I want to give the Utes a higher grade than a B, but that 1st quarter was not pretty. It’s hard to fault a team when the pick up almost 600 yards of offense and 41 points, especially when they call off the dogs in the 4th quarter. In that 1st quarter, however, the struggles of the offensive line to get push and supply a consistent pocket for Tyler Huntley really stick out to me. Huntley’s first pick was directly attributed to the line getting pushed back into his lap. Also, the wide receivers dropped way too many balls in this game, which robbed the Utes of a lot more yards and points. They need to get that cleaned up moving forward, and if they do this offense has a ton of potential.
I mean, they gave up 50 yards for the game… FOR THE GAME. Usually a team on any level can put together a few drives against a superior opponent and pick up a couple hundred of yards. Whether it is a broken coverage, a trick play, a missed tackle, whatever, teams just don’t get held to that many yards. The 10 points that Weber did score was off of short fields, especially the TD, which came on the two yard line after an INT. No wide receiver had a catch on the Utes, and there were hard hits all over the field. For an opener, it was a very clean defensive effort.
Special teams: B-
The usual suspects looked good, especially Mitch Wishnowsky, Matt Gay and Britain Covey. Mitch picked up an impressive 1st down on a fake punt where he pulled it down and took off. Where I ding this unit is on a blocked field goal, the first one in years, and on a muffed punt when one of the blockers for Covey bumped into him and caused the turnover. It was interesting to see the Utes use the new kickoff rule, where they fair catch a kick off to get the ball at the 25. This group will get cleaned up, I have no doubt, but it was surprising to see some of the errors we did see against Weber.
I don’t think there’s a lot to say here. The coaching staff was very vanilla in the opener, and the team dominated. We saw a lot of receivers cycle through the lineup, which was nice to see depth there. The offensive clean up was obvious, especially going into the 2nd half, and the defensive game plan was simple, but extremely effective. All-in-all, for the opener, I feel like this was the cleanest we’ve seen the Utes in game one in a while. Coaching didn’t have to be at a high to beat Weber, but it was a good effort, and the team seemed fired up to be back on the field.
How would you grade out the team?