Travis Wilson had -4 yards passing and -1 yard rushing in the first quarter against Arizona. Picked it up a bit in the second, but 16 of 29 for 163 yards and 2 interceptions doesn't tell the whole story. Travis was dreadful, not seeing open receivers and giving the Utes little chance to move the ball consistently. Too many balls batted down at the line and he took off running out of the pocket when there wasn't pressure. We got out first look at Conner Manning and it wasn't much better going 2 of 6 with a pick 6. I think Utah needs some new QBs.
Running Backs: C+
Booker had a strong start to the game and a good first half with his 61 yarder in there, but was mostly negated in the second due to Utah's need to throw. Still, 23 carries for 142 yards is a good game, and he did a lot of that on his own. Poole and McCormick were serviceable in limited action, but Poole's fumble was returned for a TD and put the Utes down 21-0.
Wide Receivers and Tight Ends: C
A couple of drops mixed with a couple of great catches. No one was really able to get anything deep as the Utes ran a bunch of comeback routes for short yardage. Westlee Tonga was a weapon again and would have more than 4 catches if Wilson would have gone through his progressions instead of scrambling out of the pocket after 2 seconds despite a lack of pressure at times.
Offensive Line: C-
The line wasn't bad early, giving Wilson some time to throw the ball and opening up some holes for Booker. Then, when Utah had to throw to get back in the game, the Wildcats were able to tee off and Utah's line didn't hold up. Did a solid job in the run game overall, and the pass protection as a whole wasn't terrible, but Arizona was able to come up the middle way too often.
Defensive Line: D-
Nate Orchard got his customary sack and Hunter Dimick pitched in one before leaving with an injury, but Solomon and Scroggins didn't face much pressure while the interior of the line was manhandled by Arizona's front. They were constantly out of position and on their heels. Not the performance we've come to expect out of the line. When they don't make things happen, the other parts of the defense are exposed.
The Utes ended up missing Gionni Paul more than any of us could have anticipated. Missed tackles, missed assignments, guys out of position, and easily the worst game all year by the linebackers as they gave up 298 yards rushing. Jason Whittingham looked rusty and the linebackers looked slow. Jared Norris had 11 tackles with two of them coming for loss, but wasn't as disruptive as he normally is. 9 tackles from Fanaika, but he looked VERY slow against the Arizona speed. Overall, it was a bad day.
Dominique Hatfield was the only one that came to play as Rowe had probably his worst game of the year (looked limited with that knee brace on) and Davion Orphey missed multiple tackles and assignments. If it weren't for some big plays by Hatfield, and some inaccuracy out of the Arizona QBs, this could have been a disaster.
Never has Utah looked so slow in the secondary as they did on Saturday. Brian Blechen was consistently a step slow and couldn't do much in run support and Justin Thomas playing safety did not work at all as he missed multiple tackles, although he did recover a fumble. Marcus Williams didn't do a thing. Come back Tevin Carter.
Special Teams: C
Hackett kept bombing punts and Phillips made his only kick. Kaelin Clay had the punt return TD called back for an unnecessary hold by Boobie Hobbs. The game was never the same after that.
The team looked unprepared, had no fire, no intensity, and the early offensive play calling was another head-scratcher. Sitake, for the first time all season, had no answer.
Position Grades: Utah vs Arizona
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