Their rushing attack is what did us in. —Kyle Whittingham
EUGENE, Ore. — Ground travel is still the best way to go.
For a second straight game, Utah's defense failed to stop the opposing perimeter rushing game. Meanwhile, Utah’s run game was minimal in the Utes’ 41-20 loss to Oregon.
“Credit Oregon for playing a very good game. Their rushing attack is what did us in,” said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham.
Oregon carried for 347 rushing yards, while the Utes got just 91.
“Three hundred yards rushing — you have almost no chance to win a game when that happens,” Whittingham said. “That was the storyline. Their throw game didn’t hurt us it was the perimeter run game in particular.”
Oregon running back Royce Freeman logged the 28th 100-yard game of his career, finishing with 139. His long was a 38-yard effort. But Tony Brooks-James added 105 rushing yards, 56 of them on one play.
Utah followed up an underwhelming 110-yard rushing game against Arizona State by getting just 3 net yards on 14 carries in the first half. The Utes were led by Zack Moss, who gained 56 yards overall, his biggest being a 19-yard run in the third quarter.
“We had 90, 100 yards rushing,” Whittingham said. “They were well over 300. That was really the difference in the game.”
Two weeks ago, the Utes appeared to be rolling, with 169 rushing yards against USC. Key in that game was Moss’ 141 yards on 20 carries.
But Moss was held to 49 yards on 12 carries last week.
Moss improved matters with runs of 7 and 14 yards to start the second half on Saturday. He broke loose on a 19-yard run midway through the third quarter, setting Utah up on the Oregon 29. But the Utah drive was stifled when Matt Gay’s field goal went wide left.