The Utes suffered a gut wrenching 30-28 loss on Saturday afternoon. With the loss, Utah is officially eliminated for Pac-12 south contention. Here’s how Utah’s performance graded out.
From a strictly numbers standpoint, it wasn’t a terrible performance. Joe Williams ran for over 100 yards for the 5th straight game. Troy Williams completed 66.7% of his passes for 285 yards and a touchdown and Utah put together 453 yards of total offense, more than their average of 433.7 yards per game.
It was overall a disappointing effort however. Utah failed to capitalize on a few scoring opportunities, Troy Williams fumbled in the red zone and Utah failed to convert on a 4th and 1 attempt. There was some questionable play calling and Utah failed to take control of the game with too many three and outs and stalled drives in the second half. When Utah had a chance to put Oregon away, the offense couldn’t score points against one of the worst defenses in college football.
Usually the strong point of the Utah program, the defense struggled on senior day, giving up 575 yards of offense. Oregon’s freshman quarterback, Justin Herbert, was passed for 324 yards and 3 touchdowns with no interceptions. Duck running back Royce Freeman averaged 6.4 yards per carry and broke several tackles en route to 128 yards rushing. Still, Utah was able to hold the Ducks to just 3 points in the first half.
The second half was the big letdown, as the Utah defense gave up several big plays, allowing Oregon to drive the length of the field to take a late 24-21 lead. After Utah had come back to retake the lead, the defense allowed Oregon to again drive 75 yards, culminating in the game winning touchdown with only 2 seconds left. It was a very poor performance for Utah’s linebackers with far too many missed tackles and blown assignments.
Special teams was the best unit on the field for Utah on Saturday. Andy Phillips was 4 for 4 on extra points and Mitch Wishnowsky flipped the field several times, landing 4 of his 6 punts inside Oregon’s 20 yard line. The only real blemish was a 45 yard punt return allowed to Oregon, which set up the Ducks first touchdown of the second half.
Overall it was a very disappointing performance considering what was on the line. All three of Utah’s losses have come in disappointing fashion in the 4th quarter, but this one is the hardest to swallow considering how poorly Oregon has played recently and it being senior day.