What went right:
Kenneth Scott emerged as the top wide receiver prospect we all expected to see
Coleman Peterson rebounded after a miserable opener to hit 2 of 3 FG's despite missing the potential game-winner
Sean Sellwood boomed 10 punts for an outstanding average of 52.6 yards per punt
What went wrong:
Penalties, mistakes, errors abound
Poor offensive play, specifically at the quarterback and offensive line positions
Special Teams breakdowns on punt team, punt return, kick return, and both coverage teams
2-17 on 3rd downs
0-2 in the red zone
Just about everything else
It's easy to say Utah lost playing terrible football, because really overall they did. They lost to a team that they are better than and probably still should have beat despite playing ugly, terrible football. They lost because they were overconfident and underprepared. They lost because of penalties, mental mistakes, poor execution, bad offensive line play, a lack of a decent run game, terrible pass protection, horrible special teams, questionable play-calling, and a good gameplan by Utah State.
There are a hundred reasons why Utah lost this game, but losing because they're a bad team isn't one of them.
The list of mistakes that were evident in this game is almost endless. Some Ute fans will immediately want to point to one, final play as the difference between the win and loss when in reality there were a number of bad plays that simply added up over four quarters to produce the result that we saw on the field.
In the end if there is one thing that I can point to as the most likely reason Utah lost it would be preparation – or lack thereof.
Utah simply entered this game overconfident and underprepared and it cost them.
On offense Utah was unprepared in almost every sense and it was clear. The offensive line wasn't ready, which forced the coaching staff to make numerous changes throughout the game. The lack of familiarity and continuity on the line resulted in numerous vicious hits on Jordan Wynn, one of which ended his night and quite possibly his season.
The quarterback position wasn't ready. How the coaching staff entered the game believing Jordan Wynn gave the team the best chance to Wynn is beyond me. After wasting almost the entire first half going absolutely nowhere it took the offense just 60 seconds to drive the length of the field for a field goal once the quarterback change was made.
The defense wasn't prepared. Penalties, personal fouls, mistakes, you name it we saw it. Did the defense make stops? Yes. But did they shoot themselves in the foot time and time again? Absolutely. At the end of the day they gave up 20 points to the Aggie offense and just weren't prepared.
Honestly, the only thing Utah didn't seem unprepared for was the Wynn injury as the offense woke up when Hays entered the game. It didn't create a big enough spark to lead the team to a win obviously, but there was a noticeable difference pre and post-injury. Utah now has to figure out who will lead the team in the future.
Does all of this mean that Utah is a bad team? Absolutely not. The coaches and players weren't prepared, but preparation can be fixed and this Utah coaching staff is pretty good at that kind of thing. They let one go this week and this loss will serve as a wakeup call to everybody on the staff, but if you think they'll lose to BYU next week for similar reasons to tonight you're crazy. They may get beat next Saturday, but if they do I can almost guarantee you it won't be because of a lack of preparation.
Look, it may feel like it today but the season isn't over just yet. Is the Pac-12 Championship on Utah's horizon? Maybey not; but there's still a lot to play for and at this point everybody is 0-0 in-conference – including the Utes.
This isn't a bad team. There's talent on this roster. Penalties can be cleaned up, mistakes can be corrected, and next week is a new week. You'd better believe Coach Whitt and his staff are well aware of that. They'll make the adjustments that need to be made, fill the holes that need to be filled, and they'll put a better team out on the field next week ready to face BYU.
Game Review: Utah at Utah State
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