It wasn’t the prettiest start for the Utes, at least on offense, but they eventually got things rolling and closed out the non-conference schedule 3-0. A game like this makes for a good clean up game for the Utes, and while it wasn’t the cleanest game for the Utes, it was a drastic improvement over what we’ve seen thus far this season. Let’s grade them out.
After 500 yards of offense and 54 points, you can’t be overly picky, but there was plenty of room for improvement. First, in the first quarter the Utes had multiple opportunities to bury the Spartans, but couldn’t quite do it, fizzling out in the red zone again. They left likely two TDs on the field in the first, and that’s something they need to continue to improve. To their credit, after that opening quarter, things got a lot better. Another draw back was the three turnovers. Huntley will learn, but he’s got to be a little more careful with the ball. His fumble was bad, leading straight to points for SJSU, and his pick was just him wanting to feed Carrington, he got greedy. Both of which are learning experiences for the youngster, but something he can’t have going forward. The penalties were basically cut in half for Utah, so that’s a massive improvement, and the receivers were more disciplined in their blocking. I do think the o-line needs to continue to clean up their blocking, both in pass pro and run blocking. This offense will go as far as the big guys take them.
Not a lot to be too picky on with these guys, after all, they forced five turnovers, plus a few more fumbles they didn’t fall on, and five sacks. The defense was flying all over the field and were playing loose and free. It was encouraging too without Fitts for three-quarters of the game, and Chase Hansen not playing due to an injury. Where I do ding the Utes a bit is with the young secondary. SJSU caught the DBs peaking and losing contact with their guys, losing contact for some deep balls. This is something that needs to be tightened up going forward, or else some long balls will be connected on over Utah’s defense.
Special Teams: A
I mean, come on. Matt Gay, Mitch Wishnowsky and Boobie Hobbs were all great against SJSU. I’m not going to blame them for the botched onside, because it looks like the play was there, but Mitch miss hit the ball. I mean, his improvisation skills on that punt make up for that and some. Gay’s two 50+ yard field goals (56, 51) were great, and inspire a lot of confidence in Utah’s new kicker going forward. Hobbs has also been a lot smarter with the ball this season, not being as careless with fielding the punts.
That’s what I’ve got, how would you grade out the units?