It wasn't pretty at times, but compared to the last time the Utes played at Vegas, it was pretty good.
Of course, we shouldn't have to compare every game against UNLV in the future to that 2007 debacle. In reality, though, it still was hanging over Utah's head entering their game Saturday and I feel confident enough to say we've exorcised those demons.
Unfortunately, there are a whole host of other issues facing these Utes that need to be fixed or this season could be lost fast. Much of them were on full display against the Rebels and though the fact UNLV is bad masked many of those problems - playing against a better team won't.
Offense: C - A week after looking like they might have finally put it together, Utah's offense struggled against one of the worst defenses in the conference. It's not like they played badly, it's just they made way too many mistakes and that allowed the score to be less dominant than it should have been.
What really killed the Utes were turnovers. But talking about that makes me sound like a broken record. If you turn the ball over, you're going to struggle to score. It's not hard to grasp.
Beyond that, though, Utah had a helluva time making catches. You could have excused it against CSU because of the weather, but from what I could tell (and I'll admit, the quality of the mtn. wasn't great, so who the hell knows), it was pretty warm in Las Vegas.
Defense: B - The defense had some lapses, but overall played a pretty good game. The Rebels actually do have an offense and the Utes held them to their lowest output of the season, so it's hard to get on them too much for that. Of course, much of that had to do with Rebel miscues, but yards only matter when they amount to points. That wasn't the case Saturday.
Special Teams: B - No complaints. They didn't flinch on a fake field goal and generally pinned UNLV back well enough.
- Dave Schramm: B - The offense got a C, but Schramm gets a B because I didn't have much issue with his play calling. I don't think that was an issue Saturday. If the players don't execute, it doesn't matter what you run...it isn't going to work. That seemed to be the case throughout stretches of the game, specifically in the second half.
- Kalani Sitake: B - Can't say I had issues with the play calling here. UNLV did move the ball at times, but the Utes' defense did great at bending a lot and hardly ever breaking. The Rebles only managed one touchdown (in the second half) and any time you hold a team to 15-points, you're probably going to win.
- Kyle Whittingham: B-plus - The team was motivated to play, didn't get down early and cruised throughout. I would've given him an A if it weren't for the lackluster effort in the second half. I'm not quite sure if Utah's struggles were just them taking the foot off the gas or indicative of something more. My hope is that it's the former and I'm sure we'll find out this weekend against Air Force. Since the Falcons are not the type of team you can sleep on and expect to beat.