USU report card

Utah finally put together a complete game, outscoring the Aggies in every quarter of Saturday's victory. It was a nice effort, even if the special teams really brought the overall effort down a level. 

Offense: B+ - Brian Johnson was a bit inconsistent, but his numbers weren't bad. He finished the night with 204 yards through the air and passed for two touchdowns. He did throw an interception, but outside of that, he didn't put Utah in position to turn the ball over. 

Beyond Johnson, Matt Asiata dominated, plowing into the end zone three times Saturday night and having his best performance of his young collegiate career. If Asiata continues to look this good, Utah will be tough to beat, because they can kill you through the air and on the ground. 

The offense flowed well, looked sharp in scoring 51 points -- the most for a Whittingham team -- and has improved every week thus far. They probably won't be too tested this Saturday against Air Force, but if they play as well as they did Saturday, even if it was against Utah State, they'll be in good position to get the win. 

Defense: A - Utah's defense didn't cost the Utes two Aggie scores. That lays at the feet of John Peel and Brian Johnson, Peel for fumbling a punt return and Johnson for throwing an interception. The defense played lights out for most of the game, keeping Utah State from moving the ball and at one point, they had less yards in the entire game than Brian Johnson had at the half. And while the Utah State offense isn't very good, I think the Utes have shown they have one of the best defenses in the country. Now let's just hope they can stop Air Force's option game, because this will definitely be the trickiest offense they face this year. 

Special Teams: F - Four fumbled punt returns, two recovered by the Aggies and it's a wonder Utah still managed to win by 48 points. This was the ugliest I've seen Utah's special teams in a very long time and it has to be fixed or it will cost Utah two or three games this season. Yes, Louie Sakoda is a fantastic kicker, but he can't carry the load here. If Utah's receivers can't handle a punt return, they're going to be in trouble against better teams and it could start Saturday when they face the Falcons. 

Coaches:

  • Andy Ludwig: B+ - I have no complaints for how he called the game. Utah's offense didn't get too cute and didn't get too conservative when they went up early on the Aggies. And that's all you can ask for, so with that, Ludwig was pretty solid. Now keep it up in week four! 
  • Gary Andersen: A - The defense played great and the play calling was not an issue. I really don't even need to grade Andersen, as it seems every week he's receiving an A. 
  • Kyle Whittingham: B+ This was a game you knew the Utes couldn't lose, but it was also a game that could have been closer than necessary. With how Utah seems to play down to their competition under Whittingham, it was nice to see that not happen this week. I've said it a few times since last year's UNLV game and I'll say it again, it seems Whittingham has done what he needs to in addressing letdown games, as Utah still hasn't had one since losing to the Rebels 27-0. Since that debacle, they're 11-1, which is a pretty remarkable string of victories. Now make that 12-1 Saturday. 
It was a good win, but Utah needs to get the special teams under control and I think they'll be ok. The Falcons scare me, however, Utah is good and I'm not going to deny that. This team has the potential to be one of the best in program history, but it will take a 12 game effort. So far they've played decent enough in their first three games, but they've yet to face a team like Air Force. Let's hope they're be ready for them.

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