CFN Take: Utah Hangs On To Beat Buffs
2013 Utah Utes ...
Head Coach: Kyle Whittingham
at Utah 24, Colorado 17
| 2013 Record: 5-7|
8/31 Utah State W 30-26
9/7 Weber State W 70-7
9/14 Oregon State L 51-48
9/21 at BYU W 20-13
9/28 OPEN DATE
10/3 UCLA L 34-27
10/12 Stanford W 27-21
10/19 at Arizona L 35-24
10/26 at USC L 19-3
11/2 OPEN DATE
11/9 Arizona State L 20-19
11/16 at Oregon L 44-21
11/23 at Washington St L 49-37
11/30 Colorado W 24-17
Basically … Utah jumped out to a 21-0 first half lead on two short touchdown runs from Kelvin Yokr and a 16-yard Jake Murphy touchdown catch. Colorado battled back with Scott Fernandez catching a 34-yard touchdown pass and Nelson Spruce scoring from 14 yards out, but the Utes held on. Both teams turned it over three times with Utah’s Trevor Reilly coming up with a key pick.
- Utah RB Kelvin York ran 31 times for 132 yards and two scores.
- Colorado converted 2-of-14 third down chances and ran 25 times for 48 yards.
- Colorado QB Sefo Liufau completed 23-of-46 passes for 241 yards and two scores with a pick.
- Utah QB Adam Schulz completed 19-of-33 passes for 233 yards and a score with a pick.
at Washington State 49, at Utah 37
Basically … It got close, but Washington State always had an answer after getting up 21-0 on a five-yard Dom Williams touchdown catch and interception returns for scores from Damante Horton and Casey Locker. Kelvin York brought the Utes back with two scores, but Wazzu kept on bombing and settling for field goals to stay ahead with Andrew Furney scoring from 27, 52 and 28 yards away. Utah wouldn’t go away, with Jake Murphy scoring on a 64-yard pass play to pull the Utes within seen in the fourth, but the Cougars put it away on a 71-yard Dom Williams touchdown catch.
- Washington State QB Connor Halliday completed 39-of-62 passes for 488 yards and four scores.
- Utah QB Adam Schulz completed 21-of-46 passes for 347 yards and three scores with two picks, and he ran once for 36 yards.
- Utah WR Dres Anderson caught five passes for 129 yards and a score, and Jake Murphy caught five passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns.
- Washington State outgained the Utes 578 yards to 481.
at Oregon 44, Utah 21
Basically … De’Anthony Thomas caught an eight-yard touchdown pass and returned a kickoff 86 yards for a score, but Oregon didn’t take charge until the second half. Utah pulled within three on a 34-yard Jake Murphy touchdown catch and a four-yard run from QB Adam Schulz, but Thomas changed everything around with his return as part of a Duck run of 27 straight points. Byron Marshal scored on runs from 17 and 16 yards out.
- Oregon QB Marcus Mariota completed 19-of-26 passes for 288 yards and three scores, but he finished with -18 rushing yards.
- Utah QB Adam Schulz completed 13-of-30 passes for 181 yards and a touchdown with a pick
- Utah converted nine of 18 third down chances, Oregon converted two of ten.
- The Ducks gained 433 yards and committed ten penalties for 80 yards.
Arizona State 20, at Utah 19
Basically … ASU defensive tackle Will Sutton picked off a pass on Utah’s final drive to preserve the win. Taylor Kelly started out the scoring with a ten-yard touchdown run, and he close it out in the fourth with a two-yard touchdown run and a 14-yard scoring pass to Richard Smith to help Arizona State in the comeback. Utah scored 19 straight points with Andy Phillips field goals from 51 and 43 yards out and two Travis Wilson touchdown passes, but the offense failed to score in the fourth quarter.
- The two teams combined to make ten sacks. Utah came up with six and Arizona State four. No one had two but Utah’s Trevor Kelly and Jacoby Hale each cranked out 1.5, as did ASU’s Davon Coleman.
- Utah QB Travis Wilson completed just 6-of-21 passes for 121 yards and two scores with two picks, but he led the team with 44 rushing yards on 17 carries.
- ASU QB Taylor Kelly completed 19-of-31 passes for 144 yards and a score, and he ran for two touchdowns. Marion Grice failed to score, but he ran for 136 yards on 20 carries.
- Utah’s Dres Anderson caught four passes for 100 yards and a score, and Sean Fitzgerald caught two passes for 21 yards and a touchdown. They were the only Utes to catch a pass.
at USC 19, Utah 3
Basically … Andre Heidari hit three field goals in the second quarter and one in the third, and Nelson Agholor caught a 30-yard touchdown pass as USC scored 19 unanswered points after Utah got on the board early in the first on a 42-yard Andy Phillips field goal. The Utes turned it over four times and managed just 201 yards of total offense.
- Travis Wilson’s injured finger obviously was a big deal. The Utah passer only completed 5-of-14 throws for 51 yards with two picks, and while he led the team with 42 rushing yards, it wasn’t nearly enough. Backup Adam Schulz was a sitting duck, getting sacked several times and completing 7-of-17 throws for 79 yards with a pick. The four turnovers by the Utes were disastrous.
- The win over Stanford now seems like eons ago after the losses to Arizona and USC on the road. With Arizona State and Oregon up next, and with no offensive pop, this could get really, really rocky. The Utes might have to beat both Washington State and Colorado to go bowling.
at Arizona 35, Utah 24
Basically … Ka’Deem Carey ran a school-record 40 times for 236 yards with a 44-yard touchdown run to help Arizona pull away in the final minutes. B.J. Denker ran for two first half touchdowns, and Marquis Flowers returned an interception 14 yards for a score on the way to a 20-7 Wildcat lead, but Utah came back with backup quarterback Adam Schulz hitting Sean Fitzgerald on a 55-yard touchdown pass and a one-yard Kelvin York run for a 21-20 lead going into the fourth, but Denker and Carey took over in the fourth.
- Ka’Deem Carey was rolling, so the Arizona offense kept feeding him. The 40 carries didn’t exactly wear down the Utah defense, but he got free enough to come up with a few nice runs on the way to his huge day. It wasn’t all the ground game, which came up with 300 yards, with B.J. Denker adding 51 yards and throwing for 168 yards and a score. It was enough to keep the Utes off balance.
- Utah stayed alive despite losing quarterback Travis Wilson to a hand injury. He struggled before getting hurt, completing just 3-of-9 passes for 15 yards with a touchdown and two picks. Adam Schulz did his part completing 12-of-23 passes for 142 yards and a touchdown, but Carey and the Arizona offense were too much to overcome late.
- Utah was in this. Carey might have put the game out of reach, but there were chances to pull off the win. It might not seem like much, especially after screwing up Stanford, but continuing to be competitive is still a really big deal after last year, and especially after losing Wilson. Now comes the critical time with USC and Arizona State up next. The Utes still need two more wins to go bowling, and while there’s Colorado up at the end of the year, if they’re good enough to beat Stanford and battle with UCLA, they can hang with anyone left on the schedule, expect Oregon.
- This was a desperately needed win after the debacle at USC and after getting blown out at Washington. With Colorado and California coming up, even though the games are on the road it’s time to go on a run. And then it’s big game hunting with UCLA and Oregon coming to Tucson.
at Utah 27, Stanford 21
Basically … Utah came up with a goal line stand, pressuring Stanford QB Kevin Hogan into a misfire on fourth down from the six in the final moments. The Cardinal had a 14-7 first quarter lead on a Tyler Gaffney one-yard run and a Ty Montgomery kickoff return for a score following a four-yard touchdown catch from Utah’s Karl Williams, and then the Utes took over with Dres Anderson scoring on a 51-yard touchdown catch and a three-yard scoring run in the first half. Two Andy Phillips field goals in the second half closed out Utah’s 20-point run, and then Stanford went to work with a seven-yard Devon Cajuste touchdown catch with under ten minutes to play to pull within six, but couldn’t close.
- Utah has been so, so close to doing something special. The loss to UCLA was tough, and now it has the really big win needed to turnaround a rough Pac-12 start. The Utes won’t win the South after this, but they showed they could play with, and beat, anyone. After last year’s debacle, this is important.
- It’s not like Stanford wasn’t playing well, but it was outplayed by Washington last week and it wasn’t exactly razor-sharp at times. With UCLA, at Oregon State, Oregon, and at USC coming up next, this was devastating. Now there’s absolutely no margin for error, however, on the plus side, the loss came to the South – win out in the Pac-12, and the championship is there for the taking.
- Ty Montgomery almost saved the Cardinal for a second straight week. Kevin Hogan was okay, throwing for 246 yards, and Tyler Gaffney’s 108 yards paced the ground game, but if was Montgomery who kickstarted things with the kickoff return for a score, and he caught eight passes for 131 yards as the only real offensive weapon other than Gaffney.
- There wasn’t anything pretty about what Utah did. It came up with the tough defensive stands when needed, and held stopped Stanford drive after Stanford drive. It was a hard-nosed performance from an offensive line that pushed around the Cardinal defensive front for 176 rumbling rushing yards.
at UCLA 34, Utah 27
Basically … UCLA came up with its sixth pick of the game to hold off a feisty Utah team that scored late on a 37-yard Andy Phillips field goal, and made things interesting by recovering the onside kick. Brett Hundley threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Payton, caught a scoring pass from seven yards out, and ran for a score from 36 yards away, but Utah wouldn’t go away. Travis Wilson threw two first quarter touchdown passes, and Keith McGill picked off a Hundley pass for a fourth quarter touchdown to tie it at 24, but UCLA’s defense held firm when it had to, closing the game out with Myles Jack interception
- Give the UCLA defense credit. The game might have been tight, and there were problems early and 13 penalties committed throughout, but after the first quarter the D allowed two field goals and clamped down time and again. Utah didn’t have an answer for Anthony Barr up front, and Anthony Jefferson led the way with two of the team’s six interceptions.
- Utah was happy to put the game into the hands of Travis Wilson, and while he came within a toe of tying the game up late, his six picks and mistakes were too much to overcome. In a lot of ways, the Utes outplayed the Bruins, but just when it seemed like they had the game under control, the turnovers followed.
- It wasn’t quite Brett Hundley’s best game. He was good, and he got the win, but he threw a pick and completed 17-of-27 passes – he wasn’t as sharp as normal. Even so, he got the win in a hostile environment. He got beaten up, but he kept making the plays the team needed at the right time.
- After the heartbreaking home loss to Oregon State, this was a must win for Utah to possibly turn everything around. The team showed once again that it’s far, far better than it was last season, but with Stanford up next, and road games at Arizona and USC to follow, this loss might be disastrous for bowl hopes. br />
Utah 20, at BYU 13
Basically … Utah won the Holy War with Travis Wilson throwing two short touchdown passes and Andy Phillips kicked two first half field goals. BYU’s offense struggled and sputtered all game long, coming up with just two third quarter Justin Sorensen field goals before Michael Alisa found his way into the end zone on a one-yard run late, but it wasn’t enough. A last gasp Cougar drive failed on a few late bombs.
- Under pressure for most of the game, BYU QB Taysom Hill had a lousy day. Utah generated five sacks, with Jacoby Hale coming up with two, and Hill just never looked comfortable completing 18-of-48 passes for 260 yards and a pick. He ran for 99 yards on 20 carries, but he couldn’t carry the attack.
- Cougar RB Jamaal Williams ran for 52 yards on 13 carries before leaving the game. None of the other running back options picked up the slack.
- Travis Wilson was steady. He might not have been spectacular, but he kept his cool under the pressure in a hostile environment completing 24-of-35 passes for 273 yards and two scores.
- Utah did a strong job of neutralizing Kyle Van Noy. The BYU All-American made eight tackles with a tackle for loss, but he didn’t come up with a sack and he disappeared for stretches.
Oregon State 51, at Utah 48 OT, Sept. 14
Basically … Oregon State answered a 41-yard Andy Philips field goal in overtime with a six-yard Brandin Crooks touchdown catch for the wild win. Crooks also caught second half scoring passes from 55 and 18 yards out, but despite the late heroics, it was Utah who came up with the big plays late as Travis Wilson ran for a nine-yard touchdown with just 21 seconds in regulation to force overtime. Wilson threw two touchdown passes and ran for three scores, including a 35-yarder in the third and a 24-yarder in the fourth, but he threw a pick six in the second quarter to Dres Anderson and game up two other interceptions.
- The fun and exciting game had a serious tone as Oregon State running back Storm Woods was carted off the field with an apparent neck injury late in the game. Before getting injured, he led the team with 34 yards on 12 carries.
- It’s not saving grace, especially in conference play, but Utah continues to play far better than it did last season. There might not be enough options in the backfield, with James Poole carrying it 25 times, but Travis Wilson continues to be the most dangerous threat. You take the good with the bad – he threw three picks, but he ran 13 times for 142 yards and three scores.
- Sean Mannion had himself a game. Not only did he throw for 443 yards and five touchdown passes, he came through clutch time and again in the fourth quarter, bailing the offense out on key fourth down plays. He had help from his receivers. Brandon Crooks caught nine passes for 210 yards and three touchdowns, and Richard Mullaney caught seven passes for 142 yards and a score.
- Oregon State put itself in a hole, but it managed to climb out despite the ten penalties for 69 yards and the lack of a running game. This was all Mannion.
at Utah 30, Utah State 26, Aug. 29
Basically … Utah got two Travis Wilson touchdown passes early and two Andy Phillips field goals late in the fourth, including a 38-yarder with 19 seconds to play, to come up with the win. Utah State took a 23-14 lead in the third quarter on a 15-yard Chuckie Keeton touchdown run, and he hit Brandon Swindall with two touchdown passes in the second, but Utah came roaring back in the second half helped by a two-yard Karl Williams touchdown run to close out the third.
- For all the talk in the Mountain West about quarterbacks and David Fales and Derek Carr, Chuckie Keeton showed early on that he’s going to be a force completing 31-of-40 passes for 314 yards and two scores. However, it’s not really a plus that he led the team with 85 rushing yards and a score. Joe Hill needs to be doing more.
- Utah State linebacker Jake Doughty came up with a whale of a game, cranking out 16 tackles. Maurice Alexander was also all over the field making 11 stops with 1.5 sacks.
- Utah’s Nate Orchard made big play after big play on the outside. The end made eight tackles with a sack, a forced fumble and three tackles for loss.
- The key part of Utah quarterback Travis Wilson’s game? No interceptions. He took a few sacks, but he didn’t force anything and he was extremely effective throwing for 302 yards and two scores.
Why To Get Excited … the Utes are pining for an identity on offense. Dennis Erickson was recently hired to supply it. After Utah ranked 105th nationally, it needed to make a splash by landing a proven coach, with deep roots in the conference. Erickson should have an immediate impact on not only the culture and the swagger of the attack, but also franchise QB Travis Wilson, who enters his second season on campus as the undisputed starter.
Why To Be Grouchy … the Utes, coming off their first idle postseason in a decade, are now rebuilding in the trenches. Three starters have graduated from both the O-line and the D-line, leaving behind a shaky foundation on which to build. Jeremiah Poutasi is the new anchor on offense in just his second season removed from high school. The departures of All-American DT Star Lotulelei and the Kruger boys, Joe and Dave, will make Utah especially vulnerable to the run.
The Number One Thing To Work On Is … coaching up the offensive blockers. A sure-fire way to ruin the confidence of a young quarterback is to allow him to be battered in the pocket. The Utes must afford Wilson the time he needs to survey the field from his 6-6 perch and check down his receivers. Utah also needs to open wider holes for John White’s successor in the running game, likely underrated senior Kelvin York.
Non-Conference Games: Utah State, Weber State, at BYU
Games Against The North: at Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, at Washington State
Realistic Best Case Record: 7-5
Worst Case Record: 2-10
Likely Finish: 3-9
Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: Utah State, Weber State, Colorado
Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: Oregon State, at BYU, UCLA, Stanford, at Arizona, at USC, Arizona State, at Oregon, at Washington State
Schedule Analysis: Where are the wins going to come from? Utah shouldn’t be 3-9 bad, and the offense can’t be any worse, but without pulling off a few shockers here and there, this could be a rough go in an improved Pac-12. It’s not like the non-conference slate is a peach with Utah State still strong and the road game at BYU certain to be nasty. Weber State is the only sure-thing victory on the slate.
The Utes gets Oregon State, UCLA and Stanford at home in the first three conference games, and they need to take advantage of the opportunity with four of the next five games away from Rice-Eccles with just one home game – Arizona State – from October 3rd to November 30th. A winning season is possible by coming up with a few early home victories and getting by Washington State and Colorado late, but the away game at Oregon isn’t going to help and facing Arizona and USC in back-to-back October weeks on the road is going to be a problem.
Team Concerns For 2013: The offense has to start to work. The Utes finished last in the Pac-12 in passing after having quarterback problems and with true freshman Travis Wilson being thrown to the wolves, and while running back John White did his best, he couldn't carry the entire offense by himself. The special teams as a whole weren't a problem, but the punt return game was the worst in the league averaging a mere 4.84 yards per try. Three starters are gone off the offensive line that has to be stronger, and there's no replacing Star Lotulelei in the middle of a defensive front that has to fill in three starters.
The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Defensive linemen. This is a massive class with a little something for everywhere. The
defensive line is getting a boatload of prospects led by Lowell Lotulelei, who isn't going to be his older brother, Star, but is still a terrific prospect. End Myron Aiava and tackle Sam Tevi are just a few of the other good options to be brought along over the next few seasons. JUCO transfer Andre Lewis and tight end Greg Reese were signed to potentially beef up the passing game right away, while the
secondary has its share of talents including JUCO transfers Tevin Carter and Davion Orphey to help out with the depth.
2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 36. That Class Was Heavy On ... The offensive line is the target, even though only one player is gone off the 2011 two-deep depth chart. The Utes are building up for three years from now, and this is the class to do it. However, a few JUCO transfers like Junior Salt and Marc Pouvave are massive-bodied blockers who’ll push for time in the rotation right away. The offense isn’t exactly ignored, but there isn’t a big need for prospects with the 2011 class so strong on receivers.
2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 39. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receivers. The move to the Pac 12 was a big, BIG boost for a strong class. The running backs are the stars of the class with Harvey Langi a 215-pound workhorse of a prospect and JUCO transfer John White a sub-4.4 speedster to bring some flash to the equation. The bulk, through, is at receiver where the hope is for 6-6 JUCO transfer Anthony Denham to become Jordan Wynn’s go-to receiver as soon as possible. Quinton Pedroza, Travis Still, and Nate Fakahafua are big, physical targets.
2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 58. That Class Was
Heavy On ... The defensive
back seven. The Utes got plenty of help for the
passing game over the last two recruiting classes,
and the shelves should remain stocked for the next
five years with the addition of solid receiver
prospects Drew Anderson and Kenneth Scott. JUCO
transfer John Cullen should be in the rotation at
offensive tackle right away, and fellow JUCOer Star
Lotulelei will make a difference on the defensive
front, but the bulk of the class is in the defensive
back seven with DBs Damian Payne, Lucky Radley, and
Terrell Reese all fast and all good enough to have
gone somewhere else. Brian Blechen leads a strong
2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 54. That Class Was
Heavy On ... The passing game. The Utes loaded up on receivers big-time last year, but apparently that wasn’t enough with even more targets coming in this year, including JUCO transfers Antoine Smithson and Ray Magee, to help an offense that loses all the starting receivers. Jamal Smith should be the best of the bunch, but he might not emerge for a few years. Meanwhile, JUCO transfer Terrance Cain will make a push for Brian Johnson’s open quarterback spot.
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