No offense, but … well, no offense dooms Utah in Las Vegas Bowl loss to Northwestern

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By Usa Express Daily

Utes total just 211 total yards — and only 73 through the air — in season-ending 14-7 defeat.

Utah quarterback Bryson Barnes (16) is sacked by Northwestern defensive lineman Carmine Bastone (90) during the second half of the Las Vegas Bowl NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 23, 2023, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)

Las Vegas • After three quarters of somnambulant play and next to no offense, Utah came alive in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s Las Vegas Bowl against Northwestern at Allegiant Stadium …

And lost 14-7.

Running back Micah Bernard, playing for the first time since an early-season injury, got the Utes on the board with a fourth-quarter touchdown.

The Utes wouldn’t score again.

Northwestern quarterback Ben Bryant, who briefly left the game following a scary hit, returned to throw what proved to be the winning touchdown, a 19-yard dime to Bryce Kirtz.

Utah’s defense had a strong performance, but could not make up for the Utes’ lack of offense, as they managed only 211 total yards in the game, and a mere 73 through the air.

(David Becker | AP) Northwestern defensive back Jaheem Joseph (3) intercepts a pass intended for Utah wide receiver Money Parks, right, during the first half of the Las Vegas Bowl NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 23, 2023, in Las Vegas.

With starting offensive linemen Keaton Bills and Satoa Laumea, and receivers Devaughn Vele and Mikey Matthews all gone, and quarterback Bryson Barnes off-target for most of the day besides, the Utes simply never could garner much momentum.

They had one final try, driving down to the Northwestern 39, before a Barnes telegraphed a pass to Luca Caldarella on fourth-and-3, which was easily broken up.

The Wildcats took over, gained one more first down, and ran out the clock.

(David Becker | AP) Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham looks on before the Las Vegas Bowl NCAA college football game against Northwestern, Saturday, Dec. 23, 2023, in Las Vegas.

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