football Edit

Inside the Numbers: Utah’s PFF Ratings vs. ASU

The University of Utah improved to 3-0 in the Pac-12 with a big win against Arizona State on Saturday. It was an epic comeback that continued to help flip the narrative on the Utes 2021 season. Here’s what PFF thinks of the performance of Utah’s players during the 35-21 victory.

First the offense (in snap order except the OL):


Rising: Rising was 90.0 (#2 on the offense) in 72 snaps. He went 21/33 (63.6%) for 247 yards (7.5 ypa) with 2 TD and 2 INT. This isn’t as good of a stat line as last week, but he’s rated ahead of last week, in part because he also had 6 carries for 59 yards (9.8 ypc) with 1 TD. This was another great game by Rising, although like most of the team, he had a much better second half.

Running Backs

Thomas: Thomas was 70.8 on 37 snaps. He had 20 carries for 84 yards (4.2 ypc) with 1 TD. He had a good game, although again, not quite as good as last week.

Pledger: Pledger was 65.7 on 29 snaps. He ran 19 receiving routes (with 1 catch for 8 yards) and had 7 carries for 49 yards (7.0 ypc) and 1 TD.

Thomas was the feature back again this week, with Pledger the main backup. Bernard did play, but only 7 snaps and no carries.


Vele: 65.3 on 70 snaps. He had 3 catches on 5 targets for 57 yards (19.0 ypc).

Covey: 68.8 on 28 snaps. He had 3 catches on 5 targets for 30 yards (10.4 ypc). He also had 2 carries for 17 yards.

Howard: 77.8 (#4 on the offense) on 23 snaps. He had 3 catches on 4 targets for 41 yards (13.7 ypc)

These three WR had pretty good games. Not a ton of catches, but they made some tough ones and kept the chains moving. Parks also played 7 snaps but wasn’t targeted.

Tight Ends

Kuithe: 60.2 on 60 snaps. Had 3 catches on 5 targets for 36 yards (12 ypc) and 2 TD.

Fotheringham: 90.9 (#1 on the offense) on 48 snaps. 4 catches on 6 targets for 31 yards (7.8 ypc).

Kincaid: 78.2 (#3 on the offense) on 47 snaps. Had 4 catches on 5 targets for 44 yards (11 ypc).

The tight ends had a great game. Two of the top three PFF ratings were among this group, and the one that wasn’t still had a good game and a great statistical game, catching two huge TD passes.

Offensive Line

Daniels: Daniels was the #1 OL at 71.6 on 73 snaps, another good score (3 weeks in a row). Rated 77.3 pass blocking, 66.6 run blocking.

Laumea: #2 OL at 59.2 on 73 snaps. This is a below-average score. He was rated 88.1 pass blocking and 52.2 run blocking.

Olaseni: Olaseni was the #3 OL at 57.1 on 73 snaps. Rated 66.8 pass blocking and 52.8 run blocking.

Ford: #4 OL at 54.9 on 73 snaps. This isn’t a great score, but the eyeball test made him the Pac-12 OL of the week. It’s not always about advanced statistics. He was rated 42.5 pass blocking and 57.3 run blocking.

Bills: #5 OL at 54.2 on 73 snaps. This isn’t a good score. Rated 59.7 pass blocking and 51.3 run blocking.

The starting OL all played every single snap, which is an improvement. Daniels had another great game, but according to PFF the other four were average at best. The improvement in the second half was obvious, but the first half dragged everyone’s scores down.

Now for the defense (each position is listed in order of score, as long as they have at least 15 snaps):

Defensive Ends

Tafua. 78.1 (#1 on defense with at least 15 snaps) on 72 snaps. He had only 2 tackles, but had 12 QB pressures.

Carlton: 49.9 on 17 snaps. He had 1 tackle and no QB pressures.

Fillinger: 46.3 on 52 snaps. 3 tackles but no QB pressures. This isn’t a good score, after a great score last week.

Tafua had an incredible game that won’t show up in a regular stat sheet. Getting in the QB’s face 12 times absolutely contributed to the defensive explosion in the second half.

Defensive Tackles

H Pututau: 74.8 (#2 on defense) on 21 snaps. 2 pressures, 1 tackle, 1 TFL, 1 sack.

Tafuna: 72.5 (#3 on defense) on 47 snaps. 1 pressure, 4 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack.

Vimahi: 50.5 on 34 snaps. 1 tackle.

Tafuna is really turning into a great starting defensive tackle. Hauati Pututau is performing well too and there is some other young talent getting 5-14 snaps a game. Vimahi is still struggling to get a decent PFF rating, but the talent is there.


Lloyd: 70.2 (#4) on 72 snaps. 2 pressures, 8 tackles, 4 TFL, 2 sacks, 1 PBU.

Sewell: 60.2 on 33 snaps. 3 tackles.

Reid: 47.0 on 72 snaps. 2 pressures, 5 tackles.

Again, Reid did not have the best game by PFF standards. I suspect Sewell is still banged up, so he played limited action. Hopefully he’ll be 100% against OSU, as they’re running the ball really well.


Phillips: 68.3 (#5 on the defense) on 72 snaps. Had one of his better games this year. 0 targets shows how much respect he’s getting. 1 tackle.

Mataele: 67.6 on 43 snaps. 3 targets with 2 receptions, 2 tackles.

Marks: 63.6 on 47 snaps. 4 targets with 2 receptions, 1 PBU, 8 tackles.

Vaughn: 47.3 on 23 snaps. 5 targets with 3 receptions, 1 tackle.

The corners had pretty good PFF numbers except for Vaughn. The fact that they didn’t throw a single pass at Phillips is impressive.


Davis: 62.8 on 62 snaps. 7 tackles, 1 massive forced fumble. Davis had an okay game.

McKinney: 56.6 on 65 snaps. Had 4 tackles. 1 target, no receptions.

The defense played pretty well. As was clear, it was a tale of two halves, but overall they kept Daniels to 237 yards (better than his game against BYU at 265, UCLA at 286, and about even with CU at 236), their 2nd-lowest point total of the year (behind the BYU game), and held them to 148 rushing yards (about 60 below their season average).

Overall, both sides played well, as the final score made clear. If you had told me Utah lost the turnover battle I would have told you their odds of winning were very low. But Utah didn’t have to rely on turnovers in the second half, muscling up and rushing for 208 yards and 3 TDs on 36 carries (5.8 ypc) and getting 4 sacks. That was one fun comeback.