-1 Pac-12) is also tied with Colorado (5-2, 3-1 Pac-12) atop the Pac-12 South standings.
Down 12-7, Oregon State got inside the 10 midway through the fourth quarter, but couldn’t come away with any points as Garrett Owens missed a 27-yard field goal. Owens finished 0-for-2 on the day for the Beavers on field goals.
Due to wind and rainy conditions, Utah quarterback Troy Williams finished the day completing just four passes for a season low 43 passing yards. Troy scored one touchdown on the ground to with 40 rushing yards.
The game was costly for Oregon State as the Beavers lost their starting quarterback Darell Garretson and backup Conor Blount to injuries. Things didn’t get any better as running back Ryan Nall left the game after just one carry for 32 yards. Having Nall out was costly after he rushed for 221 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s 47-44 overtime victory over Cal.
Utah: The Utes will play its second consecutive conference game on the road as they invade Rose Bowl Stadium to take on the UCLA Bruins.
Oregon State: The Beavers don’t get much of a break as they go on the road to take on No. 5 Washington who is coming off a bye week. The Huskies are coming off a 70-21 rout over Oregon last weekend.