Bryson Barnes leads No. 14 Utah past Washington State, 21-17

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
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PULLMAN, Wash. – Backup quarterback Bryson Barnes threw for 175 yards and a touchdown and No. 14 Utah beat Washington State 21-17 on Thursday night to stay in the hunt for the Pac-12 championship game.

Barnes, who started in place of injured Cam Rising, completed 17 of 27 passes for Utah (6-2, 4-1), which was off last week after edging Southern California in a 43-42 shootout Oct. 15.

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said his team found a way to win despite injuries to some key players.

“I’m proud of Bryson,” Whittingham said. “He obviously came into a tough situation and he played well. Had one turnover, but he did a pretty good job of moving the chains.”

Rising made the decision not to play, Whittingham said.

“If Cam says he can’t play, he can’t play. So there was no doubting him whatsoever,” Whittingham said. “Bryson was not expecting to be the starter tonight. But that’s the nature of the number two quarterback, you’re only ever one snap away.”

Barnes, a sophomore, said he was prepared when his time came.

“You can always be ready for the moment, but until you get the chance to play you really don’t know what it’s like,” Barnes said. “I’m thankful for the opportunity tonight.”

Cameron Ward completed 27 of 31 passes for 222 yards for Washington State (4-4, 1-4), which has lost four of its past five games and was also off a week ago. The Cougars were without rushing leader Nakia Watson and top receiver Renard Bell because of injuries.

“He’s (Ward) a good quarterback, he didn’t really miss many throws at all, he was on the money,” Whittingham said. “But I credit our pass rush. They did a fine job moving him off his spot.”

Washington State coach Jake Dickert said his team is not executing well.

“On offense we are not doing anything well,” Dickert said. “We are playing just good enough to get beat.”

But Dickert is not giving up on the season.

“Right now our record says we are a .500 football team,” Dickert said. “We are playing just good enough to get beat.”

The Cougars have four winnable games left, Dickert said.

“All is not lost,” he said.

After a scoreless first quarter, Washington State scored on a 29-yard touchdown pass from Ward to De'Zhaun Stribling early in the second quarter. Ward completed his first 12 passes.

Utah replied with a 65-yard drive that ended when Ja'Quinden Jackson plowed over from the 6.

Utah was forced to punt late in the second quarter, but the ball hit receiver Robert Ferrel in the leg and was recovered by the Utes at the Washington State 25. Jaylon Glover drove in from the 1 with 20 seconds left in the half to give Utah a 14-7 lead.

Dalton Kincaid caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from Barnes late in the third quarter to lift Utah to a 21-7 lead.

Washington State replied immediately, with Ward running 7 yards up the middle early in the fourth to cut Utah’s lead to 21-14.

Jackson fumbled midway through the fourth and the ball was recovered by Washington State’s Tanner Moku deep in Utah territory. Dean Janikowski kicked a 42-yard field goal to cut Utah’s lead to 21-17 with less than five minutes left in the game. But Utah was able to run out the clock.

GOOD DEFENSE

Despite four losses, Washington State has the best defense in the Pac-12, allowing just over 20 points per game. “I’m proud of our defense,” Dickert said.

WHERE’S THE RUSH

Washington State, which averages less than 90 rushing yards per game, was limited to 42 rushing yards Thursday night. The Cougars mustered only 264 yards of total offense, and Ward was sacked four times.

THE TAKEAWAY

Utah is the defending Pac-12 champion and needed a victory to stay in range of Oregon, UCLA and Southern California for a berth in the league title game. Washington State is seeking to qualify for a bowl game.

UP NEXT

Utah: Hosts Arizona on Nov. 5.

Washington State: At Stanford on Nov. 5.

Texas State hires Incarnate Word coach Kinne to lead Bobcats

Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports
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Texas State hired Incarnate Word coach G.J. Kinne on Friday to lead a Sun Belt program that has had only one winning season since moving up to the Bowl Subdivision in 2012.

The 34-year-old former Tulsa quarterback has made a fast rise in coaching since ending his professional career in 2017.

After three years as an offensive analyst at SMU, Arkansas and the Philadelphia Eagles, Kinne became offensive coordinator at Hawaii in 2020. He held the same role for UCF in 2021 before landing the head coaching job at FCS Incarnate Word this season.

Incarnate Word is 10-1 and averaging 53 points and 8.3 yards per play, both FCS highs, heading into its playoff game Saturday against Furman. Kinne will remain with Incarnate Word through their playoff run.

“It’s with great honor that I’m accepting the call to be next head football coach of the Texas State Bobcats,” Kinne said. “We are going to play fast, have relentless energy, and when the going gets tough, have the mental confidence to win tight games in the second half and represent the state of Texas. Eat ‘Em Up!”

Texas State fired Jake Spavital last week after the Bobcats won just 13 games in his four seasons.

Kinne signed a five-year contract, the school said. Terms were not immediately released.

“My goal was to hire someone with demonstrated leadership experience, success as a head coach, established relationships with Texas football coaches, and success with recruiting and developing players,” said Texas State President Kelly Damphousse. “I sought a leader with a plan to capitalize on our location in the heart of the best high school football in the country.”

Florida Atlantic hires Tom Herman as football coach

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BOCA RATON, Fla. – Former Texas and Houston head coach Tom Herman will take over at Florida Atlantic as it heads into its first season in the American Athletic Conference.

The hire comes just days after FAU fired Willie Taggart, who went 15-18 in his three seasons with the Owls. Details of the contract with Herman were not immediately available.

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Tom Herman to Paradise,” FAU Director of Athletics Brian White said Thursday. “Throughout the process and the more we talked with Coach Herman, the more it became apparent to me that he was the right person to lead our football program. Beyond his knowledge of the game, which is obvious by his success over the years, he also truly cares about the young people in his program.”

FAU’s final season in Conference USA ended with a 5-7 record and an overtime loss to Western Kentucky. The Owls will be in the American next season.

Herman returns to college football after spending the 2021 season with the Chicago Bears as an offensive analyst.

Herman was 22-4 at Houston, a mark that helped him land the head coaching job at Texas where he went 32-18 with four straight bowl trips in 2017-2020. He also was an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Ohio State during the Buckeyes’ 2014 national championship season, as well as stops at Iowa State, Rice and Texas State.

“All the pieces are in place at FAU for us to be successful,” Herman said. “There are already great young men on this team, great facilities, a great location, a great recruiting base and great leadership, all of which are important to building a successful program.”