“We left guys uncovered, blew a coverage, and gave them a couple easy touchdowns and things just got out of hand,” Secondary coach John Neal said. “It felt like an avalanche that just couldn’t stop.”
Early Heisman candidate Devontae Booker also had his way with the young defense. The defensive line held Booker in the first half of the game to 65 yards on 16 attempts and no trips to the end zone. The second half held a different story as Booker ran for 33 yards to give him a total of 98 yards and one trip to the end zone to end his night. Booker also threw a 25 yard touchdown pass on a trick play to make Oregon’s defense look more foolish.
“I thought we were ready for this game,” Defensive Coordinator Don Pellum said. “Based on the practice, I thought we were pretty close on where we need to be.”
Going into this game, the defense was facing against an offense that was ranked 61st in running and 100th in passing. While the defensive line and linebackers played fairly well, the secondary did not help the team.
The night got worse for Duck fans as Utah continued to establish their dominance not only on offense, but also defense and even special teams.
Senior linebacker Rodney Hardrick felt that the defense had a great scheme and plan heading into this game. A good week of practice helped raise Hardrick’s play call recognition but all the preparation went out the window when the defense started to allow too many plays.