It wasn't always pretty, and it was a bit of a slog for the Utes on Black Friday against Colorado at Rice-Eccles Stadium, but they got the job done for their 9th win of the season. Utah dominated the Buffs in the box score, even if the score is closer than the game would have seemed.
The Utes put up 444 yards while holding the Buffs to 148. Cam Rising passed for 179 yards while Tavion Thomas and TJ Pledger helped lead the Utes to 265 yards on the ground, as both went over 100 yards for the game. The Buffs only scored two field goals on offense while getting a touchdown on a kick return for a touchdown to open the second half. Utah got three touchdown passes from Rising, one to Kincaid, one to Kuithe, and one to Covey, while Thomas ran in the fourth.
The game started poorly for the Utes on offense, as Rising overthrew his receiver and got picked off, setting up CU's first field goal of the game. Utah would answer CU's field goal with one of their own after their ensuing drive stalled, but the kick was blocked, keeping the Utes off the scoreboard in the opening quarter. After CU would miss their own field goal, the Utes would score touchdowns on four of their next five possessions, and they all looked pretty easy. The only time Utah would get stopped on that empty possession was on a turnover on downs in CU territory. That happened another time in the game, turning over the ball on downs in scoring range, but Utah would not execute on 4th down to turn the ball over.
On defense, the Utes just dominated. CU would put together a couple of solid drives, but at no point were they a threat to counter the Utes. Utah sacked CU four times and held them to only nine first downs, with 64 yards rushing and 84 through the air. The Utes did miss some tackles that would have cut a couple of other drives short, but on the whole, they played well.
This game reminded me of an early-season game against the likes of a Weber State or something similar. It was a very much workman-like effort, could have been better, but got the win. There will be some good film to coach off going into next week's Pac-12 Championship Game in Vegas. Covey acknowledged in the post-game that this game was hard to prepare and stay focused for due to the game coming up next week. It was a bit of a trap game given the game last week against Oregon and its emotion and next week's title game.
Now the Utes wait for who they'll play in Vegas after finishing the season with an 8-1 conference record.
See y’all in Vegas.