For what seems like the 100th time this season, Utah did just enough to get a win in knocking off Colorado 38-34 in Boulder to cap an impressive and successful regular season with win number 8.
In a game that was rather reminiscent of Utah's last trip to Boulder in 2012 that needed a Reggie Dunn kick return to get the win, Utah came up with another big return for a TD late in the game when Dominique Hatfield grabbed an errant throw from Colorado QB Sefo Liufau and waltzed into the end zone to give the Utes a lead they would never relinquish. It wasn't pretty out there for much of the day with the injuries to the defense taking their toll and Colorado often moving down the field with ease, but as Utah has done time and time again this season, they made a late plays to break another opponent's heart.
With the regular season now finished up and a bowl game on the docket, there's no need to break this thing down heavily from an Xs and Os standpoint. The Utes did a lot right, mostly on offense, a lot wrong, mostly on defense, and had some odd special teams plays that for some reason have not helped in recent weeks.
What we did see was a guy in Travis Wilson pick apart an awful and injury plagued Colorado defense. That has to be encouraging for Wilson as we head towards a bowl game. Now Wilson gets 3 to 4 weeks to hold off the hoard of QBs behind him and try to cement his status as the starter heading into 2015. It will be an interesting couple of weeks as Whittingham and company figure out which direction they want to go with the quarterbacks moving forward. Do they give Manning, Cox, and Wilson equal reps in practice, and maybe even the bowl game, while trying to see what they have in each guy? What happens at the QB position is the biggest question mark of the offseason for Utah, and that offseason, and preparing for 2015, starts now in a way. We know what Wilson is, and that's inconsistent. Plenty of promise and plenty of skill there to make some big plays, but not at a consistent enough level to take this team to where they want to go, unless settling for middle of the Pac 12 south is acceptable. I have a feeling that it's not.
It's time to tip our caps to Kyle Whittingham and his staff for a remarkable regular season. Tip our caps to the players of grinding it out each week to get Utah football back on track. 8 wins, in this conference and this division, is remarkable. Wins AT Michigan, AT UCLA, AT Stanford, and over USC have to make this one of the more successful seasons in the history of Utah football. First time with a winning record in conference play since joining the Pac 12. Utah is trending up in the world of college football, and 2014 was the start of it all.
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