Utah football report card: Utes slightly better than average in loss

Published: Sunday, Sept. 15 2013 12:28 a.m. MDT

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Wins in the Pac-12 aren't easy to come by and this was a game the Utes couldn't afford to lose. Yes, Oregon State is a good team, but it was a squad Utah needs to beat at home if it hopes to be a legitimate conference contender. That ultimately didn't happen, however.

Grade: C
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Down under
Salt Lake City, UT

I give them a c-. According to Chris B, ekute and the likes the utes were supposed to win by two td's or more and be ranked in the top 25. Instead they gave up over 500 yards of offense and threw 3 interceptions. Wilson's QB rating just tanked and Utah's SOS will drop again since the team that just beat them lost, at home, to a div. 2 team.
But on the bright side all is right in the world now and Utah is back where they belong.
Even WSU is better then them this year, and probably Colorado too.

Rockarolla
West Jordan, UT

The Utes will be playing against a much better defense next week. Don't look for them to move the ball as well as they did this week. hey are better against the run than the pass, so this may be another classic. I think the Cougars will prevail 28-24.

joseywales
Park City, UT

Grade for the secondary? F! Not only did Mannion repeatedly toast the DB's, but what should have been the game winning interception, instead went right through the defenders hands! Seriously, get East highs secondary to come to Provo next week with the team. Better yet, have the Ute DB's go watch pee wee football to remember how they are supposed to play the position. All upcoming Ute opponents, will throw the ball, and be rewarded handsomely for it. Pressure on the QB would help, but the DB's were consistently letting their guy behind them, and getting burned like Grandma's toast!

And why when we moved the ball so well with Wilson running and throwing in the tying drive, did we suddenly feel the need to run the same play into the middle of the line on first and second down in OT? That play hadn't worked all night, yet suddenly when it matters most, we think it will work?

Duckhunter
Highland, UT

@josewhales

If erickson called those plays in o.t. then you really need to worry about the competence of your o-coordinator. If johnson was allowed to call those plays in o.t. then you really need to worry about the competence of your head coach for allowing him to have anything to do with offensive play calling. I simply sat there and watched it in disbelief as osu had not stopped wilson from scrambling off tackle or around the end a single time the entire game. What an odd set of play calls that was.

Steven S Jarvis
Orem, UT

OSU is not likely going to a bowl game this year. They will lose to Washington, Oregon, Stanford, Arizona State and USC. I suspect at least one team of Cal, Washington State and/or Colorado will provide the seventh loss (Washington State the most likely to do it). This was about as easy as it will get for the Utes this year.

OSU has no defense. That was proven over the last two weeks. The Utes should have had a field day if they were as good as Eastern Washington was. The OSU game was at home as well.

I think the grades given were inflated. On offense the Utes per quarter receive F, B, B, A, C which averages to a 2.4 GPA or C grade. The Defense per quarter earned C, C, D, D, F averaging 1.2 D grade. Special Teams overall were fine. I would give them a B. Coaching C. Overall the Utes earned a solid C-. Its as if they didn't study before the game!

RepresentBlue
West Jordan, UT

"Oregon State is a good team"

Didn't they lose at home to Eastern Washington? This sentence screams PAC-12 homerism.

StGtoSLC
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

I'm really not upset about this loss at all. Slightly disappointed in the slow start offensively, and disappointed in Nate Orchard's showing (mostly non-existent, got a raw deal on a penalty early and then made a huge mistake committing a penalty late), but it's tough to be upset about a loss when the opposing team's coach is one of the classiest guys in the profession and you almost always know what you're getting from OSU's offense. They are a good squad with a few great players. Even with the Utes' mistakes, they still had a chance to win it and showed more heart than I've seen from them in a while, coming back from a 17 point deficit. There's plenty to be optimistic about, especially with Wilson STILL one of the top-rated QBs in the country. Anyone who thinks he "tanked" should actually look into it before making things up.

joseywales
Park City, UT

STGtoSLC- not upset by this loss? Dude, the secondary will be lit up by any QB that can make a throw, thankfully, Hill isn't one of those, but we have to respect his legs, and that will be cause for concern. Moving forward, any team watching our film will know that they don't have to run to set up the pass, they can just continually throw the ball over the top for large gains against the weakest DB's the Utes have seen in the last 20 years. To compete in the PAC12, we need speed on defense!

Uteology
East Salt Lake City, Utah

Great, the offense seems to be fixed and now the defense is broken.

So far hiring Dennis Erickson was a great move. Now Kyle needs to bring in a hired gun to help the Sheriff (our secondary coach, ex-attorney with no prior coaching experience).

I am just surprised how bad our defense has been since season one (18th ranked defense).

Anxious to see if our coaching staff can make the adjustments in order to compete with UCLA and Stanford. Both could come into RES as top 10 teams. BYU's weakness is the passing game, I don't think our secondary will be tested next week.

Uteology
East Salt Lake City, Utah

@Down under

We got exposed by one of the top QBs in the country (Mannion) and were able to beat the other (Keeton).

Wilson is still a top 20 QB in the nation both in rating and yards.

Rumors are Hill couldn't even pass against BYU's secondary during the bye week. He's still ranked as the 2nd worst passer in the nation (among QBs that qualify to be ranked).

@Duckhunter

Shouldn't you be more worried about your own OC? Unless you approve of his play calling ability against Virginia?

Thanks for the concern Cougar fans, but this Ute sees improvement as far as the offense is concerned. Last two years in this type of game we would have lost by 14+ points. That to me shows improvement. Now the defense is another story.

StGtoSLC
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

josey, no, not upset. Concerned about the DBs? Yes. Speed is not their problem, though, they have plenty of that, just light in experience. Mariota and maybe Halliday are the only other teams Utah will face that can throw absolute dimes like Mannion did. Hundley is a fantastic athlete a la Chuckie, but not the precision passer as the others. But losses like this happen. It's unfortunate, but it happens, even to the almighty Cougars, who lost to a much more dismal UVa team. Oregon State is still a respectable opponent, even with their embarrassing season-opening loss. But this loss does not rank anywhere near the CU upset of two years ago.

Duckhunter
Highland, UT

@stg

What makes osu a "much...more respectable opponent" than Virginia? They lost to a 1AA team, struggled against an awful Hawaii team, and barely beat a pretty mediocre utah team, that actually might be a bad team we just don't know yet.

utah "fan" deulsion is an interesting, and amusing, thing to behold. If utah plays them they are somehow "respectable" despite bad losses and lackluster wins over bad opponents, yet if BYU plays them they are "dismal".

LOL!

BigCougar
Bountiful, UT

"Despite yielding big plays, the front seven proved stout against the Beaver ground attack."

That OSU offensive line was missing 3 starters lost to injury. Starting their first games were a true freshman and a walk-on OL as part of that unit that the vaunted ute front 7 was so stout against.

Now you know the rest of the story.

jdub1942
PROVO, UT

True, OSU did lose to an FCS team. But also true, Mannion has the highest passing EPA in the entire country, while everyone knows our secondary is inexperienced this year.

Tough, tough game to lose. But the Offense showed me enough to prevent me from throwing in the towel.

Go Utes!

StGtoSLC
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

"What makes osu a 'much...more respectable opponent' than Virginia?"

OSU has defensive issues and is inconsistent week to week. EWU was a bad loss for them, but EWU is a great FCS team with a very good QB that could beat a host of FBS teams. OSU has one of the most potent passing games in the country, even with their backup QB as you may have noticed last year, which can put them in a position to beat much better teams if they are not on point, but their defense can often put them in a position to lose games they should win with ease.

"blah blah blah yet if BYU plays them they are 'dismal'."

Now where did I say that? UVa is dismal whether BYU plays them or not. OSU for the last two years has been respectable (yes, even when BYU played them), although they weren't very good two years ago (when both teams played and beat them), mostly due to inexperience at the QB position, but it was apparent that the freshman Mannion would be a future star.

BigCougar
Bountiful, UT

@jdub42
"True, OSU did lose to an FCS team. But also true, Mannion has the highest passing EPA in the entire country, while everyone knows our secondary is inexperienced this year."

and Mannion has forged his highest passing EPA numbers vs an FCS team, the horrid Hawaii defense and the Ute defense.

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@StGtoSLC
"but it's tough to be upset about a loss when the opposing team's coach is one of the classiest guys in the profession"

I agree, I like Mike Riley a lot. He is a very underrated coach and to have as much success as he does having a school like Oregon in his backyard proves that.

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@joseywales
"To compete in the PAC12, we need speed on defense!"

You have good speed in the secondary they're just inexperienced and not very well coached. The big problem is up front. Problem is, your linebackers would be considered slow in the MWC but in the Pac12 they're glacially slow (evolution works faster). BYU didn't offer Fehoko because of his lack of speed. Also your defensive front has no push.

Your secondary wouldn't look so bad if your front 7 could muster a sustained pass rush.

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