Another bowl game, another win for the Utah football program. The latest post season win for the Utes came in the Cotton Bowl Stadium in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, in a rainy, cold December early afternoon. It wasn’t the pretties game, but to get the bowl practices and the win are a major bonus for the program going into next season.
Let’s grade out what we saw from the team in the season finale.
The offense was really strange to me, because Tyler Huntley’s numbers weren’t very good (12-16 for 165 yards), but his o-line didn’t give the best pass pro much of the game, and his receivers were dropping some balls which would have resulted in some big gains. I’m being a bit generous with the grade, probably, but I think Tyler played better than I thought when I watch the game the first time. Zack Moss was the man, again, however by going for 150 yards on 20 carries, including 58 for a score on the opening drive. He and Huntley need to get on a better page on the read-option, but the Utes have a stud in the backfield. The wide outs were solid, outside of some of the drops, and I would have liked to see Carrington get more opportunities, but the weather probably made things a bit more conservative.
Being down three starters in the secondary, and having a couple of others beat up the defense executed a great game plan. WVU was down their starting QB, RB and some linemen, so the plan was to not allow WVU to run the ball and put pressure on a new QB. WVU averaged 1.4 yards per carry, and got 29 yards on the ground. Holding WVU to 9 of 28 for 128 through the air was great too. Utah was going up against a wounded animal and attacked all game long. Forcing 4 turnovers and picking up a pair of sacks gave the Utes the havoc plays they’re also looking for, and some major momentum swinging plays. It was great to see Lowell Lotulelei go crazy in this game, which was probably his best of the season.
Special teams: B-
Matt Gay was awesome, of course, going 3-3 on his field goals. Boobie was good in his punt returns too, outside of one, but the Utes weren’t good on kick return coverage and punt. Too often WVU got good starting field position based on a good kick return. Also, Mitch wasn’t sharp in the game, and I think the long snapping was a bit slow to get to him, which helped cause him from getting a punt off altogether giving WVU the ball at the Utah 10. Plenty to work on in the off season for the former Ray Guy winner and the rest of the crew. I have no doubt this group will be fine moving forward.
How would you grade ‘em out?