It was a heavyweight fight, but one heavyweight threw a few haymakers and knocked the other out fast. The No. 23 ranked Utes took the No. 3 ranked Oregon Ducks behind the woodshed on Saturday night in front of 52,000+ fans at Rice-Eccles Stadium to clinch the Pac-12 South Championship with a 38-7 win. It was one of the most dominating wins we’ve seen in a long time, especially against a high-level opponent like Oregon.
Utah scored on their second possession of the game, scoring on six of their nine total possessions. One of the possessions they didn’t score on was the kneel at the end of the game. The Utes put up 386 total yards of offense and held Oregon to 294. Most impressively, the Utes put up 208 rushing yards while holding Oregon to 63. The lines were on fire tonight on both sides of the ball.
Utah bludgeoned Oregon on offense the entire first half, and after going up 21-0 in the second quarter, it looked like the Utes would go into the half with that score. Still, after Oregon attempted a few passes, Coach Whitt took a timeout to set up a punt return. In the post-game, Coach Whitt said the return was the secondary plan on the punt because they brought the block. Well, Covey took the secondary option back for a touchdown with a 78-yard punt return to break the Ducks back and take a 28-0 lead with zeros on the clock going into the locker room.
Credit Oregon did come out of the locker room and show some fight on their opening drive, scoring a touchdown to pull within 28-7, but the Utes didn’t care. On the ensuing drive, the Utes had a five minutes drive of their own, just punishing Oregon and getting that touchdown back. Utah tacked on a field goal in the fourth to give us the final score.
The Utes were led by Cam Rising and his 178 yards on 10 of 18 passing, plus one rushing touchdown. Tavion Thomas continued his assault on the end zone with three more touchdowns and 94 yards. TJ Pledger pitched in 46 yards on the ground as well. Brant Kuithe had 118 yards receiving and just torched the Ducks all night long.
The Utes now take on Colorado next week to wrap up the regular season, and they wait to see who wins the Pac-12 North for their Pac-12 Championship Game matchup.
The way it looks like right now, here’s the scenarios for the Pac-12 North:
Oregon if: they win next week against Oregon State
Oregon State if: they win next week against Oregon and Wazzu losses to UW
Wazzu if: they win against UW and Oregon loses to Oregon State
But before we get there, the Utes need to take care of business against an improving Colorado team on Senior Day at Rice-Eccles on Black Friday.