Wild blunder negates pick 6 for No. 5 Washington with ball dropped before end zone


Washington linebacker Alphonzo Tuputala dropped the ball before the end zone, negating a pick six during Saturday’s game against Utah. Here’s what you need to know:

  • With 30 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Tuputala intercepted Utes quarterback Bryson Barnes’ pass, returning it 76 yards for what should have been a pick six.
  • Instead, the junior linebacker dropped the ball at the 1-yard line.
  • After further review, officials confirmed Tuputala fumbled at the 1-yard line, giving Utah the ball back.
  • The Huskies defeated the Utes 35-28, improving to 10-0 on the season.

What happened on that play?

Tuputala will always remember this particular rainy Saturday afternoon in Seattle. It’s the day he left the football behind.

In what turned out to be one of the wildest sequences of the 2023 college football season, Washington’s junior linebacker experienced the harshest of pendulum swings imaginable. Tuputala snagged an interception thrown by Barnes as the Utes were at the Huskies’ 24-yard line and knocking at the door to retake the lead.

Barnes’ ill-timed forced throw bounced off a Utah receiver and landed in the arms of Tuputala who raced down the Washington sideline untouched. Problem is: he didn’t get close to crossing the goal line. In a state of pure elation due to his first career interception, he left the ball at the 1-yard line.

As Husky Stadium exploded assuming the Washington lead ballooned to 39-28 with 30 seconds left in the third quarter, Utah offensive guard Michael Mokofisi ran and smothered the ball that ended up dropping on the Utah 1-yard line. Officials reviewed the play and it confirmed Tuputala’s blunder.

It ended up not being too much of a win for the Utes. On the first play of the next offensive series, Utah running back Ja’Quinden Jackson was dropped in the end zone for a safety. When one of Washington’s key starters needed a pick-me-up, his defense was there for him. — Christopher Kamrani, college football enterprise writer

Required reading

(Photo: Lindsey Wasson / AP)

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