For the first game of the 2013 season, Utah kicked off against in-state rival Utah State and was able to walk away with a win. With neither team able to pull away and get a substantial lead at any point of the game, both teams provided the fans with any excellent way to kickoff the 2013 season with a game that kept us all on the edge of our seats from kick off till the clock hit 0:00 in the fourth.
Leading up to the game, all the talk was about how Dennis Erickson and Utah's offense was going to move the ball against the Aggies' tough defense. Well, the result was an inconsistent performance by the Utes that did end up gaining 450 yards and put 30 points on the scoreboard. Though it was inconsistent, we did see flashes of greatness from the offense that leads me to believe that they will only improve as time goes on and that if the offensive line can perform a bit better, this offense is more than capable of averaging 30+ points a game.
Travis Wilson played relatively well Thursday night, throwing for 302 yards, 2 touchdowns, and zero interceptions. He looked a lot more comfortable than he did last year, and was going through his progressions fairly well throughout the game. With the injury to Kenneth Scott, the receivers must step up and fill in, as Kenneth leaves some big shoes to fill. Because of the inconsistent play of the O-line, the running game wasn't as good as I hoped it would've been. All three running backs (York, Poole, and Williams) averaged less than 4 yards per carry, which is something the Utes cannot afford to continue to keep happening.
Just like the offense, the defense was very inconsistent throughout the game. One series would look great, then the next would be a nightmare. Though Chuckie Keeton is one of the best quarterbacks the Utes will face this season, they cannot afford to have that kind of performance in future games. Keeton was able to pick apart the defense effortlessly at times, and finished the game going 31-40 for 314 yards and 2 touchdowns, and was also able to pickup 85 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
The main thing that stood out to me was Utah's inability to contain mobile quarterbacks. Just like last season, the Utes just flat out had a very tough time with a mobile quarterback in Chuckie Keeton. If the Utes want to have any kind of success this season, containing mobile quarterbacks is going to be arguably the #1 thing this defense needs to work on. As the entire Pac-12 conference is filled with these mobile quarterbacks that the Utes have such trouble playing against.
Although the Utes were fortunate enough to come away with the win and start the season with a 1-0 record, they still have a ton of work to do before they get into the heart of their conference schedule and are able to compete with the likes of Oregon, Stanford, UCLA etc. With that first game under their belts, a week to improve on their mistakes and prepare for Weber State, I expect the Utes to come out strong this Saturday and give the fans a show against Weber. Which they should do, because with all due respect there is no excuse not to against an opponent like Weber State.
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