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Cal Game Grades

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The Utes survived a thriller on Saturday night to become the only undefeated team left in the Pac-12. Let's take a look at how the team graded out.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Offense

The Good: The offense was not functioning as well as they have in recent weeks, however Devontae Booker put the offense on his back, rushing for 222 yards and two touchdowns. Booker's rushing total was the second highest of his career, only seven yards short of the 229 he rushed for at Oregon State last year. Travis Wilson was able to make enough plays to keep the Cal defense honest, and had a huge 54 yard touchdown bomb to Cory Butler-Byrd. It was also good to see Kenneth Scott remain active, pulling in four catches for 34 yards and moving the chains.

The Bad: The ghost of Travis Wilson past reared his head last night. Wilson struggled with consistency in the biggest game of the year up to this point, throwing two interceptions. Wilson appeared nervous at times and not as poised and confident as he has in earlier games this year. Booker had a fumble late in the third quarter, which Cal turned into points, closing the gap to three points heading into the 4th quarter. Aside from Booker, the Utes struggled to get the ball to their playmakers as Britain Covey failed to record a reception for the first time in his career. In the end though, the offense scored more than Cal which is the only stat that matters.

Grade: B-

Defense

The Good: The defense held one of the most prolific passing offenses to 24 points and may have very well ended Jared Goff's Heisman hopes. The defense intercepted Goff five times, the most of his career in a single game. They held him to 340 yards passing, which is his second lowest pass yard total this season. They limited the big play, allowing 7.2 yards per throw, the lowest average for Goff this season. Goff's 53.2% completion rate was also his lowest this season. On the ground, Cal didn't find much success either, with five different players combining for 127 yards. Gionni Paul forced a fumble on Daniel Lasco's only carry of the game in the first quarter which led to Utah's first points. Cal's best receiver, Kenny Lawler, was held to only three receptions for 27 yards and no touchdowns. Most importantly, the Utah defense stopped the Cal offense three consecutive times in the fourth quarter with just a six point lead, preserving the win for Utah.

The Bad: Considering the opponent, no complaints about the defense. They held Cal to their lowest point total of the season and bailed out the offense all night with turnovers.

Grade: A+

Special Teams

The Good: Andy Phillips hit on three field goals of 44, 39 and 36 yards, including two in the second half which ended up being the difference in the game. Tom Hackett punted four times for 203 yards and 50.75 average. Two of his punts were downed inside the ten yard line and none of them were returned. Hackett's final two punts were crucial, causing the Cal offense to go all the way down the field for the winning drive, which they were not able to accomplish.

The Bad: Other than Phillips missed 48 yard field goal attempt in the second quarter, the special teams was again excellent for Utah.

Grade: A

Coaching

The Good: There did not appear to be much of a hangover from the Oregon win, which has been a past problem for some Utah teams. Having Gameday on campus also could have proved to be a giant distraction for the players, but the team seemed to handle the spotlight relatively well. Overall the players looked prepared and ready to play in last night's game.

The Bad: The lack of offense in the second half was concerning, considering Utah was clinging to only a six point lead through much of the fourth quarter. The play calling turned conservative once the Utes had a ten point lead in the third quarter, which led to offense punting three times int eh second half, and would have been four if not for Booker's fumble. Running time off the clock in the second half can be a good strategy, but against a quick scoring team like Cal, it would have been nice to see the Utah coaches not be so conservative to end the game.

Grade: B