With a trip to the Rose Bowl on the line, the Utah football team had a chance to join college football royalty with the elite group of programs to play in the Fiesta, Sugar and Rose Bowls.
However, the 17th-ranked Utes (9-4, 6-3) came up just short in the Pac-12 Championship game at Levi’s Stadium — home to the San Francisco 49ers — with a heartbreaking 10-3 loss to No. 11 Washington (10-3, 7-2 Pac-12).
Friday’s game pitted the the top two defenses in the Pac-12 against each other and the game certainly lived up to the hype. From timely plays on fourth down to hard hits and incredible interceptions, both offenses could only muster a field goal.
So, Washington’s defense took things into their own hands as defensive back Byron Murphy returned a deflected interception 66 yards for the game’s only touchdown of the night.
— Fan Insider (@FanInsider_) December 1, 2018
“It’s hard when you lose a game and you don’t give up a defensive touchdown,” Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham told reporters after the game. “It doesn’t happen very often. But give the Huskies credit, because there’s a reason we didn’t do much on offense.”
For the game, Utah quarterback Jason Shelley completed 17 of 27 passes, however, the freshman threw three interceptions in the loss.
“Everybody’s hurt,” said Utah quarterback Jason Shelley. “We were that close. We played that bad and we still lost by only seven points.”
With all the hoopla surrounding Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott and the the horrible Pac-12 officiating, it didn’t get any better Friday night.
Here’s how players, coaches and fans reacted after the game.
— GoUtahUtes (@UtahUteFans) December 1, 2018
Kind of fitting that it is an egregious non-call that ends the Pac-12 season #amiright
— Joel Klatt (@joelklatt) December 1, 2018
Seems fitting end for Pac 12 tittle game pic.twitter.com/Sb4dA1L6Vk
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) December 1, 2018
On a brighter note, goodluck to @Utah_Football tonight. Alot of hard work, sacrafice, teamwork to get to this point. Coaches, players, fans, alumni and the university enjoy this tonight. Everyone had a hand in making it to this game!!!!
— Eric Weddle (@weddlesbeard) November 30, 2018
PROUD of my UTES!!!!! Future is bright babyyyyyyyy…
— Eric Weddle (@weddlesbeard) December 1, 2018
This defense only allowed 3 points to a senior Qb who is the Pac-12 leader in wins and a RB who has 4 straight 1,000 yard seasons. Incredible
— KiYi (@Uteman_forever) December 1, 2018
So PROUD of this team! So much adversity and they fought till the end. What a great season! Utah brings back 85% of its starters/backups. They’ll be favorites to win the Pac-12 South. #Utes #GoUtes #Pac12Championship pic.twitter.com/AFUiyOW6Ok
— GoUtahUtes (@UtahUteFans) December 1, 2018
— Isaac Asiata (@AsiataFive4) December 1, 2018
It’s so disappointing to watch officials dictate a game of this magnitude. Utah still had 30 yards to go with no timeouts, but my god back judge what are you looking at? Dude hit him before the ball was even close. #pac12refs are a joke.
— Jordan Wynn (@jwynn760) December 1, 2018
Whit on missed PI call and why he was fired up: "Oh! Wouldn't you be!? Did you see what I did? I don't know what I can say without getting fined, but yeah I was fired up, but I'm used to it, I'm used to it."
— Steve Bartle (@SBartle247) December 1, 2018
Horrible no call at the conclusion of the @pac12 Title game. Horrible season for the League and while Washington will be happy going to the Rose Bowl, it’s pathetic that 4th down call was NOT made. The Conference has a lotta work to do! A LOT! On the field and off.
— Tim Brando (@TimBrando) December 1, 2018
Big congrats to @Utah_Football on a South title and defense that impacted every opponent they faced. The job that @UtahCoachWhitt has done is incredible and without a doubt are South favorites next season. 🙌🏼🏈 #Pac12FCG #HowGreatIsBall
— Yogi Roth (@YogiRoth) December 1, 2018
— #UsedToIt (@AlwaysAUte) December 1, 2018
Refreshing to see stout defense for 60 minutes. Congrats @UW_Football on a Pac12 title. Well earned. I Will look forward to seeing the Huskies at the Rose Bowl!
— Chris Fowler (@cbfowler) December 1, 2018
Utah's Defense gave up a grand total of 3 pts tonight…and lost. That's hurtful.
— Frank Dolce (@TheHumanDetour) December 1, 2018
— Shaky Smithson (@ShakySmithson) December 1, 2018
We’ll be back believe it. Appreciate all of Ute nation. ✊🏾
— Tj Green (@tjgotemmcoach) December 1, 2018
Never put the game in the refs hand 🤷♂️ simple
— ❌ (@PresMoss2) December 1, 2018
— Solomon. (@SolomonEnis) December 1, 2018
The loudest this stadium has been all night was them booing during Larry Scott's trophy presentation. Not kidding.
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) December 1, 2018
Larry Scott getting hammered with boos from the crowd (loudest all game)
— Jon Wilner (@wilnerhotline) December 1, 2018
PROUD TO BE A UTE
— THE RealU 2018 Pac 12 Champs (@therealutahutes) December 1, 2018
“We get to play together again. Just give us a City and give us an opponent and we’ll be there” -Kyle Whittingham
— Sean O'Connell (@realOCsports) December 1, 2018
Just keep getting better, keep developing, keep recruiting good players. Love you, @Utah_Football
— Deer Auld Christmas (@DearOldCrimson) December 1, 2018
Proud of the Utes. What a great season. pic.twitter.com/JshecyeiWX
— Whitt’s Calves (@swatmary) December 1, 2018