While it was not the most impressive performance, Utah did enough to get the 24-0 win over Southern Utah yesterday to open the 2016 season. We graded the performances for the offense, defense, and special teams in the win. We took into account this was a game against an FCS team and graded on a curve as a result.
Offense - C-
The offense showed some promise, especially Troy Williams (20-of-35 for 272 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions) and Tim Patrick (five catches for 105 yards and two touchdowns). Raelon Singleton also hauled in a 52 yard reception during the game as well. Troy McCormick also had a nice game, gaining 55 yards rushing on 12 carries with one touchdown and three receptions for 55 yards.
The offensive line struggled against Southern Utah’s front. They did not get much push in the running game and failed to open up holes. Troy Williams was under pressure for much of the game and was sacked twice. Joe Williams struggled for much of the game and lost one fumble. Overall, the offense only managed 24 points against an FCS opponent and had multiple promising drives stall. The offense was also in far too many third and long situations.
Defense - B+
Yes the defense pitched a shutout and gave up only 158 total yards, but it was against an FCS opponent. They gave up a few big plays (including a 33-yard run) and missed far too many tackles. The defense forced only two turnovers and recorded three sacks. All of the missed tackles was the most concerning part from the defense because that cannot happen against tougher opponents. The defense played pretty well overall, but with all of the talent on this defense, the expectations are higher for them than what they showed in this game.
Special Teams - A-
Mitch Wishnowsky set a school record averaging 55.5 yards per punt on six punts. He downed two punts inside the 20-yard line. It was a great start to his Utah career. Boobie Hobbs looked good returning punts. He had 55 yards on five returns, including a 33-yard return. Hayes Hicken looked good kicking off, and the coverage team did a nice job on both kickoff and punt returns. The only negative for the specials teams was Andy Phillips missing a 36-yard field goal. He went one-of-two making a 26-yard field goal.