Utah entered Saturday's game with their eyes clearly set on Oregon State. Rightfully or not, they did overlook the Wildcats just a bit, which explains the pedestrian attitude the Utes had throughout.
There were two objectives Utah had heading into their game, win and get out healthy. They did both. Yes, there were no style points, but it was a win nonetheless and that's all that really matters. Now Utah can completely look to Oregon State, which is shaping up to be the biggest game of the season to date.
The weird part about the Weber State game was that the defense performed rather average. Now the Utes haven't really played any great offenses this season, but I've got to think Saturday's struggles were nothing more than an anomaly. I mean, the Utes are supposed to have one of the best secondaries in the nation, yet they allowed Weber quarterback Cameron Higgins to pass for 303 yards. To be fair, the Utes did throw in their 2nd and 3rd string defense for the fourth quarter, which explains why the Wildcats managed 14 points there. But it was not a great performance on defense.
Offensively, though, I have no complaints. Brian Johnson did throw a pass too late, allowing a Weber defender to knock it, sending it flopping through the air before it was picked off near the end zone. That drive should have resulted in seven for Utah, which would have made the score look more like what you'd expect against an FCS opponent. Unfortunately, the turnover cost them the points and a bigger win. But outside of that, Johnson was 18 of 22 for 194 yards and avoided pressure fairly well, which is what I think many of us were looking for heading into this game. It wasn't a great performance by Johnson or the offense, but they didn't make any major mistakes and probably got the tune up they needed before Thursday's big game.
The ho-hum performance trickled down to the running game as well, as Asiata and Mack only combined for 95 yards on the ground, a far different performance than they had a week before against Air Force. But what do you expect, especially since Utah was going up against Ron McBride and I really doubt Whittingham wanted to run the score up on him.
McBride, on the other hand, didn't mind sticking it to Utah. I know there are some out there who felt this move lacked tact, since the Utes were far more generous than they could have been. I do believe McBride was flattered by the pre-game honors, but he loved Utah and they fired him, so I'm sure his players wanted to get back at the school any way they could. Now that Weber has moved on and the game is over, I don't think you'll find a bigger fan out there than McBride. But who knows.
Ultimately, Utah did what they needed to do and while it wasn't a pretty victory, they're 5-0 and ranked in the top-15. I think most of us felt that would be the best case scenario at this stage in the season and we're at it. So let's hope that trend continues Thursday and Utah finishes the first half of the season 6-0 and possibly closing in on the top-10.