The Washington State Cougars came to town Saturday afternoon to face the Utah Utes, who were looking for one more win to become bowl eligible. But, the home team did not start well with three turnovers in their first four possessions. The Utes were able to keep it close and had a chance to win at the end of the game, but seven turnovers doomed this game, resulting in a 33-25 Washington State victory.
It is amazing that this team was even in the game with seven turnovers against a ranked team like No. 19 Washington State. They had no business being in this game with Tyler Huntley accounting for three interceptions and one fumble on his own. Utah could not stay on the field to prolong drives because of their inability to hold the football. Furthermore, Zack Moss only accrued 32 yards on 13 carries, while Huntley ran the ball 20 times and threw 39 passes. The offense was neither efficent nor stable, and missed Darren Carrington's presence at wide receiver, even though Demari Simpkins had almost 100 yards receiving.
Washington State ran the ball 17 times, but the Utes only allowed them to average 1.6 yards a carry. Utah did well to keep quarterback Luke Falk on his toes, as he threw two interceptions on the night. But, in the biggest moments, the senior came through, picking the Utes defense apart. In the end, the defense dealt with horrible situations all night and were the sole reason Utah only lost by eight points.
Matt Gay made a 56-yard field goal, but then couldn't kick home a 45-yarder. Sure, it wasn't the difference in the game, but Gay has been missing more and more as the season progresses. With two games remaining on the season schedule, he may have to kick one that really matters. Mitch Wishnowsky continues to play at an elite level for this team, and a bright note came when Simpkins ran a kick return 53 yards, which set the Utes up nicely in Washington State territory.
The offensive coaching is a head scratcher. Troy Taylor runs his quarterback more than his starting running back. The offensive line allows seven sacks and can only spring the running game for 62 yards. Defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley needs commending for the work his unit did, but the odds are forever against you if seven turnovers happen in one game. It's back to the film room for coach Kyle Whittingham as they try to figure out how to make their offensive attack more consistent.
Utah did not give up after starting the game 13 points down and managed to make a game of it. They will need to fix their turnover woes for next week's game as they head up to the northwest to take on the Washington Huskies. Here's to hoping we never see seven turnovers in a Utes' game against this season.
Shane Reinhard is a graduate of Weber State University and a teacher and coach at St. Joseph Catholic High School in Ogden, Utah. Email: [email protected]. Follow on Twitter @hoopsters12.