PULLMAN — It took Coleman Petersen five years before he finally made it into his first college football games this season, but it only took Petersen a second or two to end the bowl dreams of the Washington State Cougars.
Petersen, a walk-on kicker who first turned out for football at Utah in 2006, banged home a 38-yard field goal in overtime to give the Utes a 30-27 victory Saturday afternoon at snow-covered Martin Stadium.
Petersen’s third field goal of the day ended a highly entertaining contest that WSU (4-7, 2-6 Pac-12) tied on Andrew Furney’s 17-yard field goal as time expired in the fourth quarter. Coach Paul Wulff said he considered going for the touchdown after Marquess Wilson caught a pass just in front of the goal line on a dramatic last-minute drive.
Most of the game was played in snow that ranged from light flurries to heavy snow that stuck to the turf in the second half. Footing was tricky after snowfall picked up at halftime, but Petersen said he had no problems.
The junior from Sandy, Utah, also said he had no problem with nerves when it came time to win the game. Petersen has converted on 17 of 21 field goals.
“When I go out and kick, I actually don’t think about anything,” said Petersen, whose college days were interrupted by a two-year Mormon mission. “I’ve kicked so many balls, so it’s just kind of a routine now.”
A season-low crowd of 16,419 turned out on Senior Day for the final home game of the year. Many students were out of town, since classes are not held during Thanksgiving week, and slick highways discouraged others.
The chilly, brave few who turned out witnessed another promising performance by quarterback Connor Halliday.
The redshirt freshman from Spokane overcame several dropped balls to pass for 290 yards and two touchdowns. He did throw four interceptions (including a desperation throw on third-and-25 to end WSU’s only overtime possession) and made some other youthful mistakes.
Halliday shook off a number of vicious hits, and he engineered dazzling late scoring drives that tied the score at the end of both halves. Halliday was making his first start after passing for 494 yards and four touchdowns last week in a win over Arizona State.