Jordan Wynn struggled against a respectable, yet inferior Montana State defense. Wynn completed 65% percent of his passes, but averaged a very poor 4.4 yards per pass attempt. Wynn threw for just 101 yards, but had 2 TDs and 0 Turnovers.
Running Back: A
John White IV was the brightest spot of Utah's offense on Thursday. White ran for 150 yards on 19 carries (7.9 ave), and scored 2 TDs (1 rush, 1 rec). Tauni Vakapuna didn't share the same success as White, gaining just 16 yards on 10 carries (1.6 ave).
Wide Receiver: D+
Devonte Christopher had 2 catches in the first quarter for 11 yards and a TD. Dexter Ransom had 1 first quarter reception for 8 yards. The Utah WRs only caught 1 pass the rest of the game, a 4th quarter pass to Luke Matthews. Utah's WRs had more rushing yards (32) than they did receiving yards (27). Wynn had a lot to do with the poor WR performance, but as a group, they need to be much, much better.This grade could be worse, but the WRs blocked well downfield and did not have any drops.
Tight End: B+
Kendrick Moeai and Dallin Rogers combined for 10 receptions for 69 yards on 10 targets. They did a good job all night of blocking when needed, and providing a safety outlet for Wynn when needed.
Offensive Line: B+
Utah's makeshift Offensive Line got great push most of the night, paving the way for 191 yards of team rushing yards on the night. Utah gave up 2 sacks, but 1 of those was on Wynn for not getting the ball out on time, and the other was a missed pickup by Tauni Vakapuna. Pass protection was acceptable most of the night, though Utah's dink and dump game made the job much easier for the big uglies.
Defensive Line: B+
Montana State was held to just 75 yards rushing on the night (2.6 average). Star Lotulelei was exceptional and drew double teams. Utah's pass rush from their front 4 was less than encouraging. Utah's lone sack from a Defensive Lineman came from Senior Derrick Shelby. Joe Kruger had a very poor night. However, after watching the game a couple more times, MSU used one or two TEs on ever pass play to help pass protect, limiting Utah's ability to create pressure from the DE.
Utah's Linebackers combined for 26 tackles, led by Chaz Walker (10). Brian Blechen walked away with 2 interceptions, and nearly took one to the house. MSU converted just 5 of 15 3rd down conversions, with 14 of those conversion attempts coming from 3rd and medium or 3rd and long.
Utah's pass defense was solid. Conroy Black showed the potential to become Utah's next great CB. Black held the very talented WR Elvis Akpla to just 1 reception. Ryan Lacy was targeted most of the 2nd half, but still held Bleskin to 38 yards receiving.
Eric Rowe (9), Michael Walker (5) and Keith McGill (1) combined for 15 tackles in a solid debut. McGill dropped an interception, but otherwise, Utah's safeties were in the right places most of the night. Montana State is a very good passing team, yet they only amassed 183 yards on the night (6.3 per attempt).
Special Teams: B+
Coleman Peterson went 2/2 on FGs (37, 44) and 3/3 on XPs. Utah's kickoff team was exceptional all night, Nick Marsh got lots of height under the ball, and the coverage was there for support. MSU average starting position on kickoffs was at the 19. Matt Martinez blocked a punt as well. The only downside of the night was Sean Sellwood's punting. Sellwood punted 5 times for an average of 37.8 yards (long of 43).
Utah vs Montana State- Position Grades
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