Utah loses; UCLA wins the South Division

November, 25, 2011
11/25/11
7:20
PM ET
The Pac-12 South Division entered the weekend complicated. But the most unlikely scenario made it simple.

After Utah lost 17-14 to Colorado, UCLA -- win or lose against USC on Saturday -- became the South champ. (If USC beats the Bruins, it would have the best conference record, but it is ineligible due to NCAA sanctions.)

UCLA will be at either Oregon or Stanford. Oregon is the North Division champion if it beats Oregon State on Saturday. Stanford wins it if the Ducks fall.

Utah was a 22-point favorite. Colorado had lost 24 games in a row outside its home state. Its last road victory came in 2007.

Utah lost because kicker Coleman Petersen was 0-for 3 on field goals, including a 48-yard attempt that would have tied the game in the waning moments. Last week, he was 3-for-3 at Washington State and earned Pac-12 special teams Player of the Week honors.

That might not be fair, though. The Utah offense gained just 274 yards against the one of the worst defenses in the Pac-12, one that had been yielding 453 yards (11th in the conference) and 38.4 points (12th) per game.

The Utes lost running back John White in the first half to an ankle injury. They had been 7-0 this season when he rushed for over 100 yards. He finished with 28 on 10 carries.

His replacement, Tauni Vakapuna, lost a fumble on the Utes' second-to-last possession. His only carry on the Utes final, 11-play drive was a 2-yard loss just before the Peterson missed.

Utah also had a scary moment when guard Sam Brenner was down on the field for several minutes and was taken away in an ambulance. Word from school officials is it was some sort of neck in injury but he had full movement in all of his limbs.

Colorado finishes the season, its first under Jon Embree, at 3-10 and 2-7. Utah falls to 7-5 and 4-5 and awaits its bowl fate, which likely would have been the Alamo Bowl if it had won. Now things are more complicated.

Just like the South no longer is.

Ted Miller | email

College Football

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