The magnitude of Jordan Wynn's season ending injury is being realized be Ute players, coaches and fans. Jon Hays had another horrific performance for the Utes on Saturday, completing just 50% of his passes for 148 yards, 0 TDs, and 4 turnovers (3 INT, 1 returned for a TD). Hays displayed poor pocket presence, and the inability to recognize opposing coverages and blitzes. On multiple occasions, Hays held the ball far too long. When given time, Hays was unable to get the ball to the open receivers. Utah was not able to move the ball at all on Saturday. Hays will never throw for big yardage as a Ute, and if this team is going to stay in games, Hays must take better care of the ball.
Running Back: C-
John White IV was Utah's only big play threat available on Saturday, and struggled to find running lanes. White finished with 48 total yards on the day (39 rushing), averaging just 2.6 yards per carry. White accounted for Utah's only touchdown on the day. While Utah failed to get much going on the ground Saturday, much of the ineffectiveness was due to factors outside of White's control. Utah's Offensive Line had a rough day, and Cal continually stacked the box, daring Utah to test their defense through the air.
Wide Receiver: D+
Utah's young wide receivers looked overmatched against Cal's secondary. No receiver had more than 2 catches on the night. As a group, Utah's receivers combined for 8 total receptions for 126 yards. There were dropped balls at times, and missed reads. On the bright side, Kenneth Scott continues to show a knack for the deep ball, and these receivers were open at times, though the passes didn't arrive accurately.
Tight End: F
Utah's Tight Ends had perhaps their worst game of the season. Kendrick Moeai was the only Ute TE to catch a ball (1 reception) which went for 5 yards. This group did not block exceptionally well, nor did they provide the safety release that Hays was badly in need of at times.
Offensive Line: D
There wasn't much positive to say about Utah's offensive line on Saturday. As is usually the case, things aren't always as bad as they seem, nor are they as good as they seem. Seemingly, Cal had it's way with Utah's OLine. Utah ran for just 13 yards on the day, and passed for 148 from non-special teams formations. Blitz pickups were poor, and penalties continue to be an issue. As far as grades go, the OLine made out horribly. The average grade on the OLine was 72%. Latu Heimuli and Tevita Stevens recorded their lowest grades of the season, and the highest single grade came from Sam Brenner and John Cullen (79%).
Defensive Line: B
Utah's DLine proved much more effective in the first half than in the second. As a whole, Cal was limited to just 3.1 yards per carry, a respectable number. Star Lotulelei had a monster game, and is proving to be unblockable in one-on-one situations. Star finished with 6 tackles and 1 TFL, terrific production from the Defensive Tackle position. Trevor Reilly continues to be productive for the Utes, and finished the game with 7 tackles and 2 sacks from the hybrid DE/LB position. Derrick Shelby had a quiet 3 tackles, and Joe Kruger finished with 3 tackles and his first batted ball of the season. The struggle for this unit has been their inability to get any sort of a pass rush with their front 4. Outside of Reilly, the entire Ute defense produced ZERO sacks, and ZERO QB hurries.
Utah's linebackers have been productive this season when they can stay fresh. This undersized group will wear down throughout the game when on the field too much. This was definitely the case on Saturday, as Cal dominated time of possession, and Utah's defense struggled to get off the field. Chaz Walker was solid against the run, finishing with 8 tackles. J.J. Williams stepped in for Boo Anderson and performed adequately. Speaking of Boo Anderson, Utah's bulkiest LB suffered an injury and will miss the remainder of the season. With Anderson out, Fotu proving untrustworthy, and Blechen moving back to Safety, this group is suddenly thin.
Mo Lee has stepped in to play a bigger role for Utah in the last couple of weeks. Lee had a nice game on Saturday, finishing with a team high 9 tackles, and 1 pass break up. The converted wide receiver made a nice play in the first half, jumping a pass route, putting himself in perfect position for what should have been an easy interception. Unfortunately for the Utes, Lee dropped the pass, allowing Cal's drive to continue. Cal finished the game with 255 passing yards however, and shut down the passing game in the second half, mercifully opting to run the ball and dry out the game clock. Cal QB Zach Maynard completed 65% of his passes, and Cal converted 50% of third down conversions. Utah's CBs held Keenan Allen well below his average on the year, though the star WR still finished with 8 catches for 78 yards. Much of the damage came when Maynard was outside of the pocket and on the run, allowing receivers to work in space.
Utah's combination of Eric Rowe and Brian Blechen once again were productive on Saturday. Rowe finished with 5 tackles, while Blechen actively finished with 7 tackles and 2 TFLs. Cal really didn't get too much over the top of Utah. Rowe made a couple of nice plays on deep passes, though the freshman did drop a sure interception that should have been made.
Special Teams: A-
After an epic flop on the road at Pittsburgh, Utah's special teams returned to the field with renewed purpose, and they performed well. Place Kicker Coleman Peterson made his only field goal attempt, a 36 yarder in the 4th quarter. Sean Sellwood returned to Utah's lineup as a punter, and had his best game of the season. Sellwood punted 6 times for an average of 45.5 yards, with a long of 55, also pinning 2 inside the 20. In returns, Griff McNabb broke his career best punt return, scampering for 18 yards (previous high was 8). On kickoffs, Reggie Dunn caused the Bears problems all night. Dunn finished with 6 returns for 159 total yards (26.5 per return), and a long of 45. Dunn did his part to put Utah's offense in good field position. One area of Utah's special teams that was particularly impressive was kick and punt coverage. Cal's returners are among the most dangerous in America. On punts, Marvin Jones returned 2 kicks for 0 yards. On kickoffs, Cal returned 3 kicks for 46 yards (15.3 per return).
Utah at Cal - Position Grades
Ute Zone Top Stories
Game preview: Utah defense vs. Cal offenseJames Durrant breaks down what to expect when Utah's defensive and special teams units are on the field
Ute Zone5:18 PM
Richardson considers becoming "Hometown Hero"The top offensive tackle in the state of Utah is looking hard at the hometown Utes. Could a commitment be in his future?
Ute ZoneYesterday at 8:45 PM
Game Matchups: Utah Offense vs Cal DefenseThe Utah offense should be able to have a field day against a porous Cal defense
Ute ZoneYesterday at 10:08 AM
Know your foe: Utah vs. CalUteZone caught up with Cal football insider Ryan Gorcey of BearTerritory to break down his thoughts on this week's matchup.
Ute ZoneYesterday at 9:01 AM