Utah RB battles through pregame illness to run for 222 yards in Foster Farms Bowl
Joe Williams ran for 222 yards, a bowl record, in Utah's Foster Farms Bowl win
Utah didn't play great in the first half against Indiana, and the poor play allowed the Hoosiers to hang around through the Foster Farms bowl despite a talent disadvantage and a recent coaching transition to Tom Allen in Bloomington after Kevin Wilson's dismissal.
But one thing that Utah can always count on, even when the offense isn't clicking, is Andy Phillips. "Automatic Andy" connected on attempts from 30, 48, 41 and 27 yards, leading the Utes in scoring and helping Kyle Whittingham squeak by the Hoosiers for his 10th bowl win in 11 tries, topping Indiana 26-24 in San Francisco.
Not all of the kicks were perfect, in fact this third quarter field goal had so much english on it, a casual observer could have mistaken it for a power fade golf shot from an elevated a par-3 tee box.
Lots of entertaining drama with that 48yd FG by the Utes: pic.twitter.com/029PeAnsIT— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) December 29, 2016
For Utah, the win came on the back of its strengths: special teams and defense paired with a solid running game. Joe Williams' final college game was another productive evening, with 222 yards on 26 carries -- including a long run to set up the winning field goal from Phillips. The defensive line totally shut down Indiana's passing attack, even deflecting seven passes at the line of scrimmage.
Williams returned to action from a preseason retirement to become one of the best running backs in the Pac-12, averaging 185 yards per game in his first six contests back in the lineup. Given that re-commitment to the team, there was nothing that could hold Williams back from capping his senior season off with a strong showing, including a cold that nagged him through the week.
Thanks to Williams shaking off the sniffles and Automatic Andy's foot, Kyle Whittingham is now 10-1 in bowl games as the Utes' coach. Utah may not have won the Pac-12 South as they hoped earlier in the year, but a third straight season of 9-plus wins and (likely) a third straight Top 25 finish certainly make 2016 another strong year in this mini-run for Whittingham in Salt Lake City.
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