Utah running back Eddie Wide (36) is brought down by Air Force linebacker Andre Morris after a gain of 13-yards. (AP)
Oct. 24, 2009
SALT LAKE CITY (AP)--Stevenson Sylvester stuffed Connor Dietz on a fourth-down quarterback keeper to preserve No. 19 Utah's 23-16 overtime victory over Air Force on Saturday.
On fourth-and-2 at the 7, Dietz pulled the ball from the fullback and tried the same play that had worked all game long. This time, Sylvester appeared in the running lane and brought Dietz down for no gain.
Dietz rolled on the ground in misery as the Utah players flooded the field from the sideline to celebrate the Utes' fourth straight win.
Dietz rushed 28 times for 98 yards, but the Falcons (4-5, 3-3 Mountain West) lost for the sixth time in seven games in the hard-fought series against Utah (7-1, 4-0), with many games coming down to the last play.
On the first possession of overtime, Eddie Wide, who had 121 yards, scored on a 1-yard plunge that was the eighth play of the 25-yard drive. Joe Phillips' kick made it 23-16.
The Falcons' methodical drives kept the clock running and wore down the Utes' defense. Air Force had almost double Utah's time of possession and outgained Utah 300-242 yards in regulation. Erik Soderberg kicked a 22-yard field goal at the end of the third quarter and a 48-yard boot with 6:29 remaining to knot the game at 16.
David Reed, who had seven receptions for 149 yards, took a slant pass, broke two tackles and then sprinted 90 yards for a touchdown with 9:39 left in the third quarter. Reed's catch-and-run marked the second-longest pass play in Utah history and gave his team a 13-10 lead.
Boo Anderson's big hit on the ensuing kickoff caused Reggie Rembert to fumble and Elijah Wesson recovered for Utah. Rembert stayed on the ground for five minutes but walked off the field without assistance. The play led to a 31-yard field goal by Phillips for a 16-10 Utah advantage.
Underneath cloudy skies and intermittent rain, Cain was harassed all day by a blitzing Falcon defense and passed for a season-low 167 yards. Utah only managed eight first downs and fumbled five times.
In the first half, Wide was tackled and bent backward while his legs were pinned. He had to be helped to the locker room for X-rays midway through the second quarter. He returned in the second half to notch his fourth 100-yard rushing game since taking over for Matt Asiata, who was lost for the season with a knee injury.
Air Force has lost 13 consecutive games against ranked teams. The Falcons' last top-25 upset was at No. 23 California, 23-21 in 2002.