Oregon State at Utah - Position Grades

Grading out each position after Utah's first PAC-12 conference victory…

Quarterback: C-
Jon Hays completed only 6/14 passes on Saturday (43%), for 62 yards (4.4 yards per attempt). These initial numbers warrant a very poor grade of the QB position, however Hays did finish with 2 touchdowns and 0 turnovers, the latter being the key statistic of the night. Hays made 1 big throw down the field to Anderson, and ultimately did enough to defeat the Oregon State Beavers.

Running Back: A+
John White IV was simply awesome on Saturday. White finished the night with 35 carries for a career high 217 yards and 1 touchdown. White single handedly produced 76% of Utah's offense on Saturday. White's sole mistake was a fumble that gave Oregon State excellent field position. Still, the fumble is not enough to keep White from earning the highest possible grade possible.

Wide Receiver: C
Utah's wide receiver group had a rough game on Saturday, producing only 4 receptions as a group, for 49 yards. Dres Anderson had a nice touchdown reception downfield, while Devonte Christopher did well to turn what looked like a red zone interception into a touchdown reception. Reggie Dunn added 2 carries on the night for 15 yards. The group inevitably is tied to the quarterback, and will suffer as the QB suffers. Utah's WRs did block well on saturday, allowing John White to turn short runs into long runs.

Tight End: D-
Freshman TE Jake Murphy got the start in place of the injured Dallin Rogers, and finished as Utah's leader in receptions on Saturday. Murphy had 2 catches for 13 yards. Kendrick Moeai also got significant time. The duo did some nice things in the run game, but also struggled in some protections. The safety-producing penalty in the 3rd quarter was a result of a missed block by Moeai.

Offensive Line: B-
Utah's offensive line benefited from an offensive game plan that called for 76% rush, 24% pass. Utah's OLine got nasty, creating some nice holes for John White IV to hit. The Ute offense finished with 225 rushing yards on the night. The pass protection once again proved vulnerable to the blitz however. Utah's offense allowed 2 sacks, and just 6 completions…not a good ratio. Opponents will continue to blitz the Utes until the OLine rebounds.

Defensive Line: A+
Oregon State entered Saturday's matchup without much of a run threat, and left Rice Eccles Stadium with only 32 rushing yards on the day. The Beavers managed a measly 1.2 yards per rush attempt. Utah's defensive line produced 3.5 sacks as well (3 from Tivita Finau, 0.5 from Derrick Shelby).

Linebackers: A
Utah's linebackers had a great night, racking up loads of tackles while still providing quality pass coverage. Chaz Walker finished with 11 tackles on the night, Trevor Reilly and Matt Martinez both finished with 6 tackles a piece. In the passing game, Matt Martinez recorded a sack and an interception. Junior LB David Fagergren filled in admirably after J.J. Williams went down. Fagergren had a sack and a forced fumble. When Utah's LBs weren't able to sack Mannion, they were in his face, having loads of success all night.

Cornerbacks: B+
Conroy Black has become a cover corner that the Utes can rely on. Consistently drawing some of the nation's most difficult tasks at wide receiver, Black was all over Markus Wheaton, holding the star WR to just 55 receiving yards on the night. Ryan Lacy and Mo Lee had active nights as well. Lacy finished with 6 tackles, 2 Pass Breakups, and an interception. Mo Lee had an interception as well that he returned for 30 yards. Lee also dropped an interception on OSU's attempted 2 point conversion. A nice night for Utah's CBs.

Safeties: A
Oregon State threw the ball 49 times for just 231 yards (4.7 per pass attempt). Mannion had just 1 passing touchdown on the night, and threw 3 interceptions. Freshman Free Safety Eric Rowe had his best game as a Ute, finishing with 7 tackles and 2 pass breakups, and is developing at a rapid pace for the Utes. Brian Blechen had a great game as well at Strong Safety, finishing with 1 sack, and deflected a deep pass that Utah ultimately intercepted. This duo is making plays, and fans and coaches alike can be pleased about the production from the safety position.

Special Teams: B+
Utah's kickoff coverage continues to be among the best in the PAC-12. Oregon State had 6 returns on Saturday for an average of just 16.7 yards per return. At punter, the duo of Marsh and Sellwood had a mediocre day, averaging just 42 yards per punt on 7 punts. Coleman Peterson had a nice night for the Utes, going 2/2 on FGs (48, 20). In the return game, Utah didn't see much action. Reggie Dunn returned just 1 kickoff for 16 yards, and despite a great defensive performance by the Utes, Griff McNabb returned only 2 punts for 24 yards, with a long of 19.

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