Scores

Final

Utah 42

(5-7, 3-6 Pac-12)

Colorado 35

(1-11, 1-8 Pac-12)

Coverage: FX

3:00 PM ET, November 23, 2012

Folsom Field, BOULDER, CO

1 2 3 4 T
UTAH 10 7 3 2242
COLO 7 7 14 735

Top Performers

Passing: N. Hirschman (AKR) - 306 YDS, 1 TD, 4 INT

Rushing: J. White (UTAH) - 20 CAR, 168 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: N. Spruce (COLO) - 10 REC, 98 YDS, 1 TD

Utah takes advantage of five turnovers to outlast Colorado

Associated Press

BOULDER, Colo. -- Reggie Dunn got his hands on the football just one time Friday, and that's all he needed to send Utah past Colorado 42-35, sealing the worst season in the Buffaloes' storied history.

"I can't for the life of me figure out why they kicked to Reggie Dunn," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. "But we're glad they did."

Utah's last two opponents, Washington and Arizona, used short kickoffs to keep the ball away from the NCAA record-holding returner, and the Buffs used booming touchbacks at altitude to do the same thing for most of the afternoon.

Yet, following Marques Mosley's 100-yard kickoff return for a Colorado score, Buffaloes kicker Zach Grossnickle booted it right to Dunn, who responded with his own 100-yard TD return 13 seconds after Mosley's to break a 35-35 tie.

Buffaloes coach Jon Embree didn't say exactly why the Buffaloes kicked off to Dunn, but he did say there were some substitutes on the coverage team.

"We had some guys that were hurt, so we had to put some other guys in there," he said. "They got hurt like two plays before, so there was a little bit of chaos."

Dunn extended his NCAA record with his fifth career 100-yard kickoff return -- and his fourth this season.

"That's got to be the most memorable, man," said Dunn, a senior. "The last game of my collegiate career and to end a game like that, unbelievable."

After Mosley's 100-yard TD, "everybody was like, 'Just match 'em," Dunn recounted. "We knew we could do it. We feel like we're the best kickoff return team in the nation."

And the best returner.

"He's a beast," Utes running back John White said. "He's the record holder. You kick it to him, you're going to pay for it."

In a big way.

The Utes (5-7, 3-6 Pac-12) doubled their season total with four interceptions of Nick Hirschman, and they sent the Buffaloes (1-11, 1-8) to their worst finish since the school's inaugural 0-4 campaign in 1890.

Colorado also failed to win a game at home for the first time since 1920.

"Tough game, tough loss," said a weeping Embree, adding he was infuriated that a fan berated one of his disconsolate players coming off the field.

The Utes, who hadn't won on the road all season, outscored Colorado 22-7 down the stretch after third-quarter TD runs of 3 yards by Tony Jones and 5 yards by Donta Abron gave the Buffaloes a 28-20 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

The teams combined for 21 points in a stunning 29-second span after Moe Lee's crucial interception at the Colorado 30-yard line:

•  Utah quarterback Travis Wilson scored on a 9-yard keeper to break a 28-28 tie with 8:41 remaining.

•  Mosley returned the kickoff 100 yards to tie it back up at 35. It was Colorado's first kickoff return for a score in three years.

•  Dunn then raced 100 yards down the Utes' exuberant sideline one last time to cap his record-breaking collegiate career.

"It's just amazing," Dunn said. "They return one back and then we return one, just hushed their crowd and our defense ends it like it's supposed to be."

The Utes got the ball back on downs, then punted before Brian Blechen corralled Hirschman's fourth interception to seal Colorado's doom.

"It's a real good memory to have," White said. "But you still have that bad taste in your mouth because we didn't get to a bowl game. But at least we go out on a good note."

White, whose right arm was in a sling after the game, ran 20 times for 168 yards and became the first Utah player with consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. His score from 11 yards out with 10:50 left pulled Utah to 28-26. The Utes tied it when Jake Murphy took the direct snap and threw a 2-point jump pass to fellow tight end David Rolf to tie it at 28.

On the next play from scrimmage, Lee picked off Hirschman. Four plays later, the Utes set up in a five-wide receiver set, and Wilson scampered in for the go-ahead score with 8:41 left before the teams traded 100-yard kickoff returns.

"This game kind of summarizes the year: close but still a ways to go," said Embree, who is expected to part ways with some of his coaching staff, including defensive coordinator Greg Brown and maybe even longtime friend and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy after going 4-21 in two seasons.

Tight end Nick Kasa, one of eight seniors, left Folsom Field with his head held high, determined not to let the woeful season define him any longer.

"What defines me is we fought our butts off to win this game," he said. "And I'm going to keep that going in my life. The main thing that (we) learned is that hard work will eventually lead to success and unfortunately it didn't here, but I'm not stopping. Neither are any of us."

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Team Stat Comparison

 
UTAH
COLO
1st Downs1825
Total Yards336418
Passing128306
Rushing208112
Penalties5-434-35
3rd Down Conversions3-126-16
4th Down Conversions0-01-3
Turnovers15
Possession28:2731:33

Passing Leaders

UtahC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Wilson13/251285.110
ColoradoC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Hirschman30/513066.014

Rushing Leaders

UtahCARYDSAVGTDLG
White201688.4128
York10252.518
ColoradoCARYDSAVGTDLG
Abron14846.0122
Jones8232.9113

Receiving Leaders

UtahRECYDSAVGTDLG
Scott4369.0015
Matthews33411.3017
ColoradoRECYDSAVGTDLG
Spruce10989.8117
McCulloch68814.7037

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERUTAHCOLO
TD14:16Dres Anderson 16 Yd Pass From Travis Wilson (Coleman Petersen Kick) 70
TD08:55Nelson Spruce 8 Yd Pass From Nick Hirschman (Will Oliver Kick) 77
FG00:13Coleman Petersen 21 Yd 107
SECOND QUARTERUTAHCOLO
TD03:43Kelvin York 4 Yd Run (Coleman Petersen Kick) 177
TD00:20Nick Hirschman 1 Yd Run (Will Oliver Kick) 1714
THIRD QUARTERUTAHCOLO
FG12:16Coleman Petersen 37 Yd 2014
TD08:46Tony Jones 3 Yd Run (Will Oliver Kick) 2021
TD01:09Donta Abron 5 Yd Run (Will Oliver Kick) 2028
FOURTH QUARTERUTAHCOLO
TD10:50John White 11 Yd Run (Jake Murphy Pass To David Rolf For Two-Point Conversion) 2828
TD08:41Travis Wilson 9 Yd Run (Coleman Petersen Kick) 3528
TD08:25Marques Mosley 100 Yd Kickoff Return (Will Oliver Kick) 3535
TD08:12Reggie Dunn 100 Yd Kickoff Return (Coleman Petersen Kick) 4235