Mistakes. There’s no other way to put it other than Utah was full of mistakes on Friday night against USC. Whether it was over 100 yards in penalties, an offensive line that couldn’t get it together, DBs that didn’t play the ball properly in the air, or some mishandled plays in the red zone. Fortunately for the Utes, it’s only one loss and USC is going to lose a couple of conference games this year.
What the Utes need to focus on first and foremost is that offensive line. Tyler Huntley carried the offense on his shoulders Friday, and was doing it while being chased all over the field. He was a one man wrecking crew for the offense for stretches, and really played well overall. He did give up a safety, which proved to be huge, but the offensive line let him down there. That needs to be the emphasis between now and WSU next week, and then in the bye week for sure. The Utes will be without Zack Moss for a bit with a shoulder injury, it appears, the question is how long. Fortunately, it appears the group of running backs as a collective should be able to pick up a lot of his slack, but they need him back quick.
The biggest story line, outside of the flag fest, in this game was being inside of the 5 yard line twice, and coming away with 3 points. At the end of the first half, Utah fumbled an exchange between Huntley and Brumfield from the two yard line, and USC recovered. Then in the second half Utah had to settle for a field goal inside the five. Utah should have been playing with a lead for a while, but squandered the opportunities. Also, let us not forget the blocked field goal early in the game. The offense was moving the ball pretty well, overall, on the night, but too many errors kept them from putting points up on the board.
As for the defense, they kept USC below 400 yards total offense, it was just those three big plays that killed them. The DBs needed to make some plays on the some of those balls in the air, but just didn’t. Not being able to get USC off the field at the end of the game also was a bad look.
Overall, not a killer of a loss. Yes, it hurts and puts pressure on Utah, but this is a marathon and not a sprint. They have to regroup quick and get ready for WSU next week, but if this offensive line doesn’t figure it out, it won’t matter.