Offense - A
I can’t remember the last time I felt as confident in a Utah offense as I am with this season’s team. Every time they get the ball I expect them to march downfield and punch it in. I guess I’ve come to expect that Utah will be able to punch it in with Zack Moss, but what is different about this team is their chunk play capability.
Utah had five scoring plays of 25 or more yards, three of which were 60+ yards. That is something that we are not used to with this Utah team. Typically in years past it has been ground and pound and then eventually punch it in with Moss, but this year it seems as if everyone on this offense is a threat to score at any time.
Just how good was this Utah offense across the board? According to ESPN 700’s Bill Riley, this was the first time since the 2005 Emerald Bowl that Utah had a 100-yard rusher, 100-yard receiver and a 300-yard passer in the same game.
Defense - A
The Utah defense, not to be outshined by the Utah offense, had to remind everyone just how dominant they are on Saturday night.
You want more stats to show just how dominant this Utah defense was? Well I’ve got the numbers for you.
This was the fourth game this season in which the Utah defense did not give up a touchdown, despite the UCLA Bruins reaching the Red Zone three times in the first half. Utah only had four games not allowing a touchdown total from 2011-2018. The Utes’ five forced turnovers are the most of any game this season and UCLA’s 50 rushing yards (despite the Bruins averaging more than 150 rushing yards per game) is the ninth time this year that Utah has held opponents to less than 100 rushing yards. And finally, Tafua’s fumble return for a score was the fifth defensive touchdown this season, the second-most in the country.
This is the best Utah defense we have ever seen.
Special Teams - B
The special teams didn’t do anything that stood out, especially when they are being compared to the Utah offense and Utah defense. But you does stand out when being compared to those two units?
Overall, the special teams unit had a solid outing. There weren’t any explosive kick returns or a blocked punt. There weren’t any crazy punts that pinned the Bruins at the one-yard line. But they did everything that they were called upon to do. Jadon Redding made all seven of his extra points. Ben Lennon was only asked to punt once, but it was a decent 46-yard punt from his own endzone. And Andrew Strauch, a UCLA transfer, kicked six touchbacks on eight of his kick-offs eliminating the possibility of a big, momentum-shifting return by UCLA.
This season’s special teams group isn’t going to do anything overly impressive, but they are going to go out and do their job each game, and with the way the Utah offense and defense are playing, that’s all you can ask for.