Takeaways: Utah at Arizona
The University of Utah dismantled the Arizona Wildcats on Saturday in convincing fashion, 35-7. As they continue their one game at a time approach, they’ll now lock in on the Colorado Buffaloes, knowing that in order to make the College Football Playoffs, they’re going to have to take it upon themselves as they’re the Pac-12’s only remaining hope.
Here are the takeaways to the late night victory:
The offense was good, but could have been outstanding
Arizona never stood a chance last night, that much was evident from the first series, when they only gained 14 yards before being forced to punt. This may be an unpopular opinion, but Utah’s offense played arguably their least impressive game of the season since USC, and still won by 28, on the road. That margin could have been bigger, had it not been for some fourth down miscues, a bunch of penalties, and a receiver that broke the wrong way in the end zone. Despite those issues, Utah dominated in total yardage, with 517 to Arizona's 196, and also nearly doubled the Wildcats up in time of possession. Of those 517 total yards, 297 of those yards came on the ground.
However, the Utes were stopped twice on 4th and 1, two different times and if it wasn’t for those two situations the score likely would have been 49-7. In the first half, Utah had drives of 11, 10, 11 and 12 plays and Arizona ran just 19 plays total. The 14-0 lead for the Utes took into the half was not indicative of how dominant the Utes actually were, as the Wildcats sold out to stop the run at the goal line on 4th down and succeeded.
Tyler Huntley only passed for 211 yards but was 19/23 and did everything that the team needed him to do. Utah played it’s brand of football the whole game and Arizona was not going to stop them.The one negative was that they failed to score the style points when they tried.
Arizona isn't a good team this year, but they're still a P5 opponent with quite a bit of talent on their roster, and it's pretty impressive that Utah can play a "B" game at best, and still blow out an opponent in a key conference road game. The Utes still have one challenge to overcome to claim the Pac-12 South title for the second year in a row, as they will face Colorado next weekend. If the Utes bring their "A" game, it won't be close. If they bring their "B" game again, it still probably won't be close. This team is that good, damn good even when they try and fail to score some style points.
Moss and Anae continue to add to their legend status
Zack Moss ran for 203 yards and one touchdown on 26 carries, just shy of a personal best of 212 yards. This marked the 18th time that Moss has run over 100 yards in a game, adding to his school record. His 26 carries also put him atop another Utah rushing record: most carries at 657, passing Tony Lindsay. His 1,158 yards on the season is now a season best for Moss and he is now the only player in Utah history with three 1,000 yard seasons. Take a moment and appreciate the greatness, Ute Nation.
Bradlee Anae also climbed in the record books last night. His sack last night brings his career total to 28.0, putting him alone in second place all-time in the school record books. The senior out of Hawaii now is 1.5 sacks behind Hunter Dimick, who sits at 29.5 career sacks. Anae has 11 sacks on the season, sitting in a tie for fifth in all of college football and just three behind Ohio State's Chase Young, who leads the nation with 14.
Just another of many statement games for the defense
The first-team defense, once again, didn’t give up a touchdown, but everyone waking up this morning won’t know that, as the backups gave up a late and meaningless score.
The Utes lost the turnover battle last night, as the defense didn’t create any, which was definitely a surprise. They also surprisingly registered only one sack and two pass-breakups. The thing is though, those are just a bonus, Morgan Scalley’s crew doesn’t need to dominate in those categories in order to have a suffocatingly dominant performance.
So what was their most impressive stat on the night, aside from the total yardage? The time-of-possession was impressive, but Arizona converting on 2/12 of their third downs, explains the performance perfectly.
You had one job, Oregon!
Well quack, quack, quack. You guys know the old saying, “If it looks like a duck…” Well, Oregon was exposed last night and showed that they’re the paper tiger that everyone with Ute Nation had hoped wouldn’t get exposed until the Pac-12 Championship Game.
This doesn’t take Utah out of the equation, but it’ll damage their quality of win and the CFP hype around the game. And yes, we know Utah still needs to beat Colorado.
One way to keep their argument for inclusion going? Thump those so-called Pac-12 rivals next week, and destroy Oregon like it now looks like they should. It’s still not likely that teams behind Utah will jump them and there’s going to be movement ahead of them. That’s right, with or without Oregon, it’s still possible.