The quarterbacks struggled again. Thompson was pretty bad in the first half. He had time to throw occasionally, but was slow to make decisions and tried to scramble his way to safety. This week, it didn't work. May have lost his job after only a half by throwing for only 17 yards and turning it over twice. Wilson was better, but minimally. He looks like there's little confidence right now. Made a couple of nice throws to keep the chains moving and his 3rd down run in OT to pick up a first down was huge, but no one is confident in Utah's quarterback situation right now. 9 of 18 yards for 62 yards will not get it done.
Running Backs: A+
Is Devontae Booker the best back in the conference? Is he one of the best in the country? Why did it take the coaches 3 and a half games to figure this out? Booker was a monster again, and pretty much all of Utah's offense with 229 yards on 33 carries and 3 touchdowns. He broke tackle after tackle and refused to go down. Every time you think he's down, the junior falls forward for an extra yard or two. For an offense that is struggling to move the ball, those extra yards are huge. It's the Booker show this week, and should be the same for the rest of the season. What a game.
Wide Receivers: F
Drops, drops, drops, drops, drops. Why is this still an issue? When did this become an issue. The receivers didn't help the quarterback at all with a ridiculous number of drops. Dres is obviously in his own head right now with the number he's dropping, the most inexplicable being the drop that popped up into the air and was picked. He did have a big grab on the late drive to take the lead and drew a couple of pass interference calls, but if he isn't catching the ball, Dres isn't the threat he should be. Kenneth Scott didn't get a ton of reps as Tim Patrick was given the nod for much of the night. Patrick tallied 2 catches for 19 yards. Nothing out of Clay. What happened to this group that was so good in fall camp?
Tight Ends: B
In re-watching the game, Tonga might have been Utah's second most valuable player last night on offense. He didn't catch a pass, but the senior was huge in the run game with his blocking.
Offensive Line: C
Pass protection wasn't as bad as it may have looked with Thompson in there. He was holding on to the ball too long. The run blocking was actually a bit worse than normal, despite Booker's yards. He picked up a ton of those on his own after breaking tackles. When the line did a good job and opened holes, Booker was generally picking up 8+ yards. It was very much a play to play situation where they'd all get the job done on one play and then the next two or three guys would blow assignments. Credit though for some big blocks in overtime on Booker's 2 touchdown runs. Those were made possible by the offensive line. JJ Dielman continues to get better. You'd just like to see them do what they obviously have the capability of doing on every single play.
Defensive Line: A
Another week. Another batch of sacks as the Utes picked up 5 more, including 2 by Nate Orchard and 1.5 out of Pita T. Orchard also had 2 more tackles for loss (4 total) and Hunter Dimick was a stud again this week. 8 tackles and was constantly collapsing the pocket with power rushes. Clint Shepard didn't get a ton of run, but had two HUGE plays late in run support and Lowell Lotulelei was again a giant in the middle. Oregon State didn't get much on the ground right up the middle. The tackles are looking improved, and healthy. Lots of rotations to keep guys fresh with Fauonuku and Mokofisi also having an impact.
Gionni Paul got things started with a great interception on Oregon State's first play from scrimmage that turned into 3 points. Oh, and he chipped in 14 tackles. Imagine how many Paul would have each week if he was able to play the whole game instead of coming off intermittently. You can tell that he's still hurting, but it's not affecting his play. Jared Norris was a stud again with another 13 tackles. Jason Fanaika also played some linebacker and had 10 tackles. Had some issues when dropping into coverage, but still played a good game. Showed more versatility than I thought he had.
Mannion didn't light up the corners consistently,but in re-watching the game, a lot of receivers were open. Mannion just couldn't get them the ball or see them because Utah had defenders in his face early and often. Davion Ophey played quite a bit and was improved over his early season play. Hatfield wasn't great in coverage, giving up the long touchdown, but was stellar in run support. Rowe? Another up and down week, but like Hatfield excelled in run support. Justin Thomas was probably the best corner against the Beavs, although his name wasn't called much. Corners were bailed out by the pressure from the front 7 a lot more than the coaches will be comfortable with.
Brian Blechen had 8 tackles and played well close to the line of scrimmage, including a great read on a screen pass, but anything over 15 yards and he struggled in coverage. Thankfully for the Utes, receivers didn't have time to get that far very often. Didn't have the speed to get over to Villamin in time to stop the long TD pass. Godfrey had a solid game and they used him a lot near the line of scrimmage. For whatever reason, the Beavers didn't throw many balls over the middle. Mannion missed a few guys who looked open there, but it's very possible that guys are afraid of Blechen removing their heads.
Special Teams: B+
Kaelin Clay has been held in check the last two weeks. The trick? High punts that force him to fair-catch the ball. That's likely what we'll see teams do for the rest of the season. Phillips? Does it again. 3 for 3. He's automatic inside 45. Tom Hackettt? More bombs and more balls inside the 20. That duo continues to amaze. Utah covered kicks well in not giving the Beavers anything in the return game.
Position Grades: Utah at Oregon State
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