Hays was efficient and completed a high percentage of his passes (I had to do a double take when I saw the stats, but he couldn't get anything going in the first half and the sacks on the final drive kept the Utes from being able to score a touchdown and pushed the final field goal way too far back. A lot of the grabs made by Utah were receivers were nice catches where the ball was not placed well. Better placement would have led to bigger plays. I'll give Hays credit though. He played tough, took a few shots and got Utah back into the game when they easily could have folded after the scary moments following Sam Brenner's injury.
Running Back: D+
John White was non existent, up until his third quarter injury. He didn't have the blocking, but wasn't making much on his own. Chow has to get the blame for much of that for not getting him the carries to get into a rhythm. Harvey Langi was, well, a freshman. His first carry, that resulted in a fumble on a miscommunication and Hays grabbing it out of the air, was Langi's season in a nutshell. Tough debut season for the highly touted freshman. Tauni Vakapuna was a beast though going for 77 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown. He ran hard, hit the right holes, and provided the Utes a desperately needed spark coming off of the White injury and scary injury to Brenner.
Wide Receiver: B
Hays spread the ball around and completed passes to nine different receivers on the day. DeVonte Christopher had a huge third down catch after the White and Brenner injuries that got the crowd and the team going again and led to the first touchdown of the day for the Utes and Luke Matthews chipped in four catches. Kendrick Moeia had his second straight multi-catch game with 3 grabs. Kenneth Scott also had a beautiful catch on a third down in the fourth quarter that kept a drive alive.
Offensive Line: D
The run blocking was atrocious in the first half and the pass blocking was awful in the second half. The loss of Sam Brenner turned out to be huge as the pass protection took a nose dive after he went out with the neck injury. 4 sacks allowed and not much out of the running game until Tauni Vakapuna came in.
Defensive Line: C
Star Lotulelei was again eating up blockers and his sack was a thing of beauty as he just pushed through the defender to get to the QB, but there wasn't enough pressure from the ends and the other tackles were getting pushed around way too much. James and Aiono and Dave Kruger were largely ineffective.
Way too many missed tackles in the first half, especially on Rodney Stewart, helped the Buffs move down the field with ease and take a lead on the Utes that they were never able to recover from. The running yards by Colorado weren't great, but there were way too many missed opportunities in which they could have stopped them for losses, and didn't.
Reggie Topps had an up and down day with the interception, but was beat a few times in increased action. There were a few times when he was beat, but Ryan Lacy had a tough day, often out of position and getting beat badly more than once. Conroy Black was decent, but not at the top of his game. I didn't notice Mo Lee a ton, and that's generally a good thing when you're a cornerback. The big plays given up by this group were inexcusable and was a big reason why Colorado controlled the first half and ultimately won the game. The Colorado receivers are a solid group, but Hansen shouldn't be putting up those kind of numbers against Utah.
Special Teams: F-
Griff McNabb had a beautiful 29 yard punt return and Sean Sellwood was stellar again averaging over 52 yards per punt, but it wasn't enough to overcome the kicking woes. Coleman Peterson was 0 for 3, including a miss in the final seconds. The real killer though? The 26 yarder he missed that would have tied the game up midway through the fourth quarter. Not the performance you'd expect for a 2 time Pac 12 Special Teams Player of the Week. Kickers have one job: make your kicks. Because of it, Utah won't be heading to Eugene next week.
The play calling by Chow was poor, especially in the first half. There was no creativity, and they didn't take the shots downfield that they should have with Colorado loading the box. Things opened up a bit more in the second half, but it took another half to get going, just like last week. The choice to line up the field goal at the end of the game didn't make much sense either for a kicker who had already missed two. Take a shot down the field, along the sidelines, and get closer. Similar to the USC game in that they were unwilling to take a chance to get in better position.
Position Grades- Colorado at Utah
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