SAN ANTONIO (ABC4 Sports) – After one of the most exciting regular seasons in Utah football history, the Utes ended the year with a dud.
Sam Ehlinger passed for three touchdowns and ran for another, and Texas thoroughly dominated Utah in a 38-10 victory in the Alamo Bowl.
After winning 11 of its first 12 games, the Utes finished the season with two straight losses to end the year with a record of 11-3.
Similar to its loss to Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship Game, the Utes got physically manhandled at the line of scrimmage by Texas. Longhorns linebacker Joseph Ossai had three sacks of quarterback Tyler Huntley and six total tackles for a loss.
Texas also pounded out 231 yards rushing against the nation’s No. 1 defense against the run, which had held 10 opponents under 70 yards.
“It was a very disappointing ending to a very good season,” said head coach Kyle Whittingham. “This team won 11 games. When you judge the entire body of work throughout the course of the season, these guys accomplished some very good things. You know, the senior class, obviously this is not the way we wanted to send them out.”
Ehlinger finished with 201 yards passing. His first touchdown went to Collin Johnson, who missed six games this season with a nagging hamstring injury. His last was to Devin Duvernay, who caught three passes for 92 yards.
Texas took a 10-0 lead into the half on a 29-yard field goal by Cameron Dicker and a 5-yard touchdown pass from Ehlinger to Collin Johnson.
The Longhorns blew the game open in the third quarter as Keontay Ingram caught an 11-yard touchdown pass, and Ehlinger scored on a 6-yard touchdown run to make it 24-3 going into the fourth quarter.
Utah cut the lead to 24-10 when Demari Simpkins caught a 4-yard scoring pass from Huntley. But Texas closed the Utes out on a 15-yard touchdown strike from Ehlinger to Devon Duvernay and a 49-yard touchdown run by Ingram.
Utah’s all-time leading rusher Zack Moss finished his illustrious career with 57 yards rushing on 16 carries. Huntley struggled throwing the ball, completing 15 of 23 passes for 126 yards.
“We just wasn’t able to find a rhythm,” Moss said. “We wanted to soften them in the run game and try and reduce some of that blitzing that they were doing. They were blitzing pretty much 80 percent of the game, so we tried to, you know, soften that up, but we weren’t able to do that. So you know, we had some offensive woes throughout the game.”
Texas out-gained Utah with 438 yards compared to just 254 yards by the Utes.
Bradlee Anae broke Utah’s all-time sack record with a half a sack in the first quarter, bringing his career total to 30, passing Hunter Dimick.
“Just the love the guys have for each other,” Anae said. “First thing everybody did was walk around and shake each other’s hands. You know, just goes to show you, it’s like the bond is there. It’s a disappointing ending, but the guys will always stick together, even in hard times.”