Thanks to Joel at Rocky Top Talk for making this great drive chart of last night's victory.
One thing you should easily notice is how well Utah played in the second half. It seemed the Utes came out playing not to lose, but when that wasn't working, Kyle Whittingham obviously decided to change the gameplan. This is evident when he was asked at the half what needed to change and Whitt answered that the team needed to open it up and pass more. Well that's exactly what they did and it not only spurred a comeback, it pushed Utah to victory.
I believe had Utah opened it up in the first half, the game would not have come down to the final play like it did.
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Navy gave Utah the short passing game, which really opened things up and when previewing the game, I expected as much. It just took Utah a half to figure that out, which really left a bad taste in my mouth after the first two quarters.
Utah's defense also played pretty well, especially when you consider how good of an offense Navy actually runs. They kept them in check for most of the first half and after the Midshipmen scored to go up 17-7, Utah really controlled the flow of the game on both sides of the ball. Well except when Navy inexplicably drove down field and scored to make it a 3 point game again. Luckily they didn't have enough in the tank and Kaheaku-Enhada was intercepted by Joe Dale to preserve the Utah victory after the Midshipmen recovered their own onside kick.
As for the bad call, while it obviously benefited Utah, you can't say that decided the outcome of the game. The Midshipmen still had a chance to score and couldn't even move the chains enough to get a 4th and short. I'm not one to blame officials for losses (see my posts after the BYU game) and I don't think they played any part here. Even with that bad call, Navy still managed to get one final shot and couldn't pull off the stunning comeback.
I'll have more on the game later, but this was a strong victory for the Utes and it's always nice to keep the streak going. I think Boston College plays Michigan State and the Eagles are tied with Utah for the nation's longest bowl winning streak. So to that I say, GO SPARTANS!