It was pretty status quo for the Holy War last night, as the Utes came away with a 20-19 win over BYU. Winning the sixth consecutive game in the series was sweet, but it wasn’t always pretty, especially on offense. Here’s how I grade out the performance.
I may be being a bit lenient here, and the reason is because Utah was moving the ball. Utah was Utah’s own worst enemy last night on offense, and they took points off the board multiple times with bad turnovers. I mean, to have about 400 yards total offense, with five offensive turnovers shows something was working, but things would end up going haywire. Troy Williams had two boneheaded picks, but overall on the night, I liked what I saw from him. He kept the chains moving, hit some bit plays over the top, and made Harvy Langi look like a fool on an option play. The offensive line stepped it up and played well, and the running game was pretty solid - not withstanding the fumble by Joe Williams. Troy McCormick was a pain in BYU’s side all night long, and we saw Zack Moss in his debut go for 60 yards. There were a couple drops by the wide outs, but overall, I thought they played well. It was just those damn turnovers, most of which were pretty basic, where a ball would pop out while carrying it. I attribute many of those as “rivalry” turnovers, meaning the player was either looking ahead before they secured the ball, or were too amped up to really hold onto it. Overall, I like where this offense is going. If they punch that last gorgeous drive (which was majorly redeeming for the running game) in for a touchdown, that would have been a thing of beauty.
There were some missed reads that allowed Taysom Hill to get a couple of scores, but the D was really good most of the night. Coming away with three interceptions, one for a score is a good night. Utah’s defensive line dominated most of the game, and Utah’s corners did a really good job jamming the BYU wide receivers making it hard for Hill to hit any of his guys down the field. If Utah finds away to stop that last drive, which they did with the 2 point conversion, it’d be an A performance, but allowing that TD bumped them down.
Special Teams: B
Mitch Wishnowsky is a weapon, just like Tom Hackett before him. We didn’t see a ton of Mitch, but he did a great job flipping the field. Andy Phillips was also nails on the night, going 2-of-2 on his FGs. Where Utah gets dinged is Boobie Hobbs muffed punt, which I’ve been terrified of all season, and Burgess put one on the ground after a kick off, which he fell on.
I thought the coaching was solid, they just need to get the players to stop putting the ball on the ground. Morgan Scalley was aggresive all night long, not allowing Taysom Hill to get comfortable, and slowed down Jamaal Williams. And his blitz on the two point conversion just blew up BYU’s hopes and dreams.
Aaron Roderick and Jim Harding had a good plan, but they need to figure something out with Joe Williams. He’s a talent, but right now he may be the third best back on the team. Similar with Garrett Bowles. They have to find a way to settle him down, because the penalties he had were painful. The decision to kick the field goal is one I agreed with big time. Yes, Utah was moving the ball at will on BYU, but a bad snap, or a missed assignment could have taken 3 points off the board, which ultimately was the difference in the game.
Again, I know I was probably too kind to the offense, but I see an offense with some ability, and they are only going to continue getting better, and I’m excited by that.
How would you grade the team?