Can the Pac-12 make the College Football Playoff championship for the first time since 2016?
That’s the question on everyone’s mind as No. 5 Utah takes on No. 13 Oregon in Friday’s Pac-12 championship game. If Utah wins, they’ll be in prime position to move into the No. 4 spot assuming LSU beats Georgia and the Big 12 championship game isn’t a blowout.
Can the Utes pull it off? They boast one of the nation’s top defenses, which ranks third nationally in total defense (241.6 yards per game) and scoring defense (11.3 points per game). But they’ll have a tough test against Justin Herbert (3,140 passing yards, 31 touchdowns to five interceptions), running back (1,088 yards from scrimmage, five touchdowns) and a host of five receivers with at least three touchdown receptions.
Follow along as Sporting News provides live updates, highlights and score changes from the 2019 Pc-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)
Utah vs. Oregon updates, highlights
Third quarter: Oregon 20, Utah 0
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.
Utah-Oregon first-half 2019 stats
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.