Talk about the tale of two halves, huh? Or better yet, a terrible, no good, awful third quarter. The Utes raced out to a 20-3 lead over Northwestern at halftime, but there was some ominous signs with how many mistakes the Utes were making. There were dropped passes, a fumble by Jaylon Dixon, and points left on the field. With that said, Utah was running up and down the field on NU, and the defense was dominating.
Then came the third quarter. Utah’s redshirt freshman quarterback made a mistake to open the half by throwing a forced interception, and then the flood gates opened for Utah. After that pick, which NU scored on, there was a fumble in the red zone by Shelley, which turned into a scoop and score, a fumble by Dixon on a big pass play down the field and a tipped interception. Four of the five turnovers by Utah was in the third quarter, and the snow ball was just rolling. Yes, NU capitalized on those mistakes, but the Utes gifted them 28 points, and the defense had a hard time countering what the offense was doing. The funny thing, is the offense still had open field and a ton of chances to strike, but more drops and mistakes doomed them. Not to mention, the run game just couldn’t get on track. Shyne, Green and Brumfield were largely in effective in the game. The offensive line just couldn’t get a hat-on-a-hat to open up blocking lanes.
This is a game that I hope sticks with this young team through the off season and fuels them into the next season. There was a ton of youth based mistakes in this game, many of which were from freshmen or sophomores.
The Utes finish the season 9-5, and will no build toward what should hopefully be a big 2019. First, they need to fill two spots on the staff, which we should know more about in the coming weeks.