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Grading Utah’s Win at Oregon State

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NCAA Football: Utah at Oregon State Cole Elsasser-USA TODAY Sports

Utah survived a strange game in Corvallis, winning 19-14 and becoming bowl eligible. The severe weather that was predicted never really materialized, yet Utah struggled to get any real momentum going throughout the course of the game. Despite the win, the game was somewhat disappointing, as Utah struggled to put away a poor Oregon State team. Still, a win is a win, and Utah will head to Pasadena next week with a 6-1 record.

Offense

Joe Williams returned from his brief retirement and provided one of the few bright spots for Utah’s offense, running for 179 yards and a touchdown on 34 carries. Cory Butler-Byrd also stepped in at running back and took several fly sweeps from a receiver position running for 54 yards on 10 carries.

The throw game was historically bad, with Williams completing only 4 passes all day for just 42 yards. The passing performance was Utah’s worst since joining the Pac-12. Williams also struggled, fumbling twice and the Utah offense squandered early redzone opportunites, leaving the door open for the Beavers to come back. It would be easy to blame the offense’s struggles on the bad weather, but it actually cleared up in the second half, which is when Utah struggled the most. Hopefully this performance was an aberration, as upcoming opponents will not be so forgiving. Joe Williams performance saved the offense.

Grade: D+

Defense

Utah’s defense played stellar for the majority of the game, stifling Oregon State’s offense through three quarters and forcing 2 turnovers. Chase Hansen had a big game with a sack, an interception and eight tackles. Oregon State had no passing game to speak of through the first three quarters, with only 1 passing yard to begin the fourth quarter.

Things got a little sloppy in the fourth quarter, as Oregon State was able to move the ball both on the ground and through the air. Brian Allen had an interception in the end zone wiped away by a pass interference call, extending a Oregon State drive. The Utah defense also allowed Beavers third string quarterback, Marcus McMaryion to lead a late touchdown drive to keep things close. Overall though, the defense played well, giving up only 14 points and holding Oregon State under 200 yards rushing and 100 yards passing.

Grade: B+

Special Teams

Prior to the game, there was some question how the windy conditions would effect the kicking game. The end result was no noticeable effect, as Andy Phillips knocked in a 25 yard field goal and Mitch Wishnowsky continued his excellent season, averaging 42.2 yards on five punts and pinning two inside Oregon State’s 20 yard line. Cory Butler-Byrd added a decent kick return of 27 yards in the return game.

Grade: A