No. 12 Utah escaped with a 20-13 win over Baylor on Saturday after scoring two touchdowns in the final two minutes.
QB Nate Johnson tied the game with 1:59 to go on a 7-yard run. Utah elected to go for the game-tying PAT instead of a potential game-winning two-point conversion and got the ball back seconds later after Cole Bishop intercepted Baylor QB Sawyer Robertson on third down.
Jaylon Glover then scored the winning touchdown with 17 seconds to go after Baylor appeared to let him score with under 30 seconds to go. Glover ran more time off the clock before heading into the end zone, but his decision gave Baylor a chance at a score.
— Utah Football (@Utah_Football) September 9, 2023
And boy, the Bears got a lot closer to scoring than a lot of people imagined. Robertson was able to complete a pass to Hal Presley for 47 yards after Presley got behind the defense and stepped out of bounds with a second left. That gave Baylor one play at the Utah 22-yard line, but Robertson’s throw toward Ketron Jackson Jr. fell incomplete as Utah DB Miles Battle avoided being called for pass interference.
#12 Utah hangs on to beat Baylor 20-13 in Waco!
On the game's final play, Utah's Miles Battle appeared to be, well, battling with Baylor WR Ketron Jackson, Jr. Officials, however, made no call either way, and the game concluded. pic.twitter.com/lG3Yu28EIl
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) September 9, 2023
Johnson gives the Utah offense a spark
With QB Cameron Rising missing his second game to start the season after his torn ACL in January’s Rose Bowl, Utah came to Waco with the same quarterback plan it used in its Week 1 win over Florida. Bryson Barnes served as the team’s primary quarterback while the freshman Johnson also saw playing time.
But Barnes struggled on Saturday. He was just 6-of-19 passing for 71 yards and an interception. That led Utah to put Johnson in for the team’s penultimate drive of the game when the Utes took over at their own 12 yard-line with 9:54 to go.
Utah proceeded to go 88 yards in 15 plays with Johnson at the helm as he accounted for 90 total passing and rushing yards on the drive thanks to penalties and a sack. Johnson finished the game with 32 rushing yards on 11 carries and was 6-of-7 passing for 82 yards.
He found fellow freshman Mikey Matthews for two key completions in Baylor territory on that drive as Matthews finished the game with four catches for 48 yards.
With Rising’s return date still unknown, it won’t be surprising if Johnson sees a larger role in Utah’s Week 3 game against Weber State.
Baylor now 0-2
The Bears are 0-2 for the first time since an 1-11 season in 2017 after losing to Texas State in Week 1. Robertson was the team’s quarterback late in that game after starting QB Blake Shapen suffered a knee injury and started on Saturday.
He did a good job of avoiding mistakes in the first half and rushed for a touchdown that gave the Bears a 10-3 lead at halftime. But he threw two interceptions in the second half after turning the ball over twice in relief duty in Week 1.
Baylor should avoid an 0-3 start with FCS opponent Long Island on tap. The schedule only gets tougher from there, however, with games against Texas, UCF and Texas Tech to open Big 12 play.