It was a disappointing performance for the Utes as a team on Saturday, but some position groups had better days than others. Let's take a look at how each group performed.
Yikes. It was not a good day for Travis Wilson as he finished 3 of 9 for 15 yards, 1 TD and 2 INT's before leaving the game shortly before halftime due to an injured hand. It's impossible to know how much that hand was effecting him, as we all knew he originally hurt it against Stanford, but were unaware of the extent of the injury. Regardless of the injury, Wilson did not seem like his normal self and made bad decision after bad decision before leaving the game. Adam Schulz played a little over one half of football and had some good moments, but for the most part showed that he may not be capable of leading this offense. Maybe he could do better with a week of practice with the 1's, but that remains to be seen. Too many times Schulz held on to the ball too long, or made a bad read. Overall, it was not a good day for the QB's.
For an offense that looked anemic at times, the running backs actually had a pretty good game. Lucky Radley led all running backs with 57 yards on 5 carries, but Kelvin York, Bubba Poole and Karl Williams all got carries. The three main backs in Radley, Poole and York combined for 138 yards on 27 carries and 1 TD. The run game looked dominant at times, especially when running off tackle or up the middle, but too many a times a sweep was called and stopped behind the line of scrimmage for a loss. Equal blame goes to play calling, blocking and running on those plays.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: C+
The wide receivers as whole didn't suffer any drops, but they did struggle getting open all game. The blocking wasn't as good either in the run game and so they get a C+ as a group. The starting group of receivers, aside from Dres Anderson, lacks big play ability, but is on the field due to their ability to block. Utah has more athletic WR's on the bench, but they won't see the field till they make a bigger commitment to blocking in the run game. This group really misses Kenneth Scott and Jake Murphy.
Offensive Line: D+
Only reason they don't get an F is because they were pretty good in run blocking last night. Siaosi Aiono and Jeremiah Poutasi continue to struggle in pass protection and it's to the point that it's becoming a serious problem. Arizona doesn't have any elite pass rushers, but at times, they made Aiono and Poutasi look very bad. Junior Salt, Vyncent Jones and Jeremiah Tofaeono continue to be strong up the middle, especially in the run game.
Defensive Line: B-
Trevor Reilly continues to be the do it all leader for the defense, and had the teams only two sacks on the night, and continues to impress with his non stop motor. After being gashed in the first half at the line of scrimmage, the defensive line was much better in the second half and made some big plays for the defense. Tenny Palepoi and LT Tuipulotu were great up the middle in the second half and really kept the team in the game with their play.
Jason Whittingham and Jared Norris had some nice plays at times on the night, but for most of the night they were caught out of position, especially when Arizona ran out to the edge. It's still apparent that Utah lacks the necssary speed at linebacker to defend spread option offenses. That's something they'll have to address in recruiting.
Defensive Backs: C+
Keith McGill continues to impress with his ability to lock down a receiver. He nearly gave up a big play, but was in position to make a play on the ball before being pushed by the receiver, resulting in a offensive pass interference call. Eric Rowe and Michael Walker had okay games, as neither made any great plays or had any huge mistakes. Davion Orphey and Mike Honeycutt were shaky at times in coverage as well, but also showed to ability to stay with some quick receivers, as well as make open field tackles. As a group, it wasn't their best game, but they're still improving and are lightyears better than they were earlier in the year.
Special Teams: C+
Boy, did Andy Phillips pick the wrong night to come back down to earth. It was going to happen eventually, but nobody would've guessed it would've been a night where he went 1 of 3. Those two field goals could've come in handy, as the Utes could've potentially led the game 30-28 with about 5 minutes left in the game, which would've drasitcally changed Arizona's approach to their last offensive drive. Woulda, coulda, shoulda. Other than that, the special teams unit was very good. Tom Hackett continued to show why he may be one of the best punters in the country, and long snapper Chase Dominguez had a couple big plays as well, making some nice tackles on punt coverage as well as recovering a muffed punt. Kick off coverage was also much better this week and so kudos to Jay Hill for correcting those problems in practice last week.
Position Grades: Utah at Arizona
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