By Cody Harris
Travis came out and gave an all around average game. While he was effective for the most part with his feet (18 rushes for 67 yards) he completed just 50% of his passes for a measly 110 yards, no TD’s. All night the receivers failed to get any separation, and when someone did finally get away Travis had already gotten rid of the ball, or failed entirely to even get to that read. Travis was not the reason the team lost this game, but he certainly didn’t give them the chance to win either. With the star of the offense out, he should’ve been able to step up and be the playmaker.
Running Backs: B-
Joe Williams got his first start of the year and did not disappoint. Williams showed a lot of promise in becoming the starting back next year for the Utes racking up 152 total yards (121 rushing, 31 yards receiving). Even with a good game yardage wise, there was a clear difference between he and Booker, as DB just finds a way to put points on the board. What I especially liked about Williams effort is he has the violent yet elusive running style we’ve become accustomed too, just couldn’t quite get the breakaway run for the score though. Bubba Poole returned but did literally next to nothing.
Wide Receivers & Tight ends: D-
This had to be the worst game of the year for an already dismal group of wide receivers. Maybe it was the fact that the Bruin DB’s knew exactly where the receivers were going to be since there are a total of 5 passing plays in the offensive playbook but As soon as Covey was injured we all knew it was going to be a long night. Kenneth Scott was given multiple chances down the field and failed to grab any of them (outside of getting the ONE he actually did catch called back), Handley had his standard 3 receptions, the rest went to the RB’s, which were dropped as well.
Offensive Line: B
Overall the line was able to give room for the RB’s and time for the Quarterback; they didn’t dominate the line of scrimmage and gave up 2 sacks; but they did provide holes for Williams, and sealed the edge fairly well for the option. For the most part Travis had time, but just didn’t take advantage of it. UCLA is solid on their Defensive front and overall I felt the big men up front held their own.
Defensive Line: B
The Utes D-line showed well Saturday night, outside of the first quarter they were stout and forced Rosen to get the ball out of his hands earlier than he wanted. Any time you can hold a great back like Perkins to under 100 yards (98 on 28 carries, 3.5 avg) and keep good pressure on the QB it’s a good night. Lowell flat out had a fantastic night, owning the middle of the line allowing next to nothing up the middle. The line combined for 5 tackles for loss, 3 pass breakups (all by Kylie Fitts) and a sack. Of course we’d like to see more sacks, but otherwise they had an above average game.
Paul and Norris both had solid games, what lacked was the playmaking that we are so used to by these guys, meaning the spectacular plays. Unfortunately this team has become reliant on Paul and Norris to make these spectacular turnover types of plays for this team to get a win. The fact that they didn’t is not a knock on their performance overall just observations to how important turnovers are to the Utes.
While giving up 220 passing yards and a TD isn’t anything outlandish for a corner back group, getting burned or picked apart by the same plays consistently throughout is subpar. Bruin WR Payton torched the Utes CB’s all night, with I think at least 4 or 5 of his 7 catches coming on crucial 3rd down plays in which he would run an 11 yard buttonhook for a first down. This game was a tale of two halves as the CB’s came out much better in the second half of the game. But at the same time, the Utes CB’s consistently got burned deep with Bruins just blowing right past them. We have come to expect more from these guys and they are too talented to play like this. Since the USC game opposing teams seem to really be attacking Domo, no different this game.
Average play from the safeties, Marcus Williams was pretty solid as was Eggiman, while Carter again just seems like he suddenly doesn’t belong on the field (Seriously what happened!?). They provided strong run support, but at times some pretty poor over the top coverage, while Domo got burned on the TD catch by Duarte, Williams had an opportunity to lay down a big hit to possibly knock the ball loose, he didn’t and it cost the Utes 6.
Special Teams: B
3/3 for Automatic Andy, and 50 yard average with 3 of five punts inside the 20 including a booming 67 yarder is well above average compared to anyone else. But with just 7 total return yards from Boobie Hobbs, it hurts, especially when Ute fans have such a strong history of great special team returns. The kickoff coverage from the Utes was good but not great maybe just a missed tackle or two from giving up a touchdown.
Offensive Coaching/Gameplan: D+
Maybe the team should follow suit with the men’s basketball team and change their name to the Running Utes. As the season has gone on the Utes continue to run it more and more. Which is somewhat understandable considering Booker is your Running Back and Wilson is your QB. With Booker out, the Utes stayed true to the run heavy game plan rushing 49 times to just 26 pass attempts. While the Utes did attempt to throw it deep a few times more than normal, they continuously use the same short gain plays. I’m sure they have their reasons, but the problem is, UCLA seemed to know the Utah playbook as well as Utah. Failure of the coordinators to go outside of their safety zone hurt this team bad as the offense went scoreless for the first time this year.
Defensive Coaching/Gameplan: B-
This was a tale of two halves for the defense, really even more like a terrible, horrible first quarter, followed by 3 very good quarters by the D. The Utes wanted to limit Perkins and make the true freshman QB beat them, for the most part they did just that. After the 1st quarter in which the Utes gave up 10 points and 183 yards, they got their act together and held the Bruins to just 7 points 142 yards the remaining 3 quarters. While the D didn’t the customary turnovers they are used to, they gave the offense every opportunity to put points on the board.