We didn’t complete our assignments and that’s what happened. We failed the test. That’s it. —Tyler Huntley
SALT LAKE CITY — In the aftermath of Saturday’s surprising 30-10 loss to Arizona State, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham sounded as if he were drafting a classified ad.
Something along the line of: “Wanted. An identity for the offense. Immediate response requested.”
After seven games, Utah’s revamped offense has yet to make a name for itself. The Utes (4-3, 1-3) enter Saturday’s contest at Oregon (4-4, 1-4) ranked 10th in the Pac-12 in scoring offense (28.1 ppg). In addition, they’re sixth in passing offense (253.4 ypg); seventh in total offense (407.7 ypg), rushing offense (154.7 ypg) and red zone offense (85.7 percent); eighth in first downs (22.6 per game); 10th in pass efficiency (128.9 rating); and 12th in third down conversions (33.3 percent).
“We’re not making enough first downs. We’re not scoring enough points. We didn’t take care of the football today, four turnovers,” Whittingham noted. “So you name it, we’ve got to fix it on offense. Like I said, there’s no real identity right now.”
Quarterback Tyler Huntley was intercepted four times in his return to action after missing 2½ games with a shoulder injury. He wound up completing 19 of 35 passes for 155 yards.
The offense, as a whole, netted only 265 yards. Its only touchdown came on a late drive when the score was 30-3.
“We didn’t complete our assignments and that’s what happened,” Huntley said. “We failed the test. That’s it.”
Huntley added that everybody in Utah football did that. Whittingham also made it clear that there weren’t a lot of positives to take from the game.
Utah’s defense gave up 345 yards (205 on the ground) to Arizona State. The Utes had just one takeaway (an interception by linebacker Kavika Luafatasaga) and a single sack (Cody Barton).
“We need to come back on Monday and do a better job,” Luafatasaga said. “We will watch film and try and figure some things out. Everyone needs to reset and finish this season strong.”
The Utes are at a crossroads, of sorts, with the straight losses. The Pac-12 South title is all but officially out of reach. However, a bowl bid is still in play.
“We’ve got some work to do. We’re in a tough spot right now and we’re down and we need to pick ourselves back up and find a way out of this or not,” Whittingham said. “That’s the two alternatives right now.”
EXTRA POINTS: Whittingham said it’s questionable that safety Chase Hansen and linebacker Sunia Tauteoli, who did not play because of undisclosed injuries, will be back this week. Donovan Thompson and Corrion Ballard won’t be available for the first half of the Oregon game because of targeting penalties. Matt Gay made a 53-yard field goal, his third from 50 yards or greater this season. Mitch Wishnowsky had three punts exceed 50 yards and placed two inside the 6-yard line. Utah is now 2-2 at home.