Utah Utes report card: One-man show on 'O' against Oregon State
Tom Smart, Deseret News
Quick question: Do the coaches at Oregon State watch game film? A week after California held the Utah Utes to 13 rushing yards on 26 attempts in an easy 34-10 win, Oregon State decided Utah's biggest threat was ... Jon Hays?
John White IV and the Utah offensive line dominated the first half in building a 24-0 lead. Even though the Utes offense was anemic in the second half, the big lead was more than enough for an excellent Utah defense as the Utes prevailed, 27-8, on Saturday.
Here's how Utah graded:
OFFENSE: Inexplicably, Oregon State played the first half as if Utah actually had a legitimate passing game. The result was the best half of the season for White, who had 157 yards and a TD before intermission. The Beavers stacked the box in the second half and it paid off, holding Utah to less than 50 yards after the break. But the bird was already out of the cage. So, what kind of grade does an offense deserve when its quarterback completes just six passes for 62 yards. Well, two of the completions were for touchdowns. GRADE: B.
DEFENSE: Embarrassed by the ease at which Cal moved the ball up and down the field a week ago, the defense looked downright angry. Beaver QB Sean Mannion was the recipient of a lot of that wrath. He was sacked six times and picked off three times. OSU had just 263 yards and scored just one TD and that came in the fourth quarter. The Beavers were held to 32 rushing yards on 26 carries. Take away a few personal foul penalties and it would be an immaculate performance. GRADE: A-.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Remember when Kyle Whittingham appeared desperate when discussing his field goal kickers? Well, Coleman Petersen continues to be just about as good as a kicker can be. He made a 48-yarder in the first half and is 9-for-11 on the year. The punting was decent and kick coverage was outstanding as usual. GRADE: A.
COACHING: Coaches always say, "Take what they give ya." Well, who can blame Norm Chow and Co. for just cramming it down Oregon State's throat when that seemed to be what the Beavers wanted in the first half? Still, where were the adjustments in the second half? Kudos to the offensive staff for committing to the run and thanks to the Beavers as well for not forcing Utah's hand. GRADE: B.
OVERALL: On blackout night at Rice-Eccles Stadium, a guy named White was the unquestioned star. The first Pac-12 win is bittersweet because it comes on the fifth attempt. Still, Oregon State's offense was starting to put things together this season until it ran head-long into an inspired and hard-hitting Utah defense. Moral of the story: Don't make the Utah defense mad. GRADE: B+.
Andy Griffin is a southern Utah broadcaster and sports writer and has been involved in covering sports in Utah, including professional, college and high school sports, since 1989.
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