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Does Utah Have a Quarterback Controversy?

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Kendal Thompson, playing in only his second game this season, engineered the game-winning drive, which was capped by Andy Phillips' 29-yard field goal.
Kendal Thompson, playing in only his second game this season, engineered the game-winning drive, which was capped by Andy Phillips' 29-yard field goal.
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday, Travis Wilson struggled for the second straight week against Pac-12 competition. Instead of going the distance, Wilson was replaced against UCLA by backup Kendal Thompson, who engineered a 30-28 victory. Since the game, 79% of Utah fans polled want Kendal Thompson to start against Oregon State next week.

We have included the stats of our two trigger men below. The good thing about both these quarterbacks is that they are careful with the football. It seems that Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham doesn’t really like to mess with something that "works." In the past he seems to have been reluctant to make changes at quarterback. We look back at Jordan Wynn and how maybe he hung on to him for too long. Then there was Terrance Cain, we wanted him in, we wanted him out. So I think we can certainly debate what has actually "worked."

TRAVIS WILSON:

Final
Sat, Oct 4


SPLITS


CMP


ATT


YDS


CMP%


YPA


LNG


TD


INT


SACK


RAT


This Game

2

5

5

40.0

1.00

3

0

0

0

48.4

Season

58

101

788

57.4

7.80

67

7

0

4

145.8

Away

16

25

177

64.0

7.08

67

1

0

1

136.7

VS AP

2

5

5

40.0

1.00

3

0

0

0

48.4

Conf

20

43

170

46.5

3.95

30

0

0

1

79.7

October

2

5

5

40.0

1.00

3

0

0

0

48.4

The stats are great. Some of them are even impressive. Some of them, okay one of them, is horrible. I am speaking specifically of the total yards for the season category, 788. Washington State’s Connor Halliday, threw for 734 yards in his last game, so, frankly, the Utah quarterbacks are not matching up well with the other Pac-12 quarterbacks.

KENDAL THOMPSON:

Final

Sat, Oct 4


SPLITS


CMP


ATT


YDS


CMP%


YPA


LNG


TD


INT


SACK


RAT


This Game

10

13

95

76.9

7.31

42

1

0

3

163.7

Season

24

39

284

61.5

7.28

45

2

1

7

134.5

Away

14

20

128

70.0

6.40

42

1

1

5

130.3

VS AP

10

13

95

76.9

7.31

42

1

0

3

163.7

Conf

10

15

95

66.7

6.33

42

1

0

3

141.9

October

10

13

95

76.9

7.31

42

1

0

3

163.7

Thompson has modest stats, but he has not played much. However, 10-13 for 95 yards and 1 touchdown with 0 interceptions is a number we can live with... for now (mostly because the result was a victory over a Top 10 team). Thompson is not known for throwing the deep ball, and yet he did. He is reported to turn it over quite a bit, but he didn’t. He is a veritable genius at extending the play.

Head-to-Head:

Here is what really matters. In the Washington State loss, Wilson was flat, nonchalant, and just plain old uninspiring to watch. The word is that he has the locker room. Well, that is great, but he failed to generate offense when we needed it most. He seemed a little uninterested in the game.

In the UCLA win, Thompson was exciting, sometimes too exciting, there was a little concern for ball security. He was elusive and unflappable. His passes were on target, and there were some easy catches that were dropped. When he could not find what he needed from his teammates, he got it on his own. He engineered what turned out to be the game-winning drive, doing it with his team coming from behind, and he did it all without turning the ball over.

Final Analysis:

This is just my analysis, so take it as that. Travis Wilson has had a lot of adversity with the death of Nick Pasquale, the internal head trauma he suffered, the fighting back from the Michigan face burn that we all grimaced at, and he has shown us a lot of grit and tenacity. Kendal Thompson has won a road game against a Top 10 Pac-12 opponent (which Travis has not done). So I don’t know if there is a controversy, but maybe there should be.