Oregon cruised to its first Pac-12 championship since 2014 and kept Utah from becoming the first conference team to make the College Football Playoff since 2016.
It was clear from the outset Friday that Oregon would dominate the game, scoring on a 67-yard touchdown drive against a team that had surrendered just 11.3 points per game in the regular season. The Utes would give up 30 more in a 37-15 loss.
CJ Verdell provided a spark for Ducks all night, rushing 18 times for 208 yards and three touchdowns against a team that had surrendered a quarter of that yardage per game during the season. Quarterback Justin Herbert wasn’t great, but he didn’t need to be, as he completed 14 of 27 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown. True freshman Kayvon Thibodeaux was that player on defense, tallying three sacks and a blocked punt.
Utah tried its best to mount a comeback, rallying for 15 third-quarter points to narrow the gap to 23-15, but there was simply too much for the Utes to overcome. Quarterback Tyler Huntley completed 17 of 29 passes for 193 yards and two touchdowns, but he also threw two interceptions. Zack Moss ran 19 times for 113 yards and caught four passes for 57 yards and a touchdown.
Both teams converted just 4 of 14 third-down attempts, but the difference was this: Oregon converted its lone fourth-down conversion, while Utah failed to convert on any of its four attempts.
Check out Sporting News’ updates, highlights and score changes from the 2019 Pac-12 championship game:
Utah vs. Oregon score
Utah vs. Oregon scoring plays
8:00 — Oregon running back CJ Verdell 3-yard touchdown run (7-0 Oregon)
4:17 — Oregon kicker Camden Lewis 23-yard field goal (10-0 Oregon)
11:02 — Oregon quarterback 45-yard touchdown pass to Johnny Johnson III
4:56 — Oregon kicker Camden Lewis 23-yard field goal (20-0 Oregon)
10:52 — Utah quarterback 24-yard touchdown pass to Zack Moss (20-7 Oregon)
4:56 — Oregon kicker Camden Lewis 23-yard field goal (23-7 Oregon)
1:13 — Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley 25-yard touchdown pass to Samson Nacua; Nacua 2-point conversion (23-15 Oregon)
7:09 — Oregon running back 70-yard touchdown (30-15 Oregon)
2:33 — CJ Verdell 31-yard touchdown run (37-15 Oregon)
Utah vs. Oregon updates, highlights
Final: Oregon 37, Utah 15
11:47 p.m.: Final stats.
11:43 p.m.: TURNOVER ON DOWNS, UTAH. The final indignity: A sack on Huntley that gives Oregon the ball at Utah’s 7. They should just kneel it here, but who knows.
11:41 p.m.: Thibodeaux with his third sack of the day. He’s an animal.
11:38 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, OREGON. Verdell delivers an emphatic final score, taking it 31 yards out for what should be the last touchdown of the game. With that, it’s 37-15 Oregon.
11:35 p.m.: UTAH INTERCEPTION. Huntley throws his second interception of the night, this time to Dye. With that Oregon can run the clock out and clinch its berth in the Rose Bowl.
11:33 p.m.: Utah uses its final timeout with 3:42 remaining in the game. Oregon will punt from midfield on fourth-and-4. Utes need a couple quick scores.
11:32 p.m.: Utah uses its second timeout with 3:46 remaining on a third-and-6 for Oregon.
11:30 p.m.: Utah uses its first timeout with 3:52 remaining. Another first down or two and Oregon clinches this.
11:25 p.m.: Oregon forces the three-and-out and gets the ball back near midfield.
11:21 p.m.: Thibodeaux with his second sack of the game to make it second-and-18 for Utah. The true freshman might be the defensive player of the game for Oregon.
11:16 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, OREGON. And that may be the dagger. Verdell converts on third-and-1 before taking it 70 yards to the house for a touchdown to make it 30-15 Oregon.
11:09 p.m.: Utah faces third-and-long after a Thibodeaux sack, but Moss gets a good portion of it back out of the backfield. Utes will not go for it on fourth-and-4 from the Oregon 41. Ducks resume control with 9:28 left to play.
11:07 p.m.: Oregon’s Wright is called for pass interference to move Utah out to the Ducks’ 46.
11:01 p.m.: And Oregon fails to convert. Utah gets the ball back with what should be great field position.
Third quarter: Oregon 23, Utah 15
10:58 p.m.: Oregon faces third-and-4 from its 30 as we head into the fourth quarter.
10:53 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, UTAH. The Utes get on the board again with a beautiful over-the-shoulder catch by Nacua from 25 yards out. Huntley hits him again in the flat for the 2-point conversion to make it 23-15 Oregon.
10:51 p.m.: Moss takes it on the zone read up the left sideline for another first down to the Oregon 40. Utes get 15 more yards after an unsportsmanlike penalty on Oregon’s Graham.
10:49 p.m.: Utah gets its second third-down conversion with an 11-yard connection between Huntley and Enis on third-and-9. Utes still in it but they need to start putting points up.
10:45 p.m.: FIELD GOAL, OREGON. Utah defense bends, doesn’t break. Lewis’ 25-yard field goal makes it 23-7 Oregon.
10:44 p.m.: Verdell gets some tough yards on third-and-9 to give Oregon the ball at the 15-yard line. Utah has no answer.
10:41 p.m.: Verdell runs it 24 yards on first down out to Utah’s 26. Utes had the field position battle in hand and now will have to hold off another Ducks score.
10:37 p.m.: TURNOVER ON DOWNS, UTAH. Thomas Graham Jr. knocks the pass down before Simpkins can pull it in. Ducks will take over at midfield.
10:36 p.m.: Utah has it fourth-and-2 at the 50. They’re going for it again.
10:34 p.m.: Oregon punts, but it looks like Herbert is OK. Utah will take over near midfield with a chance to make it a one-score game.
10:33 p.m.: Absolute disaster for Oregon. Miscommunication between Herbert and the center causes him to snap it without Herbert expecting it. He runs it down at the 2 and is hurt on the recovery. Punt upcoming.
10:31 p.m.: Oregon on offense at its 18-yard line. Can the Utes force another punt?
10:28 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, UTAH. And the Utes finally get on the board! Huntley checks down to Moss and he does the rest of the work on a 24-yard touchdown reception. It’s 20-7 Oregon.
10:26 p.m.: Utah’s Enis is met by Oregon defenders about five yards short of the first down and powers his way to a first down at the 24. That is the Utes’ first third-down conversion of the night.
10:20 p.m.: Huntley keeps it on the zone read and takes it to the Oregon 35.
10:18 p.m.: Utah defense does its part to start the half with a three-and-out. The offense will take over at its 48-yard line.
10:16 p.m.: Oregon cornerback Mykael Wright looked to have the ball out to the 50-yard line on the kickoff return, but that is negated by a holding penalty. Ducks back at it again at the 10.
Halftime: Oregon 20, Utah 0
9:54 p.m.: Halftime stats. One noticeable stat: Oregon has 261 yards at halftime. Utah averaged 241 yards per game all year entering this game.
9:51 p.m.: Ducks don’t seem to be in a hurry at all even after a big first-down run by Verdell. They seem content to let the clock run out the half.
9:48 p.m.: Huntley had receiver Solomon Enis open for a potential first down, but he missed him. That makes Utah 0 for 5on third down. The Ducks will take over near their 10-yard line with the chance to lengthen the score again before halftime (they have 2:17 f game clock).
9:47 p.m.: Apparently Pac-12 officials were reviewing whether Dixon caught the ball, not whether Dye committed targeting. With that, Utah faces third-and-15 from Oregon’s 43.
9:44 p.m.: Utah receiver Jaylen Dixon is down on the field after colliding with Ducks safety Jevon Holland. The ball falls incomplete, but it looks as if Oregon linebacker Troy Dye may be called for targeting.
9:42 p.m.: Huntley hits Demari Simpkins for a 10-yard first down out to the Utah 48, followed by a 14-yard connection to Samson Nacua to Oregon’s 38.
9:41 p.m.: Moss starts the Utes’ drive with a 9-yard run out to the 34. Utah needs a score — a touchdown, preferably — before halftime. Remember, the Ducks get the ball out of the half.
9:39 p.m.: FIELD GOAL, OREGON. Lewis hits the field goal to make it 20-0 Oregon.
9:38 p.m.: Herbert nearly makes a fatal mistake, throwing to Johnson in double coverage. Utah defensive back Terrell Burgess has the pass bounce off his chest in the backfield. Oregon will have to settle for the field goal attempt.
9:37 p.m.: A few penalties by both teams have made it third-and-goal for Oregon at Utah’s 12-yard line.
9:34 p.m.: And on the very next play Johnson adjusts to reach behind the back Utah cornerback Haki Woods Jr. and make a circus grab down to the Utah 9-yard line.
9:32 p.m.: Oregon faces fourth-and-1 but gets the necessary yardage just past midfield. The Ducks get a new set of downs.
9:30 p.m.: Worse news for Utah. Senior defensive back Julian Blackmon is out for the remainder of the game after suffering a non-contact injury. According to the ABC telecast, he had a pre-existing knee injury that was exacerbated.
9:27 p.m.: TURNOVER ON DOWNS, UTAH. For the second time tonight, Oregon gets off the field on fourth down. The Ducks tackle Huntley on a would-be scramble attempt and get the ball around their 32.
9:25 p.m.: And Huntley only gets 6 yards on third-and-8. Utes face fourth down just outside Oregon’s 30 for the third time.
9:23 p.m.: A nice kickoff return and 20-yard connection between Huntley and Brant Kuithe gets Utah inside Oregon’s 40. They need a score here.
9:17 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN OREGON. And now the Ducks have blown this wide open. Herbert hits Johnson all alone for a 45-yard touchdown to make it 17-0 Oregon.
9:10 p.m.: Another three-and-out for Utah. If you didn’t know any better you’d think Utah’s defense was dressed in Oregon colors. Another punt gives Oregon the ball at its 30.
9:08 p.m.: Verdell gets a 16-yard chunk on third down, but not enough. Oregon punts it 49 yards to the Utah 23, where the Utes will take over.
First quarter: Oregon 10, Utah 0
9:03 p.m.: And now the Ducks face third-and-18 as the quarter closes. Utah defense is tightening up.
8:59 p.m.: UTAH INTERCEPTION. ;And on the very next play Huntley tries to hit Demari Simpkins in double coverage. Breeze picks him off in the end zone to give Oregon the ball back at the 20. Some early mistakes by both teams.
8:58 p.m.: Finally Moss makes the big play. He runs right, sees nothing and reverses field (getting a big block from Huntley) to advance it 42 yards all the way to Oregon’s 38.
8:57 p.m.: Utah defense minimizes the damage, forcing a punt on fourth-and-29 after Herbert is called for intentional grounding. Utes to take over at their 20.
8:54 p.m.: UTAH BLOCKED PUNT. A Utah false start makes it fourth-and-6 from Oregon’s 44, forcing a punt. But freshman defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux blocks the punt and gives Oregon the ball at Utah’s 48.
8:52 p.m.: Utah faces fourth-and-1 again from Oregon’s 38. The Ducks have not allowed a Utah third-down conversion in three tries.
8:51 p.m.: Utah back at it on offense again. An 18-yard Huntley run plus defensive holding gets Utah out to Oregon’s 47-yard line after just one play.
8:47 p.m.: FIELD GOAL, OREGON. The Ducks attempt some trickeration with a tackle-eligible play to Penei Sewell, but it’s sniffed out quickly by Utah. The Ducks settle for the field goal to make it 10-0 Oregon.
You know you’re feeling it when you do the throw back to the left tackle on third and goal.
No big man tuddy though 🙁 pic.twitter.com/QQXi3Isqcy
— Yahoo Sports College Football (@YahooSportsCFB) December 7, 2019
8:44 p.m.: Two plays later, Herbert hits receiver Juwan Johnson for 51 yards down to the Utah 1-yard line. Herbert is 5 for 6 through the air 78 yards after that connection.
8:40 p.m.: Oregon takes over at its 38 after Brant Kuithe makes an acrobatic catch out of bounds for Utah. Oregon risking to blow this open early with another score.
8:38 p.m.: The targeting call is overturned after review. Breeze will remain on the field. Utah has it third-and-6 from its 29.
Slightly surprised this targeting call was reversed. Fit the definition of targeting even if it wasn’t egregious.
Breeze gets to stay in the game as a result. pic.twitter.com/T8nmS0Q58p
— Yahoo Sports College Football (@YahooSportsCFB) December 7, 2019
8:36 p.m.: Uh-oh. Oregon safety Brady Breeze is called for targeting on Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley. Didn’t look intentional but there was certainly helmet-to-helmet contact.
8:34 p.m.: Utah back at it at its 25.
8:30 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, OREGON. ;The Ducks cap a 67-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown plunge by CJ Verdell to make it 7-0 Oregon.
8:26 p.m.: Justin Herbert gets 21 yards on two carries for two first downs into Utah territory. Beating the Utes with his legs at the moment.
8:24 p.m.: Oregon receiver Johnny Johnson III is down on the field briefly after getting absolutely smacked in the backfield on a quick catch. Ducks have it second-and-11 at their 32.
8:20 p.m.: TURNOVER ON DOWNS, UTAH. Utah moves the ball out to Oregon’s 31-yard line where it faced fourth-and-1. Moss was tackled for no gain, giving the Ducks the ball at roughly their 32-yard line.
8:16 p.m.: Two runs by Zack Moss net 13 yards and a first down out to the 38-yard line.
8:15 p.m.: Utah will take over at its 25-yard line to start the game.