Offense - B
The Utah offense is in a zone that not even a barrage of penalties could put a stop to. Tyler Huntley, other than an interception in the end zone, continued to look near flawless leading this Utah offense. Zack Moss ran for a season-high 203 yards and broke more Utah records while he was doing it. Eight Utah players caught a pass, including four with three or more catches. And to top it off, Brant Kuithe ran for two touchdowns. That’s right, two rushing touchdowns for a tight end.
Two things that drop the grade for the Ute offense. The first, if you were to look at these stats for the Utah offense - 517 yards, 6-11 on third down, nearly 300 rushing yards and 40 minutes of possession time - you probably would expect 50+ points. Not saying that they weren’t dominant with the 35 points they scored, but they certainly left points on the board.
The second reason, and probably the reason they left some points on the board, is because of penalties. The Utes had 11 penalties for 110 yards, most of which came on the offense including multiple holding penalties. You can get away with that against Arizona but certainly not in a potential match-up against Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship. Let’s hope that was a one-time occurrence.
Defense - A
I’ll say it again, this is the best Utah defense we have ever seen.
Utah’s defense held an opponent to seven points or fewer for the fifth time in six games while Arizona managed just 196 total yards, while most of those, along with Arizona’s only points, came when the backups were playing at the end of the game. Additionally, the Utes held Arizona to just 61 rushing yards and 2-11 on third down.
I really don’t know what else to say about the Utah defense. Everything really has already been said. This is the best Utah defense all time? Said it. This is one of, if not the best defensive line in all of college football? Old news. There’s seven or eight legit NFL prospects on this defense? Been talked about multiple times. But I guess that just goes to show how great and how consistent this defense has been for an entire season.
Special Teams - B
It’s been a less than ideal season for the Utah special teams. With the offense and defense looking like some of the best units we have seen at the U, the special teams has been one of the most ‘meh’ special teams groups in recent memory.
The Utes at least showed the potential for a big play on a 40-yard punt return by Demari Simpkins, the first chuck yardage play by the kick return game this season it seems. Similarly to the defense, I don’t know what else can be said about the special teams. They are decent and will give you what you need, but don’t rely on them to make the difference in a game.