Despite all of Oregon's speed, more experience, and coming off of an embarrassing loss to Washington State at home, Utah was able to dominate in several categories.
The most telling statistic to me was third down conversions. Even with an inexperienced quarterback at the helm in Alex Smith, the Utes were able to muster 11 conversions on 22 third down attempts. That is amazing. Conversely, the Ducks were a dismal four for 14. Ouch.
How about the time of possession differential? Utah 34:56, Oregon 25:04. Oregon's inability to run the ball for consistent yardage on first downs really hurt them. Utah's front seven on defense really put the clamps down all night long. And despite Brandon Warfield only rushing for 74 yards he changed how the Ducks defense played against the Utah running game, opening up more passing lanes for Smith.
Did anyone really think that the Utes would out-gain the Ducks in total yardage? Come on, nobody did. Utah's offense kept the Ducks off balance and hit the big plays when they had to. Nothing like good ole' fashioned execution and timely big plays to win a football game. It does not hurt matters when Utah's defense as a whole plays their best game of the year either.
Will the Utes be able to continue their winning ways against San Diego State? They should, but we'll get into that discussion starting on Tuesday.