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Grading out the Utes throttling of Colorado

NCAA Football: Colorado at Utah Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Offense - B+

The Utah offense got off to a slow start at it wasn’t pretty to start the game, but thanks to Brant Kuithe they were able to settle in, and then run away from Colorado.

This Colorado defense is not a walk in the park and has looked very good the past couple of weeks leading up to this game and the Utes still managed to score 45 points on the Buffs. So, you may be asking why the grade ranks in the B’s and not the A’s.

Well, the score is a bit misleading in terms of how dominant this Utah offense was. A slow start is something you don’t want to see against the Oregon Ducks, a team that can score in a hurry, this Friday in Santa Clara. The Utes need to come out of the gates firing on all cylinders, especially because they need to win big on Friday to make one final case for a spot in the College Football Playoff. So no slow starts, no struggles in the run game with Zack Moss and no relying on Brant Kuithe to be the lone playmaker. That stuff works against a team like Colorado, but certainly not the Oregon Ducks.

Defense - A-

Well, the Utes defense gave up their first score at home since the month of September this weekend vs Colorado, but I suppose that streak was bound to be broken at some point. The Utes defense didn’t look as good as we have come to expect for the first quarter or so but finally turned it on in the second quarter, holding the Buffs scoreless in the second and third quarters.

The most impressive part of the Utah defense was Jaylon Johnson’s ability to hold Colorado star Leviska Shenault in check. The Colorado receiver had just four catches for 43 yards, with 24 of those coming in one play. Shenault is going to be playing on Sundays and for the Utes to render him ineffective for the vast majority of the game was an impressive feat.

In addition to that, the Utes held the Buffs to just 60 yards rushing and sacked QB Steven Montez five times. All in a days work the best defense in Utah history.

Special Teams - A-

“They are decent and will give you what you need, but don’t rely on them to make the difference in a game.”

That is what I said just one week ago about this Utah special teams group. Well, while the Utes didn’t necessarily rely on the special teams to win the game, they did make some plays that helped the Utes come out with the big win.

It was an up-and-down start to the game for the special teams with a muffed punt recovery followed up with a fumbled punt of their own along with an inability to stop a punt on the one-yard line. But that all changed on a Demari Simpkins punt return for six.

Simpkins’ 66-yard punt return for a touchdown was the crowning moment of the Utes’ Pac-12 South clinching victory and the play of the year for the Utah special teams unit.