The Utes are back in the AP 25 following a home win over the Oregon Ducks. With a win on Saturday afternoon the Utes are still alive in the Pac-12 South race and are in desperate need of an Arizona State loss and a win over Colorado. But while it’s hard not to look forward at what lies ahead for the Utes, let’s take a look back at some of the key contributors for Utah on Saturday.
Offense - Co-Game Balls, Jason Shelley and Armand Shyne
I’ll be honest with you, I wasn’t confident about the Ute’s chances Saturday without Tyler Huntley and Zack Moss. I figured backup Jason Shelley could do enough to keep the Utes in the game, but the loss of Moss was hard to get over. But luckily for Ute fans everywhere I was proven wrong by both Jason Shelley and Armand Shyne. Shyne was fantastic rushing the ball right out the gate, getting the Utes downfield in a matter of seconds on a 42 yard run of Utah’s first drive of the game. Shyne ended the game with 174 yards rushing on 26 attempts, good for a 6.7 yards per carry average. Shelley was also solid, with 262 passing yards on 18/31 passing. Additionally, Shelley rushed for two scores. What was most impressive however, was both Shelley and Shyne’s composure. Neither was faced by the daunting task at hand and both players were calm and composed, taking care of the ball and not committing any turnovers. And when the game was on the line, it was a Shelley score that put the Utes ahead and multiple runs by Shyne that helped to put the game away, with three runs for first downs on the Ute’s final drive.
Defense - Chase Hansen
Chase Hansen, what can I say more. It’s not very often that a team gets a player as dynamic and electrifying, someone who can play what seems like every position of the field. But that is exactly what the Utes got when Chase Hansen committed to the Utes. Hansen finished with 8 solo tackles, 13 total tackles, 1 sack and 3.5 tackles for a loss. Hansen is the heart of this Utah defense and I’m certain that after the Utah defense’s performance last week, Hansen took it upon himself to make a difference, and that’s exactly what he did. It’s not easy to contain the Oregon offense, but Hansen was key to at least slowing them down. Whether it was pressuring Ducks QB Justin Herbert or dropping back in coverage to guard Oregon’s running back duo of CJ Verdell and Travis Dye, Hansen was effective in whatever role he needed to play. Utah has one of the top defenses in the nation, and there’s no question that Hansen has played a huge role in that.
Special Teams - Matt Gay
Matt Gay is fantastic. But we all knew that already, right? I figured that Gay would be relied on more so in the final three games than he was for the first 9, but I had no idea how big of an impact the nation’s top kicker would have against the Ducks. Gay set a career mark with six field goals on six attempts. But the six made kicks weren’t only a personal high for the senior, but they were a school high. Gay’s six field goals set a program record for field goals in a game. While I would certainly rather have seven points on the board rather than three, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a player come into the game that’s capable of booting a 55 yard field goal. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, I’m so glad we have Matt Gay on our side.